Addie Collins Zinone, the former production assistant who says she engaged in a sexual affair with married Matt Lauer in 2000, has divulged new revelations about the torrid affair with the now disgraced talk show host, and its painful aftermath.
She added, "This shatters my family".
But things changed in June of 2000 when Zinone received her first instant message from Lauer.
"I understand that people are going to paint me as a home-wrecker, as a s**t and a w***e, and those are things I have been called", she said, but she felt that coming forward could provide guidance to women who found themselves in similar situations. "I want to put a face and a story to these women's accusations because I'm seeing that they're being doubted and I have to validate their claims".
Zinone said she shares some of the blame, but also came forward to publicly share her story after years of remaining silent and rejecting offers from tabloids to sell her story because she wanted to empower young women to speak up and continue the conversation about powerful men abusing power for sexual favors in the workplace. This all trickles down to a lot of people being affected, so having these conversations is really important. "But also, there's a lot of shame attached to what I did".
Addie continued, "I know who I am at my core, I know the values I have, but of course you carry shame", she continued. He had a wife.
Representatives for Lauer said they had no further comment on Zinone's account. You're thinking: 'Why could I not get out of it? "I don't know what you have done, or what is going on in your life ... but it's agreeing with you". "I hope you won't drag me to personnel for saying this, but you look fantastic", read his alleged message. "But every time it was an opportunity like, 'Will you see me as a human being?" What followed was a "consensual encounter" in his dressing room above studio 1A.
At one point, Maria Menounos contacted Zinone about doing a story about her while she was on her second deployment in Iraq in 2008, which happened because the two were friends from Zinone's time at NBC News.
Lauer, who was the anchor of "Today" for two decades, was sacked by NBC News last month after a female colleague made a detailed complaint accusing him of inappropriate sexual behavior. "Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterize", Lauer told Us Weekly in a statement at the time. He partially denied some of the allegations, but he admitted that "there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed".