Matt Lauer is "as good as he can be" in the wake of his headline-making sexual misconduct scandal, according to former co-worker Willie Geist
On Tuesday, Geist told Entertainment Tonight that he had been in touch with Lauer recently, exchanging text messages with him around Dec. 30 — Lauer’s 60th birthday.
“He’s good. As good as he can be. He’s sort of reconnecting with his family and figuring everything out,” the 42-year-old Sunday Today anchor said from the red carpet of the National Board of Review Awards, which he hosted.
Asked what Lauer’s next step would be, Geist said he was unsure. “I think he’s totally focused on his kids and his family right now,” he explained.
Since he was fired from Today for alleged inappropriate sexual behavior in November, Lauer has remained in touch with his former co-workers — even texting Kotb earlier this month to congratulate her when news broke she would be replacing him on the popular NBC morning show.
He has remained away from the public eye though, and has not spoken out since releasing a statement in the hours after his dismissal.
“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” Lauer said in the statement. “To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this, I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC.”
“Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed,” he added. “I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly.”
Lauer continued: “Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching, and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”
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Geist was one of the rumored replacements for Lauer’s position, though he told ET Tuesday that he was happy with his current gigs and occasional Today guest spots.
“I do my Sunday Today show. I do Morning Joe, which I love, during the week, so I get into the politics of it all,” he said. “And I’m there all week this week with the gang, so I’m not too far.”
As for Kotb, Geist couldn’t help but gush about her role alongside co-anchor Savannah Guthrie.
“They’re both my honest-to-goodness friends. I’m so happy for Hoda,” Geist said. “They’re kickin’ butt. They won the week again last week. I think they’ve won every week since they’ve started. You can’t not be happy for Hoda. She’s such a genuine, loving, feeling, energetic person. She deserves it, and it’s good for everybody.”
Today airs weekdays (beginning at 7 a.m. ET) on NBC.