A former Today show production assistant has come forward with details about a secret relationship she says she had with Matt Lauer.
In a first person account in Variety, Addie Collins Zinone writes: “I was under his spell. It was all-consuming.”
She kept a printout of flirtatious messages she says Lauer sent her in 2000 when she was just starting out in television.
“Hey I hope you won’t drag me to personnel for saying this but you look fantastic,” he wrote.
Another message said: “Ok, now you’re killing me….you look great today.! A bit tough to concentrate.”
She replied: “That really means a lot to me for many reasons.”
The flirty messages grew in intensity after she told Lauer she was leaving Today show for an anchor job at a station in West Virginia.
She messaged him: “I’d like to get a little advice from you before I leave.”
Lauer took the ambitious 24-year-old woman to lunch, but instead of career advice, she says he took the opportunity to hit on her and insisted they leave separately so they wouldn’t be seen together.
When Lauer got back at the Today show the he messaged her: “Meet me.”
“Meet you where?” She answered. “Matt think about this first… You have a wife.”
He apparently dismissed her concern and told her and replied: “Dressing room.”
She says that’s when they had the first of many trysts.
Their last sexual encounter took place at the Staples Center during the 2000 Democratic National Convention, which Lauer was covering for the Today show.
She writes in Variety: “He leaned over and said to me, ‘Do you see that bathroom over there? Meet me in five minutes.’ So I went.”
She says she joined the U.S. Army after the affair ended because “I couldn’t deal with the fallout from this brief but intense relationship.”
“Matt took advantage of his power,” she wrote. “It’s sickening. It breaks my heart that he did this for so long.”
She did two tours in Iraq. In 2009 she returned to the Today show as a guest for a Veterans Day segment. Matt Lauer took that day off.