Everyone has known for years that Matt Lauer is a womanizer. What they might not know is that he leads a separate life from his wife who lives in the Hamptons year round. This man is a total cad but came off on the “Today Show” as a guy who is “friendly” to so many Americans. When it came to politics, he was snarky and elitist but that “friendly” reputation still followed him…
One report claimed Lauer was a “friendly” figure for the past 20 years:
Even if you weren’t a faithful viewer of NBC’s “Today”—even if you were inclined to feel a little cynical about the whole morning TV enterprise—the news of Matt Lauer’s termination hit like an earthquake. It’s not just that another prominent media name wound up on the list of men behaving badly. It was this guy, who had come to symbolize morning TV for the past 20 years. This guy, reminding us that the friendly, dad-like figure onscreen at dawn was problematic, possibly sinister, impossibly flawed.
Page Six reports:
Five weeks after their chic Hamptons wedding in 1998, former model Annette Roque kicked up such a fuss on hearing that Matt Lauer was heading to Florida to cover a space shuttle launch for the “Today” show that NBC staffers had to scramble to get her a set of last-minute press credentials so her husband would never be out of her sight.
“Friends of Lauer’s are stunned that the down-to-earth newsman is suddenly catering to such indulgent whims,” Page Six reported at the time. “Offers one insider: ‘He’s whipped.’”
But in hindsight, Roque, now 52, simply may have been trying to rein in her new husband’s wandering eye — a problem that, two decades later, would cost him his job.
Roque, perhaps the most overlooked victim in the sordid Matt Lauer scandal, is now reportedly hiding from the press in the Hamptons, as many wonder if she’ll finally free herself from a disastrous marriage that had been an open secret in media circles for years.
Lauer, 59, was fired as the long-term host of “Today” on Tuesday night, less than 24 hours after an NBC employee brought accusations of sexual harassment to company officials. As many as seven other women have since come forward with similar accusations. A Variety story claimed that the TV anchor “had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without getting up,” so he could “initiate inappropriate contact” without fearing that someone might walk in.
Meanwhile, Lauer’s reclusive wife has kept quiet. For the last decade, the waifish mother-of-three and her husband have led separate lives, with Roque sticking to the couple’s properties in ritzy Sag Harbor, Long Island, while Lauer remains in their Park Avenue apartment during the week, insiders said.
“If she goes out to dinner, it’s always with Matt and one other couple,” a source in the restaurant world told The Post. “I’ve seen her in Manhattan only once or twice, and she’s painfully frail.”
For years, while Lauer spent his days hosting one of America’s most popular morning shows, Roque has honed her equestrian skills at the boutique 40-acre horse farm that the couple constructed near their home.
“When I see her, she’s always in riding clothes,” said one local.
It’s a far cry from the couple’s high-profile start, when the two were toasted by a glittering power crowd at a 1998 wedding that, People magazine claimed, “put a serious dent in the fantasy lives of multitudes of early-rising American women.”
She was a Victoria’s Secret and J. Crew model with an exotic background — part-Indonesian, part-Dutch.
He was the highly eligible, nationally famous newsman whose romantic exploits had been tabloid fodder ever since his last marriage ended in divorce in 1988. But even though he was a playboy, he was a prude, colleagues said.
NBC brass feared that Lauer’s playboy ways could hurt his reputation with “Today’s” largely female viewership. Execs urged him to settle down.
Less than a year after meeting Roque on a blind date in 1997, he proposed to her — in Venice, while on assignment for his regular “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?” segment.
As the wedding neared, Roque was a shadowy presence.
Only 100 guests were invited to their intimate Bridgehampton wedding, including Katie Couric, Ann Curry, best man Bryant Gumbel, and actor Peter Gallagher.
The couple set up home in an Upper East Side apartment and started a family three years later with the birth of son Jack. Daughter Romy was born in 2003.
But rumors of discord were rife, and the Lauers separated in 2006 — shortly after he returned from covering the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
Insiders gossiped that a furious fight erupted when Roque learned of Lauer’s alleged affair with “Today” show correspondent Natalie Morales (pictured below) while the two were on assignment for the games.
Both Lauer and Morales have fiercely denied an affair, but that September a seven-months’-pregnant Roque filed for divorce, alleging “cruel and inhumane” treatment and citing Lauer’s “extremely controlling” behavior — but not on grounds of infidelity.
“Defendant has continuously and repeatedly given higher priority to … personal interests than his family obligations to plaintiff, causing plaintiff to feel abandoned, isolated and alone in raising the parties’ children,” according to court papers leaked in 2014.
Mysteriously, Roque withdrew her divorce suit three weeks later, and the couple claimed to have reconciled in time for the November birth of son Thijs.
Page Six reported on Saturday that Lauer offered her up to a rumored $5 million deal to remain in the marriage. A source said, “Matt needed to stay in the marriage to keep his reputation as America’s nicest dad. He is in fact a … very doting dad to his kids, but he is also a terrible husband.”
The détente held until 2010, when another Olympics assignment — this one to the winter games in Vancouver — led to another blistering row after Lauer returned home.
This time, the National Enquirer ran a story claiming that Lauer went “wild” at local nightclubs and remained in Vancouver to continue partying after the rest of the “Today” crew went back to New York.
The couple began living separately that March, an NBC source told the Chicago Sun-Times — blaming Roque for the breakup.
“For any good-looking women on the staff or who had any work-related contact with Matt, forget it! Annette would go nuts!” the Lauer ally said.
By 2011, Roque and the children were living in Sag Harbor full-time — while Lauer stayed in Manhattan, heading out to join them each weekend.
“They play happy families at their Hamptons home on weekends, and then she lets him run off to New York to do ‘Today’ — and goodness knows what else,” an East End insiders snarked to RadarOnline in September.
Roque is not a presence on the supercharged Hamptons social scene. The family’s only major annual appearance is at the Hampton Classic horse show, a celebrity magnet in which daughter Romy competes alongside big-money equestrians like Georgina Bloomberg and Jessica Springsteen.
Locals in Sag Harbor and Manhattan on Friday confirmed that the two have long lived entirely separate lives.
At the Calypso St. Barth boutique, employees said that Roque is the town mystery, seen as “a sad wife.” “While Matt is always out and about with his kids and very pleasant, he is never with Annette,” a local told The Post.
Since Lauer was fired on Tuesday night, losing out on a $30 million payout from NBC News, Roque may be off the scene more than ever. While early reports suggested that she had fled to her native Netherlands, a source outside the home told The Post that Roque is still in the Hamptons.