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A source later told PEOPLE that Lauer was let go due to sexual misconduct throughout 2014 with the woman who made the complaint, including at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Another source with knowledge of the situation said Lauer had viewed this relationship as “consensual” and was “dumbfounded” by the accusation.
Women have also anonymously accused him of sexual harassment and assault in reports published by Variety and The New York Times.
In the wake of his firing, several insiders have told PEOPLE that the veteran morning host was allegedly often unfaithful to Roque, whom he wed in 1998 after meeting on a blind date. (Lauer was previously married to television producer Nancy Alspaugh from 1981-88.)
Lauer and Roque share three children: son Jack, 16, daughter Romy, 14, and son Thijs, 11.
Roque briefly filed for divorce in 2006. In court documents obtained by the National Enquirer, Roque claimed Lauer committed “cruel and inhumane” acts against her, demonstrating “extreme anger and hostility” that endangered her mental and physical wellbeing as well as repeatedly criticized her parenting skills.
Despite the allegations, Roque withdrew the court papers three weeks after filing them.
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On Wednesday, the former Dutch model was photographed for the first time since news broke of Lauer’s firing. In photos obtained by the Daily Mail, Roque was spotted picking up breakfast in Sag Harbor, New York, after dropping off her children at school. Lauer was also spotted without his ring, despite wearing it in photos last week.
Lauer, who joined NBC in 1992 as a newsreader on Today, had been co-anchor of the morning show since January 1997 and reportedly signed a $20 million dollar contract last year. The longtime anchor broke his silence on the allegations in a statement read on Dec. 30 by his former co-hosts on-air.
“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” he said. “To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this, I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC.”
“Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly,” he continued. “Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching, and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”
One of Lauer’s former Today show colleagues told PEOPLE the ousted anchor is still reeling over the situation.
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“He is weak and broken and ashamed by his own admission,” said the colleague.
But, the colleague added, “He is my friend. He is human, and he is flawed. But is he going to use his power to be a predator on women? Until I see solid evidence of that, I just can’t believe it. We don’t know the details.”
Another Today staffer told PEOPLE that most employees inside Rockefeller Center are heartbroken over what’s transpired and torn between the man they knew and the Lauer portrayed by his accusers.
“The reason people are so upset and people are crying on our staff, which is like 80 percent women, is because he was really loved and treated people really well,” said the staffer. “And it’s shocking to think that there could be this side.”