While speaking to PEOPLE recently, Gifford shared, "I was texting him last week and praying for him this morning. That's what a friendship means to me."
"I've been through very, very hard times in my life and I saw my friends drop away because they weren't my friends. Times like that test the mettle of friendships. The Matt I love is the Matt I still do," she added.
"He made mistakes and he paid dearly for them. But I believe in second, third and 100 chances," Gifford says. "I believe in redemption because Jesus did. And it's not for me to judge any choices he made. That's between him, his wife and his God. My job is to be his friend and be there for him. He's found out who his real friends are," Gifford went on to say.
Following the shocking allegations that surfaced in 2018, Lauer was fired from the Today show, and Hoda Kotb was eventually promoted to his old co-hosting role.
In a separate interview earlier this year, Gifford said that she believes he would have been the very first person to congratulate Kotb on the job.
"The whole thing with Matt is not something we want to get into. We love this man and we are heartbroken about him being gone. Our sense of joy is tempered by our sense of loss," she stated. "The best way to say it is that it's a bit bittersweet. Nobody wants to profit off of someone's pain. But this is reality. It's a business, and someone has to move on. Matt would be the first to congratulate her and wish her well."
More recently, Gifford announced her own departure from the show. "I feel so relieved," she said after the announcement. "I've known it was coming for a long long time and you want to get your story out before somebody else tries to tell your story in an inaccurate way."0comments
"Hoda's known it for a long, long time," Gifford later added. "All these other projects have been bubbling up … and it's so exciting. Movies and music and so many wonderful things. And I need the time to do them properly."
The Today show airs on weekdays at 7 a.m. ET on NBC.