Matt Lauer was born in New York City but his roots on Long Island are deep — from the properties he has purchased on the East End to his Bridgehampton wedding to his regular appearances on the charity and social circuit.
The 59-year-old, who was fired Wednesday from the “Today” show for what NBC News called “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace,” is known to keep quite the low profile when he’s relaxing around the Hamptons in khakis or jeans and a baseball cap.
“I ran into him at Kmart when I was buying a barbecue grill in Bridgehampton at the beginning of the summer,” Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman recalled in a telephone interview Wednesday. “It was the first time I personally had met him, but he’s been a part of the Hamptons community for years.”
Schneiderman said Lauer seemed like a regular guy — not the famous co-anchor of a popular morning news program.
The 40-acre Bright Side Farm on Deerfield Road in Water Mill, which Lauer and his second wife, Annette Roque, purchased in 2012 for $3.5 million, was built into a world-class equestrian facility.
Roque said in an interview with Cottage & Gardens in 2015 that when the former Frankenbach nursery property became available she and her husband snapped it up since it was near their house.
According to the farm’s website, the facility “took two years to build. . . . Preserving the timeless feel of what the Hamptons used to be, at Bright Side the clock simply slows down.”
A controversy involving the farm fired up last year, making headlines. Lauer, his wife and their attorney could be seen around Southampton Town Hall after the couple became involved in a dispute with one of the Lauers’ neighbors at the farm over the planting of 42 trees and dozens of shrubs.
The neighbors, Jack and Jodi Wasserman, said Lauer’s plan, intended to prevent the horses from being “spooked” by activities and noise around the Wassermans’ swimming pool, would block their “bucolic” view of the farm and violate property restrictions.
Both sides agreed to disagree on how to resolve the issue.
Last summer Lauer added another home to his Long Island real estate portfolio with the purchase of actor Richard Gere’s massive bayfront North Haven compound — Strongheart Manor — for $33 million.
Lauer has also been a regular at the annual Hampton Classic Horse Show, known as the “Hollywood horse show,” in Bridgehampton, which attracts the likes of Brooke Shields, Mary Kate Olsen and James Lipton.
“We have a horse farm here in the Hamptons,” Lauer told Newsday during the 2014 annual event. “My wife and daughter ride like crazy. And so we love the competition.”
Other Long Island happenings Lauer has participated in have included the July Fourth benefit for the Sag Harbor Theater restoration, the Artists & Writers Celebrity Softball Game in East Hampton, and the Red Nose Challenge in Southold that raises money for children in poverty.
Lauer married Roque on Long Island, at the quaint Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church, in 1998.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the location of Strongheart Manor, which is in North Haven.