Hoda Kotb has had one heck of a 2019. From the bittersweet departure of her long time Today show co-host Kathy Lee Gifford, to adopting her second child, and now her engagement to financier boyfriend Joel Schiffman.

That’s how you end the year on a high note. It’s only fitting we cover her engagement story for our final celebrity engagement series post of 2019. This year’s engagements have seen jaw dropping spectacular diamonds, like Jennifer Lopez’s 10+ carat sparkler.

We’ve also seen ultra unique rings like the one Orlando Bloom proposed to Katy Perry with– a ruby with a halo of diamonds mimicking a flower.

Hoda received a ring that’s both timeless AND unique. But first, who actually is Joel Schiffman and how did the couple meet?

The Couple

Obviously Hoda is one of the most well known news broadcasters on daytime tv. She’s also an author, which is how she would come to meet her future hubs.

She spoke at a book signing event back in 2013 for Wall Street professionals. While most attendees had no idea who she was at the time, the financier had his book signed and the rest is history. They connected after the event, went on a date, and six years later he’s popped the question.

But the Hoda Kotb and Joel Schiffman relationship was on the down low for the first couple of years. She talked openly about her boyfriend on the show, but kept his identity a secret. She referred to him as ‘Boots’ on air, because the only photo’s she’d share were of his shoes. The couple was outed in 2015 when the Daily Mail published photos of them on the beach during a European vacation.

Since then, she’s shared family milestones and events regularly on social media, from birthdays to their first daughter’s adoption in 2017 to the engagement! Which came as a complete shock by the way.

The Engagement Story

Hoda shared the news live on the Today Show just before Thanksgiving, and the reactions were priceless.


Last month on a tropical vacation in Mexico, the pair had dinner on the beach. She shared that she was “….finishing dessert and Joel said he had some other things he wanted to say.”

She didn’t spill all the details, but claimed he said some beautiful, moving things and then dropped to one knee and asked her to be his wife. He made it official by slipping on a one-of-a-kind, custom made ring he designed himself (with the help of Hoda’s jeweler friend).

Of course she said YES. Last year she told Andy Cohen of Watch What Happens Live that she planned to be with Joel for the rest of her life, ring or no ring.

This will be Hoda’s second marriage. She was married to former tennis coach Burzis Kanga from 2005 to 2008. Now about the ring…

The Ring

The funny thing about this engagement story is Hoda’s ring knowledge is basically zero to none. She admits that she’d fail miserably if someone were to quiz her on which rings were which.

She described the ring to People magazine as “The diamond part is square and around it, it looks like a stop sign. And it’s blue on the edge. Sapphires? I don’t know. But I love it.”

Translation– the ring features a 5-ish carat diamond (either an Ascher or radiant cut according to jewelry experts) surrounded by a halo of pavé sapphires. The band also features pavé diamonds to make the design even more glam.

Professional experts believe the ring could easily retail for over $250,000 and have compared it to the ring that Prince Charles proposed to Diana with in 1981. That one featured a 12 carat sapphire sparkler surrounded by a halo of solitaire diamonds.

It’s not the ring that Hoda cares so much when it comes to her engagement. It’s the fact that he put so much thought and effort into what she might like. He consulted with her jeweler friend, Jennifer Miller, for help creating the perfect design.

The ring design and creation took several months. Hoda told People that she assumed if they were to ever get engaged, that he’d just go to a store and buy one.

Nuptial details have yet to be released, but we can’t wait to hear their happily ever after plans.

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