Matt Lauer Eying 'Comeback' Five Years After Sexual Assault Scandal

Matt Lauer is contemplating a return to media after being fired from NBC News. "He thinks that he should be able to have a comeback," one source told Page Six, with Lauer's friends pushing him to follow Megyn Kelly's example and come back on his "own terms." In November 2017, Lauer, 65, was fired as co-anchor of the Today show after allegations of "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace." It was alleged that he raped former NBC employee Brooke Nevils in her hotel room during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, a relationship Lauer has claimed was consensual. Lauer also has a romantic history with another former NBC worker, though he has denied that he acted inappropriately. Sources told the outlet Lauer has been focusing on spending time with his children and girlfriend, public relations and marketing expert Shamin Abas, 53. "Shamin has absolutely no issues with any of the scandals, it doesn't seem to faze her," the Lauer source said. His former friends in the media have lost contact with him, and he seldom speaks to anyone on Today, an insider told Page Six. "He's still pretty upset about how he was ousted at NBC and upset at all the people he thought were his friends who turned their backs on him," an insider said. "He knows he made mistakes, and he is a lot more humble." Despite Lauer's regaining confidence, the source added, he realizes his road back to the media industry would be difficult. "He understands that there might not be any sort of appetite for [a comeback]," said the insider. "In other words, he wants to see if there would be any chance — but he understands fully that there might be zero chance. He's not unrealistic."

 A media source said, "He has had a couple of opportunities put to him. But then something always happens, like Katie Couric's book comes out, and the opportunities go away." According to a friend, Lauer was hurt by Couric's memoirGoing There, which included private text messages between them. Couric called Lauer's alleged behavior "callous" and "grossly inappropriate. "His friends would love to see him do something again," said the insider. "He'd be great at a podcast or his own production firm, using his skills behind the scenes. He looks at how someone like Megyn Kelly has reinvented herself on her own terms."His problem is that he can't go back to mainstream TV because advertisers would likely pull away. He could do a podcast or something on his own terms. All of his friends hope he can find a pathway. But he isn't rushing into anything."Several of Lauer's friends told Page Six that he'd spent all of his "reparations" on his children, with a second source revealing that he's now an empty nester since his youngest is at boarding school and his others are in college. He has three children with his former wife, Annette Roque: Jack, 21, Romy, 19, and Thijs, 16. 

The couple divorced in September 2019. It was rumored that Laur might reunite with his former NBC boss Jeff Zucker, who resigned from CNN in 2022 following reports of an in-office affair. Zucker is now leading RedBird IMI, which acquires and invests in entertainment and sports content. "That would be surprising to me, they've been really hot and cold since the scandal," the Lauer source said. "Towards the end of last year they kind of rekindled their friendship, but I know the two of them have been hot and cold over the past several years." The insider said Lauer misses aspects of his former career. "I think once you're a journalist, you always are," said the insider. "You can't ever shake that. You're never not uninterested in the news." The Lauer source said, "He is at a new normal … he exercises daily. I think he feels like he's got a bit of normalcy in his life. But it's not what his normal was. "Everyone said he went into hiding," the source adding that it was untrue. "It was just that you saw him on TV every single day for 20 years, and then you just didn't see him."