When it comes to Hoda Kotb and Gayle King’s relationships with their former co-anchors, Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose respectively, it’s complicated.
Kotb and King, along with fellow morning show anchors Savannah Guthrie, Norah O’Donnell and “Good Morning America”‘s Robin Roberts, talk about dealing with Lauer and Rose’s abrupt firings last year after facing multiple sexual harassment allegations — Lauer from the “Today” show, Rose from “CBS This Morning” — in a new Q&A with The Hollywood Reporter. Kotb says that she and Guthrie still keep in touch with Lauer.
“I mean look, this is one of those complex situations,” she candidly tells the magazine. “I’ve known him since I started working at NBC [in 1998]. When I was sick with breast cancer, he was the first to call. He helps and helped in ways that … you know, he was incredible in that way.”
“There is that Matt and then there’s the Matt that the accusers speak of,” she continues. “And those accusers’ voices matter and that story matters and it’s [to Guthrie] … It’s still tough, right?”
Kotb and Guthrie recall the morning of Nov. 29, when they were blindsided by the new of Lauer’s firing due to alleged inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace, which Lauer has denied.
“Just minutes before we’re going on the air we went to Savannah’s dressing room and had a moment of prayer,” Kotb shares. “It was hard. It was heavy.”
“A lot of tears,” Guthrie adds.
As for King and O’Donnell, they too say they were also shocked by the sexual harassment allegations against Rose. The 76-year-old newsman was fired on Nov. 21 after eight women came forward in an article published by The Washington Post alleging that he sexually harassed and/or assaulted them when they were working on his PBS interview show. In a statement, Rose apologized for his “inappropriate behavior,” but said he did not believe that all of the accusations against him were accurate.
King says she still considers Rose a friend, and has spoken to him.
“He tells me that he’s fine. (Laughs.),” King says. “Because I said, ‘I’m worried about you.’ He keeps assuring me there’s no reason to be worried about him, but I am worried about him, I am. And I do care about him. He was a big part of my life for six years. So I can’t just turn that off. But I also can’t dismiss the stories that I’m hearing, and I do take them very seriously.”
Meanwhile, Roberts praised the women for their handling of the shocking news on-air.
“They handled it with such grace and professionalism and compassion for the women who accused these men,” Roberts says. “I was very proud of both shows at how they handled it and how they reached out to their colleagues who had brought about this change. Somebody that they had worked with — and they say they didn’t see that side of that person — but to know that they did what they allegedly did … ”
“The Hamptons has been a good place for him to hide, but he isn’t sure he will stay,” the source said. “Matt definitely regrets his behavior. He lost not only his family, but his career and many of his closest friends. The ‘Today‘ show was his life.”