She looked more relaxed and happy than she has in ages. During a recent lunch at Rijks, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Amsterdam, Matt Lauer’s estranged wife, Annette Roque, laughed and chatted with a girlfriend over glasses of red wine. And onlookers couldn’t help but notice a significant piece of jewelry missing from the former model’s hand. “She’s taken off her wedding ring and has been living the high life in Europe,” says an insider. “She’s acting like a woman who has already moved on from a hellish marriage.”
That’s because she has. Three months after Matt was fired from NBC’s Today show in the wake of disturbing allegations of sexual misconduct over a two-decade period, Annette finally found the courage to leave her husband of more than 19 years. Though she’d already kicked him out of their $36.5 million home in New York’s Hamptons, a source says Annette, 52, didn’t tell Matt, 60, she was leaving him for good until she was visiting loved ones overseas in her native Holland.
“Seeing her family and friends convinced her she was better off without him,” says the source, who notes that years of Matt’s infidelity and humiliation had finally taken their toll. “After all she’s been through, the nights of crying herself to sleep and trying to divorce him years ago, it was still one of the hardest things she’s ever done.”
She ended it with a quick phone call. “She called him and told him that she was divorcing him,” says the source. “Annette didn’t give Matt the chance to beg and plead like he has for years. She told him her lawyer would contact him, and then she hung up. Simple as that. She was shaking and couldn’t believe that she did it.”
But she’s glad she did. Annette, who shares kids Jack, 16, Romy, 14, and Thijs, 11, with Matt, “can’t believe how relieved she is. After she pulled the plug, she thought she would be overcome with regret and fear,” continues the source. But unlike in 2006, when she filed for divorce citing Matt’s “cruel and inhumane” behavior only to change her mind, she’s not going back now: “It’s like a huge weight was finally lifted off her shoulders.”
She’s loving her newfound freedom. While Matt is “miserable and feels like his entire family is slipping away from him,” says the insider, “Annette’s reconnecting with old friends in her native Holland and in New York. They’ve been taking her out on the town.” And with Annette likely to nab a huge chunk of Matt’s estimated $100 million fortune, she can afford to pick up the check. “She’s got the kids, the money, the big estate,” says the insider. “She’s having the last laugh.”
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