'Today' Co-Host Sheinelle Jones' Vocal Cord Surgery Will Leave Her Voiceless for 2 Weeks
By Paige Gawley
Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for NAACP LDF
Sheinelle Jones is going to be without her voice for a while. On Thursday's episode of the Todayshow, the 41-year-old co-host of the morning show's third hour revealed that she is preparing to undergo a procedure to remove a polyp on her vocal cord. As part of her recovery, Jones will not be able to speak for two weeks and will miss six weeks of work.
"Two weeks of no talking. That means no whispering, trying not to clear my voice, no exercising," she explained. "They just want me to kind of sit still."
Jones was first made aware of the problem back in 2016, when a producer noticed she'd often clear her throat before reading her stories. That same producer suggested that Jones visit an ear, nose and throat doctor to get it checked out.
"If that producer didn't tell me, 'Sheinelle I think you should go to an ENT,' I probably would've put up with it for a lot longer," she said. "I thought you could drink some tea with honey and it would get better. I had no idea it's a separate part of your anatomy."
As for the affect it's had on her life, Jones said that "ever since then it's kind of given me grief."
"What people don't see is [that] I've been going to therapy twice a week, an hour at a time. I don't do a lot of public speaking any more. Even Sunday brunch with my girlfriends I can't really do because I can't drink mimosas because the champagne makes me lose my voice. I don't do cocktail hours. If I do, I'm in and out," she said. "... In the mornings, I get anxiety sometimes when the producers will say, 'Can you do a story this morning at eight o'clock?' I'll get up 30 minutes early, so I can do these vocal exercises, so I don't sound so hoarse."
"So I'm finally to a place where I just have to get it removed," she added.
Though Jones admitted she "genuinely [doesn't] know" how she'll manage two weeks of no talking amid her busy life with three children -- Clara, Kayin, and Uche -- she noted that "there's a piece of me that feels like it's a little bit of grace."
"It's a gift to sit still and do some soul searching, do some reading, do some writing," she said. "Nobody ever tells you you have permission to sit still."
Watch the video below for more on another Today co-host's recent injury.