When news broke that Matt Lauer was being fired from NBC following sexual misconduct allegations made against him in November 2017, the world was shocked — including his fellow Today cohosts. Now, nearly five months since America bid their final farewell to the TV veteran, former Today star Meredith Vieira opened up about the news that no one was expecting.
“I think everybody was surprised,” the 65-year-old revealed to Us Weekly at an event in New York City on Tuesday, March 26. “It was handled by HR and the network, and that’s the way it should be done … I don’t think people ever saw [it coming].”
Even though Matt, 61, was put on blast for awful acts he had allegedly committed throughout a decades-long tenure at the major news outlet, Meredith couldn’t help but get sentimental about her old friend. “I worked closely with Matt. He was always very kind to me and my family and [was] a great dad from everything I could tell,” she said. “You never know.”
However, The View alum did point out that Matt was out of bounds by supposedly cheating on now-estranged wife Annette Roque. “There’s bad-boy behavior and then there’s something beyond that,” Meredith said of Matt, who would’ve been celebrating 21 years of marriage with Annette this year. “If you’re going to nail people for being cheaters, a lot of people wouldn’t have jobs. This went beyond that.”
The former Who Wants to Be a Millionaire — who worked with Matt from 2006 to 2011 — said that since time has passed, her heart goes out to those who were directly affected by the disgraced journalist. She said: “You never know in life about a lot of things. It’s just kind of a given. At my age … I know anything is possible, but I do think his family is lovely and I’m sorry for any pain that they’ve gone through along with all the women, obviously. But there are so many people who are in a situation like that; a lot of collateral damage.”
Five months after Matt was fired from NBC, the dad-of-three released a statement confirming that he did take part in “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace” with a colleague, but denied any aggression. “I fully acknowledge that I acted inappropriately as a husband, father and principal at NBC,” he told The Washington Post. “However, I want to make it perfectly clear that any allegations or reports of coercive, aggressive, or abusive actions on my part, at any time, are absolutely false.”
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