“I saw the news and woke up to the news, like everyone, this morning just in shock. The Today show, of course, has been my family for 16 years now, and it is difficult — I think everybody is saying how difficult it is — to process the news,” the 45-year-old journalist said during Access Hollywood on Wednesday, November 29.
“I have personally dealt with rumors in the past for years that were hurtful to me, my family [and] they’ve diminished my hard work,” she continued. “I’ve addressed those rumors head-on in the past [and] that is not the story today.”
She added: “The story today is the courage of a colleague who did come forward, and when — and if — she wants to tell her story publicly, I’m sure she will, but it did take a lot of courage for her to come forward. It was, no doubt, a very painful decision.”
Morales also sent her love to Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, who were the first to speak out about Lauer’s allegations on Today. “That was a very hard thing for them to do. I’m sending them all hugs because that is a family that is right now very heartbroken,” Morales said. “So everybody, I’m with you and I feel their pain.”
Last year, rumors of an affair between Lauer and Morales surfaced. The pair denied the affair in statements to Page Six. “There is absolutely no truth to this completely absurd story. It is damaging, hurtful and extremely sexist,” Morales told the publication at the time, ensuring it was her choice to join Access Hollywood. “I have proven myself in all aspects of my job as a news professional and journalist, and am adding to my role, taking on three jobs with Access Hollywood Live and Access Hollywood, in addition to Today. This move was dictated by me and my desire to grow in my career. Any insinuations beyond that are uninformed.”
Lauer added to Page Six: “Every aspect of this story is untrue, and it’s frankly sad that someone would tell lies to harm everyone involved.”
Lauer, 59, has yet to publicly respond to the recent sexual misconduct allegations.