Hoda Kotb was married to former tennis coach Burzis Kanga for less than two years before she suddenly filed for divorce in February 2007. Now, the Today show host’s ex-husband is telling all on what ended their marriage.
Kotb met Kanga at an event for the American Heart Association on Valentine’s Day in New Orleans. They had a whirlwind romance, as he proposed in May 2005. They tied the knot in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic that December.
But their marriage wouldn’t last forever, as the anchor filed for divorce on February 15, 2007. It was finalized in February 6, 2008.
“We had some differences,” Kanga told RadarOnline. “My father was ill. She was ill. It was a difficult time. Those were personal reasons for both of us.”
Although Kanga wouldn’t disclose Kotb’s exact illness, she revealed she was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2007.
“The divorce happened under difficult conditions,” he explained. “Those were personal reasons for both of us. In hindsight, there was level of immaturity on my part, mistakes I made. It was unfortunate we were married for a short time. It’s a shame it transpired that way.”
In addition to Kotb’s illness, Kanga continued that moving to New York from New Orleans to be with his wife also put a strain on their marriage.
“I was not used to the big city I guess,” he said. “New York can be overwhelming. I’ve lived in New Orleans for 30 years now. This is my home.”
Although Kanga was “surprised” when she filed for divorce, he had only good things to say about his ex-wife.
“I will always cherish our memories,” he said. “She is the epitome of class. I think the world of her. We had great memories together.”
Kotb, who replaced Matt Lauer on Today after he was fired for allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior, opened up about her divorce on Valentine’s Day in 2013.
“Valentine’s Day, I’ll be honest with you, is not my favorite holiday of the year,” she explained on Today. “I met my first husband on Valentine’s Day. And we signed our divorce papers on Valentine’s Day.”