Matt Lauer served as a longtime co-host of NBC’s ‘Today’ until he was fired for inappropriate sexual behavior in November 2017.
Who Is Matt Lauer?
Matt Lauer was born on December 30, 1957, in New York City. He attended Ohio University but quit to pursue journalism. In 1992, NBC signed him to co-host two shows, Live at Five and Today in New York. In 1994, he became news anchor for the prestigious Today show, and he eventually succeeded Bryant Gumbel as co-host opposite Katie Couric. In November 2017, he was fired from NBC News after a colleague filed a complaint about his inappropriate sexual behavior.
Matthew Todd Lauer was born on December 30, 1957, in New York City. In 1974, Lauer left New York to attend Ohio University. He quit in 1979, just four credits shy of graduation, to pursue a journalism internship at WOWK-TV in West Virginia. The risk paid off when he landed a news producing spot. By 1980, he was an on-air reporter.
Lauer spent the 1980s in various reporting gigs along the East Coast, working for several news magazines, before eventually landing back in New York. There, he hosted several short-lived shows, including Fame, Fortune & Romance with Robin Leach in 1986, Esquire Show on Lifetime in 1989 and the late-night talk show Day's End.
In 1989, he became co-host for the live talk show 9 Broadway Plaza, establishing himself as one of New York's most audience-friendly anchors. Banking on his easy charm and universal good looks, NBC signed him on in 1992 to co-host two shows, Live at Five and Today in New York. Soon, he became a frequent host for the network's specials, including Today at Night, The Tournament of Roses Parade and Up for the Golden Globes.
In 1994, Lauer became news anchor for the prestigious Today show, and in 1997 he succeeded Bryant Gumbel as co-host opposite Katie Couric.
Lauer conducted numerous high-profile interviews during his time with NBC News, sitting down with U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, as well as Prince William and Prince Harry of Britain. At Today, he contributed the popular "Where in the World is Matt Lauer" segment, signing in from such locales as the Great Pyramids in Egypt and the Taj Mahal in India.
One of the network's top talents, Lauer filled in for Bob Costas when the latter came down with an eye infection during coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics. In September 2016, he hosted a televised forum for presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Fired for Sexual Harassment
On November 29, 2017, Today co-host Savannah Guthrie announced on the program that Lauer had been fired by NBC News over inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.
Lauer's termination came after an employee had filed a complaint about his actions. In a memo to staff, NBC News chairman Andrew Lack said that it was the first formal complaint made against Lauer during his time at NBC, but added that the network had "reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident." Later, it was revealed that Lack was aware that other media outlets had been looking into troubling allegations involving the anchor.
The same day his firing was announced, Variety published an investigative piece in which three women said they had been sexually harassed by Lauer, with stories of his predatory behavior well known throughout the workplace. The New York Times followed with a report in which one victim recounted Lauer locking her in his office and sexually assaulting her, an experience that caused her to pass out and require medical assistance.
Lauer responded to the allegations in a statement read on Today on November 30: “There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry," he said. "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. … 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."
Keeping a low profile in the wake of his ouster, Lauer faced further indignity with the possibility of losing his Queenstown, New Zealand, ranch over a breach of the "good character" clause that allowed him to purchase the property. In June 2018, New Zealand authorities ruled that he could keep his ranch.
Lauer was married to TV producer Nancy Alspaugh from 1982-1988. He was engaged briefly to newscaster Kristen Gesswein in 1996. He married model Annette Roque (aka Jade Roque) in 1998. Their son, Jack Matthew Lauer, was born in 2001, daughter Romy in 2003 and son Thijs in 2006.