Kathie Lee Gifford praises former Today co-star Hoda Kotb's 'painful' decision to separate from fiancé

The TV stars previously co-hosted Today with Kathie Lee & Hoda

Kathie Lee Gifford has sent a supportive public message to her former co-star and good friend Hoda Kotb, following the news of her separation from Joel Schiffman.

MORE: Hoda Kotb's love story with Joel Schiffman - how they met unexpectedly

The TV star took to Instagram to post a comment to the news anchor, in which she praised her for the way she dealt with the "painful" and "difficult" decision.

She wrote: "My darling Hoda, I am truly so proud of the way you have handled a very difficult and painful decision. As usual you did it with grace and kindness. May God bless you and your precious girls and Joel as well as you continue down this thing called life. I love you."

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VIDEO: Today's Hoda Kotb announces her split from Joel Schiffman 

Hoda's fans also sent sympathetic messages, with one writing: "You've got this," while another wrote: "Oh no! So sorry." A third added: "Sending you so much love Hoda."

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MORE: Hoda Kotb's fans worry for her daughters and fiancé amid health struggle

Hoda announced her separation from Joel on Today's fourth hour on Monday, as she addressed why she hasn't been wearing her engagement ring.

Kathie Lee Gifford sent a supportive message to Hoda Kotb 

Talking to her co-host Jenna Bush Hager, Hoda shared: "Joel and I have had a lot of prayerful and really meaningful conversations over the holidays, and we decided that we're better as friends and parents than we are as an engaged couple."

MORE: Hoda Kotb inundated with prayers following shock health diagnosis

MORE: Hoda Kotb shares celebratory photo of family during special moment inside NY home

She continued: "We decided that we are going to start this new year and begin it kind of on our new path as loving parents to our adorable, delightful children, and as friends. It's not like something happened. They say sometimes relationships are meant to be there for a reason or a season or for a lifetime. And I feel like ours was meant to be there for a season."

Kathie Lee and Hoda have remained great friends after working together on Today

Admitting that she felt it was weird and awkward sharing the news, but necessary, she added: "I feel like often we share the joyous pieces of our lives … and the difficult parts sometimes [we] just want to forget about.

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MORE: Hoda Kotb left frustrated live on air over missed opportunity with co-star

"But I think a lot of women know what this feels like in this moment to be changing course in life and I feel really brave in this moment … Sometimes in your life you just have to say the truth."

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