Matt Lauer's ex-wife defends him after sexual misconduct allegations (Exclusive)

Matt Lauer's ex-wife has only good things to say about him.

Nancy Alspaugh, who was married to the fired Today show host from 1981 to 1988, spoke to ET exclusively by phone on Thursday, where she defended his character after multiple women accused Lauer of sexual misconduct.

"I was shocked because he’s been such a stalwart at that network and in that job," Alspaugh told ET regarding Lauer's firing. "He’s been the best person that’s ever held that job and I couldn’t imagine that anything that he would have done -- that would have been so out of character for him --  that would have caused that reaction."

Calling her former husband "incredibly nice, incredibly charming and incredibly willing to help anybody," Alspaugh added, "I never saw him as a power monger or somebody who would abuse his position in any way."

"That’s why it’s so shocking, I think, for the people that really know him and really love him and they want to get the good stuff out. I want to get out the fact that he made a contribution to my nonprofit, that he helped me when my husband died," she shared. "The selfless, giving part of him, which people tend to forget whenever this kind of a situation comes up. He would give you the shirt off his back if you really needed it. He did that for everybody. From the lowest person on set to, you know, the highest powers."

See photos of Nancy Alspaugh:

15 PHOTOS
Nancy Alspaugh, Matt Lauer's ex-wife, through the years
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Nancy Alspaugh, Matt Lauer's ex-wife, through the years
SANTA MONICA - APRIL 3: Author Nancy Alspaugh signs autographs as she attends the book signing for 'Fearless Women' at Barnes and Nobles April 3, 2005 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Marsaili McGrath/Getty Images)
Nancy Alspaugh and John Farrar at the Private Residence in Hidden Hills, California (Photo by Amy Graves/WireImage)
CALABASAS, CA - MAY 02: (L-R) Antonio Sabato Jr., ACT Today! Executive Director, Nancy Alspaugh and Tom Bergeron attend the 2nd Annual 'Wyatt's Run' kick off party to benefit Autism Care and Treatment Today (ACT Today!) held at the lululemon athletica store on May 2, 2009 in Calabasas, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
HIDDEN HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 23: Actor Jillian Clare and Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson attend the 5th Annual Denim & Diamonds For Autism Benefit Fashion Show on October 23, 2010 in Hidden Hills, California. (Photo by Arun Nevader/FilmMagic)
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA - AUGUST 27: Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh (L) and Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson attend the ACT Today! 6th annual charity golf classic held at the North Ranch Country Club on August 27, 2012 in Westlake Village, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA - AUGUST 27: Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson (L) and Joe Mantegna attend the ACT Today! 6th annual charity golf classic held at the North Ranch Country Club on August 27, 2012 in Westlake Village, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)
MALIBU, CA - NOVEMBER 03: Actor Joe Mantegna (L) and ACT Today Executive Director Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson arrive at the ACT Today!'s 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds For Autism Benefit on November 3, 2012 in Malibu, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)
MALIBU, CA - NOVEMBER 03: ACT Today Executive Director Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson arrives at the ACT Today!'s 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds For Autism Benefit on November 3, 2012 in Malibu, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA - OCTOBER 06: Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson attends the 8th annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism at Fours Season Hotel on October 6, 2013 in Westlake Village, California. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson/WireImage)
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA - OCTOBER 06: Tom Bergeron and Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson attend the 8th annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism at Fours Season Hotel on October 6, 2013 in Westlake Village, California. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson/WireImage)
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA - OCTOBER 06: (L-R) Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson, Alan Thicke and Tanya Callau attend the 8th annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism at Fours Season Hotel on October 6, 2013 in Westlake Village, California. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson/WireImage)
ANAHEIM, CA - JANUARY 25: Executive Director of Act Today, Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson and 3-Time All-Star pitcher with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Jered Weaver pose before the 4th Annual Stars and Strikes Celebrity Bowling Tournment at Bowlmor Lanes at Anaheim Garden Walk on January 25, 2015 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Doug Gifford/Getty Images)
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA - OCTOBER 22: (L-R) Nancy Alspaugh Jackson, Olivia Newton-John and Dr. Anna Guanche attend the 12th Annual Denim, Diamonds And Stars at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village on October 22, 2017 in Westlake Village, California. (Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images)
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA - OCTOBER 22: Nancy Alspaugh Jackson and Edi Patterson attend the 12th Annual Denim, Diamonds And Stars at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village on October 22, 2017 in Westlake Village, California. (Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images)
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Alspaugh went on to question the veracity of some of the claims against Lauer.

