On the verge of tears, Kathie Lee Gifford publicly addressed the abrupt firing of her NBC colleague Matt Lauer, news that shocked the network and the media world early on Wednesday, and said she is ready to forgive the disgraced morning news anchor. Gifford, who co-hosts the final hour of the Today show alongside Hoda Kotb, appeared to be shaken by the development, as backstage photos showed several of her colleagues were.
Gifford and Kotb both emphasized that Lauer is a “dear, dear friend,” and then they discussed how difficult it was to reconcile their love of Lauer with the ugly allegations made against him. Gifford then, somewhat reluctantly, began addressing her learning about her late husband’s infidelities. “You end up questioning your own judgment,” Gifford said, adding that she often wondered, “Was everything a lie?” Gifford said she thinks people need to “very much fight against” using that mentality. “The man we know and adored was the man we loved and adored and continue to.”
She then shared what she said to Lauer in a text message this morning, as news of his firing sent ripples throughout the media world. “I texted him this morning and said ‘I adore you and no person is perfect in this world,” she revealed. “And what we need now is forgiveness and … mercy for one another.” Gifford then invoked her religion and belief in God and said, “I send out my love right now to the person, whoever it is, that came forward. May God heal that person. I send it to Matt, and his children and his wife. May God bless that family.” Earlier this month, comedian Sarah Silverman told her viewers that she wasn’t able to easily forgive Louis C.K., her friend of 25 years, for his sexual misconduct and said she was still figuring out whether she could still maintain a friendship with him. Gifford and Kotb appeared to not be as conflicted as Silverman was at the time.
Lauer’s former co-host Natalie Morales, who now co-hosts Access Hollywood, addressed his firing as well. She said she was “shocked” to wake up and learn the news on Wednesday morning. Morales acknowledged that she’s been implicated in “hurtful” affair rumors, which she’s denied, with Lauer in the past, but said that the focus of the story should be on “the courage of a colleague who did come forward.”
Watch Gifford and Kotb’s discussion about Lauer and his firing below.