Ousted CNN boss Jeff Zucker’s affair with his colleague and CNN’s Executive vice-president/head of marketing, Allison Gollust was the “worst kept secret in TV”, according to new reports by the New York Post.
Rumours have circulated for years within the US media industry that CNN’s two most senior executives, Zucker and Gollust who made the decision to fire anchor Chris Cuomo, have been having an affair, and they both ended their marriages in recent years.
According to the NY Post, the pair conspired to keep allegations of their affair out of the media for years with a web of lies.
On Wednesday, February 2, Zucker announced he will step down from his role as CNN president for having an affair with a colleague.
Now, the NY post report claims that Zucker and Gollust have been involved in a secret romance for more than 10 years, even as they lived in the same Manhattan, New York building on consecutive floors with their former spouses.
They reportedly took vacations together, went apartment hunting and went into each other’s hotel rooms for alleged “meetings,”.
The report added that Gollust has spent years lying about their affair, blasting reporters on numerous occasions for being “sexist” by suggesting she was sleeping with her boss.
The affair between Zucker and Gollust — who have worked together for 25 years — stretches back to when they both worked at NBC, according to multiple sources. TV insiders call them “the odd couple” because Gollust towers over Zucker.
Zucker was at NBC from 1986 to 2010, becoming the executive producer of “Today” then head of NBC Entertainment rising to President and CEO of NBC Universal. Gollust started at NBC in 1996, was the publicist for “Today” then became executive vice president of corporate communications at NBC Universal alongside Zucker.
Gollust was picked by the former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2012 to serve as his communications director. Zucker then brought her over to work with him at CNN according to the report.
“It was well known that they were sleeping together dating back to their time at NBC,” an NBC insider said.
“Second to the revelation that the Pope is Catholic, this affair is the least-shocking revelation in the world.”
The insider added that everyone in the Television industry is “appalled” by Gollust’s claim in a statement that their relationship “changed during COVID.”
The source added, “And the fact that they are continuing to lie about it is offensive to everybody. You lie when you are trying to cover up an affair, not admitting to it, you moron.”
Former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien tweeted in response to Gollust’s claim that she started dating her boss during the covid pandemic, “I encourage you to google the two parties and read the details about their relationship that dates back years.
“That said, I’m sure company emails can easily determine if she’s lying in this statement. Again—It was an open secret and I haven’t even worked there for like 8 years.”
Former CNN correspondent Roland Martin also said everyone at the company knew that Gollust was in a relationship with the boss.
“It was an open secret at @CNN that Jeff Zucker and Allison Gollust, who he hired as head of communications, were having an affair,” he tweeted.
“I was only there with them for four months in 2013 and knew. NBC folks knew when they worked together there. @katiecouric intimated that in her book!”
“The contention that Zucker’s romantic relationship with Allison Gollust ‘evolved’ during the COVID pandemic is absurd. They carried on the affair for years while the two occupied separate apartments at 32 E. 64th St,” a separate source said.
“Zucker would get on the elevator and visit Gollust when the coast was clear. They didn’t even have to leave their building. It was a perfect cover.”
Another insider said, “Zucker would disappear for hours on end, but Caryn initially had no idea that the woman she was being polite to in the elevator was sleeping with her husband.
“Everyone in the building knew about it – even the doormen tried to ensure Caryn wasn’t in the elevator at the same time as Allison.“
Zucker and TV producer Caryn (pictured below) met while both were working at NBC, when he was executive producer of “The Today Show” and she was working at “Saturday Night Live” They married in a lavish ceremony at the Pierre Hotel in 1996.
The insider added that Zucker cruelly revealed his affair to his wife of 21 years.
“The story goes that Jeff told his wife ‘I am not in love with you, I am in love with Allison.”
Then in a joint statement to Page Six in January 2018, Jeff and Caryn confirmed they were divorcing and said, “Together, we have made the difficult decision to separate, but do so as friends committed to our kids. They remain our sole focus.”
The report also details hoa Gollust joined him on a trip to Israel on March 5, 2017, where they had dinner with Andrew Cuomo and his aide Melissa DeRosa in Jerusalem at the King David Hotel.
They were alsk seen apartment hunting in New York together in 2019. But she explained to Page Six that she was merely “helping” her boss find a new place.
The pair also had an intimate dinner with Sandra Lee in 2018, Gollust again lied to Page Six, saying via email, “I was not there ‘with’ Jeff … I was invited on my own, as was he. I assume you aren’t suggesting otherwise?”