Katie Couric Opens Up About Matt Lauer Allegations: "This Was Not the Matt We Knew"

Katie Couric and Matt Lauer on 'Today' - H 2017

"The whole thing has been very painful for me," the former 'Today' show co-host said in an interview.

Over a month after her former morning-show colleague Matt Lauer was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, his former Today show co-host Katie Couric has opened up for the first time about the news, saying in an interview that the alleged conduct did not reflect "the Matt we knew."

"The whole thing has been very painful for me," Couric told People in an interview published Saturday. "I had no idea this was going on during my tenure or after I left. I think I speak for many of my former colleagues when I say this was not the Matt we knew."

Couric added that Lauer's conduct toward her was always professional and that he was like her brother. "Matt was a kind and generous colleague who treated me with respect. In fact, a joke I once made on late-night television was just that because it was completely contrary to our brother-sister relationship. It’s still very upsetting. I really admire the way Savannah [Guthrie] and Hoda [Kotb] and the entire Today show staff have handled a very difficult situation."

Couric co-hosted the Today show with Lauer for 15 years until she left in 2006 to host CBS Evening News. Couric broke her silence on the Lauer allegations in a December Instagram reply, in which she told a user asking why she had not addressed the scandal in public, "It’s incredibly upsetting and I will say something when I’m ready to. Thanks for your interest."

NBC News fired Lauer on Nov. 29 as a result of an internal complaint about "inappropriate sexual behavior."

Lauer apologized in a statement a day later, writing, "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."