Hoda Kotb Opens Up About Breaking Down in Tears on Air Over Drew Brees' Coronavirus Donation (Exclusive)
Even consummate professionals Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie have their breaking points when it comes to reporting on the coronavirus outbreak daily.
ET's Kevin Frazier spoke to the Today show co-anchors on Friday via video chat, and the women discussed an especially emotional moment on last Friday's show, when Kotb unexpectedly broke down in tears after interviewing New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Brees donated $5 million to Louisiana coronavirus relief, and Kotb started crying as soon as the interview ended. Unable to speak, Guthrie -- who had been filming the show from her home instead of at the New York City studio with Kotb -- comforted her remotely.
Kotb told ET her emotions did indeed reach their limit that day, and explained why her interview with Brees made her cry.
"I think everybody has their breaking point somewhere," she says. "Sometimes you have it in the bathroom at home or you have it in the car and your kids are inside. I mean, mine probably was at the least appropriate place it could have been but I think there was something about his kindness and generosity in that moment. And I think when he said, like, as a big, strong football player, when I said, 'I love you, Drew,' -- 'cause I just say that usually -- and he said, 'I love you.' Something about all of it just kind of came together and I feel like we're all on the edge. And I think we all need to pick a place. I wish it hadn't been this place, but I think we all need to have a place where we can all let the dam break wherever that place happens to be."
Guthrie said that even though she wasn't physically beside Kotb in the studio, she knew what she was feeling.
"I mean, in that moment, I can just understand exactly where she is coming from," Guthrie says. "I think it's because the tender words that we haven't heard. I love Hoda, I know that really touched her. But I also know she cares so deeply for the people of New Orleans. That whole interview was really about what they're going though and they're suffering, that's why I said, 'I know where your heart is, Hoda.' I know what you're thinking. I know why it hurts -- because you're thinking of these people who are hurting so much and why again."
"I'm actually proud of Hoda every day," Guthrie adds. "I think she is incredible on multiple levels. But I was really proud of her in that moment, especially. Because she opened the way for a lot of people to say, we are all so blessed and lucky -- if it hasn't touched us yet. But that doesn't mean it isn't a time of uncertainty and sadness and anxiety. And it's OK to feel what you're feeling. And it's OK to let it out sometimes. It's OK to do that, then take a breath, and smile. And move on, which she does better than everybody else. I think that's in her heart, and why everyone loves her."
But however long the coronavirus pandemic lasts, Kotb and Guthrie are committed to doing their jobs.
"It isn't easy," Guthrie acknowledges. "It is not easy right now. We know how lucky we are. We're lucky because we have each other, we have our families. We still have our jobs and we have a purpose. Hoda and I and everyone on the Today show staff ... feel really strongly about that. But it's hard to tell these stories. And I know what people say. 'It's enough. I don't want to hear it anymore.' I get it, I feel the same way."
"It's hard sometimes to ask the hard questions," she continues. "I don't want to get into a confrontation or a fight. But I feel like right now we have to be on the side of information. And I really want to get those facts to our viewers. Like, I'm going to find out for you guys. I'm going to do it, and we all feel that way. Because this is a tough time."
For more on Kotb and Guthrie's emotional moment, watch the video below. See more of their interview on Monday's Entertainment Tonight -- check local listings here.
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