Karl Stefanovic and his ex wife Cassandra Thorburn’s divorce has been anything but amicable, as both have taken turns slamming each other in the public eye after he announced his new relationship with fiancee Jasmine Yarbrough.
But now 47-year-old Cassandra has given her first TV interview to open up on how the split affected their children, telling Channel 7’s The Morning Show that the publicity their separation got made it harder on herself and her children.
The mum-of-three was on the show to promote her new children’s book, Leo Lion’s Big Bed, and revealed the profits from the sales will be going towards charity and counselling service Relationships Australia, an organisation particularly close to her heart after her own heartbreak.
“They work with families in various areas, and they also prioritise children in the separation process,” she said of the organisation. “What I mean by prioritise is they help the parents who are separating with everything like when to tell children, all those steps, they help with mediation, some of it is free and funded by the government…
“I thought it was perfect for us to put the profits there because it’s important to me, it’s part of what my children and I have been through that led to me writing a children’s book.”
Asked how challenging divorce can be for children, Cassandra added: “I think everyone knows separation and divorce can be particularly challenging for the children especially.”
She added: “It [divorce from Karl] being so public probably wasn’t perfect, but now I’ve got to write a children’s book and I’m stepping out to say ‘feel comfortable in yourself and be comfortable in your skin, and pursue the things you want to, regardless of what’s going on on the sidelines’.”
Cassandra chose to stay at home and look after the kids rather than pursue her own journalism dreams like her ex husband, and she confirmed on the show that writing this book now has been a “passion project”.
Giving advice to others wanting to pursue a passion, she added: “I think whatever it is that you would like to do, I think there’s no hurry – we took a year to do this. It’s not a race, but if there’s something you’d really like to do that makes you feel good about yourself then do it.”
Cassandra is probably best known as the TV star’s ex wife, but when asked by the show’s hosts if her divorce pushed her to release the book now, she insisted it would have been the right time in her life regardless of the heartache she’s been through.
“The children are getting older, there was always going to be that time where you go ‘okay, what am I going to do now’?”
She added: “It would have always occurred this way, the process would have been the same, it just would have been a different journey getting to that point, so I don’t think it had anything to do with what we went through, but it certainly gave me a real reason to publish it as a book, so the profits could go on an help other families.”
Meanwhile, she insisted she doesn’t have regrets over dropping her own journalism career for full-time motherhood, explaining: “I don’t miss it, I’m not sure what would have happened if I’d done it differently, but we can all say that as working mums… There’s no point looking back and wondering what could have been and would have been.”
Cassandra said she had drawn on her own boys’ experiences when writing her characters, revealing her oldest son is very protective of his younger sibling – just like the characters in the book.
She’s now focusing on possibly writing more books in the future, and said: “I’m not focused that far ahead in my life at the moment. I don’t feel the need to look that far ahead. I’m focusing on my children and making sure we’re all happy and well and looking that far ahead and focusing on myself is not something that I’m wanting to do right now.”
The book itself is about children transitioning into a big bed, after overcoming their fear of being alone. It includes advice for parents on how to help their child made the move, and tips to make them happy there.