The couple wed in October 1998 after meeting on a blind date

By People Staff
July 10, 2019 05:25 PM
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When Matt Lauer was fired by NBC in 2017 for alleged sexual misconduct, it exposed cracks in his marriage to wife Annette Roque. The retired Dutch model did not publicly address the accusations for two years, even as they couple legally ended their union.

But when one of her ex-husband’s accusers, NBC News producer Brooke Nevils, came forward to further accuse the ousted Today show anchor of rape, Roque broke her silence in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE through her attorney.

“In response to your inquiry, our client has asked us to tell you that now that the parties are officially divorced, her priority and only concern is for their wonderful children,” Roque’s lawyer John M. Teitler said. “Our client will make no further statements.”

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In his own lengthy statement to Variety denying the rape allegation, Lauer described his relationship with Nevils as “extramarital, but consensual.”

“The details I have written about here open deep wounds for my family. But they also lead to the truth,” he said. “For two years, the women with whom I had extramarital relationships have abandoned shared responsibility, and instead, shielded themselves from blame behind false allegations. They have avoided having to look a boyfriend, husband, or a child in the eye and say, ‘I cheated.’ They have done enormous damage in the process. And I will no longer provide them the shelter of my silence.”

Nevils’ account was made public when Variety after the magazine published details from Ronan Farrow‘s Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, in which she alleges that Lauer anally raped her in his hotel room at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

“It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” she reportedly tells Farrow in the book. “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”

Nevils says in the book that she had more sexual encounters with Lauer back in New York City, according to Variety, telling Farrow: “It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship.”

In light of the bombshell allegation, PEOPLE is looking back at Lauer and Roque’s rocky marriage and recent divorce.

Lauer and Roque wed in October 1998 after meeting on a blind date. In the wake of his firing, several insiders told PEOPLE that the anchor was allegedly often unfaithful to Roque.

“By Matt’s own admission there were struggles and challenges with his wife,” said one source. “Like many couples, they struggled with a modern marriage.”

A former longtime colleague of Lauer’s said the marriage “was never good,” adding that Lauer’s reputation as a ladies’ man bothered his wife even before they wed.

“He was a player when she met him and she knew that,” the colleague said. “Even many years ago, he was a flirt, a philanderer. He did his thing.”

And after Nevils accused Lauer of rape this week, a source told PEOPLE: “People knew Lauer was having affairs but nobody ever knew it was with people associated with NBC. People knew he would act overly flirtatious with the junior employees around the office. He would take them out for drinks, maybe not to get them drunk, but it wasn’t uncommon that he would go out for drinks with junior people at NBC.”

Both spouses have been open about marital troubles in the past. Roque once filed for divorce from Lauer in 2006, citing “cruel and inhumane” behavior, though she withdrew the petition three weeks later.

In 2010, the couple denied a report that Lauer had moved out of their New York City apartment.

“Have we had a completely perfect, easy marriage? No. But the stories you’ve read over the years are not true,” Lauer said. “I don’t think we’re any different than any married couple that’s been together for 12 years.”

Roque said in a separate interview with PEOPLE, “Out of self respect, I want to stand up for our family and protect them.”

Following his overnight exit from NBC in November 2017, a source told PEOPLE that Lauer, and Roque went through a challenging time as they grappled with the news — and what it meant for their relationship.

“They were working through their issues at first — they were never hopeful of working it out,” said the source. “But it took her a long time to work through it.”

“Annette needed time to figure out what she wanted and wrap her head around it all,” continued the source. “From the beginning, it was never like ‘We are done.’ It was like, ‘What is this?’ She needed time to figure things out and she realized —and he did, too — that the best thing was to split up.”

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Just weeks after his firing, PEOPLE confirmed the two were no longer wearing their wedding rings, though a source said Lauer was “fighting to save the marriage.”

“He doesn’t want a divorce,” the source said at the time. “Both of them, their first thought is their children.”

By April 2018, a source revealed that the couple was “preparing for divorce.”

“He is truly devastated and wants to make up for anything he has done to hurt people,” said the source. “But the damage in his marriage can’t be fixed, and each would be better off to move on. They know this, but the kids are important to both of them.”

As they worked to finalize the terms of their divorce, the exes continued to live in their Hamptons compound with their three children. According to a source, Lauer was staying in the guest house.

In August 2018, it was reported that Lauer could pay Roque up to $20 million in the settlement and that they agreed to share custody of the children.

That November, a source told PEOPLE that “the divorce is still not final but Annette will get a lot of money. He took a financial hit with all this,” and added: “Annette’s going to get a lot of money. Everybody’s pretty sure he’s going to have to give her the horse farm. That’s her love.”

“He and Annette are co-parenting,” another source added at the time. “They’re just all business. They have to talk and they even spend some time together as a family, but when they do it’s not about them it’s about the children.”

The house — a beachfront estate he bought for $36.5 million from actor Richard Gere, according to the New York Post — is a 12-bedroom, 12-bath property, known as Strongheart Manor. It features a 14,000-square-foot main house with two guesthouses and a basketball court on six acres.

On July 9 — nearly two years after Lauer was terminated by NBC — Roque officially filed for divorce. She submitted the paperwork in Suffolk County, New York, as Lucian Chalfen, director of public information for the New York State Unified Court System, confirmed to PEOPLE.

“The case, which is an uncontested matrimonial, was filed on July 9th in State Supreme Court in Suffolk County, New York and is awaiting judicial review of the agreement,” said Chalfen. “Upon a judge’s signature, it will be sent to the court clerk’s office to be entered. The process could take up to a few months.”

Roque’s attorney told PEOPLE, “The matter has been settled.”

And in early September, PEOPLE reported that the divorce had been finalized.

“They are both focused on their three children,” one source close to Lauer said.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to online.rainn.org.