Katie Couric and Matt Lauer spent nine years together as co-anchors on TODAY, but Lauer’s firing in 2017 for inappropriate sexual conduct led to the end of their relationship, Couric told TODAY on Tuesday.
“We have no relationship,” Couric, speaking about Lauer, told Savannah Guthrie in a wide-ranging interview about Couric’s upcoming memoir, “Going There.”
Couric said she did her own reporting after hearing of the allegations of sexual harassment and abuses of power against her former colleague and discovered “there was a side of Matt I never really knew.”
“As I got more information and learned what was going on behind the scenes, it was really upsetting and disturbing,” she said. “It was really devastating, but also disgusting.
“I think what I realized is that there was a side of Matt I never really knew, and I tried to understand why he behaved the way he he did, and why he was so reckless and callous, and honestly abusive to other women.”
Addressing the fallout in her book — which includes personal text messages the two exchanged following Lauer’s firing — Couric writes, “I know Matt thinks I betrayed him, and that makes me sad.”
“But he betrayed me, too, by how he behaved behind closed doors at the show we both cared about so much.”
The comments about Lauer are part of an overall theme in which Couric, 64, holds nothing back in sharing many inside details of her time at NBC, ABC, CBS and Yahoo News. “Going There” hits shelves on Oct. 26.
“I wanted to kind of share the messy parts, what real life was like,” Couric said on TODAY. “I think you see all sides of me, and my truth. I feel comfortable with that. I think it’s kind of an emotional rollercoaster.”
She covers everything from her family being “blighted with racists” and suffering from an eating disorder as a young woman to some fraught interactions with high-level executives during her time on television.
Early reviews of the book have focused on her memories of the sexism she faced in the workplace and her at times unsparing remarks about former colleagues and public figures, including late broadcaster Larry King, former CBS head Les Moonves and Martha Stewart.
Asked if she was “worried” about the reaction the book might get, Couric said she felt “it’s been wildly misrepresented.”
“I don’t think the tone and the spirit and the content of the book is like the tabloid headlines I understand are kind of portraying it,” she told Savannah. “It is honest, but it’s very complimentary about many, many people. I think I’m harshest on myself. It’s very self-critical.”
One of those self-critical passages involves Couric describing specifically leaving out a statement by late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in an interview when Couric was at Yahoo. She says she did it to protect Ginsburg’s reputation.
According to Couric, Ginsburg said that former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who drew criticism for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and systemic racism, and other players who chose to kneel had “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life.”
Speaking to Savannah on Tuesday, Couric said leaving the line out of her finished piece on Ginsburg was a mistake.
“Ultimately, I think I should have included it,” she said. “But I also think it’s really important to look at what I did include. She had to make a statement afterwards saying her comments were harsh and dismissive.”