Matt Lauer on Infamous Tom Cruise Interview: There Was a 'Cold War Period' After That
- Photo: Virginia Sherwood/NBC/USMagazine1 of 15
- Photo: Bobby Bank/WireImage2 of 15
- Photo: Masatoshi Okauchi/Rex USA3 of 15
- Photo: Doug Meszler / Splash News/Splash News4 of 15
- Photo: Splash News5 of 15
- Photo: Jeff Daly/WENN6 of 15
- Photo: Simpson/Bruckheimer/Paramount Pictures7 of 15
- Photo: INB/WENN8 of 15
- Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage9 of 15
- Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage10 of 15
- Photo: Masatoshi Okauchi/Rex USA11 of 15
- Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage12 of 15
- Photo: Richard Drew/Invision/AP13 of 15
- Photo: Anonymous/Invision/AP14 of 15
It's been eight years, but Matt Lauer's 2005 interview with Tom Cruise -- in which the actor called the "Today" show host "glib" and criticized Brooke Shields for taking anti-depressants -- is still one of the most infamous TV tongue-lashings in recent memory. During a lengthy sit-down with Lauer on Wednesday, radio host Howard Stern resurfaced the incident and asked the NBC morning show anchor to recall how everything went down.
"There are times where, when you least expect it, you get someone who sits on this couch ... and all of a sudden you say something and you can see in the person's eyes a physical change," Lauer, 55, told Stern on his Sirius XM show. "That was one of those times ... I knew I was going to go in a certain area, and you watch the change, and then it's your job almost to get the hell out of the way."
"It touched a nerve, no question," he added later of the whole psychiatry vs. Scientology debate, which ignited Cruise's rant. "That was a very big nerve in his life and in his belief system."
Lauer said Cruise's public relations people called the show after the taping and asked that "the whole anti-depressant thing" not be included in the broadcast, but producers said no deal. "It was like, 'Yeah ... without that, we don't have a segment,'" he recalled.
Things after that were initially icy between the two, but Cruise later apologized; in a 2008 interview with Lauer, he admitted to coming across as "arrogant," and said their interaction did not go as he had intended.
"I want to put it in perspective," Lauer told Stern, "because although there was maybe a cold war period after that interview of about a year, he since has come forward and said, you know, that was a strange time in his life and he regrets the way it came across." (A strange time, indeed: The interview happened at the beginning of Cruise's romance with Katie Holmes, shortly after his couch-jumping antics on "The Oprah Winfrey Show.")
"[He] has gone out of his way to be awfully nice to me since then," Lauer added, noting that the "Oblivion" star paid tribute to him at a Friars Club roast in 2008. Later, he stressed again: "It was a weird time in his life and career."
MORE ON WONDERWALL:
Fergie, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Heidi Klum all get an F on this week's Fashion Offenders.Watch Video »
Diva Double Date
Beyonce and Alicia Keys double date with their famous hubbies on today's Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Where Are They?
See what the cast of "American Beauty" is up to today.Watch Video »
J.Lo's Mini Me
Jennifer Lopez shares an adorable photo of her look-alike daughter, plus more celebritots on social media on today's Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Prince Harry, Jessica Alba and more stars who threw out the first pitch at baseball games.Watch Video »