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The untold truth of Savannah Guthrie
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15.12.2018

The untold truth of Savannah Guthrie

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Savannah Guthrie became co-anchor of NBC's Today show in July 2012. Since then, she's helped keep the morning show at the top of the ratings in the critical 25-54 age group demo, which drives the most lucrative ad rates. While Guthrie sometimes reveals tidbits about herself on the show, she generally keeps it professional, preferring to probe her interview subject's personal lives rather than revealing her own. So let's turn the tables on her and dive into the untold truth of this popular member of the press.   

She was born in Australia

Though she grew up in Arizona, Guthrie was born in Melbourne, Australia. Her family moved down under when her dad, Charles, was transferred there for his job, but they were back Stateside by the time Guthrie was 2 years old. 
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"I have no memory of it because I was too young, but growing up and knowing that I was born in Australia was always this interesting exotic part of my history that I love," Guthrie told People.

In May 2015, she returned to her birthplace for the first time as part of Today's Mother's Day programming. Alongside her mom, Nancy Guthrie, Savannah took in the sights of the country, but also went on an emotional trip down memory lane, visiting her childhood home as well as Melbourne's Sandringham Hospital, where she was born. "I think seeing the very place you were born is not something most people get to do or see,” Savannah said. "To get to go back with my mom, it's just really special."

She's terrified of frogs
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Savannah Guthrie's unusual phobia first revealed itself in a 2011 Today show segment featuring a "country fair." The footage included a pretty innocent-looking bullfrog hopping around while Guthrie cowered in fear, pleading with Al Roker not to let it get near her. According to HuffPost, she later bravely participated in a "game of frog-jumping," although she still refused to touch an amphibian, instead spraying it with water to get it to move.

A few years later, talk show host and prankster, Ellen DeGeneres, took full advantage of Guthrie's frog fright by tossing a fake (but extremely realistic-looking) frog into her lap and then chasing her around the stage with it. "It's not real, so this is a way to get over it," Degeneres said. 

"Well that worked, obviously," Guthrie sarcastically replied.
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She's a lawyer

It's fairly well-known that Guthrie is a lawyer. After all, she still holds the title of NBC News chief legal correspondent. What's lesser known is the fact that Guthrie absolutely crushed it in law school, earning her "Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center, where she graduated magna cum laude," according to AdWeek. She also aced the Arizona bar exam, receiving the top score when she passed it in 2002.

Guthrie's interest in law actually came after her start in broadcast journalism. According to an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she had already been working at local affiliate TV stations in places like Butte, Mont. and Tucson, Ariz. when she was "inspired to apply to law school by watching the Simpson and Menendez brothers trials on Court TV." She then worked for a few years at "a white-shoe D.C. firm" before getting back in front of a camera for Court TV, then eventually NBC News in 2007, where she's worked ever since.
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Her first marriage only lasted four years

As of this writing, Guthrie is married to consultant and PR guru Michael Feldman. They wed in March 2014, and have two children together, a 3-year-old daughter, Vale Guthrie Feldman, and an 11-month-old son, Charles Max Feldman. Guthrie was previously married to BBC News producer Mark Orchard until, according to Radar Online, their marriage ended as dubiously as it began.

A National Enquirer story alleged Guthrie came between Orchard and his first wife, reporter Anne Kornblut of The New York Times. Radar reported that Guthrie and Orchard's 2005 marriage began to unravel relatively quickly, citing divorce documents that stated they were "living apart" in Washington DC by August 2008. The Hollywood Reporter said the split took place when Guthrie was working long, stressful hours as a White House correspondent for NBC News. 
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Perhaps the drama surrounding her first marriage was the reason Guthrie and Feldman decided to keep their wedding (and first pregnancy) a secret until after they walked down the aisle.   

She's a devout Christian

Guthrie shared in a 2017 profile for The New York Times  that she is a practicing Christian who regularly attends Sunday service at Trinity Grace, a non-denominational church in Manhattan. 
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"It's a casual church, and I can go in jeans or a simple dress," she said, adding, "Michael is Jewish and usually doesn't come with us so I take Charley and Vale there in our double stroller. The service is about an hour and a half. Vale sits with me in the beginning when the songs are going on, and then goes to Sunday school."

Guthrie previously discussed her faith in a blog for Guideposts, writing, "At 42, I'd been waiting my whole life to have a baby. Every time I woke in the night for a feeding or heard Vale sigh in her sleep, I felt a fresh rush of gratitude for this incredible blessing from God." 

