Addie Collins Zinone, the former Today show staffer who claims she had a month-long affair with Matt Lauer in 2000, spoke out Monday morning revealing more details of the relationship. Zinone appeared on Megyn Kelly Today to discuss her sexual relationship with Lauer, which she says was consensual.
Zinone told Kelly that she was 24 at the time of their affair, and that by that time Lauer was already married to his second wife, Annette Roque. Zinone said at the time of the affair, she knew there had to be other women Lauer was cheating with because it was "so effortless" to him.
Despite his boldness in instigating the affair, Zinone said she didn't think he was engaging in sexual behavior with anyone else in the workplace aside from her.
“He did it so effortlessly with me that I thought for sure that there had to be other women, but I didn’t know there would be other colleagues because I thought if he continued that behavior and what he did with me, there would have to be other people coming forward,” she said. “In 17 years, we would have heard about that, right? I did feel very alone and isolated and unsure of what to do with this, and just carried it because who wants to be that person?”
After Kelly pressed her on details about specific encounters with Lauer, Zinone admitted that it's hard to talk about.
“These are very hard things to talk about,” she admitted. “My family is shattered by this. They are afraid for me. This all trickles down to a lot of people that are affected, so having these conversations is really important, but also there’s a lot of shame attached to what I did.”
“My goal was to get him to see me as a human being, so it does seem odd that I would continually go see him,” she continued. “But every time it was an opportunity like, ‘Will you see me as a human being? Can we finally have a conversation?’ ”
Zinone owns that she made a “massive mistake” and struggled with hiding her story for 17 years, even when tabloid media outlets offered her thousands of dollars to come forward.
“I know who I am at my core, I know the values I have, but of course you carry shame,” she said. “Because again, he has a wife. Even now, I don’t want to pour salt on these wounds, and that’s a really scary thing. You do carry that your whole life.”
“I want to guide the conversation away from that, own my part in it, but then also talk about this power dynamic in a workplace and how that balance really does affect your thinking, your ability to think logically, to be aware of what you’re doing and the impact it’s going to have the rest of your life,” she said. “And also, if you do find yourself in the situation like I did, how can we empower young women in the future who find themselves in that situation to get themselves back, to make better decisions — to not make a mistake like I did.”
Lauer was fired from NBC three weeks ago for "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace" after an unnamed colleague filed a "detailed complaint" about Lauer alleging sexual misconduct. Since then, multiple women have come forward alleging Lauer of misconduct, ranging from harassment to sexual assault.
While Lauer has not commented on Zinone's account, he did address the original allegations in a statement read Nov. 30 by his former co-hosts on-air.
“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” he said. “To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this, I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC.”
“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. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly,” he continued. “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. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”