Natalie Morales addresses former 'Today' co-star Matt Lauer's firing

Natalie Morales, who worked alongside Matt Lauer on the "Today" show, spoke out about his firing from NBC News during Wednesday's episode of "Access Hollywood Live."

Talking with co-host Kit Hoover, Morales was clearly still in shock over the news about her former colleague and was incredibly transparent when it came to her history with Lauer.

SEE ALSO: Megyn Kelly addresses Matt Lauer's firing from 'Today'

"I saw the news and woke up to the news, like everyone, this morning just in shock," Morales said. "The 'Today' show, of course, has been my family for 16 years now, and it is difficult -- I think everybody is saying how difficult it is -- to process the news." 

"I have personally dealt with rumors in the past for years that were hurtful to me, my family [and] they've diminished my hard work," she continued, alluding to rumors that the two were once romantically involved. "I've addressed those rumors head-on in the past [and] that is not the story today."

See photos of Natalie Morales:

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Natalie Morales out and about
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Natalie Morales out and about
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 25: Natalie Morales attends the International Women's Media Foundation 2017 Courage In Journalism Awards at NeueHouse Hollywood on October 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 28: Natalie Morales and Alex Rodriguez pose for a photo at TruFusion on September 28, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images for TruFusion)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: TV personalities Kit Hoover (L) and Natalie Morales attend the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: TV personality Natalie Morales attends the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 06: TV personality Natalie Morales accepts her award onstage during the 42nd Annual Gracie Awards, hosted by The Alliance for Women in Media at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on June 6, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Alliance for Women in Media)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 06: TV personality Natalie Morales attends the 42nd Annual Gracie Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on June 6, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb, Jenna Bush Hager, Natalie Morales, Dylan Dreyer and Savannah Guthrie on Friday, May19, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 20: TV host Natalie Morales attends the 2017 Women's Guild Cedars-Sinai Annual Spring Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on April 20, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 30: Host Natalie Morales speaks onstage at the CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, on March 30, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 29: Moderator Natalie Morales speaks onstage at CinemaCon 2017 Universal Pictures Invites You to a Special Presentation Featuring Footage from its Upcoming Slate at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, on March 29, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for CinemaCon)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 14: Natalie Morales attends the finale screening of 'This Is Us' at Directors Guild Of America on March 14, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
THIS IS US -- 'This is Us' Finale Event at The DGA, Los Angeles, March 14, 2017 -- Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Morales, Kit Hoover -- (Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - JANUARY 18: Natalie Morales is seen during the 14th Annual NATPE Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award Ceremony at the Fontainebleau Hotel on January 18, 2017 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08: Journalist Natalie Morales attends The Weinstein Company and Netflix Golden Globe Party, presented with FIJI Water, Grey Goose Vodka, Lindt Chocolate, and Moroccan Oil at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017 in Los Angeles, California (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08: TV personalities Al Roker (L) and Natalie Morales attend FOX and FX's 2017 Golden Globe Awards after party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 14: Journalist/TV anchor Natalie Morales arrives at the Glamour Women Of The Year 2016 at NeueHouse Hollywood on November 14, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage) *** Local caption *** Natalie Morales
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 14: (L-R) CEO Black Girls Code Kimberly Bryant, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Intel Corporation Danielle Brown, TV Hosts Natalie Morales and Designer Rebecca Minkoff pose backstage at Glamour Women Of The Year 2016 LIVE Summit at NeueHouse Hollywood on November 14, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/Getty Images for Glamour)
NAPA, CA - NOVEMBER 10: Journalist Natalie Morales attends the Celebrity Tributes at the 6th Annual Napa Valley Film Festival at the Lincoln Theatre on November 10, 2016 in Napa, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD GAME NIGHT -- 'Super Duper Store Night' Episode 502 -- Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Morales, Ne-Yo, Cheri Oteri -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: TV personality Natalie Morales attends the 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 13: (BROADCAST - OUT) Hosts, Craig Melvin, Natalie Morales and Al Roker pose for a photo through Olympic rings on the Today show set on Copacabana Beach on August 13, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 29: Journalist Natalie Morales attends the screening of 'The BFG' hosted by Disney & The Cinema Society at Village East Cinema on June 29, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 21: Journalists Natalie Morales (L) and Savannah Guthrie pose for a picture as Singer/songwriter Meghan Trainor performs on NBC's 'Today' at Rockefeller Plaza on June 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Natalie Morales appears on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 10: TV personality Natalie Morales attends the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 28: Natalie Morales is seen arriving to the Billboard Latin Music Awards at the Bank United Center on April 28, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Troy Rizzo/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 10: Natalie Morales attends HBO's post 2016 Golden Globe Awards party at Circa 55 Restaurant on January 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) TODAY show news anchor Natalie Morales visits SiriusXM Studios on April 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 27: Natalie Morales speaks during the Goya Foods Grand Tasting Village Featuring MasterCard Grand Tasting Tents & KitchenAid® Culinary Demonstrations during 2016 Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival Presented By FOOD & WINE at Grand Tasting Village on February 27, 2016 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Jenna Bush, Natalie Morales, Al Roker, and Forest Whitaker appear on the 'Today' show on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 -- (Photo by: Heidi Gutman/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 26: Natalie Morales (L) and Chef Marcus Samuelsson and guests attend Amstel Light Burger Bash Presented By Schweid & Sons Hosted By Rachael Ray during 2016 Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival Presented By FOOD & WINE at Beachside at The Ritz Carlton on February 26, 2016 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for SOBEWFF®)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 27: Natalie Morales attends the Goya Foods Grand Tasting Village Featuring MasterCard Grand Tasting Tents & KitchenAid® Culinary Demonstrations during 2016 Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival Presented By FOOD & WINE at Grand Tasting Village on February 27, 2016 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images for SOBEWFF®)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 29: Natalie Morales attends the Muscular Dystrophy Association Funding Announcement at Carnegie Hall on January 29, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Natalie Morales appears on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 10: TV personality Natalie Morales attends the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 09: TV personality Natalie Morales attends the HBO Luxury Lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on January 9, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Mediaplacement)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Natalie Morales attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald and BGC at BGC Partners, INC on September 11, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
TODAY -- Pictured: Natalie Morales appears on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Morales and Savannah Guthrie appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Morales and Savannah Guthrie appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
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"The story today is about a colleague who did come forward, and when -- and if -- she wants to tell her story publicly, I'm sure she will, but it did take a lot of courage for her to come forward," Morales went on. "It was, no doubt, a very painful decision."

