Katie Couric Says She Felt Betrayed by Matt Lauer, Calls Him a Predator in Her Memoir

Katie Couric does not hold back in her new memoir, Going There, reliving her former friendship with the previous co-host of the Today show, Matt Lauer, and the "predator" she never suspected.

"So many of us were blindsided, never imagining that a dashing, witty, beloved TV star had such a dark side. I've come to realize that Matt could be an excellent professional partner, a good friend, and a predator," Couric wrote.

"I know Matt thinks I betrayed him, and that makes me sad. But he betrayed me, too, by how he behaved behind closed doors at the show we both cared about so much," she wrote.

Couric explained that even though she was with Lauer weekday mornings, the news of his allegations came as a shock. The two co-stars did not socialize much outside of work, besides a dinner two weeks before he was fired where the friends planned a future project together.

"I felt closer to Matt that night than I had in all my years sitting next to him at the anchor desk," Couric wrote.

Couric's book is set to release on October 26.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Katie Couric and Matt Lauer on TODAY
Katie Couric does not hold back in her new memoir, “Going There”, reliving her former friendship with the previous co-host of the Today show, Matt Lauer, and the “predator” she never suspected. Katie Couric and Matt Lauer on NBC "Today" program in New York on May 31, 2006. Richard Drew/Associated Press

Once the king and queen of morning television, Matt and Katie were regular "guests" in the homes of millions of Americans, delivering the news with friendly banter. Yet as the drive-by suggests, much can change in 20 years. Couric today is less visible after a series of jobs that didn't quite work out, while Lauer was fired from the Today show in 2017 after stories about sexual misconduct emerged.

In the book, Couric printed text messages that chronicled the disintegration of their relationship, from when she reached out following his firing to his unsuccessful effort to connect at 4 a.m. one day that week. A turning point came when she heard about his alleged treatment of a young woman that she had brought to NBC. "It nauseated me," she wrote.

Lauer has said that he never assaulted anyone or forced anyone to have sex.

As an author, Couric "goes there" with plenty of sharp stories about those she's encountered along the way. There's the CNN executive who commented on her breasts, awkward encounters as a young reporter with Larry King and Neil Simon and CBS News executives she feels wronged her.

One of her closest professional partners, former Today executive producer and current CNN chief Jeff Zucker, doesn't escape unscathed. They worked together again on Couric's short-lived daytime talk show from 2012 to 2014, where she suspected he was biding his time for something better. She wrote that Zucker asked her for a recommendation for the CNN position, saying there would be a job for her there if he got it.

After CNN hired him, "I never did hear from him about that job," she said.

Couric's biggest professional move was leaving Today for CBS News in 2006, to take over as anchor of the CBS Evening News and report for 60 Minutes. It proved disastrous.

"When someone said the stains on the carpet at NBC were coffee while the stains at CBS were blood, instead of chuckling, maybe I should have listened...I was so hell-bent on taking a stand for women, I didn't consider the woman who would be at the center of the storm—me," she wrote.

While Couric has harsh words for others, she's also unsparing in writing about her own mistakes, from an interview she'd like to have back with Elizabeth Edwards, the late wife of former Senator John Edwards, to an unnecessary remodel of her CBS News office that earned her enemies. She's received pre-publication publicity for writing about her regrets in withholding a potentially damaging quote given to her by the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and her reluctance, in a competitive business, to help other women.

"Mentorship sometimes felt like self-sabotage," she wrote.

Couric also tells of an embarrassing night downing shots at a disco where she got so sick she ended up in the hospital. She almost kept it a secret, until a contestant on Jeopardy! told Alex Trebek that "I once did a flaming Statue of Liberty at a bar with Katie Couric!"

The heart of her book, including some of the most painful self-evaluations, comes in detailing the death of her husband, lawyer Jay Monahan, of colon cancer at age 42 in 1998.

She clearly has regrets, and writes frankly about wishing they had gone to couple's therapy for help navigating through changes in their relationship brought on by her sudden fame at Today.

In taking control of his fight against cancer, Couric said she kept from him some of the grimmest news about his prospects.

"Why was I so afraid to talk to Jay about the inevitable?" she wrote. "Why weren't we straight with each other and admit that this was not solvable, not fixable, and that our storybook life together would end after just a few chapters? I remember thinking I did not want to destroy the time Jay had left by admitting defeat, leaving him with little choice but to wait for death to take him. I think I was a coward."

His fight led her into cancer activism, including a colon cancer screening she did on Today. She said she hoped the first line of her obituary identifies her as a tireless advocate for cancer awareness and research.

Couric raised their daughters, who watched their mom cycle through a series of ill-fated relationships in the public eye.