In November 2017, longtime “Today” show host Matt Lauer was fired over alleged “inappropriate sexual behavior” after 20 years on the show.
But it seems Lauer still has at least one former co-host by his side — Kathie Lee Gifford.
Gifford, who will depart the morning talk show next month, told People that she’s still in regular contact with disgraced television guru:
“I was texting him last week and praying for him this morning. That’s what a friendship means to me.”
Gifford explained that she would want friends to stay by her side during difficult times. The 65-year-old said:
“I’ve been through very, very hard times in my life and I saw my friends drop away because they weren’t my friends. Times like that test the mettle of friendships. The Matt I love is the Matt I still do.”
The “Today” host said it’s not her place to judge and that she believes Lauer deserves another chance. Gifford told People:
“He made mistakes and he paid dearly for them. But I believe in second, third and 100 chances.
I believe in redemption because Jesus did. And it’s not for me to judge any choices he made. That’s between him, his wife and his God. My job is to be his friend and be there for him. He’s found out who his real friends are.”
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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. 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. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly. 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 the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.
The “Today” host also revealed that she delayed her departure from the show due to the scandal. She planned to leave two years ago but was asked to stay after Lauer’s firing by NBC.
“The executive producer came to me and said, ‘Kathie, because of what had happened with our friend Matt, would you mind staying? Reconsider, stay.’ And so I said, ‘you know what? Yes, of course I will. I want to help you guys.’”
She is scheduled to leave “Today” on April 5, after hosting for more than a decade, Dearly reported. Jenna Bush Hager is confirmed to be her replacement.
Though Gifford is leaving the show, it seems she always sticks by those in the “Today” show family.