Matt Lauer apologizes, says he's 'soul searching' after NBC's 'Today' show firing

NEW YORK, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Matt Lauer apologized and said he was "soul searching" in a statement read out on NBC's "Today" show on Tuesday, a day after he was fired from his role as co-host of the popular morning show for what the network said was inappropriate sexual behavior.

"There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions," Lauer said in the statement released to the network. "To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry."

Lauer said that some of what he has been accused of is untrue and mischaracterized but said, "there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed."

Reuters has not been able to verify the accusations.

Lauer has been a fixture of U.S. morning television since becoming a "Today" anchor in 1997 and went on to become one of NBC's highest-paid personalities, earning $20 million a year.

The married 59-year-old news star was one of the latest public figures to be embroiled in accusations of sexual misconduct that have recently struck down high-profile men in entertainment, politics and media.

"Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I'm committed to beginning that effort," Lauer said in the statement. 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."

20 PHOTOS
Matt Lauer and his family through the years
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Matt Lauer and his family through the years
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 18: Jack Matthew Lauer, Romy Lauer, Thijs Lauer and Matt Lauer attend The Philadelphia 76ers vs New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden on January 18, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
EAST HAMPTON, NY - AUGUST 12: Annette Roque and Matt Lauer attend Apollo in the Hamptons 2017: hosted by Ronald O. Perelman at The Creeks on August 12, 2017 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Apollo)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 18: (L-R) Chris Rock, Jack Matthew Lauer, Romy Lauer, Thijs Lauer and Matt Lauer attend The Philadelphia 76ers Vs New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden on January 18, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
BRIDGEHAMPTON, NY - AUGUST 30: Annette Lauer and Matt Lauer attend the 2015 Hamptons Classic Grand Prix on August 30, 2015 in Bridgehampton, New York. (Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images)
EAST HAMPTON, NY - JULY 24: Matt Lauer (L) and Thijs Lauer attend the 'Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation' Special Screening Hosted By Alec Baldwin, Arrivals at United Artists East Hampton Cinema on July 24, 2015 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures Studios)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 22: Annette Roque and Matt Lauer attend the 2013 Animal League America Celebrity gala at The Waldorf=Astoria on November 22, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
EAST HAMPTON, NY - AUGUST 17: Matt Lauer and son Jack attend the 65th Anniversary Artists & Writers Celebrity Softball Game at Herrick Park on August 17, 2013 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images)
APRIL 26: Annette Lauer and Matt Lauer attend MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE honors MATT LAUER and DEBRA L LEE at St Regis Hotel N.Y.C. on April 26, 2007. (Photo by CHANCE YEH /Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 25: Matt Lauer and Jack Lauer attend the Milwaukee Bucks vs New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden on March 25, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
Matt Lauer and wife Annette Roque Lauer during 2nd Annual UNICEF Snowflake Ball - Arrivals at The Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Robin Platzer/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 28: (ITALY OUT; NEWSDAY, NY DAILY NEWS OUT) TV personality Matt Lauer (L) walks on Park Ave. with his son Jack February 28, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 19: NBC 'Today' show host Matt Lauer and wife Annette Roque arrive for Time Magazine Celebrates New 'Time 100' list of Most Influential People In The World at the Time Warner Center on April 19, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)
Annette Lauer, Elmo and Matt Lauer at the Cipriani in New York City, New York (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
Annette Roque and Matt Lauer during ASPCA Bergh Ball Honoring Roger A. Caras at Plaza Hotel in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Matt Lauer and Annette Roque at GQ Man of the Year, New York, October 21, 1998. (Photo by Steve Eichner/Getty Images)
NANTUCKET - JUNE 19: Nantucket Film Festival. Matt Lauer and then-fianc� Annette Roque at Bob and Suzanne Wright?s party at the Nantucket Film Festival, Nantucket, MA June 19, 1998 (Photo by Lindsay Brice/Getty Images)
TODAY -- 'Where in the World is Matt Lauer? 1998: Cairo' -- Pictured: NBC News' Matt Lauer, girlfriend Annette Roque in front of the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut beneath the cliffs at Deir el Bahari in Giza, Egypt on April 27, 1998 -- Photo by: NBC/NBC NewsWire
TODAY -- 'Where in the World is Matt Lauer? 1998: Cairo' -- Pictured: (l-r) NBC News' Matt Lauer, girlfriend Annette Roque in front of the Great Sphinx of Giza, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and the Pyramid of Khafre in Giza, Egypt on April 27, 1998 -- Photo by: NBC/NBC NewsWire
Matt Lauer, co-host of the NBC television network morning program "Today" arrives with his wife, Dutch model Annette Roque, at the DreamWorks studio party following the 72nd annual Academy Awards March 26 at Spago in Beverly Hills. The DreamWorks film "American Beauty" won five Academy Awards including Best Picture. FSP
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