"He’s just a very giving person and charming and I think a lot of this stuff is obviously going to come to light, whether it’s true or not, and some of the things that are being stated may not be true," she said. "We have to find that out, you know? As time goes on here, people should be aware there’s a family involved here. There are three children and that’s -- I think it’s important to be aware that this can destroy a family. Reporting on accusations before they know whether they’re real or not.”

On the subject of Lauer's children, Alspaugh noted that she is not sure how they are doing, but did reveal that she has reached out to their father since the firing.

"I just haven’t heard back, but of course I’ve given him my support," she revealed. "One hundred percent.”

A week before the news of the allegations broke is when Alspaugh says she last spoke to Lauer, explaining that she wanted to make him aware that a reporter had approached her about the forthcoming story.

“I called him to let him know that a reporter had shown up at my door and was saying that some things were going to be coming out," she explained, claiming, "And when I called him, he thanked me for the call, and I got the contact of the reporter and he said of course none of it was true."

"Whatever they were going to come out with was fabricated," she claimed Lauer added. "[The phone call] was just really about the fact that this reporter was on my step. I think he was blindsided by the whole thing, but, like I said, what I want to get out there is the side of him that I know and that so many others know about him, which is the charming, want to help you in any way kind of guy he was.”

Who could replace Matt Lauer:

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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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While she had not heard back from Lauer, Alspaugh did say that she's spoken to members of the family, adding, "The family is kind of gathering inward and trying to make the best of a really horrible situation."

Alspaugh maintained that she and Lauer have been amicable since their divorce.

"We were very friendly and I, of course, met his current wife, Annette, and we had our children at the same time," she shared. "I’m very close with his family, with his mother and his sister, and I know they’re all just trying to hang in amidst this firestorm.”

Alspaugh lastly wanted people to know "what a stand-up guy he’s been to me, and how much I’ve depended on him despite the fact that we were divorced. I could always count on him."

In response to a video uncovered by TMZ, which showed Lauer on the Today show with former co-host Meredith Vieira in a clip from 2006 -- which aired in at least one local affiliate's market, though most had cut to commercial -- commenting, "Keep bending over like that. It's a nice view," Alspaugh said that she had not seen the video, but assumed it was a joke.

“No, I have not [seen the video.] I read about it," she said. "If he did, it would have been in a very joking, offhand way that was not in any way meant malicious or serious."

Meanwhile, on Thursday morning, Lauer released a statement to deny some of the allegations against him while apologizing for his past bahavior.

"There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry," the 59-year-old newsman said in a statement that was read by Savannah Guthrie at the top of the Today show.

Matt Lauer and his family through the years:

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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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"As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC. Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed," he added. "I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly. Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full-time job."

While Lauer's first wife commented on the ongoing controversy surrounding him, his current wife, Annette Roque, has yet to speak out on her husband.

Lauer and Roque, who married in 1998,  have often put up a united front in public in response to tabloid speculation about their relationship, including allegations that Lauer had cheated.

"I go home and live my life and with my family and, you know, smile when I read some stuff and laugh," Lauer said at the UNICEF Snowflake Ball in 2005, with Annette adding, "And cry."

"As long as my kids and our family and our friends know the real story, that's all we care about," Lauer noted.

However, in 2006, Roque reportedly filed for divorce against her husband before eventually withdrawing the documents, per The New York Daily NewsAccording to paperwork first obtained by the National Enquirer, in the filing, Roque accused her husband of "cruel and inhumane acts," reportedly also claiming that Lauer was controlling about "even the smallest decisions," alleging he showed "extreme anger and hostility" toward Roque.

ET has reached out to Lauer regarding his firing.

Reporting by Brendon Geoffrion.

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