Morales and Hoover then went on to share that they expect many more stories to come out about the ousted "Today" anchor, and they commended Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb for the resolve they showed in announcing the bombshell news to their viewers.

"Like Savannah and Hoda said, we will continue to cover this story as journalists," Morales said. "That was a very hard thing for them to do. I'm sending them all hugs because that is a family that is right now very heartbroken."

Before finishing their conversation, Hoover switched gears to address the speculation that has already begun around who could possibly replace Lauer as the co-anchor of NBC's premiere morning program. When Hoover suggested that it could potentially be two female anchors leading the show in the future, Morales was quick to quell the speculation.

"Could be!" she said with caution. "We will have to wait and see on that. I think it's jumping ahead of everything right now. I think right now the stories are still coming out."

Who could replace Matt Lauer on "Today"?

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Who will replace Matt Lauer?
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Who will replace Matt Lauer?
Ann Curry -- Viewers were shocked and stunned when Curry was tearfully released from "Today" on air in 2012. According to reports, she had a strained relationship with Lauer, who wanted her dismissed. CEO Steve Burke allegedly told Lauer ahead of the firing, “We need to sign you so we can do Ann," and top execs reportedly celebrated with a toast after she was fired. Although it seems unlikely that the network would potentially rehash old wounds by bringing her back, it could be a popular choice with viewers, many of whom have already taken to Twitter to campaign for her resinstatement.
Megyn Kelly -- When it was first announced that she would leave Fox News for NBC, there were multiple reports of a power struggle to determine her time slot. She's now situated two hours after Lauer's 7 AM spot, but amid all the turmoil, it's possible that she'll manage to snag that top seat.
Craig Melvin -- "Today" weekend co-host Craig Melvin certainly stands a strong stance of the big promotion to Lauer's top slot. He's already a familiar face among viewers, but he lacks the negative baggage of Ann Curry or Megyn Kelly.
Willie Geist -- The "Sunday Today" host has filled in for Lauer on multiple occasions. He's seen all across the network's programming, from MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to NBC News and NBC Sports.
Anderson Cooper -- After the drama with Ann Curry unfolded, leading many viewers to express a distaste for Lauer, rumors floated in 2013 that Anderson Cooper had been approached by NBC about replacing him. However, NBC News exec Alex Wallace at the time dismissed the claim, saying, "We want [Lauer] in the ‘Today’ show anchor chair for many years to come."
Keith Olbermann -- He spent 20 years as a sports reporter before moving into political journalism at MSNBC. Just days ago, he announced he would be ending his GQ web show "The Resistance," explaining that he wanted to retire from political commentary: "No illness. No scandal. No firing. Just I've said what I've had to say," he said. However, he didn't say he wanted to actually retire, leaving open the possibility of returning via a different type of program.
Tamron Hall -- This one's pretty unlikely. Hall decided herself to leave the show, much to the disappointment of many viewers and Hall's own colleagues. She reportedly felt burned by treatment of NBC execs, who booted her from her 9 AM time slot in favor of Megyn Kelly. She could return if there's no bad blood, but there almost certainly is.
Carson Daly -- He's already on the NBC payroll as the host of "The Voice," and some took to Twitter on Wednesday to campaign for him to slide into Lauer's seat.
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