Katie Couric is 'really sorry’ for that Matt Lauer 'a-- pinching' joke

Katie Couric wants to set the record straight.

The 61-year-old journalist is Matt Lauer's longtime friend, and after he was fired from the Today show, a 2012 clip of her saying that her former co-worker pinched her butt started circulating online.

The remark was made during an episode of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen while she was playing “Plead the Fifth." Upon returning to the show on Tuesday, Couric was ready to clear the air.

“I was joking! It was a total joke,” she said of the comment that Lauer’s most annoying habit was that “he pinches me on the a** a lot.”

“In fact, when that started circulating, Andy, I was like, ‘Oh my god, I was on Watch What Happens Live.’ It was so antithetical to the nature of our relationship," she further explained. "I thought it would be funny because it was so weird.”

Cohen added, “I laughed too and then people got on me. ‘Oh, look at him! White privilege laughing!’”

“It was totally a joke," Couric continued. "But I was really sorry I had made that joke because people misconstrued it."

Earlier that day, Couric opened up on The Wendy WilliamsShow about the sexual misconduct allegations against Lauer, 60, that led to his exit from the Today show in November. She and Lauer co-anchored the morning show from 1997 to 2006.

See photos of Katie and Matt together:

“It’s been a very painful time for a lot of people who worked with Matt, knew him, really care about him, and who never witnessed or experienced any of this behavior that is now being talked about," she told Williams. "I don’t know the full extent of all these things that happened. I can only talk about my personal experience and I was always treated respectfully and appropriately.”

In January, Couric also spoke with ET about the pinching joke she made about Lauer, and was again adamant that it was all in jest.

“It's a silly joke on a late night show that was just that, a silly joke, and people, I think, read into everything these days, and I think it just goes with the territory. But it was nice for me to be able to say that that was a joke," she said. "I wanted to say that earlier, but then I thought it would open up a can of worms, and I really needed time to process all of this, like I think a lot of people do when a situation like this happens.”

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