Couric appeared on the Today show on Tuesday to promote her new memoir, Going There, and talked to the morning show's co-host, Savannah Guthrie. Couric and Guthrie both co-hosted with Lauer on the Today show before he was fired in November 2017, after being accused of inappropriate sexual behavior by several co-workers. Given that Couric spent 15 years co-hosting with Lauer, she said she struggled with processing the allegations against him.
"You know, that was really, really hard and it took me a long time to process what was going on because the side of Matt I knew was the side of Matt I think you all knew -- he was kind and generous and considerate, a good colleague," she said. "And, you know, as I got more information and learned what was going on behind the scenes, it was really upsetting, and disturbing. And then I did some of my own reporting. I talked to people, I really tried to excavate what had been going on."
"It was really devastating, but also disgusting," the 64-year-old journalist continued. "And I think what I realized is, there was a side of Matt I never really knew. I tried to understand why he behaved the way he did and why he was so reckless, and callous, and honestly abusive to other women."
When asked if there were any past stories about 63-year-old Lauer that she now views in a different light, Couric noted that it was a different time when she worked at the Today show.
"There's always gossip in television news and I think there was gossip here and there about certain people and, you know, I think it was a very permissive environment in the '90s and I think permissive environments often result in serious transgressions," she said. "Back then, you felt like it was none of your business, and nobody ever came to me to talk about it. I think our notion of what a consensual relationship has changed dramatically, and you have to consider the power dynamics. I’m sure you’ve learned a lot about this too."
Couric shared the personal text messages she exchanged with Lauer after his sexual misconduct allegations were made public in her new book, but said that they don't currently have a relationship. The Daily Mail reported that Couric texted him, "I am crushed. I love you and care about you deeply. I am here. Please let me know if you want to talk. There will be better days ahead." Lauer reportedly replied with a blowing kiss emoji.
"I think I used those text messages because I thought they were very illustrative of how our relationship devolved and ultimately deteriorated," Couric explained to Guthrie. "I thought that was a powerful way to really let the reader in to my thought process and as I got more and more information, how it was harder and harder for me to reconcile these two sides."
ET recently spoke to Today co-host Hoda Kotb, and she talked about her former colleague's new memoir. When asked why she thinks Couric is coming out with a book now, 15 years after leaving NBC, Kotb replied, "I'm not sure why this is the time, but everything happens when it's supposed to."
"She has a career that has spanned decades, over multiple networks, and she really has so many of the most memorable moments in television," she also noted. "I always wondered why she hadn't already written a book."