After opening up about her consensual affair with Matt Lauer in 2000 — which she claims he initiated — former Today show staffer Addie Collins Zinone revealed in a Dec. 18 interview on Megyn Kelly Today that she’s been slut-shamed since sharing her story.
“The blowback has been … I expected it, when my husband and I decided that I was actually going to go forward with this and speak out and become a face, I expected some blowback of course,” the 41-year-old shared. “I understand that people are going to paint me as a home-wrecker, as a slut, and a whore and those are things I have been called. It was suggested yesterday to me: ‘Please please go get hit by a bus.’”
In an interview with Variety published on Dec. 14, the one-time production assistant, who was 24 at the time, stated that the anchor manipulated her into a sexual relationship. Though she initially accepted an offer to go to lunch for “purely professional” reasons, she said his flirting was “flattering, confusing, [and] overwhelming.” What followed was a “consensual encounter” in his dressing room above studio 1A. Afterwards, “He got in his car and I had to go back to work, and now my life had completely changed… Over the next few weeks, we met several other times,” Collins Zinone revealed.
Despite the intense backlash, Collins Zinone told Megyn she has no regrets about making their affair — which took place within the first two years of his marriage to current wife Annette Roque — public. “I thought, ‘I’ve got to validate [his accusers’ claims],'” she shared, though she still feels ashamed by her actions.
“Everything was a massive mistake and I know who I am at my core and the core values I have, but of course, you carry shame,” Collins Zinone confessed. “He had a wife. You do carry that your whole life. You’re thinking: ‘Why could I not get out of it? Why did I do that?’”
She added, “This shatters my family. They’re afraid for me. This all trickles down to a lot of people being affected, so having these conversations is important.”