She also revealed that throughout the early, uneasy years of her career, she turned to the Bible, copying passages that "particularly spoke to her" into a notebook for future reference. She eventually filled three notebooks, but came to rely on a particular passage in times of stress. 
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"Psalm 62:8, became my watchword: 'Trust in him at all times. Pour out your hearts to him,' Guthrie wrote. "I certainly did. I turned my loneliness, my frustration, my mistakes, over to God and told myself to be patient."

She cut her second maternity leave short for Today

Though it was announced that she would return from her 2017 maternity leave on March 3, Guthrie returned to the Today couch four days early, according to Page Six. Though she said she was "delighted" to be back, Guthrie also said, "Yesterday, I admit, I got a little weepy because it's a transition. It's the end of an era," apparently referencing her nearly three-month sabbatical after giving birth to her son.
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As for why she cut her leave a little short? Page Six said Today producers begged Guthrie to return to stave off a ratings slide they believed was triggered by her absence. "They needed Savannah to bail them out, so they rushed her from maternity leave. NBC claimed it was because of the influx of news, but the reality is that the show was down double-digits and they needed her," a source told the tabloid. 

It was a surprising move for Guthrie to bend to the supposed whims of the Today show brass, considering her feelings towards her first maternity leave, which she blogged about in 2014. "The biggest surprise for me from maternity leave is how completely and totally I've been able to just check out and be consumed by this little baby and by family and what's happening at home, she wrote. "It's amazing and kind of transforming to give your mind and your heart and your soul a break from the crazy, busy world and just be focused on something that's so simple and true and from the heart. It's just been magical."

She's a diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan
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Though she was raised in Arizona, Guthrie and her entire family unabashedly root for The Philadelphia Eagles every Sunday during the NFL season. They even wear custom jerseys when cheering on The Birds, like any respectable member of Eagle Nation would.

The source of the rabid fandom seems to stem from Guthrie's husband. She once blogged, "Mike insists that [Vale] wear her Eagles jersey for every Eagles football game. One time I didn't put it on. The Eagles lost. Mike said, 'She will wear that Eagles jersey from here on out.' So I don't mess with it." 

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She didn't get invited to the prom

During a Today segment (via Twitter) that featured the team sharing throwback prom photos, Guthrie had to share a picture from her 9th grade winter dance instead. She said she was "never invited" to her prom. 

The show hosts shared their photos as part of a discussion about an Illinois high school that decided to institute a prom lottery, in which students were randomly assigned dates. Both Guthrie and Carson Daly—who also did not attend his prom—thought the lottery idea was great.
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Guthrie still feels some kind of way about her big dance snub. "Once you're there it's not like you're locked to that person, you can mix and mingle but I like that it involves everyone," she said, adding, "Again, not asked to prom so I think it's explained." Aww, poor Savannah!

She lost her father at a young age
 
During a 2016 Hollywood Reporter interview, Guthrie revealed that her father died of a heart attack while in Mexico on a "scouting trip" as part of his job as a mining engineer. She was a teenager at the time. "When you're 16, you think you're so grown up, but the first thing I thought was, 'We still need him,'" Guthrie said of the tragedy.
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Her faith helped guide her through the loss. In her blog for Guideposts, she wrote, "To me, at 16, it felt like a betrayal of everything I'd believed in. How could God let this happen to my dad—a good man who was only in his forties? How could he do this to our family?" Her anguish gradually led to acceptance. "Somehow, God comforted me," she wrote. "And there were blessings amid the grief. Mom found a job in public affairs at the University of Arizona, which made tuition more affordable for my sister and me. Both of us lived at home during our college years. We arranged our weekend plans so there was always one of us home with Mom." 

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Her sister is a poet
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Guthrie has two siblings: a brother, Camron Guthrie, who is a pilot in the Air National Guard, and a sister, Annie Guthrie, who is a poet, as well as a teacher and marketing director at the University of Arizona Poetry Center. In 2014, Annie recited a poem she wrote for Savannah at her wedding, reported People.

In 2015, Savannah supported her sister's craft in a big way by proudly hosted a party to celebrate Annie's first book of poetry, The Good Dark, which took her 15 years to write. "I'm excited for the world to get a taste of the sister I know and grew up with in our little Brady Bunch family," Savannah told People. "Annie was always writing, always so interesting and deep and thoughtful." She added, "In college, we would take some of the same classes–like a humanities course–and Annie would read the same book twice because she was so interested and devoted, and I would barely read it at all."   

