Former “Today” co-host Meredith Vieria says it was “a gut punch” to learn of her former co-host Matt Lauer’s firing over sexual misconduct allegations.
“I was [in L.A.] and my phone started going off at 4 a.m. I didn’t know what to make of all of it. It was a shock,” she tells People.
Vieira left “Today” in 2011 after spending five years on the air with Lauer.
“Matt and I were very close,” she says of her former colleague. “He was very kind to me. We both have similar senses of humour. We’re both sarcastic.”
Vieira, 65, says Lauer, 61, never made her feel “unsafe” while working together, despite a viral clip that later surfaced of him commenting on her backside. Vieria brushes it off as a joke, adding she and Lauer enjoyed a teasing, sibling-like relationship.
“There was totally joking around but I never took it as anything. We were like brother and sister,” she recalls. “If somebody were a fly on the wall in any newsroom, they’d be shocked by the language, and by the gallows’ humour. You made a joke because otherwise, you’d implode when you’re covering something.”
Vieira, who is now hosting the syndicated game show “25 Words Or Less”, declines to define her current relationship with Lauer, calling the whole situation “complicated”.
“The whole thing is just sad. And it’s been rough in a lot of places with a lot of people,” she adds.