We’ve heard from a lot of people since Matt Lauer was fired from NBC over allegations of sexual misconduct, including his former co-anchors, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Ktob, who made an on-air statement on the subject, as well Lauer himself. There’s been one person, however, who has remained largely mum about the subject: his former co-worker of 15 years, Katie Couric.

The TV personality took to social media shortly after the incident in response to critics, saying she wasn’t quite ready to go there. “It’s incredibly upsetting and I will say something when I’m ready to,” she wrote, adding, “Thanks for your interest.”

Now, that time has come. In an exclusive interview with People, Couric, 61, is opening up about the scandal, revealing that it’s affected her in a big way. “The whole thing has been very painful for me,” she shared. “The accounts I’ve read and heard have been disturbing, distressing, and disorienting, and it’s completely unacceptable that any woman at the Today show experienced this kind of treatment.”

She also said the news came as a shock, despite reports which recalled the journalist making a remark about Lauer “pinching her on the a** a lot” on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen back in 2012.

“I had no idea this was going during my tenure or after I left,” she insists. “I think I speak for many of my former colleagues when I say this was not the Matt we knew. Matt was a kind and generous colleague who treated me with respect. In fact, a joke I once made on late night television was just that, because it was completely contrary to our brother-sister relationship. It’s still very upsetting. I really admire the way Savannah [Guthrie] and Hoda [Kotb] and the entire Today show staff have handled a very difficult situation.”

Lauer has since been replaced by Hoda Kotb, though for substantially less pay, with Kotb telling People, “No, I’m not making Matt Lauer money. Not even close.”

The disgraced 60-year-old previously released a statement following the initial allegations against him, which were later backed by additional accounts of both sexual assault and harassment. “There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by my words and actions,” he said at the time. “To the people I have hurt, I’m truly sorry. 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. 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 The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love, I thank them for their patience and grace.”

What do you think of Katie’s statement? Share with us over @BritandCo.

 (Photo via Frederick M. Brown/Getty)