A former “Today” show employee said in an interview published in Variety Thursday that she had an affair with Matt Lauer in July 2000.
Lauer, she said, was then in his 40s and recently married but hit on the 24-year-old production assistant.
Addie Collins, who now goes by her married name of Zinone, said he at first invited her to lunch when he found out that she was leaving “Today” and that the two ended up having a monthlong affair.
“Even though my situation with Matt was consensual,” Zinone, now 41, said, “I ultimately felt like a victim because of the power dynamic.”
Lauer, she said, “knew that I was leaving, and that there was no better prey than somebody who is going to be gone. He went after the most vulnerable and the least powerful. . . . He understood that we were going to be so flattered and so enthralled by the idea that the most powerful man at NBC News is taking any interest in us.”
Lauer’s publicist didn’t respond to requests for comment by Variety and an NBC representative declined to comment.