Katie Couric breaks silence on Matt Lauer: 'I had no idea'

Katie Couric and Matt Lauer

Couric spoke out about Lauer, who was sacked from the Today show in late November for sexual misconduct, for the first time on Saturday in an interview with People, explaining that the scandal surrounding her former co-host has been "painful".

Couric told People that she was completely shocked by the accusations against Lauer, which included that he allegedly sexually harassed and assaulted NBC employees during his "Today" tenure.

"The whole thing has been very painful for me", Couric told People of Lauer's behavior.

'The accounts I've read and heard have been disturbing, distressing and disorienting and it's completely unacceptable that any woman at the Today show experienced this kind of treatment.

"I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC", he said. Matt was a kind and generous colleague who treated me with respect. She added that "It's still very upsetting", and that she "really admire [s] the way Savannah [Guthrie] and Hoda [Kotb] and the entire Today show staff have handled a very hard situation". "I think not everything has to be for public consumption these days", she told ET - also praised current Today co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb for how they've handled Lauer's scandal on-air. 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. The clip received wide attention online after Lauer's firing in late November. In December, Couric said the claims were "upsetting" but that she would only speak when she was "ready".

Couric was referring to a remark she made in 2012 on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen" that Lauer "pinches me on the ass a lot".

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Lauer was sacked in November over the allegations of multiple women, one of whom claimed he sexually assaulted her while they worked on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

"So to try to kind of make sense of it has been really, nearly impossible and very challenging", she added.

Lauer has since apologized in a statement.

After he was sacked, the allegations of several women who had spoken to various media outlets about his alleged impropriety emerged.

Katie Couric is finally opening up about Matt Lauer's firing from "Today".