ABC's Stu Schutzman reports from New York: Alas, the burden of fame. Michaele and Tareq Salahi are “devastated,” “saddened” even “shocked” by the fuss engulfing them. The unhappy couple, accused of crashing the White House state dinner, joined Matt Lauer on The Today Show this morning. They said, unequivocally, they had done nothing wrong. This mess was merely a media concoction — “no question” said Tareq. “Our lives have been destroyed,” said Michaele. As if that wasn’t bad enough, “Our lives have really been destroyed,” added Tareq. “Everything we worked for,” said Michaele, “Forty four years just destroyed.” Which begs the question, what exactly have they worked for? (It’s the wine business reportedly involving an ugly feud between Tareq Salahi and his mother over the family vineyard and a complicated court fight with a company owned by basketball star Shaquille O’Neal over the same property). Lauer asked the couple point blank — “Were you or were you not invited to attend that State dinner?” “We were invited, not crashers,” said Michaele. “Who invited you?" asked Lauer. “Certainly not us,” offered Michaele. “We’re working closely with the Secret Service,” added Tareq. That clears it all up… what a team! And there was the question of payment. According to swirling industry rumors, the couple bade the networks to “get their bids out,” minimum six figures for the first interview. They deny it. Lauer dutifully asked at the outset — “Are we (NBC) paying you for this appearance in any way?” “Absolutely not” said the couple which reportedly granted their first interview to Larry King and then backed out. So why did they stiff Larry King? Not clear, but conjecture among some media watchers is that NBC(which owns Bravo which runs the reality show "The Real Housewives" whose camera apparently followed Michaele Salahi to the White House) would be a better fit for them… wink, wink. And, according to Fox news, there’s more. “The Salahi’s attended a recent awards dinner without an invitation,” reports Fox. Fox’s sources say last September, the couple snuck into a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner through a caterer’s entrance. “They weren’t on the list” says the foundation. Incidentally, The President and Mrs. Obama attended that one too. There’ll be plenty of “splainin” to do about all of this. The State Dinner “was supposed to be a lovely, beautiful evening,” said Tareq Salahi to Matt Lauer. A “lifetime memory,” chimed in Michaele. Alas the burden of fame… but when will their 15 minutes be up?