In a new interview, Billy Bush candidly revealed his former Today co-star Matt Lauer reached out to him following his NBC firing for sexual misconduct allegations. About a year before Matt, 60, was let go, Billy, 46, was similarly fired from Today after the surprise public release of an Access Hollywood tape of now-President Donald Trump and the journalist making lewd comments during a 2005 interview.
“He texted me and asked about some of the self-help books I’ve been reading. I told him, ‘Start here,'” Billy recently told People. The father-of-three also confessed he hasn’t found any satisfaction in Matt’s NBC termination. “Maybe at one point there was part of me that [felt like] if someone else got [in trouble], I would be like, ‘Now who’s the bad guy?’ But I took zero pleasure in it. And I’m grateful for that. Let those who transgressed be held accountable. I felt for the women involved and for his wife,” he said.
Al Roker, Hoda Kotb, Billy, and Matt on Today. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
“People texted and called me making comments like he got what he deserved,” Billy continued. “But there is no joy in the demise of others… no matter who it is.” During his sit-down with People, the TV star additionally admitted he was initially upset that Matt did not previously step in to try to save his Today job after his Trump interview went public. “In one of my resolute moments, I said if I ever speak to him, I’m going to tell him that I was let down. Many months later, he called me and I addressed it. He assured me that he [fought for me] in private. I accepted it,” Billy said.
Since his NBC termination, Billy has been quietly trying to rebuild his personal life and career. “I was ashamed and embarrassed. And then I went through stages of grieving because I lost my career. For a man, that’s the ultimate degradation,” he shared. “I have my dark moments. But I’ve learned to embrace them. I’m grateful to be a more conscientious person. And I walk again with a spring in my step.”
“I have done so much self-help work,” he continued, adding that reading the Bible and meditating has helped him through this tough time. “There is a term for what I did. It’s called bystander abuse. It says by not doing anything you are endorsing the moment. I have to live with that.” Billy concluded, “I have a plan to make this mess my message. I know I’m coming out with a purpose. And I want to use what I know to help other people. I had some growing up to do anyway in life. I did so much exploring and figuring out. I’m a deeper person. And I’m happy about using my knowledge for a good purpose.”
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