A young woman who began her career as an intern at Today before being promoted to a PA on the NBC morning show has revealed she had a sexual relationship with Matt Lauer.
Addie Zinone (nee Collins) writes in a essay for Variety that it all began when she went to lunch with Lauer in July 2000 after asking him for advice before she went off to start a new job in West Virginia, and instead found the host aggressively hitting on her.
When they returned to work, he sent her a message that read: 'meet me'.
Text exchanges show that Lauer then told Zinone to head to an empty dressing room above Studio 1A so the two could have sex before he left at 3pm.
Lauer sent that text at 2.42pm, just two years into his marriage with second wife Annette.
Innocence lost: Addie Zinone was a 24-year-old PA at Today fresh out of college when she began to have a sexual relationship with Matt Lauer (above with Addie) she writes in an essay for Variety
Now: It began after she approached him for career advice and he took her to lunch, then asked her to meet him in he dressing room at work for sex (Zinone on left, Lauer on right )
The end of the affair: The relationship ended weeks later with Lauer asking Zinone to meet him for sex one last time in a bathroom at a convention center in California during the DNC (Zinone above with Al Roker, Katie Couric and Ann Curry)
'The situation really took its toll on me. I changed physically. I changed emotionally. Fear crept into my life. I became unsure of myself. Any confidence I had was gone. For him, it was a conquest,' writes Zinone, who also detailed one encounter that occurred in Lauer's office.
'I sat across from him, and he pushes a button from his desk and the door shuts. It was embarrassing, because his secretary was sitting outside. He wanted to do stuff. I was like, "No. I’m so in over my head. I’m not a performance artist."'
Zinone says that the relationship came to an end at the Democratic National Convention in California that summer, when Lauer told her to meet him a bathroom for one final round of sex.
'What happened with Matt held me hostage. I was under his spell. It was all-consuming. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t concentrate. Every time I turned on the TV, because I anchored the local news in the morning, there was his face,' she writes in her essay.
'And he was acting all jolly and happy. And here am I, carrying the weight of what had happened and fending off the national press. I didn’t want to start my career being known as one of Matt Lauer’s girls.'
Soon after she left her media job and decided to enlist.
'I was in a depression. This man who I’d held on a pedestal had made me feel like my looks and my body were my true assets,' explains Zinone (above serving overseas)
Still together: Lauer had only been married to his wife Annette for two years at the time of the split
'I was in a depression. This man who I’d held on a pedestal had made me feel like my looks and my body were my true assets,' explains Zinone.
'He made it clear that he wasn’t interested in my skills or my talent. It just shattered everything.'
Despite all this Zinone went on to have an impressive career, serving overseas and accepting a position at Access Hollywood.
She says it was the 'power dynamic' between herself and Lauer that ultimately made her feel like a victim.
'He knew that I was leaving, and that there was no better prey than somebody who is going to be gone,' explains Zinone.
'He went after the most vulnerable and the least powerful — and those were the production assistants and the interns.'