No one could understand why the blushing bride had her handsome husband on such a tight leash.
Five weeks after their elegant Hamptons wedding in 1998, former fashion model Annette Roque got so upset when she heard that Matt Lauer was headed to Florida to cover the launch of a space shuttle for the "Today" show that the staff of NBC had to fight to get a set of last minute press credentials so her husband would never get lost.
"Friends of Lauer & # 39; s are stunned that the down-to-earth journalist is suddenly attending to such indulgent whims," reported Page Six at the time. "It offers insider information: It's flogged & # 39;".
But in retrospect, Roque, now 52, may have simply been trying to control his new husband's wandering eye, a problem that, two decades later, would cost him his job.
Roque, perhaps the most forgotten victim in Matt Lauer's sordid scandal, now hides from the press in the Hamptons, as many wonder if he will finally be released from a disastrous marriage that had been an open secret in Circles of media for years.
Lauer, 59, was fired as host of long-term "Today" on Tuesday night, less than 24 hours after an employee of NBC brought accusations of badual harbadment to company officials. Since then, seven other women have filed similar accusations. A Variety story claimed that the television host "had a button under his desk that allowed him to close the door from inside without getting up," so he could "initiate inappropriate contact" without fear of someone entering.
Meanwhile, Lauer's wife has remained silent. For the past decade, the sick mother of three and her husband have led separate lives, with Roque clinging to the couple's property in the luxurious Sag Harbor, Long Island, while Lauer remains in his Park Avenue apartment during the week, the informants said.
"If you go out to dinner, it's always with Matt and with another couple," a source in the restaurant world told The Post. "I've seen her in Manhattan only once or twice, and she's painfully fragile."
For years, while Lauer spent his days hosting one of the most popular morning shows in the United States, Roque perfected his equestrian skills in the 40-acre horse farm store that the pair built near his home.
"When I see her, she's always putting on clothes," said one local.
It's a long way from the couple's high-profile start when the two were roasting for a shining crowd of power at a 1998 wedding that, according to People magazine, "put a deep dent in the fantasy life of crowds of American women getting up early "
She was a model of Victoria & # 39; s Secret and J. Crew with an exotic background – part of Indonesia, part of the Netherlands. He was the nationally famous and highly eligible journalist whose romantic exploits had been tabloids since his last marriage ended in divorce in 1988. But even though he was a playboy, he was a prude, his colleagues said.
"He was incredibly concerned about his image" and refrained from covering up daring stories, "said a connoisseur who worked with Lauer on WOR-TV in New York in the early 1990s.
" He bought Annette a $ 100,000 horse and we said: "Well, Matt must have been caught cheating again …" "
" I had to do an hour and a half with women faking the bad, "Lauer complained about his previous job in a 1997 interview, shortly after he began hosting" Today. "
" Do I see myself as the kind of person who would feel comfortable doing that for half a minute, and much less an hour and a half? That's how low it is. I could not wait to get out of that program. "
Still, NBC officials feared that Lauer's playboy ways could damage his reputation with the largely female" Today "audience.
Less than a year after meeting Roque on a blind date in 1997, he proposed to him in Venice, while working in his regular segment "Where is the world is Matt Lauer?"
. the wedding was approaching, Roque was a dark presence.
"We said, This woman is a ghost. She does not exist, "Lauer's colleague Elizabeth Vargas told People magazine shortly after her wedding on October 3, 1998." We joked with Matt, "Vargas said, explaining that her fiancé, who was inspired by the name of Jade Roque, used to be absent in photo shoots.
Only 100 guests were invited to their intimate wedding in Bridgehampton, including Katie Couric, Ann Curry, godfather Bryant Gumbel, and actor Peter Gallagher.
The couple settled in an apartment on the Upper East Side and founded a family three years later with the birth of their son Jack.Hija Romy was born in 2003.
But rumors of discord abound, and the Lauers separated in 2006, shortly after returning from covering the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
The informants gossiped that a furious fight erupted when Roque learned of Lauer's alleged romance with the correspondent l of the "Today" series Natalie Morales while the two were in the badignment for the games.
Both Lauer and Morales have fiercely denied a love affair, but that September seven-year-old Roque divorced, citing "cruel and inhumane" treatment and citing Lauer's "extremely controlling" behavior, but not because of infidelity.
"The defendant has continuously and repeatedly granted priority to … personal interests that family obligations to the plaintiff, which makes the plaintiff feel left alone and isolated when raising the children of the parties", according to court documents leaked in 2014.
Mysteriously, Roque withdrew his divorce sui t three weeks later, and the couple claimed to have reconciled in time for Thijs's birth in November.
Page Six reported on Saturday that Lauer offered him up to a rumored $ 5 million settlement to remain in the marriage. A source said: "Matt needed to stay in the marriage to maintain his reputation as the best father in the US He is, in fact, a … very caring father to his children, but he is also a terrible husband."
The distension was maintained until 2010, when another Olympic badignment – this one for winter games in Vancouver – led to another row of blisters after Lauer returned home.
This time, the National Enquirer published a story that claimed Lauer went "crazy" in local nightclubs and stayed in Vancouver to continue celebrating after the rest of the "Today" team returned to New York. 19659002] The couple began living separately that March, an NBC source told the Chicago Sun-Times, blaming Roque for the separation.
"For any good looking woman on the team or who had some working contact with Matt, forget it! Annette would go crazy!" Said Lauer's ally.
In 2011, Roque and the children lived in Sag Harbor full time, while Lauer stayed in Manhattan, leaving to join them every weekend.
"They play happy families at their home in the Hamptons on weekends, and then she lets him flee to New York to do" Today "- and God knows what else," a person from the East End he told RadarOnline in September.
Roque is not a presence in the supercharged social scene of the Hamptons. The family's only major annual appearance is at the Hampton Clbadic horse show, a celebrity magnet in which Romy competes with big-ticket riders such as Georgina Bloomberg and Jessica Springsteen.
"My wife and daughter travel like crazy," Lauer told Newsday as he watched the 2014 contest. "And then we love the competition, I know that many other people love the scene of this, but we get up from our seats and … we watched the jump ".
The Lauers purchased a 40-acre property near their home in 2012 and generously spent it converting it into a luxury horse farm, with luxury stables for 36 animals, including five owned by the Lauers, and 16 paddocks, Two outdoor riding rings, cross country trails and a cushioned heated interior ring with a "low impact first" surface.
"Bright Side Farm was a true labor of love and now that it is here, feel like the luckiest girl in the world," Roque said by e-mail to a local website, 27East.com, in 2013. Local media They described Lauer as a weekend warrior tractor operator who lived to operate heavy machinery.
But at the same time, the Hamptons set was whispering about a new addition to the Lauers stable. "He bought Annette a $ 100,000 horse and we said, 'Well, Matt must have been caught cheating,'" a media source told the Post. "Every time he gets caught, he buys him a horse."
Locals in Sag Harbor and Manhattan confirmed Friday that the two lead separate lives.
At the Calypso St. Barth boutique, employees said that Roque is the mystery of the city, seen as "a sad wife". "While Matt is always out with his children and he's very nice, he's never with Annette," a local told The Post.
Students and parents in the two Hamptons reportedly, public schools attended by Lauer children rarely meet their mother. Meanwhile, Upper East Siders said they often ran into Lauer on the street or in restaurants without his wife.
Neighbors say that the former "Today" host is a regular at Donahue's Steak House, a whiskey bar across the street from Lauer's apartment, where he stops only three or four nights a week in jeans and a shirt with buttons.
Next to a restaurant called Barbaresco, one owner remembers Lauer taking his former wife, television producer Nancy Alspaugh, to dinner once, and filmmaker Spike Lee on another occasion, "but we never saw the wife "
Since Lauer was fired on Tuesday night, missing a $ 30 million payment from NBC News, Roque may be off the stage more than ever. While the first reports suggested that she had fled to her home country, the Netherlands, a source outside the home told The Post that Roque is still in the Hamptons. Daughter Romy, 14, was seen leaving the Sag Harbor home on Saturday morning.
Surprisingly, Lauer was defeated for his actions on another Olympic mission – the Sochi Winter games in 2014 – where he allegedly harbaded the first NBC employee who complained to his bosses. Since then, Lauer has expressed remorse in a statement, saying: "Some of what is said about me is false or badly characterized, but there is enough truth in these stories that makes me feel ashamed and ashamed." I regret that my shame is now shared. for the people that I really appreciate. "
But this time, it's hard to imagine Roque being placated with an apology, a new horse or a million-dollar payment, even if Lauer could afford it. .
With reports by Kirsten Fleming in the Hamptons and Melkorka Licea in New York