Savannah's kids will have to wait a while to get acquainted with their aunt's work, as it explores some complex territory. "The book might be a little complicated for Vale right now, but when she's 25, she may be ready," Savannah joked.
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After rising to the top of the Today show in the '90s, Matt Lauer quickly became one of the most successful and enduring faces in morning news. But despite being part of the NBC family for more than 20 years, Lauer has also been consistently painted by the press as greedy, villainous, and selfish—the exact opposite of that friendly face everyone fell in love with all those years ago. In November 2017, Lauer's legacy was upended when he was suddenly fired from the network over sexual misconduct allegations. What happened to this once powerful journalist? Let's take a closer look.

He was terminated from Today for alleged sexual misconduct

After reporting on a recent wave of powerful men brought down by sexual harassment allegations, the longtime Today show anchor found himself among them when he was unceremoniously fired ahead of the show's Nov. 29, 2017 broadcast. The news of his termination came via a memo from NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack, which stated, in part, that NBC "received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer." The memo said that while there have been no other complaints about Lauer's behavior throughout his 20 years of employment with NBC, they have reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.
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At the top of Today's Nov. 29, 2017 broadcast, an emotional Savannah Guthrie, alongside Hoda Kotb, who was filling in for Lauer, announced the termination. Guthrie said everyone else at the program had just became aware of the firing prior to going on the air and that they were all "devastated" by the news. "For the moment, all we can say is we are heartbroken. I'm heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner," she said. "He is beloved by many many people here, and I'm heartbroken for the brave colleague that came forward to tell her story, and any other women who have their own stories to tell."

Did his behavior jeopardize Ann Curry's career?

Lauer's reputation with NBC has taken hits before. In New York magazine's in-depth feature on Ann Curry's messy 2012 exit from the Today show, author Joe Hagan speculates that Lauer's attitude and lack of on-air chemistry with Curry may have been a major contributing factor to her uncomfortable and very public downfall. "Lauer looked awkward and unhappy next to her [on air]—a situation that Lauer himself had also diagnosed," Hagan wrote. "He openly complained about her to NBC staffers and to [executive producer Jim] Bell."
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"It was obvious to Bell and others that Lauer wasn't trying hard enough to make it work with Curry because he simply didn't like her…" Hagan added. "With [former anchors Katie] Couric and [Meredith] Vieira, Lauer could be an easygoing straight man; with Curry, who threw off his rhythm and also threatened his dominance of the hard-news stories, he could often look sour."

Things reportedly got so bad that Lauer allegedly began "getting into fights with producers and tearing the show up in the early-morning hours," Hagan said. "He made it clear to friends that he was miserable with Curry and uncomfortable with his corporate masters at Comcast. He spoke often of downsizing his work life, playing more golf, spending more time with his kids in the Hamptons." How relatable.

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Although Lauer became more involved with the morning news show, around the same time, he was allegedly also flirting with the idea of leaving NBC and Today altogether—a double life within a double life, if you will. Part of the reason reportedly stemmed from a leaked report alleging that American Idol's Ryan Seacrest was gunning for Lauer's job. "So possibly as a negotiating tactic," Lauer "[had] begun working closely with [Jeff] Zucker to develop an idea for ABC: the Katie Couric daytime talk show with Matt Lauer—together again," Hagan wrote in his New York magazine piece. "Lauer met with Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, ABC's parent company, who made a strong effort to recruit Lauer."

"There were issues of both timing and money, but the larger corporate strategy was clear: If ABC could poach Lauer, then Today, NBC's cash cow, would fall from its perch, Good Morning America would be ascendant, and the entire NBC network would crumple like a house of cards," Hagan said. "The ABC deal, in its final form, would feature Lauer in a dual role: co-host of the daytime program with Couric and also as an ABC News personality." Man, that's like a plot line straight out of, well, House of Cards.

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Lauer wound up staying with NBC, and according to New York magazine, he signed a two-year deal that would earn him a record-breaking $25 million per year. The Today show would essentially be "rebuilt" around him. Talk about power. Lauer used ABC's offer as "a negotiating tactic," reported People, and Seacrest joined Today in a different capacity that didn't threaten Lauer.

As for Curry, New York magazine notes that Lauer's contract reboot did not directly lead to her ousting. Curry's name was reportedly not brought up during Lauer's negotiations, and he had supposedly been told in advance that she would be off the show whether he stayed or not, for reasons stretching well beyond their icy relationship, including a steep decline in the morning ratings. Still, the magazine piece alleges Lauer had more than enough leverage to save Curry, particularly given his newfound power—he just didn't use it. "To the contrary, in signing a new contract to remain at the show for at least two more years, he tacitly ratified the plan to remove her," Hagan wrote. "Which doesn't make him a horrible person—it makes him, for better or worse, a pro." Sure, but ugh. Ouch.

