Matt Lauer and Billy Joel's friendship is over in the wake of Lauer's sexual harassment scandal, according to wrong reports from a number of outlets. Gossip Cop can exclusively bust the stories. The truth is that the pair weren't all that close to begin with, and the specific claims here are false.
Sister publications the National Enquirer and RadarOnline are featuring identical stories this week about Lauer being "dumped" as a friend by Joel several months after the "Today" show anchor was fired for alleged sexual misconduct. The two men each have residences in the Hamptons, leading the tabloid and the website to allege they used to have "get-togethers." But both articles claim the music icon is now "heading for the hills to avoid being stained by Lauer's seedy reputation."
A so-called "source" asserts Joel has both his marriage and career to "protect," with the reports contending that the "last thing" the performer needs is to be "painted with the same brush as the disgraced morning newsman." Not wanting to "rock the boat," it's alleged Joel has now "jumped ship." That supposedly means no longer hanging out with Lauer, as well as preventing him from "sitting in the front row of his shows."
But these contentions are based on the false premise that Lauer and Joel have spent years hanging out as close friends. That isn't true. Nor is it true that the musician just suddenly put an end to their supposed hang-outs. Gossip Cop has learned that, although Lauer has been based in the Hamptons the last few months, Joel hasn't been on Long Island's East End since last summer. During these winter months, he and his family live in Florida, and Joel only comes to New York once a month for his Madison Square Garden residency.
And speaking of those shows, we're told that Joel has "never banned Matt from attending any of his concerts." Furthermore, the embattled journalist wouldn't be given a front-row seat regardless. Joel typically reserves the first two rows for fans who have nosebleed tickets. That's even noted in this 2014 Billboard cover story interview.
Of course, Joel and Llauer have crossed paths over the years and do know each other. But they haven't spent years hanging out at his concerts or in the Hamptons. At the same time, though, the crooner has "never tried to avoid him," we're told by our confidante, who maintains, "Everything about this [narrative] is false." It actually seems like it was only concocted simply because Joel and Lauer are both celebrities with homes on Long Island. Perhaps that's why the contentions don't stand up to scrutiny.
Gossip Cop has determined this story is totally false.