Ex-NBC staffer details secret affair with Matt Lauer
Fox411: Addie Collins Zinone, a former NBC News production assistant, and she was a month-long sexual relationship with Matt Lauer in the summer of 2000.
Addie Collins Zinone, the former production assistant who says that they are involved in a sexual relationship with a married Matt Lauer in 2000, has made new revelations about the turbulent affair with the now disgraced talk show host, and the painful aftermath.
Zinone appeared Monday morning on Megyn Kelly’s ratings-challenged part of the “Today” show and shared more details about her monthlong affair with Kelly’s former co-host.
Zinone said she began her journalistic career as a PA on the set of “Today” after Katie Couric helped her land the gig after graduating from the university. Having worked with most of the “Today” anchors, Zinone stated that she and Lauer had a “strictly business relationship” for the majority of her time in the network.
But things changed in June 2000, when Zinone received her first instant message from Lauer.
“He said,” Wow, you look great.’ I don’t know literally. What you do with your life, it is agree with you. Just wanted to let you know,” Zinone called. “I thought, ‘Well, that’s nice’.”
Use this as an opportunity, she followed up with Lauer and told him of her plans to leave in the coming weeks for an anchorage in West Virginia, and wondered if she could sit down with the “Today” host for a number of advice prior to departure. Lauer agreed, but Zinone not hear another word from him, until she got a message from the host a month later.
“One day, I received a message that said, “Okay, now you’re killing me. You look great today. It is a little difficult to concentrate,” Zinone said, explaining that she thought the message was a joke. But they must yet again took the opportunity to ask Lauer if he would be willing to sit down with her, and immediately after lunch for the next day.
The lunch, Zinone told Kelly, it was a quick call to Lauer, “the achievement of his goal” of hitting on her. And although Zinone felt awkward, the advances are not at lunch. Lauer managed to lure Zinone to his dressing room, where the two had their first alleged sexual encounter later that afternoon.
At the time, Zinone was 24 and Lauer was in his early 40’s and on his second marriage.
“I realize that sounds very naive and stupid of me, because I was going to do that,” Zinone admitted. “But at that moment, I had not everyone shares my fear and confusion, except for him, because what am I going to say to the people?”
Their alleged affair lasted for about a month and already Zinone felt that Lauer steered her in the uncomfortable situation, she takes full responsibility for her actions and called it a “huge mistake” that has continued to haunt her.
“These are very hard things to talk about,” she admitted. “My family is shocked by this. They are afraid of me. All of this seeps a lot of people who are affected, so having these conversations is really important, but there is also a lot of shame attached to what I did.”
Zinone trouble with the hide of her story for 17 years and was afraid of opening up to the world about her nakedness.
“I know who I am at my core, I know the values that I have, but of course you can bear the shame,” she said. “Because, again, he has a wife. Even now, I don’t want to pour salt on these wounds, and that’s a really scary thing. You wear that your whole life.”
Lauer was fired from his 20-year post as anchor of NBC’s “Today” show in November, after an ex-employee, he had worked with accused the veteran TV man of sexual misconduct. Since Lauer’s firing, several women have come forward to reveal their stories about the news anchor.
Zinone in the first instance, opened up to Variety about her affair with Lauer, and she told Kelly she looks forward to guiding her own conversation about her experience and the help women through similar situations.
“I want to guide the conversation away from that, for my own part, but also talk about this force in a dynamic workplace, and how that balance really does affect your thinking, your ability to think logically, to be aware of what you’re doing and the impact it will have on the rest of your life,” she said.
“And also, if you find yourself in the situation like I did, how can we empower young women in the future (…) to return, to take better decisions — to not make a mistake like I did.”