The fallout surrounding Matt Lauer’s firing from the Today show continues. The anchor’s co-hosts and friends, like Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, have expressed their sadness over his sexual harassment allegations, but it’s Kathie Lee Gifford’s surprising reaction that is making headlines. On Wednesday, Nov. 29, the co-host of the fourth hour of Today started off by seconding her colleagues’ sentiments that it had been a “sad” and “difficult” day at NBC. She and Hoda explained that they’d only found out early that morning that their “dear, dear friend” had been terminated, and Hoda added that it was “going to take a lot of time” for the two to process this information.
With that, Kathie Lee was spurred to bring up something she had been thinking about since the news first broke — her late husband Frank Gifford’s affair, which made headlines in 1997. At the time, the former football player’s infidelity with a married flight attendant was outed in the press. The couple was then forced to address it publicly, saying it had “been as painful for us as it would be for any other couple,” and insisted they would “get through this together.”
Kathie Lee then detailed that when her longtime friend’s indiscretions came to light, she felt many of the same emotions she’d gone through 20 years earlier. “I don’t feel that Matt has betrayed us in any way at all, but when I found out that my husband had betrayed me, you question your own judgment,” she reasoned. “You say, ‘Was everything a lie?’ And I think we have to fight against that, very much fight against that. That the man we know and adored was the man we loved and adored and continue to. I texted [Matt] this morning and I said, ‘I adore you.’”
The 64-year-old didn’t just express her continued adoration for the 59-year-old broadcaster — she took things one step further. Kathie Lee urged the public to have some understanding for Matt and his mistakes. “No person is perfect in this world,” she stated. “Nobody is. We’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, is what scripture says. And what we need now is forgiveness, and we need mercy for one another. We don’t need taunts and we don’t need ugliness. We have enough of that in the world.”
She went on to share some wise words an advisor had given her during her marital troubles. “He said, ‘Kathie, if you can’t forgive your husband’ — and this is important, you guys — ‘forgive your children’s father,’” the mother of two recalled. “Same person. Same person, but that’s the one you love. That’s the one you believe in. We are all so broken. We need somebody to put us back together. And it’s possible, it’s so possible. I’m living proof of it.”
Though Kathie Lee is standing by Matt, she does still feel for those hurt by his actions — both the victim and Matt’s family. “I send out my love right now to the person, whoever it is, that came forward. May God heal that person. I send it to Matt, and his children and his wife — may God bless that family and heal,” she expressed. “I’m sorry, Hoda, but in my long life, the only thing I’ve ever been sure of is that only God can heal it. And there’s no bad time to reach out for his help.”