Matt Lauer says there is no truth to the rumors that he had an affair with his former Today co-anchor Natalie Morales. In a statement to the New York Post, Lauer said he is angered that someone would make up lies that would impact two families.
“Every aspect of this story is untrue, and it’s frankly sad that someone would tell lies to harm everyone involved,” Lauer told the Post’s Page Six.
After Natalie announced she was leaving her east coast anchor job at Today in New York for a job in California at Access Hollywood, rumors surfaced of an affair gone awry between her and Matt Lauer, with an insider telling the Post that Matt “no longer wanted to work” with Morales so she was forced to move from New York to Los Angeles.
Morales also denied the story and called it sexist, explaining that she is actually adding to her Today duties. The Post story reveals that Lauer’s longtime co-worker actually moved to California because her husband, Joseph Rhodes, got a new job and they wanted to keep their family together.
“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. This move was dictated by me and my desire to grow in my career. Any insinuations beyond that are uninformed.”
The longtime Today co-anchor announced her move to California in May, revealing she would still be with the show — just as a west coast anchor.
“[My family and I] have long talked about perhaps moving to the West Coast where the sun is always shining,” Natalie said. “It’s going to be a good change of pace, a good lifestyle.”
Matt Lauer noted that Morales would be extremely busy with her continued Today and Dateline roles, as well as her new jobs on Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live.
“You get to move where the weather is great, you just won’t have time to enjoy it,” Lauer joked.
Matt Lauer reportedly has a lot of pull at Today, and some say he does decide who stays and who goes. A previous story by Page Six revealed that Lauer’s $20 million Today contract included helicopter rides in an out of New York City to his residence in the Hamptons so he could spend more time with his family during the work week.
Despite the attacks on his personal life, Matt Lauer is clearly staying with Today for the long haul. While he did tell Hampton’s magazine he has given thought to retiring from the NBC morning news show, in the end, Matt still loves his job — and the people he works with.
“I gave a lot of thought about moving on, or doing nothing, but the fact of the matter is, even at that ungodly hour of 4:10 AM when the alarm goes off, I still like getting out of bed,” Lauer said. “I’m still excited about the things I get to talk about … I love the people I work with, and I think it’s a privilege to have this job, and so as a result, when you get it, you hang on to it.”
Unfortunately for Matt Lauer, his privileged job comes with a price. Matt has long been labeled as a serial womanizer, with tabloid rumors that he had a fling with Good Morning America host Lara Spencer surfacing a few years ago.
In addition, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres once poked fun at Lauer’s reputation with a 50 Shades of Grey prank featuring Matt wearing S&M bondage straps. Lauer’s Today co-worker, Savannah Guthrie, even posted a joke tweet that showed handcuffs from “Matt Lauer’s side of the desk.”
Take a look at the video below to see Matt Lauer’s reaction to Ellen’s 50 Shades parody about him.
[Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images]