It's been exactly one year since Matt Lauer was shockingly fired from the 'Today' show for inappropriate workplace behavior.
It's been exactly one year since Matt Lauer was shockingly fired from the Today show for inappropriate workplace behavior.
NBC News chairman Andy Lack broke the news to the NBC team in a letter, saying Lauer had been accused by a female colleague of “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace" and that they had "reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident." Today show co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb broke the news on the popular NBC morning show on Nov. 29, 2017.
"As I'm sure you can imagine, we are devastated," Guthrie said. "And we are still processing all of this."
"He is beloved by many, many people here," she added. "And I'm heartbroken for the brave colleague who came forward to tell her story and any other women who have their own stories to tell."
One year later, a source tells ET Lauer is still having a hard time dealing with all of the fallout since his firing.
"There isn't a day that goes by that Matt doesn't regret his inappropriate behavior," the source says. "He is learning to move forward but he misses the life he once had and he is still coming to terms with the fact he will never have that life again.”
"He would love a career in news again," the source continues. "Before this, he never stopped working. Now he has time to think about his life and what he will do next and he has high hopes for the coming year. He has used this year to reflect on his mistakes, on what he once had, and how he will move forward. His time away from work has given him no choice but to think and focus on his kids.”
According to the source, Lauer is looking for a fresh start.
"Matt has been exercising, looking and feeling better," the source says. "He has expressed to his old friends that he is interested in opportunities in London and online. Both would give him the ability to start fresh.”
Since the scandal, Lauer has remained incredibly private. He did break his silence after his firing with a lengthy statement just days after the news broke.
"There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions," the statement read. "To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC. 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. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly. Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job."
Lauer concluded, "The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace."
In May, NBC concluded its investigation, and said that the investigation team found four women's allegations that Lauer engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace to be credible, but that they also found credible the statements from those in leadership positions that they were unaware of his behavior.
Here's a look at Lauer's life today, one year after the scandal.
He has remained out of the public eye:
Lauer has definitely kept a low profile since the scandal, choosing to spend a lot of time in the Hamptons as opposed to his apartment in Manhattan.
"The Hamptons has been a good place for him to hide, but he isn't sure he will stay," a source told ET in March. "Matt definitely regrets his behavior. He lost not only his family, but his career and many of his closest friends. The Today show was his life.”
"Matt is completely aware he has not been forgiven for his sexual misconduct, and certainly all has not been forgotten," a source also told ET in August. "He has kept a very low profile not only for himself but for the sake of his family. He realizes the utter embarrassment he has caused everyone involved."
However, the latter source also noted that Lauer was planning to go more public as time has passed.
"He also knows he might never be completely pardoned for his behavior, so he's finally come to terms with the fact he needs to start stepping out in public," the source said. "He is beginning to inch his way back into society. He still fears the endless backlash, but also knows he can't hide forever."
Indeed, Lauer was all smiles at the 2018 Hamptons Paddle and Party for Pink event in Sag Harbor, New York, in August.
He was also spotted with estranged wife Annette Roque later that month at the Hampton Classic.
His divorce from Roque has yet to be finalized:
Since the scandal, Roque has been photographed without her wedding ring. Roque, 51, and Lauer, 60, have been married since October 1998, and share three children together -- Jack, 17, Romy, 15, and Thijs, 12.
In March, a source told ET that Roque and Lauer's marriage had been shaky even before his firing.
“Annette is done playing the role of Matt's loyal wife," the source claimed. "The last two years of their marriage were hell. Annette had to hear about Matt's wandering eye incessantly. People noticed his focus seemed to be all about his career and life in New York, certainly not about making his marriage work."
According to the source, Roque and their two youngest children had been spending more time in her home country, the Netherlands, while their oldest son remained in boarding school.
"They were known for leading very separate lives," the source said of Lauer and Roque's marriage. "They decided to stay together for the children and to keep up appearances which was very important for Matt. At first, Annette was disgraced by the accusations, just walking around in public became difficult. As time passed, the humiliation turned to anger.”
In April, a source told ET that the marriage between him and Roque was totally done.
"Matt is finally coming to terms with the reality that his marriage is over and he is in bad shape," the source said. "He feels he lost everything important in his life overnight. He is embarrassed and ashamed."
"There is no chance at this point they will work things out," the source added. "Matt held on to the idea that Annette might eventually forgive him because she had always stuck by him but now he has no hope. .. Annette's friends don't feel [the split] was overnight. It has been building for years. The truth has finally surfaced. They barely ever speak to each other anymore and only recently tried to constructively discuss the divorce settlement."
But by August, a source told ET that the two's relationship had become much more amicable, and Lauer had agreed to pay his estranged wife $20 million in a divorce settlement.
“Matt and Annette have had an incredibly difficult year," the source noted. "They both wanted to settle their divorce amicably for their children's sake but it hasn't been easy.”
“While they had issues and argued over properties and a final settlement, they have decided they can both put the children first and have come up with a plan,” the source continued. "For both Matt and Annette, there is a noticeable difference in their attitude toward this entire process. They seem happier and their family and friends are thrilled to see they are both moving forward.”
