On the outs. Hoda Kotb is no longer speaking to her disgraced former colleague Matt Lauer after new allegations of sexual assault were made against him earlier this month, a source exclusively tells Us Weekly.
Kotb, 55, was once “very, very close” with Lauer, 61, and had continued their friendship after the veteran journalist’s termination, but the two are no longer speaking, the source tells Us. For his part, Lauer is “stunned” that Kotb, a longtime colleague and friend, would cut off all contact.
On October 9, Kotb and her Today coanchor, Savannah Guthrie, appeared visibly shaken while discussing the latest allegations live on air, just hours after the story broke. Former NBC employee Brooke Nevils came forward about the alleged assault to investigative journalist Ronan Farrow in his new book, Catch and Kill. Nevils had first complained to NBC about Lauer’s allegedly inappropriate behavior in 2017, after Meredith Vieira urged her to find a lawyer and speak to human resources.
Details revealed in Farrow’s book claim that Lauer anally raped Nevils in his hotel room during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. According to Nevils, the advance was unwanted and nonconsensual because she was “too drunk to consent.”
In a letter Lauer’s lawyer shared with Us on October 9, the former news anchor denied Nevils’ accusations, saying it was an “extramarital, but consensual, sexual encounter” but “categorically false” that it was an assault. “We engaged in a variety of sexual acts,” Lauer wrote. “Each act was mutual and completely consensual.”
Guthrie and Kotb were clearly emotional while talking about the allegations. “You feel like you’ve known someone for 12 years … and then all of a sudden, a door opens up and it’s a part of them you didn’t know,” Kotb said on Today that morning. “We don’t know all the facts in all of this, but they’re not allegations of an affair; they’re allegations of a crime. I think that’s shocking to all of us here who’ve sat with Matt for many, many years. So, I think we’re gonna just continue to process this part of this horrific story. And, as [Savannah] said, our thoughts are with Brooke. It’s not easy what she did to come forward.”
Kotb and Guthrie, 47, first announced the news of Lauer’s firing on air in November 2017. At the time, it was revealed that a detailed complaint of the ex-Today cohost’s allegedly inappropriate behavior had been made by an anonymous colleague. “This is a sad morning at NBC,” Guthrie began. The two anchors held hands as they shared a statement by NBC News chairman Andrew Lack, which claimed, “Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected.”
One day after being fired from NBC, Lauer broke his silence on the controversy, apologizing for “the damage and disappointment” he had left behind. He continued to deny the allegations, stating, “Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.”
Following the accusations, Lauer separated from his wife of nearly 21 years, Annette Roque. Their divorce was finalized in September 2019. Sources exclusively told Us at the time that Roque, 52, regretted not leaving the former Today host sooner but had hoped to make the marriage work for the couple’s three children, Jack, 18, Romy, 16, and Thijs, 12. “In the past five years, she’s been through hell,” the source said.
If you or anyone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). A trained staff member will provide confidential, judgment-free support as well as local resources to assist in healing, recovering and more.
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