The REAL Matt Lauer: Rumors of womanizing and co-star affairs, a ditched early marriage and then bitter revelations from his pregnant second wife who called him 'cruel, inhuman controlling and hostile'
- Matt Lauer was fired this morning after 21 years at the Today show
- A colleague provided NBC with a 'detailed' allegation of 'inappropriate sexual behaviour' against the star - and network admits it may not be isolated incident
- Lauer is married to his second wife former model Annette Roque - the couple have three children?
- When Roque was pregnant with her third child in 2006 she filed for divorce citing Lauer's 'controlling' and 'cruel' behavior - she later withdrew the papers?
- He was previously married to TV producer Nancy Alspaugh in his 20s and engaged to Kristen Gesswein, but they split in 1996
- In July 2016, Lauer was forced to deny he had an affair with ?co-star Natalie Morales?
- She spoke out today and said she was 'in shock' about the allegations and again denied rumors of a relationship with Lauer?
- Other tabloid stories have hinted at affairs but none have been confirmed and no allegations have previously been made?
- Variety and The New York Times are both working on stories about Lauer's accusers and say multiple women have come forward
- Lauer has been previously blasted for being sexist in his interviews with leading women including Hillary Clinton and Ann Hathaway ?
His public persona is one of a doting dad of three, often citing his family on air and laughing about how at home he isn't famous, he's 'just papa'.?
However, behind the morning show smile, Matt Lauer has been surrounded by allegations and rumors that suggest a ruthless desire to reach the top and secret womanizing ways.
Claims he stabbed colleagues in the back, had affairs with co-stars and other women and even bombshell divorce papers from his own wife, have chipped away at Lauer's carefully constructed cuddly persona as the morning man America could trust.??
Second wife: Lauer married Annette Roque in 1998 - the couple are pictured that year, left, and in 2015, right?
Lauer was born in New York City and studied at Scripps College in Ohio Univerity before embarking on a television career that would take him from local network favorite to prime time star.
He worked as a producer and then host on a series of shows across Boston, Philadelphia and Providence before landing a job at Today. He worked first as a news reader on the show before taking over from Bryant Gumbel as co-anchor on January 6 1997.?
Executive producer Jeff Zucker called Lauer 'the hunk next door'.
Lauer was first married to TV producer Nancy Alspaugh in 1981 but the pair divorced in 1988.?
When rumors of infidelity plagued Lauer's second marriage a decade later and the couple nearly divorced, Alspaugh allegedly told the National Enquirer: 'I was not shocked to hear that but it’s very sad.'?
Lauer's career started to soar after the breakdown of this first relationship and culminated in the co-anchor chair at Today. From 1997, Lauer was now in a primetime role that would go on to give him a rumored paypacket of $25million a year.?
First wives club: Nancy Alspaugh, right, was married to Matt Lauer from 1981 to 1988. He was also briefly engaged to TV newscaster Kristen Gesswein?
In 1998, Lauer married his second wife, former model Annette Roque. The Dutch beauty had modeled for J.Crew and Victoria's Secret before she was introduced to Lauer on a blind date. In his 'bachelor' years, Lauer was briefly engaged to television newscaster Kristen Gesswein, before they split in 1996.
Al Roker spoke of the romance between the two at the wedding.
'Watching them at the table. They would be talking to somebody, and when that person would leave, the two of them were looking into each other’s eyes. You could see they were truly, truly happy,' Roker told People. ?
The pair now have three children together but their marriage nearly collapsed in 2006.?
Bombshell divorce papers filed by Roque, who was pregnant with their third child, accused Lauer of 'controlling and cruel' behavior and valuing his work over his family.??
The papers, obtained by The National Enquirer, said, 'The conduct of [Matt] so endangers the physical and mental well-being of [Annette] so as to render it unsafe and improper for plaintiff to cohabit with defendant.'
Family life: Lauer often talks about his three children on air at Today - Jack, Romy and Thijs
'The defendant has continuously and repeatedly given higher priority to … personal interests than to his family obligations to plaintiff, causing plaintiff to feel abandoned, isolated and alone in raising the parties’ children,' the papers contined
Lastly, Annette said she endured 'continual mental abuse' from Matt.
Matt filed his own legal action days later, saying any 'cruel and inhuman treatment' he may have exhibited was 'provoked' by his wife.
The documents were withdrawn by Roque and only came to light in 2014. The couple remain married but they live 'separate' lives with Roque living with the children in the Hamptons and Lauer residing in the city throughout the week.??
Lauer has previously spoken about their unique living arrangement and admitted juggling work and his family life can be a struggle.?
'My situation is slightly more unusual. We made a decision a couple of years ago to move out of the city. Way out. So my home is in the Hamptons and that’s where our kids go to school. As a result, I’m in [New York] city three or four nights a week, and I’m home on weekends. I go for school events--I do get out there for those. Because of this decision we made--and wanted to make for them--my time is consolidated into three intense days. The time is more precious and the time you spend is more significant,' he told Parenting.com.
