Shots have been fired back and forth between Today show host Karl Stefanovic and his ex-wife Cassandra Thorburn over the past week, and the former couple don’t seem as though they’ll be biting their tongues any time soon.
In the latest swipe at her ex-husband, Thorburn, 47, penned a tongue-in-cheek biography on her website, in which she described her successful career in journalism and TV production, before claiming to have worked for the Channel Nine breakfast show long before Karl did.
“Cassandra Thorburn grew up in regional Australia and started working in community radio and newspaper at 13 years of age,” the biography reads. “Cassandra went into journalism and her career saw her work around Australia, in New Zealand and the USA.
“By 35 Cassandra was mum to 3 children and her passion for children’s books, especially the art of reading them to children was reignited. But life was busy and she never got around to it until her husband left the marriage and Cass saw an opening to do something for herself. Well truth be told her close friend Cara Campbell shook her off and said let’s do a course.
“Despite all that Cass is really only known in Australia as the ex wife of a breakfast TV host who happily stayed in the shadows for 21 years. A little known fact though is that Cass worked at the Today Show first.”
The couple, who have three children Jackson, Ava and River together, split in 2016 after 21 years of marriage, with Cassandra famously announcing a few months later that he was “dead” to her.
But it seems that Karl, who has moved on with new partner Jasmine Yarbrough, and Cassandra still do not see eye to eye, as the children’s author sensationally claimed in an interview with Australian Women’s Weekly last week that Karl’s family have all but cut off contact with her and their three kids.
“Last year, I declared that Karl really was dead to me, a man I no longer know, but the children still have their father,” Cassandra told the magazine. “The flip-side of that is I feel like we’re dead to his family and almost anyone from our old life. There has been practically no contact. I feel like we’ve been discarded and disposed of.”
A spokesperson for the Stefanovic family issued a statement to The Fix in response to Cassandra’s claims, saying: “We are disappointed Cass would claim such inflammatory suggestions that we have alienated Karl’s children from our family. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“Karl regularly co-parents his children and has his loving family around them. We refuse to keep a running dialogue of the children… Family is often compromised when parents go through a painful divorce and we do our best to continue our love and support for the children.”
Karl initially kept a dignified silence, before giving an exclusive interview to the Daily Telegraph‘s Sunday Confidential in which he insisted he had only declined to comment in a bid to protect his children from further scrutiny.
“I wasn’t planning on commenting publicly, but I feel the need to put some words around things to avoid further speculation on something that really matters to me,” he said. Calling his children – Jackson, 18, Ava, 13, and River, 11 – “the most beautify, funny, innocent, exquisite people in my life”, Stefanovic said that he didn’t want his silence “or the fact that my children aren’t visibly front and centre with me for everyone to see, to be misinterpreted as absence”.
“I’m a dad and I’m not going anywhere,’ he said. “I love my kids. They know that. And that’s what matters.”
Karl announced his split with Cassandra, an accomplished journalist and TV producer, in September 2016 after 21 years of marriage. A few months later, he met ambitious fashion designer Jasmine Yarbrough, 34, and they became engaged in January 2018 after a whirlwind romance.
In March 2018, Karl and Jasmine celebrated their relationship with a commitment ceremony.