Amid Matt Lauer's firing from the Today show, formidable stories from the news anchor's past are surfacing, including a few that might shed some light on the "inappropriate sexual behavior" that led to his terminating.
Lauer was fired Tuesday night after a female colleague filed a "detailed" complaint with NBC's human resources department against Lauer concerning inappropriate sexual behavior. NBC News chairman Andrew Lack said in a statement that "while it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident."
Lauer's Today show co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb were visibly stunned when they delivered the news at the top of Wednesday's show, but other news organizations like The New York Times and Variety claim they had been reporting on stories concerning allegations surrounding Lauer for months.
Lauer's questionable behavior throughout his career is now being examined under a microscope.
In 1988, Lauer married TV producer Nancy Alspaugh, but the couple divorced in later that year. Ten years later, he married former Dutch model Annette Roque, with whom he shares three children and is still married to — but reports say Roque once filed for divorce in 2006.
Although the divorce documents didn't surface until 2014, the Daily Mail reports that Roque accused Lauer of "controlling and cruel" behavior and valuing his work over his family.
"The defendant has continuously and repeatedly given higher priority to … personal interests than to his family obligations to plaintiff, causing plaintiff to feel abandoned, isolated and alone in raising the parties’ children," the papers read.
Roque also maintained that she suffered "continual mental abuse" from Lauer, who filed his own legal paperwork that same day, saying any "cruel and inhuman treatment" he may have exhibited was "provoked" by his wife.
When Lauer and Roque's marriage was plagued by infidelity rumors, Lauer's first wife, Alspaugh, reportedly told the National Enquirer: "I was not shocked to hear that but it’s very sad."
One of those infidelity rumors surfaced about Lauer and his Today show co-host, Natalie Morales, who joined the show in 2006 and was named an anchor in 2011. Many wondered if she left her position at the Today show for Access Hollywood to avoid on-air encounters with Lauer.
However, both Lauer and Morales vehemently denied the rumors.
"Every aspect of this story is untrue, and it’s frankly sad that someone would tell lies to harm everyone involved," Lauer told Page Six at the time. He later said he had denied the claims to protect his family.
"When you feel your family is being threatened and hurt, you speak up. And then you put your head down and go back about your business," he told the Mike Lupica podcast.
Morales criticized the "sexist" rumors as well.
"There is absolutely no truth to this completely absurd story. It is damaging, hurtful and extremely sexist. I have proven myself in all aspects of my job as a news professional and journalist, and am adding to my role, taking on three jobs with Access Hollywood Live and Access Hollywood, in addition to Today," she said. "This move was dictated by me and my desire to grow in my career. Any insinuations beyond that are uninformed."
One Florida man, Zoltan Molnar, accused Lauer of having an affair with his wife Jessica Thorne while Lauer was first engaged to Roque.
"He’s not the goody-goody nice guy he looks like on TV," Molnar told the National Enquirer.
When it comes to the workplace, Ann Curry fans will remember that Lauer's track record is questionable, especially in Curry's case. Curry was fired from the Today show in 2012 after ratings began falling behind rival Good Morning America. However, it was rumored that Lauer, her co-anchor at the time, allegedly worked behind the scenes to get her fired and to move into her position.
Lauer also reportedly acted unprofessionally when NBC appointed Megyn Kelly her own spot on Today following her exit from Fox News.
In a 2014 interview with General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Lauer came under fire when he questioned if Barra would be able to be a good mother to her children while also doing an effective job heading up the corporation.
Bryce Covert of Think Progress said: "Lauer himself is a father of three children, but that hasn’t stopped him from doing his job, which has included, among other things, traveling to 50 locations for the 'Where In The World Is Matt Lauer' segment, or standing in for Bob Costas to host the Sochi Olympics in Russia."0comments
Lauer defended his line of questioning.
"It’s an issue almost any parent including myself can relate to. If a man had publicly said something similar after accepting a high-level job, I would have asked him exactly the same thing," he said.