'It's a challenge for me just as it's challenging for everyone else. There are times when the schedule of this job interferes with things I want to be a part of at home. I have understanding bosses who let me take time for family events when I need it', he added to fans in a Facebook discussion.
His home life his the headlines in 2014 when it emerged NBC was paying for Lauer to fly back and forth to his Hamptons home by helicopter. ?
Denials: Lauer was forced to deny claims he had an affair with co-star Natalie Morales, far right
Gossip sheets and websites often refer to Lauer as a womanizer, but only once has the anchor spoken out to address specific rumors. ?
In 2016, Lauer was forced to publicly deny he was having an affair with his Today show co-host Natalie Morales, who joined the show in 2006 and became a co-anchor in 2011.?
Rumors surrounded Morales' decision to leave the morning show for Access Hollywood with many suggesting it was to avoid awkward on-air encounters between the two former lovers.?
'There’s an awkwardness between Matt and Natalie,' a NBC source told NBC. 'He protected her for a long time and now it seems like something has gone awry…'?
They both denied the claims.?
'Every aspect of this story is untrue, and it’s frankly sad that someone would tell lies to harm everyone involved,' Lauer told Page Six at the time.?
He later said he had denied the claims to protect his family.?
Rumors: Both Matt Lauer and Natalie Morales, pictured on the show, were forced to deny claims they were having an affair?
'When you feel your family is being threatened and hurt, you speak up. And then you put your head down and go back about your business,' he told the Mike Lupica podcast.?
Morales also spoke out.??
'There is absolutely no truth to this completely absurd story. It is damaging, hurtful and extremely sexist. I have proven myself in all aspects of my job as a news professional and journalist, and am adding to my role, taking on three jobs with ‘Access Hollywood Live’ and ‘Access Hollywood,’ in addition to ‘Today.’ This move was dictated by me and my desire to grow in my career. Any insinuations beyond that are uninformed,' she said.??
A man also accused Lauer of having an affair with his wife when he was first engaged to Roque.?
Zoltan Molnar told the National Enquirer that Lauer had been in a relationship with his wife Jessica Thorman adding: 'He's not the goody-goody nice guy he looks like on TV!'
In 2013, Lauer was reportedly left furious at claims he was flirting with a college student, who appeared on the show.?
Flirty? Lauer was said to be furious after reports suggested he was flirty with a female student who appeared on the show. Lauer took Lucie Fink, far right, to lunch after her stint on Today
Lauer took then budding TV reporter Lucie Fink to lunch at the Four Seasons hotel and allegedly told her to leave her 'daisy dukes' at home when she was to appear on the show.?
Sources close to Lauer and the Finks denied there was anything untoward in the relationship - saying he was mentoring the young journalist and giving her practical advice on how to get ahead.?
At the time a Today source defended Lauer to MailOnline: ‘Matt speaks to all the interns. ‘He takes an active role in helping them and every year he speaks to all the NBC News interns.
‘And one of the stories he tells at every one of these meetings is how, 35 years ago, as an intern at WOWK-TV in Huntington, Virginia, he only had two sports jackets, and rotated them every day, so people would know that he took the job seriously.
‘What he’s been dismayed by over the years is that he has noticed that intern attire has deteriorated.
‘At the Olympics last summer, the guys were dressed in basketball jerseys and the girls were in the equivalent on Daisy Duke shorts and flip flops.?
‘He says ‘you must show up looking professional, as if you’re going on a job interview’.’??
Underhand: Lauer was accused of plotting to get Ann Curry booted out of Today, the co-stars pictured together on the show
Lauer was cited as one of the key players in Ann Curry's troubled time and exit from the Today show.?
A New York Magazine?feature claimed Lauer simply did not like her and so made himself awkward to work with on-air and when the cameras weren't rolling.?
'It was obvious to [the show’s executive producer] and others that Lauer wasn’t trying hard enough to make it work with Curry because he simply didn’t like her. Off air, Curry and Lauer had no relationship and barely spoke,' the magazine reported.?
'If he stayed, Curry would be gone.'
Ultimatum: Matt Lauer allegedly played a hand in Ann Curry's departure from Today, telling bosses he would leave if she didn't
The network was widely criticized when the 15-year veteran was axed particularly as she?broke down in tears on live television announcing the news.?
In a later New York Times article, Lauer was named as a key figure who Curry blamed for her departure.?
'Many executives at the network never grasped how profoundly hurt and humiliated Curry remained — not just by her televised dismissal but by all the backstage machinations that led to that fateful morning,' the piece read.
Famous foe? Reports claimed Lauer was not happy about Megyn Kelly's arrival at NBC
'Curry felt that the boys’ club atmosphere behind the scenes at Today undermined her from the start, and she told friends that her final months were a form of professional torture. The growing indifference of Matt Lauer, her co-host, had hurt the most, but there was also just a general meanness on set.'?
