Though it's been more than five years since Ann Curry left the Today show, many fans still wonder why exactly she suddenly exited the program back in June 2012. At the time, the journalist didn't provide many details on her departure and simply explained she was transitioning into a new NBC role.
"This is not easy to say, but today is going to be my last morning as a regular co-host of Today. I will still be apart of the Today show family but I'm going to have a new title and a new role. This is not as I ever expected to leave this couch after 15 years but I am so grateful. Especially to all of you who watch, because Matt [Lauer] and I and everyone who sits on this couch, we often call ourselves a family but you, [the viewers], are the real Today show family," Ann said while holding back tears. "I have loved you, and I've wanted to give you the world and I still do. They're giving me some fancy new titles which essentially means I'm going to get tickets to every big story we want to cover with a terrific team of my choosing and we're going to go all over the world and all over this country."
Matt and Ann during their Today days. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
"After all of these years, I don't even know if I can sleep in anymore... but I know whatever time I wake up I'll be missing you all and I'll be believing in you. I love all of you... and for all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I'm sorry I couldn't carry the ball over the finish line but, I did try. So for all of you who watch, thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me touch yours... and I will keep trying. But I hope you'll wish me well," Ann continued. At the time, her co-anchor, Matt, then chimed in to thank Ann for her work. "You have the biggest heart in the business, you put it on display every single day in this studio and you have for almost 20 years on this show. It's not goodbye, not by a long shot. Most importantly you've made us better, thank you from the bottom of our hearts," he said.
During her emotional farewell, Ann could hardly look at Matt, leading many to believe he was responsible for her shocking departure. In 2012, a New York Magazine article revealed the mom-of-two's firing was a long time coming and due to her lack of chemistry with Matt. "Everybody at NBC, everybody at the Today show, everybody understood that Ann was kicked out of her position because Matt didn't want her there. That's why it was so personal between Ann and Matt," a prominent NBC staffer said.
Ann and Matt on the Today show. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
"You can't fake it for very long that early in the morning. I think viewers have a sixth sense about all that. If your two anchors don't like each other off the air, they're not going to be fooled if they love each other on the air," the insider continued. "Off air, Curry and Lauer had no relationship and barely spoke. When she started, Curry had asked Lauer out for lunch to get advice, but Lauer seemed to drag his feet scheduling it and Curry felt he didn't offer much... with Curry, who threw off his rhythm and also threatened his dominance of the hard-news stories, he could often look sour."
From 2012 until 2015, Ann worked as an NBC News National and International Correspondent. Two years ago, she officially cut ties with the network. According to The Daily Beast, NBC is still "trying to recover from the damage" of Ann's awkward firing. "Ann is very likable — she’s a good person, but a lot of people at NBC didn’t like that she and her representatives waged a campaign solely targeted at Matt Lauer and that it just never stopped. Whether she personally orchestrated it, I don’t know, but there’s no question she was involved. And as far as anybody knows, it continues to this day. It was unfair when she started it, and it’s unfair today," a veteran NBC News executive told the news outlet.
After Matt's November 2017 firing from the Today show following sexual misconduct allegations, Ann spoke out about her former co-star and her NBC departure for the first time in years. "I can tell you that I am not surprised by the allegations," she said of Matt. When then asked if she believed Matt abused his power on the popular morning show, Ann replied, "Now I’m walking down that road and I’m trying not to hurt people. And I know what it’s like to be publicly humiliated."
"But I can say that — because you are asking me a very direct question — I can say that I would be surprised if many women did not understand that there was a climate of verbal harassment that existed. I would be surprised if someone said that they didn’t see that. So, it was verbal sexual harassment," she continued. After Matt's firing, many Today fans assumed Ann must have been thrilled about his dismissal from the network. "I wish I could say that I was celebrating. But actually, I immediately checked myself. Because I knew women had suffered. I’m not a vengeful person. I know what it’s like to be humiliated. I just don’t want to play a part in anyone else’s humiliation," she told People.
Al Roker, Ann, and Matt on Today. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
She also candidly discussed her prior exit from Today — and recalled the experience "hurt so much." She continued, "It hurt like hell. It hurt so much, but I learned a lot about myself. I can say I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve been honest and true. I’ve tried to stay pure. I’ve tried to not respond in a knee-jerk manner, and I’ve stayed very close to who I am. So it hurt, but I’m also proud of myself."
Today, Ann said she doesn't hold any grudges against NBC. "I’m not going to say it wasn’t hard. But I had to let go. And I learned that when you not only let go but open your arms wide and learn the lessons that an experience — no matter how bad — can teach you, that’s when you rise," she said. "I can say today I’m stronger now. I’m smarter. I’m happier, as happy as I’ve ever been. And my compassion has only grown. When you go through the pain and learn the lessons, you will be changed for the better."
Savannah, Ann, and Hoda on Today. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Interestingly, Life & Style magazine recently reported that Ann could return to the Today show to work with newly appointed co-anchor Hoda Kotb and veteran star Savannah Guthrie. "There is talk now of bringing Ann back," an insider revealed, adding that roles including special correspondent and co-host fill-in are under consideration. "They’ve always felt Ann was an incredibly likable colleague. They feel there’s a place for her [on the show]."
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