A source told ET on Wednesday that he is continuing to make amends with his family.
"Right now he wants to keep some sort of communication and relationship with Annette because his children have become the center of his universe," the source said. "He still feels tremendous guilt for embarrassing his family and will continue try to make it up to them.”
He still has his supporters:
Lauer still has a few close loved ones in his corner.
In March, a source told ET that he had been leaning on former Today co-host Bryant Gumbel during his tough time.
"The one friend that has really stuck by him and seen him through this is Bryant Gumbel," the source said. "They have always been close and Matt has needed him during this time."
In August, Lauer's ex-wife, Nancy Alspaugh, spoke to ET and said she believes Lauer "needs to be given a second chance." Alspaugh said that "while Matt has made mistakes," it's important for people to "never forget" the "wonderful, generous, kind" side of Lauer she saw, including being "a loving father" to his three kids.
"Matt has always been a support to his family and loved ones," Alspaugh explained. "He has done so much quietly to help others and to support important causes. He donated a tremendous amount to my autism charity, ACT Today. Many people don't know that through all his hard work, he has been able to give back and has made a difference in this world. Matt never did this for the thanks and would like nothing more than to continue to give back to society."
Alspaugh also said she didn't feel he's "been given a chance to defend himself."
"I hope one day soon he will be able to tell his story," she said. "I'm sure it will be soon. He is beginning to feel like himself again, and people will finally hear his side of the story."
Former Today show production assistant Addie Zinone -- who alleged that she had a one-month affair with Lauer back in 2000 -- later reacted to Alspaugh's comments to ET, and said she was open to having a discussion with him. Zinone was 24 years old at the time of the alleged affair, and Lauer was 43 and had just tied the knot with Roque two years prior.
"Hopefully he has used this time to consider how he abused his power to prey on the vulnerable, and the effect it has on us as professionals, as young women and as people," Zinone told ET. "If he embarks on a comeback, and is interested in a meaningful conversation about how his actions affected me, I welcome the discussion."
His relationship with his former Today co-workers:
A number of Lauer's former Today show colleagues have spoken out about the newsman since the scandal, noting that they've kept in touch. A source told ET last December that Guthrie took Lauer's firing particularly hard.
"She’s not herself. She’s visibly shaken," the source said, explaining that around the studio Guthrie appeared "sad, in deep thought and preoccupied" off-camera. "She is doing her best to stay upbeat and jolly on-air."
Guthrie and Kotb spoke to ET about Lauer in April at The Hollywood Reporter’s 35 Most Powerful People in Media Celebration.
“When you've worked with someone for as many years as Savannah and I have worked with Matt you develop a friendship over the years, and, you know, feelings are complicated,” Kotb said, who replaced Lauer as Guthrie's co-anchor on Today. “You know, it's just like if you heard news about someone you cared about, you would probably go, ‘Wait, what is going on?’ I think it does take time even today to process what happened and we try to move forward and we're in this new place and we're just trying to do our best.”
Guthrie chimed in, “We just, we love and respect our viewers, and I think we just try to be ourselves and that's the only option. I think it was so shocking and hard but we're just trying to move forward and try to do it with integrity and honesty and transparency and friendship to everyone involved. I think that's all we can do.”
Later that month, the co-anchors revealed their "hopes" for Lauer after his firing when ET spoke with them at the Time 100 Gala.
"My hopes for Matt are what they always are, which is that he just feels good, is connected to his family," Guthrie told ET. "He knows what's important and he's focused on it, and, you know, he's our friend and he always will be. And that's where we are."
Kotb added that Lauer is taking the time to recuperate when it comes to his personal life.
"Yeah, he has some healing that he's working on, and I think that's just part of his process," she explained. "I mean, what you want in your life is your family to love you, and I think that would be the hope for him."
Kotb has previously acknowledged that Lauer had been an incredible friend to her.
"I mean, look, this is one of those complex situations," she candidly told The Hollywood Reporter in April. "I've known him since I started working at NBC [in 1998]. When I was sick with breast cancer, he was the first to call. He helps and helped in ways that … you know, he was incredible in that way."
"There is that Matt and then there's the Matt that the accusers speak of," she continued. "And those accusers' voices matter and that story matters and it's … It's still tough, right?"
Meanwhile, in January, Al Roker told ET that he had been in touch with Lauer since the scandal.
"We wish nothing but the best for him and his family and [that] they get the support and the help that they need," Roker said.
Lauer's longtime co-worker, Katie Couric, also opened up to ET about the embattled newsman in January at Nat Geo's Television Critics Association press day.
"It's been really crushing," Couric said of the allegations against Lauer. "I think there's been a lot of cognitive dissonance for me and a lot of people on the show, and clearly the behavior was unacceptable and shocking for so many of us, and yet we also all knew a side of Matt and many positive attributes."
Lauer's former Today show colleague, Billy Bush, revealed in January that Lauer reached out to him after the scandal, considering that Bush was also abruptly fired from the morning show in October 2016. Bush was fired from Today due to a leaked 2005 tape of Donald Trump -- who at the time was still the Apprentice host -- appearing to brag to Bush about groping women.