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Although his name got dragged through the mud after Curry's departure, Lauer weathered the storm—at least long enough to renew his contract for another two years in 2014. By that point, you'd think he would have developed a bit of humility, but no. According to Page Six, NBC News execs were desperate to keep Lauer happy. "They believe Today has turned a corner and he is the key to its continuing success," sources told the paper. How did they allegedly keep a smile on his face? Try this on for size: "They agreed to pay for his helicopter flights to the Hamptons and back, so he can spend more time with his family," a source said.

A spokesperson for the show didn't outright deny the report. "On rare occasions, Matt will fly home, but most of the time you'll find him stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway with everyone else," the rep told Page Six. Again, how relatable.

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Although freshly minted Today show member Billy Bush was the first to get the scoop on Ryan Lochte's alleged robbery during the Rio Olympics in August 2016, NBC quickly turned to Lauer to cover everything that happened next. How did that come about?

Some Page Six sources allege that "anchor animal" Lauer dove in and scooped up the story for himself. "Matt has a history of demanding interviews, and it's Billy's first big story as anchor," a source said. "It was his story. NBC snubbed Billy and let Matt do it. Billy got burned." A second insider added, "This is Matt's story now. Billy got it, but was pushed out." A third source claimed Lochte specifically requested to speak to Lauer because the veteran newsman had interviewed the swimmer multiple times in the past.

Well, if it's any consolation, Bush, the whole thing turned out to be a big, fat lie.
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Why did his wife file for divorce?

Lauer has been married to Annette Roque since 1998, and with three children, he's by all means a doting family man. Still, his seemingly perfect personal life reportedly almost fell apart in 2008 when Roque quietly filed for divorce. The split was called off about a month later, but no one knew about the trouble until 2014, when Radar Online got its hands on Roque's divorce papers.

In the documents, she reportedly alleged that Lauer endangered her "physical and mental well-being…so as to render it unsafe and improper" for her to live with him. She also claimed he "continuously and repeatedly [gave] higher priority to…personal interests than to his family obligations to [her], causing [her] to feel abandoned, isolated and alone in raising the parties' children." If that wasn't enough damning, Roque also alleged Lauer was "extremely controlling," to the point where she was unable to make "even the smallest decisions without his approval, including, but not limited to, decisions regarding finances, travel plans, decorating the parties' homes and domestic help issues."
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Was he having an affair with Natalie Morales?
Lauer's personal life was called into question again in 2016 when Page Six alleged that Natalie Morales was leaving Today for Access Hollywood because she and Lauer were having an affair. "There's speculation it's one of the reasons why she's moving…," a source said. "Matt didn't want to work with her," adding, "There's an awkwardness between Matt and Natalie…He protected her for a long time and now it seems like something has gone awry."

Both Lauer and Morales denied the gossip. Lauer told The Mike Lupica Podcast that he addressed the allegations in order to protect his family. "When you feel your family is being threatened and hurt, you speak up," he said. "And then you put your head down and go back about your business."
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A year prior, Lauer also shot down rumors that he had an affair with celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis.

He moved seats mid-flight to get away from a passenger

Sitting next to Lauer on a plane might sound like a dream come true for some—so long as you don't annoy him with details about the funeral you just attended. According to Page Six, Lauer was traveling on a red-eye flight when a "mournful stranger in first class started telling him about an all-day funeral." Lauer reportedly got so annoyed, he requested a seat change during the flight. "Lauer asked a flight attendant, 'Is this a full flight?' He just wanted to get away from this weird guy and find a seat where he could sleep," a passenger said.
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Lauer supposedly wanted to move over to a section with two empty seats but was forced to sit next to Morales because the flight attendant had just upgraded two other passengers. "He sat down next to Natalie, put a blanket over his head and slept the whole way," the source said. It seems the anchor's on-air and in-the-air personalities may be miles apart.

He allegedly 'blew a gasket' when Megyn Kelly was hired

Though you won't hear him complaining on air, word on the street claimed Lauer was not happy about adding former Fox News star Megyn Kelly to the NBC news team. According to Page Six, the "notoriously territorial" Lauer was informed about Kelly's hiring on the morning the news broke. He allegedly did not appreciate being left in the dark and "blew a gasket," according to a source for the tab.
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