Matt Lauer, who was fired by NBC for "inappropriate sexual behavior," was once accused of "cruel and inhumane" acts by his wife of 19 years, Annette Roque.
The charge came when Roque, 50, reportedly filed for divorce in 2006 before withdrawing the paperwork, according to court documents obtained by The National Enquirer. Lauer left their home "in a fit of rage" and otherwise engaged in "cruel and inhumane" acts against Roque that endangered her mental and physical well-being along with repeated criticism of her parenting skills, the documents alleged.
The divorce papers were withdrawn three weeks after being filed, according to InTouch Weekly. The watermarked court documents are sourced to the Supreme Court of New York and indicate Roque was represented by a New York lawyer at Chemtob Moss Forman & Talbert who specializes in family and matrimonial law. The firing of Lauer follows years of NBC News pressuring the high-profile anchor to maintain his image as a "family man" to appeal to the Today show's female-dominated audience, according to CBS News.
Roque is a Dutch-born model who has been featured in Victoria's Secret catalogs and J. Crew advertisements. She met Lauer on a blind date and married the divorced TV star in 1998. Roque and Lauer have three children—Jack Mathew Lauer, Romy Lauer and Thijs Lauer. Lauer previous marriage to Nancy Alspaugh ended in a 1988 divorce.
NBC News chairman Andrew Lack told colleagues in a memo Wednesday that the outlet received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace—reportedly while Lauer was covering the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.
The media organization has previously included morality clauses in its contracts that mean qualified employees can be fired for bringing "public disrepute, contempt, scandal or ridicule" to the company.
"It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment," Lack said. "While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.
"Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected and to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender," Lack added. "We are deeply saddened by this turn of events. But we will face it together as a news organization – and do it in as transparent a manner as we can."
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