Katie Couric Breaks Silence On Matt Lauer Scandal: Inside Her 20-Year Bond With Former ‘Today’ Show Partner
Katie Couric is speaking out about Matt Lauer’s firing from the Today show—but she is still not ready to say much. While most of Matt Lauer’s former co-anchors have issued statements on the sexual misconduct scandal that suddenly ended his career at NBC News, many have been surprised by Katie’s crickets.
After nearly two weeks of silence on the subject, Katie Couric responded to an Instagram follower who called her out for not commenting on the Matt Lauer sex scandal. Katie carefully replied, “It’s incredibly upsetting and I will say something when I’m ready to. Thanks for your interest.”
Katie Couric was more than Matt Lauer’s first Today show co-anchor. Katie was Matt’s ultimate morning TV leading lady. The duo’s chemistry spawned the most iconic partnership in the history of the NBC morning news show. Coupled with news anchor Ann Curry and weatherman Al Roker, Today’s fabulous foursome was untouchable.
Matt Lauer joined Katie Couric at the Today anchor’s desk in 1997 when he replaced longtime anchor Bryant Gumbel in the high-profile spot. The dynamic duo delivered the daily news and sat side by side, live from New York, as the 9/11 attacks played out on the horrific day of Sept. 11, 2001. In happier times, they dressed as Batman and Marilyn Monroe.
In 2002, six years into their partnership, Katie Couric and Matt Lauer sat down with then PBS host Charlie Rose in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Today show. Rose would go on to a similar fate as Lauer (PBS and CBS just fired him over similar allegations of sexual misconduct), but at the time, Rose was fixated on the “chemistry” between the NBC morning co-anchors.
“There is this thing called chemistry, and you two have it,” Rose said, according to Newsweek. “Katie, why did it happen for the two of you?”
“A lot of stuff can get in the way,” Katie Couric admitted.
“Friendships can get messy when you spend too much time with each other.”
While Rose went so far as to fantasize that Lauer and Couric “socialize on the weekends,” Katie joked, “We go to church together on Sundays.”
In 2006, Katie Couric exited the Today show after nine years with Matt Lauer. Her goodbye announcement included a poignant Wizard of Oz reference when she looked at Matt and said, “As Dorothy said to the Scarecrow, I think I’m going to miss him most of all.”
Today show fans may recall that for one of her first Halloweens with Matt Lauer, Katie Couric dressed up as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz for the Today show’s annual costume-themed episode in 1998. That year, Lauer dressed as the title character from Gilligan’s Island, but he was clearly Katie’s scarecrow.
Before a sex scandal ended Matt Lauer’s career on NBC, Couric hadn’t ruled out working with him again in the future, telling People that while Matt was “very” committed to the Today show, “You never know what the future may bring.”
“We may work together. It’s hard to say right now. We have a fun repartee,” Katie said.
Katie Couric returned to the NBC morning show in January 2017 to celebrate Matt Lauer’s 20th anniversary as a Today anchor. That will likely be the last time viewers will ever see them together on-air—unless Lauer decides to turn to his old friend for a comeback interview someday.
You can see Katie Couric and Matt Lauer as she announces her Today show departure in the video below (at the 3:25 mark).