“He texted me and asked about some of the self-help books I’ve been reading,” Bush told People about Lauer. “I told him, ‘Start here.’”
Another of Lauer's former co-workers that has weighed in on the scandal is Ann Curry. It's no secret that Lauer and Curry haven't been on the best of terms since her firing from Today in June 2012 after only a year as the show's co-host, a decision that drew plenty of criticism.
"I am not surprised by the allegations," Curry said during her appearance on CBS This Morning in January. "Now I'm walking down that road. I'm trying not to hurt people and I know what it's like to be publicly humiliated. I never did anything wrong to be publicly humiliated and I don't want to cause that kind of pain to somebody else."
"I can say that I would be surprised if many women did not understand that there was a climate of verbal harassment that existed," she continued about her time on the Today show. "I think it would be surprising if someone said that they didn't see that. It was verbal sexual harassment."
In April, she also claimed that she once reported Lauer for sexual harassment on behalf of another woman.
“A woman approached me and asked me tearfully if I could help her,” Curry told The Washington Post, claiming that she was approached during her last year on the Today show. “She was afraid of losing her job. ...I believed her.”
“I told management they had a problem and they needed to keep an eye on him and how he deals with women,” she added.
In the same Post piece, Lauer responded to sexual misconduct allegations that came to light after he was fired from Today, and denied any "coercive, aggressive or abusive actions."
"I have made no public comments on the many false stories from anonymous or biased sources that have been reported about me over these past several months," his statement read. "I remained silent in an attempt to protect my family from further embarrassment and to restore a small degree of the privacy they have lost. But defending my family now requires me to speak up."
"I fully acknowledge that I acted inappropriately as a husband, father and principal at NBC," the statement continued. "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."
He believes he's now an "easy mark":
Aside from his two public statements -- one after his firing and a second one to The Washington Post regarding more sexual misconduct allegations against him -- Lauer has only given one interview since the scandal. In July, he spoke to Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint With John Campbell about a property issue concerning his ranch in New Zealand. Lauer bought a $13 million lease to the Hunter Valley Station Ranch before his sexual harassment scandal erupted, and is now fighting with government groups who want him to grant more access to hikers and hunters in order for them to get to Hawea Conservation Park. Hunter Valley Station is the only thoroughfare to Hawea Conservation Park.
Lauer is against the easement and said that the groups were "taking advantage" of the fallout of his highly publicized sexual misconduct scandal.
"I believe the groups that are behind this are in some ways, unfortunately, taking advantage of some difficult times I've been through over the past six months and I think they see me as an easy mark," Lauer said. "And what they're going to try to do is put this through, which would set a precedent because this has not been done ever before with a pastoral leaseholder or property owner without that person's consent."
"In the year and a half or year plus that I've owned it, I've invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to improve the property and now a year later they come and say, 'Oh wait a minute, we granted you this lease under this set of rules. We'd like to change the rules,'" Lauer added. "I don't think that's fair."
A possible comeback:
In March, a source told ET that Lauer was hopeful about making a comeback.
"Matt seems to be under the impression that if he waits this news cycle out, this will go away and he can have a comeback," the source said. "He has seen a lot of people come back and hopes he will too. For right now, his friends feel that isn't realistic. His team has discussed a public apology, but agreed disappearing right now seems to be for the best.”
However, in April, Guthrie and Kotb told ET that they didn't believe Lauer was focused on returning to the limelight.
“I just know that he's really focused on his family right now and I think that's right," Guthrie said.
“Yeah, I think that is really where his heart is at this moment -- his children and just working on that," Kotb added. "So, I think that work probably isn't in the forefront of his mind.”
As time has passed, it appears Lauer has cooled off on the idea of a comeback. A source close to him told ET in July that he is planning to spend more time in New Zealand, and may not ever want to make a career comeback in the United States.
"[His] friends don't see Matt returning to the spotlight anytime soon," the source said. "They're not sure he'll ever want to make a big career comeback."
"It's a priority for him to get to New Zealand and spend some time away from the States," the source continued. "He's still leaning on longtime friends for support; people who have stood by his side and know him as a person."
Still, a source told ET in August that Lauer has been spending a lot of time planning the "next best step" in his career.
"He has high hopes for some type of comeback, but not everyone is convinced that will ever happen," the source said. "His small group of friends and team that have stuck by him have recommended a longer break. Everyone has told him time helps to heal, but he is ready. He is used to hard work and long days and he knows that will help him move forward."
Lauer's ex-wife told ET in August that his talent wouldn't keep him far from journalism.
"He has cut himself off, but he wants to be part of the change in this world and he needs to be given a chance," Alspaugh said. "It could be behind or in front of the camera. He will never stop recording life and sharing that with the world. He is a tremendous storyteller, a documentarian. He is equally good in front and behind the cameras, so I am sure this will work out for him."
For the latest on Lauer, watch the video below:
-- Reporting by Adriane Schwartz