Earlier this week, Matt Lauer was fired from his co-hosting spot on NBC's Today Show for allegations of sexual misconduct. Lauer was arguably NBC's most visible and high-profile news anchor, a position he's held since 1997.
The allegations are grave. According to Variety, Lauer allegedly gave a female staffer a sex toy as a gift, along with a sexually explicit note describing how he wanted to use the toy with her. He is also accused of groping and initiating sexually inappropriate conduct with female subordinates.
In a statement, Lauer apologized for his actions, writing that "There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry."
But there is one person coming to his defense: his ex-wife, Nancy Alspaugh, whom he was married to from 1981 until 1988.
Speaking exclusively to Entertainment Tonight, she said that Lauer is "the best person that’s ever held that job." Alspaugh also said that Lauer's alleged misbehavior is "so out of character for him." Both Variety and NBC inferred that the complaint that led to his firing was not an isolated incident.
Alspaugh also came to the defense of Lauer's character, heaping praise on the disgraced news anchor. She called him "incredibly nice, incredibly charming and incredibly willing to help anybody" and specifically said that she "never saw him as a power monger or somebody who would abuse his position in any way."
She also said that Lauer was aware that reporters were working on the story about the allegations, because she was contacted by a reporter, and called Lauer to let him know. "Whatever they were going to come out with was fabricated," she claims he told her, adding that Lauer seemed "blindsided by the whole thing."
In the end, Alspaugh would like the public to know "the side of him that I know and that so many others know about him," which she calls the "charming, want to help you in any way kind of guy he was."
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