Curry said she was still processing the news that Lauer had been fired, but added more needed to be done to protect women in the workplace.?
'The women’s movement got us into the workplace, but it didn’t make us safe once we got there. And the battle lines are now clear. We need to move this revolution forward and make our workplaces safe. Corporate America is quite clearly failing to do so, and unless it does something to change that, we need to keep doing more ourselves.
'I admire the women who have been willing to speak up both anonymously and on the record. Those women need to keep their jobs, and all women need to be able to work, to be able to thrive, without fear. This kind of behavior exists across industries, and it is so long overdue for it to stop. This is a moment when we all need to be a beacon of light for those women, for all women, and for ourselves.'
Lauer also allegedly 'blew a gasket' over Megyn Kelly's appointment to the network from Fox News.?
Since her appointment and subsequent struggling ratings, Lauer has also been reluctant to defend his network co-star, according to reports. ??
Kelly spoke out about the Lauer allegations on her show this morning.?
'This one does hit close to home. I, too, have known Matt for a long time. He has been a friend, and kind and supportive to me in my transition to NBC News,' she said.
'I see the anguish on my colleagues faces. But when this happens, what we don’t see is the pain on the faces of those who found the courage to come forward. It is a terrifying thing to do. We don’t see the career opportunities women lose because of sexual harassment, or the intense stress it causes a woman dealing with it when she comes to work each day. I am thinking of those women this morning, and hoping they are okay. The days to come will not be easy.'??
Several women have taken issue with Lauer's interview technique over the years at Today - with many accusing the anchor of patronising and misogynistic questions.
In 2014, Lauer came under fire for quizzing General Motors CEO Mary Barra on whether she could be a good mother and do an effective job heading up the corporation.?
Bryce Covert of Think Progress responded: 'Lauer himself is a father of three children, but that hasn’t stopped him from doing his job, which has included, among other things, traveling to 50 locations for the ‘Where In The World Is Matt Lauer’ segment, or standing in for Bob Costas to host the Sochi Olympics in Russia.'
Lauer himself defended his line of questioning.?
'It’s an issue almost any parent including myself can relate to. If a man had publicly said something similar after accepting a high-level job, I would have asked him exactly the same thing,' he said at the time.?
'Physically sick': Hillary Clinton accused Lauer of a soft-pedal approach in his interview of Trump at the Commander in Chief forum where he went tough on her over the email scandal
Lauer also came fire from Hillary Clinton for his line of questioning in the NBC's Commander-in-Chief forum.?
In her 'What Happened' memoir, she singled out Lauer for his soft-pedal approach when interviewing Trump after her initial appearance.
'You’re communicating on highly sensitive topics. Why wasn’t it more than a mistake? Why wasn’t it disqualifying?” Lauer, asked her about her email scandal.
'Now I was ticked off,' Clinton explained in the book. 'NBC knew exactly what it was doing here. The network was treating this like an episode of 'The Apprentice,' in which Trump stars and ratings soar.'
'Lauer had turned what should have been a serious discussion into a pointless ambush. What a waste of time. I can’t say I didn’t fantasize about shaking some sense into Lauer while I was out there. I?was almost physically sick.'
Creepy: Lauer also came under fire for 'sexist' questioning of Anne Hathaway, who he quizzed about an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction
Lauer also came under fire for a creepy joke to Anne Hathaway in an interview.?
The actress had accidentally flashed photographers getting out of a car.Lauer opened his interview: 'Anne Hathaway, good morning, nice to see you. Seen a lot of you lately.'
'You had a little wardrobe malfunction the other night. What’s the lesson learned from something like that, other than that you keep smiling, which you’ll always do.'
The star was left visibly awkward by the question - but gave an eloquent response, all the more pertinent in the wake of the recent allegations against the Today anchor.?
'Well, it was obviously an unfortunate incident ... It kind of made me sad on two accounts. One was that I was very sad that we live in an age when someone takes a picture of another person in a vulnerable moment, and rather than delete it and do the decent thing, sells it. And I’m sorry that we live in a culture that commodifies sexuality of unwilling participants,' the actress said.??
Since joining the network Lauer has carried out a number of noteworthy interviews. In November 2010 he interviewed former president George W Bush in his first one-on-one interview since leaving the Oval office.
He also sat down with President Barack Obama in several exclusive one-on-ones since he was elected in 2008. In June 2010, Obama told Lauer he wanted to know, “whose ass to kick,” regarding the devastating oil spill in the Gulf.
In June 2009 after Michael Jackson’s death Lauer went inside Neverland Ranch for a behind-the-scenes look inside the King of Pop’s world. He also talked with Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales in June 2006, in their first-ever American television interview to commemorate the tenth anniversary of their mother, Princess Diana’s, tragic death.
He also led the network through major news events including 9/11 which broke mid-way through an interview he was caryying out on the morning show. His combative questioning of Tom Cruise also made headlines in 2005.?
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