Ann Curry couldn't fight back the tears when she announced her immediate departure from the TODAY show Thursday after 15 years at the show and just one year as co-host -- with Matt Lauer and other colleagues offering comforting words of support on-air.
Behind the scenes, it was a different story. "It was so icy on the set," an insider tells Us Weekly of the days leading up to Curry's much-speculated farewell. "You could cut the tension with a knife."
In particular, the dynamic between Curry, 55, and Lauer, 54, was particularly awkward. "When the cameras stopped rolling, Ann wouldn't even look at Matt," says the set source. (Indeed, on Thursday's show, Curry pointedly hugged each of her colleagues except for Lauer.)
Adds another show source: "They were really icy with each other . . . The body language between them has been extremely tense."
A third set source observed of Curry's goodbye: "It was like a funeral in a way."
Meanwhile, all eyes are now on Savannah Guthrie -- rumored to be Curry's replacement. At the beginning of Friday morning's broadcast, the 40-year-old sat in Curry's seat alongside Lauer, but no formal announcement had yet been made.
"You know, Matt and I have had great on-air chemistry for 14 years, been part of the No. 1 winning team for a history-making number of years," Curry told USA Today Wednesday of speculation about iffy chemistry with Lauer. "That said, I just finished my freshman year as co-host. In every single co-host's first year, there have been kinks to be worked out, and perhaps I deserve as much blame for that as anyone."