Addie Collins began interning at the Today show in 1999, and while she bonded with hosts Katie Couric, Ann Curry and Al Roker, Collins, who goes by her married name, Zinone now, told Variety that Matt Lauer kept a professional distance — until she was ready to leave the show.
In 2000, when Zinone was 24, Lauer, who was already married at the time, invited her to what she thought would be a professional lunch. Instead, he began aggressively hitting on her, she said. She then began a month-long relationship with the former anchor, whom she says would arrange to secretly meet her in his dressing room.
"He opens the door. There you go," Zinone said. "It crossed the line. It was a consensual encounter. It happened in his dressing room above studio 1A, which was empty in the afternoons. He got in his car and I had to go back to work, and now my life had completely changed."
She continued, "I'm carrying this around with me. There's no cell phone calls, no texts, no emails. The only time I have an opportunity to see him or talk to him is in the studio if there's no one else around. It was a whirlwind. Over the next few weeks, we met several other times."
Zinone also described an encounter in Lauer's office when he shut the door with a button from his desk, a detail that has previously been noted in allegations against him.
She noted that the pair's relationship ended when she left Today and that Lauer "ghosted" her, leaving her to deal with the situation alone.
"I had no idea there were other women out there," Zinone explained. "To wake up one day and hear my story in the accounts of the other victims is one of the most surreal experiences I've ever had."
While the pair's relationship was consensual, Zinone explained that she wanted to share her story to confirm the allegations other women have made against Lauer, who was fired from NBC in November for inappropriate sexual behavior.0comments
"I'm putting my name and face out there to squash any doubts about the allegations from other women against Matt Lauer," Zinone said.
Photo Credit: Today Show / NBC