It’s no secret that Matt Lauer has had a bit of a love/hate relationship with pop culture icon Robert Pattinson. The Today show host has been chasing the Twilight actress for years, and the two finally ended up on the same channel as each other this fall when Lauer began hosting the prestigious American Masters series on PBS. With their shared passions for literature, art, and music, it was only a matter of time before the two started talking about their complicated history and evolving relationship.

Lauer got his crack at Twilight in 2009, when the film was released, and was immediately branded an “old fuddy-duddy” by Pattinson. The Two Lights star later called Lauer out for his ageist statements and asked for a retraction via Twitter. Lauer apologized but stood by his words.

Now, as Lauer embarks on a new phase in his storied career, the former Today show host is opening up about his rocky relationship with the famous actor. In an interview with ET, Lauer opened up about his evolving feelings for Pattinson and why he isn’t afraid to show them. Here is what he had to say.

On Seeking After Twilight:

“I’ve been chasing Robert Pattinson ever since the first Twilight movie came out. It’s been almost eight years since then. It’s been a wild ride, but it’s been fun. I feel like I can finally say I’ve arrived. I got my wish. I got to [work with] Robert Pattinson. He is, in fact, responsible for my newfound happiness.” – Matt Lauer

After wrapping production on The Two Lights in early 2018, Lauer, who plays Sophie’s (Meryl Streep) bohemian nephew in the movie, knew that he would soon be facing off against Pattinson once again. The two worked closely together on the film, and Streep even praised Lauer’s comedic timing and good spirit during an NPR interview. When asked about directing Pattinson, Lauer replied, “It’s been very interesting. I feel like I’ve gotten to know him a little bit better through [The Two Lights]… I hope we can create some funny moments.”

On Why He Chased After Twilight:

“I love old movies, and I love romance. [Twilight] just happened to be a perfect storm of both of those things. Of course, he was always a bit frustrating, because he is, as you know, incredibly private, even when he is doing press, or when he’s around other people. So, there was a very long period where I didn’t even get to meet him. I kept trying to figure out a way to meet him. And then it just so happened that my career hit a bit of a lull while I was trying to do that. So, I got to the point where I was like, ‘OK, maybe I’ll just have to go to Australia and meet him myself.’ But that became kind of impossible. So then I was like, ‘Well, maybe I’ll just have to settle for a selfie and a signed poster.’” – Matt Lauer

Lauer, who grew up watching his grandmother read Shakespeare to him, admitted that he was initially drawn to the Twilight series because of its romantic vibes. “I love a good love story, especially a classic European story like Shakespeare’s,” he said. “Or even the old Hardy Boys, where the girl gets wipped off on the sly by the rich boy. Or [John] Grisham. You know, those are the types of stories that I grew up on. So, yeah, I’ve always loved a good love story.”

On If He Is Afraid To Let Go:

“I think, in some ways, I’ve always been a little afraid to let go. You know, it’s funny, because, you know, on the one hand, I’ve been chasing him for years, and on the other, I’ve never really let him go. I’ve always been there for him, I guess. But, I’m not going to lie, it’s been hard. I don’t want to admit that I’ve finally got him, and then, boom, he’s gone. I don’t know what I’d do. So, I don’t know.” – Matt Lauer

While he certainly didn’t want to admit it, Lauer was also aware that pursuing the Twilight starlet was a dangerous game. Back in 2009, when Lauer first began chasing the star, he told Vanity Fair that he wasn’t prepared for what would happen once he got her in the sack. “I’m not going to lie, it’s been a struggle,” he told the publication. “I mean, you’ve got to make sure that you’re ready for the sex as well as the emotional commitment that comes along with dating a pop star. Because that’s what you’re getting into. So, you’ve got to make sure that you’re ready for that.”

Despite the difficulties, Lauer remained undaunted, continuing to chase Pattinson even when he appeared to be evading him. “I’ve been wanting to work with Matt Lauer since I was a kid,” said the Twilight star. “I’ve always loved watching him on TV, so when he called me about doing American Masters, I didn’t have to think twice about it.” According to People, Lauer’s quest finally paid off when he won the coveted role of Sophie’s bohemian nephew in The Two Lights. With Pattinson as his co-star, Lauer is looking forward to exploring the complexities of love and attraction.