Addie Zinone, has come forward about a secret relationship she had with Matt Lauer as a ‘Today’ show production assistant. Here’s her account of what happened.
Addie Zinone (née Collins), 41, just revealed that she had an affair with Matt Lauer, 59, while working on the Today show as a production assistant when she was 24-years-old. “He opens the door. There you go. It crossed the line. It was a consensual encounter. It happened in his dressing room above studio 1A, which was empty in the afternoons. He got in his car and I had to go back to work, and now my life had completely changed,” Addie told Variety about an exchange she had with Matt on July 12, 2000. While Addie’s situation with Matt was consensual, unlike the other allegations against him, it still demonstrates what can happen when a person in a position of power brings sex into the workplace.
Addie provided Variety with a detailed account of her affair that included copies of text messages the disgraced TV host had sent her. On the day of her first encounter, he messaged her ““OK…NOW YOU’RE KILLING ME…YOU LOOK GREAT TODAY! A BIT TOUGH TO CONCENTRATE.” When she thought someone was messing with her, she says he insisted it was him. “I didn’t know what to do. He was obviously flirting. But I’d never seen anything like that from Matt before. As a 24-year-old production assistant, I had no idea how to interpret that. I could truly embarrass myself if I said something like, “Where are you going with this?”
She set up a meeting with Matt to ask advice on the new job she was about to start in West Virginia as a local anchor on WDTV Channel 5. “We went to lunch. My intentions were purely professional. I thought this was a way to get real-world constructive advice. What that turned into was an opportunity for him to come on to me. It was flattering, confusing, overwhelming. I was nervous. I didn’t know what to do with it. He was clearly trying to guide the conversation. He was there to hit on me and manipulate the situation, and I fell for it. Here’s how I should have known what I was getting myself into. When we left, he told me: “You leave first, and I’ll leave after.” In no lunch I’d ever had at Today had anyone suggested we leave separately, as if something was up.”
Addie says that she and Matt met several times over the few weeks following the first encounter in his dressing room. “One afternoon, he told me to come see him in his office. I thought he was finally going to talk to me and encourage me professionally. I wanted to hear from him that I could succeed in West Virginia. I sat across from him, and he pushes a button from his desk and the door shuts. It was embarrassing, because his secretary was sitting outside. He wanted to do stuff. I was like, ‘No. I’m so in over my head. I’m not a performance artist.'”
She says the last time she saw Matt that summer was at the 2000 Democratic National Convention in California, while the Today show was airing live from the Staples Center. “He was looking at a script, and he leaned over and said to me, ‘Do you see that bathroom over there? Meet me there in five minutes.’ I was leaving and I had no other chance to talk to him. So I went—and we had an encounter. He was like, ‘Alright. I’ll see you later.’ He had no interest in making sure I was cool.”
Addie said that Matt stopped talking to her after a reporter from the National Enquirer approached her asking about their relationship a few weeks after the Democratic National Convention. “I reach out to Matt in an email. He wrote back, “Who did you tell?” After that, he completely ghosted me.” She told the media outlet that her and the former host were “just friends.” She goes on to detail how her relationship was Matt took a toll on her life. “My experience on air as an anchor turned out to be so traumatic that I quit. I was in a depression. This man who I’d held on a pedestal had made me feel like my looks and my body were my true assets. He made it clear that he wasn’t interested in my skills or my talent. It just shattered everything.”
Matt’s termination came less than 24 hours after NBC received “incontrovertible proof” of his alleged sexual misconduct. The NBC staff member who filed the complaint was said to have had sexts from the fired Today host, according to Page Six. The sexts allegedly included one photo in particular that was “so damning that it was unquestionable whether or not he should be fired,” a source told the paper. The unidentified woman who came forward was allegedly sexually assaulted by Matt during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, and then supposedly remained “involved” with him in New York, after the Games finished. The news that Matt was let go by NBC after his tenure that lasted over two decades was announced by Savannah Guthrie on the Nov. 29 episode of the Today show.
HollywoodLifers, are you shocked by Addie’s story?