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'I want to move forward.' Karl Stefanovic on defending his new wife, and his mental health.

Karl Stefanovic has given a rare reflection on his public divorce from Cassandra Thorburn, his subsequent marriage to Jasmine Yarbrough, and the salacious reporting around the media circus that was.

The journalist, who returned to the Today show at the start of the year, separated from Thorburn, his wife of 21 years and the mother of their three children, in 2016.

Five months following the separation, the Channel Nine presenter met shoe-designer Yarbrough, a decade his junior, while onboard a luxury cruise ship in Sydney.

Cassandra Thorburn podcast
Karl Stefanovic and Cass Thorburn. Image via Getty.

They later went public with their relationship in 2017, when they were pictured in Bora Bora on James Packer’s yacht.

At the time, Karl’s detractors thought he had moved on from his marriage too quickly and their relationship was the catalyst for an onslaught of media attention, intense scrutiny and the ruthless intrusion of their personal lives.

"She’s been through so much. She’s been pilloried and accused of things that didn’t happen," Stefanovic said of his now-wife, who is currently pregnant with their first child together, in a new interview with Stellar magazine.

"It’s not her fault she fell in love with bugalugs, and the accusations were wrong about her stealing me from Cassandra. It’s rubbish and it’s hurtful.

"She’s just a beautiful, sweet woman from Queensland who runs a business and fell in love with me."

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Happiest of Birthdays my love! Thank you for being my biggest supporter, my rock and my sidekick ❤️ I love you

A post shared by Jasmine Stefanovic (@jasyarby) on

Karl admits that the relentless public scrutiny led him to ask Jasmine if she was sure she wanted to be in a relationship with him.

"There were times when I asked, ‘Do you really want to do this?’" he explained to the publication.

"I don’t think I would be with me. On a good day, I can be charming, but that’s about it. My best-looking days are behind me, I could be fitter. Why is someone that beautiful with me?" he asks. "Not that I’m complaining."

Stefanovic married the successful shoe-designer in a lavish wedding ceremony in Mexico in December 2018, accompanied by a high-profile guest list including Julie Bishop. Just mere days following their wedding, Karl Stefanovic was told by his Channel Nine bosses that he was being dumped from his co-hosting duties on the morning program.

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Over a year on from their nuptials, Jasmine Yarbrough is pregnant with a girl, due in May.

Stefanovic says he hopes the arrival will be "unifying" for their household. He has three kids from his previous marriage with Thorburn – Jackson, 20, Ava, 15, and River, 13.

It's not the first time the television presenter has spoken so openly about the past few years.

On Wednesday, the journalist spoke to the Daily Mail about experiencing fatherhood again, 13 years on from the birth of his youngest son.

"I can't wait," he told the publication.

"We discussed it very early on in our relationship and I was very excited about the prospect of having a baby," he added.

"It's never an easy thing and I think that kids are a miracle and we just can't wait to meet this little girl. Just to shower her with all the love that we have."

Stefanovic also reflected on welcoming a baby amid the coronavirus pandemic, sharing that he was initially unsure whether he would be able to be present at the birth.

"It's a really exciting time for us as it is for anyone who's having a bub," the 45-year-old said.

"It's just the fact that it's surrounded by this terrible virus."

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The couple's baby girl, who is due in May, hasn't got a name just yet.

"The name is something very private for us and something we're looking forward to seeing when she comes out," he said.

"We've zeroed in on about five different names and I think we've just got to see her then we'll make the decision from there."

When asked about his public divorce from Cassandra Thorburn, the journalist admitted that he no longer wants to talk about their split.

"I'm very reluctant to talk about it anymore because no one wants to hear any more about it. I don't want to talk about it. My kids don't want to hear it," he said.

"I just think it's done and can we please all move forward because we have and we are. It happened. Let's all just move forward.

"My kids don't need to be reading blow-by-blow accounts from their parents in the press about what happened. If there's any interest, then let there be interest, but I'm not going to be adding to it."

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In January this year, Stefanovic also did an interview with Neil Mitchell on 3AW about dealing with his marriage breakdown in the public eye.

"Personally, it was a bit hard because I thought a lot of people do go through relationship difficulties and, unfortunately, for me that was in a very public way, but that’s what happens when you’re a public person," Stefanovic said on the radio show.

"But I thought, ‘Well hang on, a lot of people go through this, and why is mine such a big deal?’ I still don’t know why it was," he continued.

"I got divorced, I did find love again, and I’m sorry if people are offended by that, but it’s made me really happy."

Karl Stefanovic on his mental health.

In a recent interview with Daily Mail, Stefanovic opened up about being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The journalist told the publication that mounting media pressure started to take a toll on his mental health but there was no single thing that made him seek professional help.

"It was like maybe two years ago," he told the publication."There'd just been a build up of stories, there'd been a build up of pressures."

"I couldn't fathom why there were people taking photos of me all the time. For me, it was like why are you doing this? I haven't done anything wrong," he added.

"When your family's constantly being pursued and your name is constantly in the papers and online and in the magazines you feel like there's just no escape."

Stefanovic ended up seeing several mental health professionals before being diagnosed with PTSD.

"I think people are now becoming sceptical of folks who come out and say they've had some level of mental illness," he said.

"I'm able to cope with a great deal of pressure but pressure does build and if you don't look after it, it can sort of catch you unawares."

This post was originally published on April 19, 2020, and was updated on April 26, 2020. 

Feature Image: Instagram / @karlstefanovic_

You can read Karl Stefanovic's full interview with Stellar magazine here


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