Matt Lauer recalls wanting to 'take Tom Cruise in a wrestling match' when actor called him 'glib'

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Matt Lauer On That Infamous Tom Cruise Interview: I Wanted to Tackle


Matt Lauer says he would want to "do over" his 2005 sit-down interview with Tom Cruise.

Lauer joined his Today show co-anchor, Savannah Guthrie, on Wednesday's Watch What Happens Live and wasn't opposed to rehashing the infamous interaction.

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When asked if there was an interview he would want to erase or redo, he told host Andy Cohen, "I probably would do over the Tom Cruise interview because I've thought of so many things I would have said in hindsight."

The 58-year-old journalist added, "But actually, it was one of those interviews that just became iconic."

Tom Cruise through the years:

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Matt Lauer recalls wanting to 'take Tom Cruise in a wrestling match' when actor called him 'glib'
US actor Tom Cruise waves as he attends a press conference for his latest movie 'Edge of Tomorrow' in Tokyo on June 27, 2014. Cruise is here to promote the science fiction film, adapted from the novel 'All You Need Is Kill' written by Japanese novelist Hiroshi Sakurazaka. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
VIENNA, AUSTRIA - AUGUST 28: (EDITORS NOTE: Image was created as a still grab taken from video.) Tom Cruise sighted signing autographs on August 28, 2014 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Kai Danneberg/GC Images)
US actor Tom Cruise smiles as he attends a press conference for his latest movie 'Edge of Tomorrow' in Tokyo on June 27, 2014. Cruise is here to promote the science fiction film, adapted from the novel 'All You Need Is Kill' written by Japanese novelist Hiroshi Sakurazaka. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
OSAKA, JAPAN - JUNE 26: Tom Cruise attends the promotional event for 'Edge of Tomorrow' at the Dotonbori Riverside on June 26, 2014 in Osaka, Japan. (Photo by Jun Sato/WireImage)
CHICHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 31: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Tom Cruise watches the racing as he attends Ladies Day of Glorious Goodwood at Goodwood Racecourse on July 31, 2014 in Chichester, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, UNITED STATES: US actor Tom Cruise (R) waves to fans as he arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of new film 'The Others' which he executive produced with Paula Wagner (L), in West Hollywood, CA, 07 August 2001. The film stars Cruise's estranged wife Nicole Kidman. AFP PHOTO/ Lucy Nicholson (Photo credit should read LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US actor Tom Cruise looks on as he takes a break from filming a scene in the movie 'Mission Impossible 5' on September 25, 2014, in the Kasbah of the Udayas near the Moroccan capital Rabat. The filming in Morocco of Hollywood action movie 'Mission Impossible 5' is to close off a section of a main highway for two weeks, the highways authority and local media said. AFP PHOTO / FADEL SENNA (Photo credit should read FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, UNITED STATES: Actor Tom Cruise holds his Golden Globe award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Drama for his role in 'Magnolia' at the 57th Annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, CA 23 January, 2000. AFP PHOTO (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) Vince BUCCI/mn (Photo credit should read Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images)
SYDNEY - JUNE 01: AUSTRALIAN ACTRESS NICOLE KIDMAN AND ACTOR HUSBAND TOM CRUISE OUT IN SYDNEY. (Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images).

Tom is all the way on the left in the bottom row. Were you able to spot him?

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During Lauer's discussion with Cruise, he questioned the actor about his earlier criticism of Brooke Shields taking anti-depressants. The actress said she took the medication for her postpartum depression, but as a Scientologist, Cruise does not believe in drug use to help with such a condition.

"You don't know the history of psychiatry. I do," Cruise told Lauer. At one point in the interview, the Mission: Impossible star accused the anchor of being "glib."

Lauer told Cohen that it was at that moment that he thought, "Can I take him in a wrestling match? Could I tackle him on the set?"

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Lauer said he did have a takeaway from the awkward encounter. "Even the bad interviews I think you learn from. They make you better," he said. "If you have a bad experience on the air, you don't think you've done your job or you have an embarrassing moment. I guarantee you'll work harder the next time not to let it happen again."

The morning show host also revealed how he managed to land the first interview with Charlie Sheen about his HIV diagnosis. "I had heard rumors about Charlie's diagnosis a couple of weeks before the news broke and I reached out to him," Lauer explained. "He's someone I know through other interviews and kind of confirmed it that way. It all came together pretty quickly once I contacted him."

READ MORE: Brooke Shields Recalls Attending Tom Cruise's Wedding, Giving Birth at the Same Time and Place as Katie Holmes

Here's a look back at Lauer's chat with Sheen:

Matt's Interview with Charlie Sheen
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