An Iraqi war veteran has come forward alleging that she had an affair with Matt Lauer just after she worked on the Today show. In a shocking tell-all to Variety, Addie Collins Zinone admitted to having an affair with the married Lauer in 2000. She was 24 and he was 43. Zinone was fresh out of college and had worked on the Today and in NBC News show as an intern and later as a production assistant. The affair began, according to Zinone, after she left 30 Rock to work as an anchor on NBC’s West Virginia affiliate. Although Zinone confesses that the relationship she had with Lauer was consensual, she blames him for having a very negative effect on her life and career.
Lauer was fired by NBC after 20 years at the helm of the Today show on November 29, 2017. He had been accused by a female subordinate of engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior while on location at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Further investigations by the New York Times and Variety uncovered further instances of Lauer behaving inappropriately. Lauer has admitted to some of the allegations and apologized.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Zinone Served 2 Tours of Duty in Iraq
After her alleged affair with Lauer, Zinone told Variety that she joined the U.S. Army and began basic training in March 2002. In the army reserve, Zinone became a military journalist. Zinone says of this time, “I’m not connecting dots that don’t exist, because it makes my story better. I went and joined the army because I on my own couldn’t deal with the fallout from this brief but intense relationship.”
Zinone was sent to Iraq in the early stages of the war in 2003, just after Zinone had started work at Access Hollywood. Just after her second tour, in 2008, Zinone told Variety that a friend of hers had pitched an idea to Today producers. The pitch was a story on a former production assistant who was now fighting in Iraq. A producer told Zinone’s friend who pitched the idea, Maria Menounos, “We’re not going to cover her. Addie said something bad about the show.”
2. Zinone Was Hired on Today by Katie Couric
Zinone told Variety that just after she graduated Temple University with a degree in broadcast journalism, Zinone sent a cold fax to Katie Couric. A few weeks later, Couric’s assistant made contact and Zinone went to work at NBC News. Zinone says at the time she had no money and stayed as a women’s shelter at the Salvation Army.
Zinone says she forged a close relationship with Couric, Ann Curry and Al Roker. It was only after Zinone left Today that Lauer took an interest in her, inviting her to lunch and sending her suggestive instant messages. The pair had a consensual encounter in an abandoned dressing room in June 2000 after they had lunch together. Zinone says the last time she saw Lauer was at the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, the pair had an encounter then too, in a bathroom. Some time later, Zinone says she was approached by a National Enquirer reporter over the alleged affair but the story never made it to print. Zinone apparently told the reporter that she and Lauer were just friends.
3. Her Husband Played Defensive End at West Virginia University
According to a post on her Facebook page, Zinone married Greg Zinone in May 2007. The couple has two children together. Greg Zinone formerly played defensive end at West Virginia University.
4. Zinone Is Now the Owner of Clothing Line for Moms
These days, Zinone dedicates her time to her clothing line, Sideline Candy, where she is the CEO and founder.
Zinone writes on her Instagram bio that she is a “human; mom; wife; combat veteran; journalist; lover of equality and bacon and Jesus.”
5. At the Time of the Alleged Affair, Lauer Had Been Married to Annette Roque for Less Than 2 Years
Lauer married his second wife, Annette Roque, a Dutch model for J. Crew in October 1998. The alleged affair with Zinone occurred in June 2000 meaning he had been married for less than two years. Lauer and Roque had three children together, a sons, Jack and Thijs as well as a and a daughter, Romy. In September 2006, Roque filed for divorce alleging that Lauer had been cruel and inhumane to her while demonstrating extreme hostility and anger. People Magazine reported on December 11 that Lauer was fighting hard to save his marriage. A source told the magazine that Lauer and Roque were most concerned with well-being of their children amid the scandals.