Billy Bush complained that former Today host Matt Lauer didn’t publicly support him after the infamous 2005 Access Hollywood tape was released, but now OK! has learned that the 48-year-old and Lauer were never close to begin with.
"Billy saying he was 'deeply' hurt that Matt 'didn’t fight' for him is hilarious. Matt didn’t even like Billy and when Billy was hired at the show, Matt did everything in his power to stay as far away from him as possible," a source exclusively tells OK!.
"Billy is just as annoying off camera as he is on. He was constantly sucking up to Matt, begging Matt to get lunch or drinks or hangout after work. Matt had zero interest in having anything to do with Billy and found him a pest," the insider adds. "Now, hearing that Billy was hurt when Matt didn’t rush to defend him, just goes to show you how obsessed with Matt Lauer he was."
"It was embarrassing watching Billy try to orchestrate any interaction with Matt. They would literally only be in the same studio for a few minutes together each day as Matt signed off his two hours and Billy began his," the source adds. "Billy would stand watching with hearts in his eyes. Laughing way too loud when Matt told a joke and constantly waving his arms around hoping King Matt would notice him."
"Obviously, we all now know Matt was too busy looking at the ladies on the set, not Billy Bush!" the source exclaims.
The father of three and nephew of former President George H.W. Bush recently reflected on the infamous tape, telling Men’s Health that it taught him "that life isn’t fair."
"Everybody has some kind of fu**ed-up sh*t. And if you don’t know that, and if you don’t know how to handle that, process that, get through that, then you haven’t fully gotten to where you need to be. I’m afraid that event was important for my development as a broadcaster, as a journalist, as a man, as a person. I needed to have my ass handed to me," he told the publication.
Lauer — who appeared on the Today show for two decades — was fired by NBC News in 2017 after a female colleague made a detailed complaint accusing him of inappropriate sexual behavior during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The accusation also claimed that the alleged behavior continued in the workplace after the Olympics.
The New York Times later reported that two more women had made complaints about Lauer after he was fired. An unidentified former employee told the NYT that Lauer, 62, sexually assaulted her in his office in 2001. NBC officials confirmed to the outlet that two more accusers had come forward. Variety published a more detailed account of Lauer's sexual misconduct with at least three women over several years while at Today.
Immediately after his firing, Today co-anchors Guthrie and Kotb got emotional as they announced Lauer's firing, telling viewers at the top of the live broadcast that they were "heartbroken" over his departure but didn't know all of the details.