Over a month after her former morning-show colleague Matt Lauer was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, his former Today show co-host Katie Couric has opened up for the first time on her response to the news, saying in an interview that the alleged conduct "was not the Matt we knew."
"The whole thing has been very painful for me,” Couric told People in an interview published Saturday (Jan. 13). “I had no idea this was going on during my tenure or after I left. I think I speak for many of my former colleagues when I say this was not the Matt we knew."
Couric added that Lauer's conduct to her was always professional, and that he was like a brother. "Matt was a kind and generous colleague who treated me with respect. In fact, a joke I once made on late-night television was just that, because it was completely contrary to our brother-sister relationship. It’s still very upsetting. I really admire the way Savannah [Guthrie] and Hoda [Kotb] and the entire Today show staff have handled a very difficult situation.”
Couric co-hosted the Today show with Lauer for 15 years until she left in 2006 to host CBS Evening News. Couric broke her silence on the Lauer allegations in a December Instagram reply, in which she told a user asking why she had not addressed the scandal in public, "It’s incredibly upsetting and I will say something when I’m ready to. Thanks for your interest.”
NBC News fired Matt Lauer on Nov. 29 as a result of an internal complaint about "inappropriate sexual behavior."
Lauer apologized in a statement a day later. 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 wrote.
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.