Matt Lauer’s first wife said she was shocked by the longtime “Today” host’s firing amid sexual misconduct claims, and she said called him one week ago to let him know she had been approached by a reporter working on an exposé about him.
Nancy Alspaugh told Entertainment Tonight Lauer, to whom she was married from 1981 to 1989, is "incredibly nice, incredibly charming and incredibly willing to help anybody.”
She said the allegations against Lauer are “out of character” and she was floored by his firing. She added during her chat with the news outlet that “some of the things that are being stated [about Lauer] may not be true.”
"I couldn’t imagine that anything that he would have done ─ that would have been so out of character for him ─ would have caused that reaction."
"I was shocked because he’s been such a stalwart at that network and in that job," Alspaugh said. "He’s been the best person that’s ever held that job and I couldn’t imagine that anything that he would have done ─ that would have been so out of character for him ─ would have caused that reaction."
She said, "I never saw him as a power monger or somebody who would abuse his position in any way."
His ex-wife added she spoke to Lauer about a week ago when she was approached at her home by a reporter who was working on a story about him.
“I called him to let him know that a reporter had shown up at my door and was saying that some things were going to be coming out," she explained. "And when I called him, he thanked me for the call, and I got the contact of the reporter and he said of course none of it was true."
During the interview with Entertainment Tonight, Alspaugh sang Lauer’s praises and called him “selfless.”
"That’s why it’s so shocking, I think, for the people that really know him and really love him and they want to get the good stuff out. I want to get out the fact that he made a contribution to my nonprofit, that he helped me when my husband died," she said.
"The selfless, giving part of him, which people tend to forget whenever this kind of a situation comes up. He would give you the shirt off his back if you really needed it. He did that for everybody. From the lowest person on set to, you know, the highest powers."
Alspaugh reflected on the horrifying claims against her ex. Those include a woman who told The New York Times he locked her in his office and sexually assaulted her until she passed out and another female who told Variety that he gifted her a sex toy.
NBC ultimately booted Lauer on Wednesday morning, citing a complaint from a female employee who said he was sexually inappropriate with her during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
"He’s just a very giving person and charming and I think a lot of this stuff is obviously going to come to light, whether it’s true or not, and some of the things that are being stated may not be true," she said. "We have to find that out, you know? As time goes on here, people should be aware there’s a family involved here. There are three children and that’s -- I think it’s important to be aware that this can destroy a family. Reporting on accusations before they know whether they’re real or not.”
Lauer issued an apology on Thursday.
“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt I am truly sorry,” he wrote in a statement that his former co-hosts read on Thursday. “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.”
Lauer's current wife, Annette Roque, has not spoken out about the scandal.
Since the initial report, more women have come forward alleging sexual misconduct against Lauer.
Fox News' Leora Arnowitz contributed to this report.