Now that Karl Stefanovic is again a married man, it’s time for middle Australia to stop judging and start liking him again.
Or at least cut him some slack.
The host of Nine’s Today show wed shoe designer Jasmine Yarbrough on the steps of a resort chapel on Sunday (Australian time) during a days-long wedding extravaganza in Cabo, Mexico.
The bride’s detachable-skirted dress took Sydney couturier Jessica Andreatta six months to make, the groom wore RM Williams boots with his Tom Ford suit and, by all accounts, guests including Julie Bishop had a terrific old time.
If choosing each other has made the newlyweds happy, everyone else should be too. Because, people, it’s Karl and Jasmine’s life. Not ours.
Truth is, almost all former Stefanovic fans who have turned off this year – and there are thousands – because they disapprove of changes in his private life have no real idea of the truth of that private life.
Karl has been ruled on by amateur armchair judges who have disapproved of his choices through a prism of morality that is dubious at best, fake at worst.
It’s bizarre, especially because his ‘crime’, the thing that has had suburban matrons condemning him over their grande skinny lattes after school dropoff, is that he left his first wife and fell in love with someone else.
Given the still-reverberating fallout from that, you’d think he was the only man to call time on a marriage that obviously wasn’t doing it for him, then find happiness elsewhere.
Nobody knows what goes on in anyone else’s relationship. Ever. Nobody knows about the private late-night conversations, the mental agony of loving children and memories you’ve built over decades but feeling unfulfilled.
Nobody should know, or take it upon themselves to imagine they do. The only thing they need to know is that blowing up a family by leaving isn’t done on a whim, and people rarely do it lightly.
Choosing to leave is often seen as the coward’s way out but for many, it takes courage and deserves support or at least a lack of judgement.
Until Stefanovic broke up with his first wife Cassandra Thorburn, he was Nine’s unassailable No.1 star, a Gold Logie winner who earned more than anyone else at the network for the personality, experience and versatility he brought to his breakfast show role.
Audiences loved him because he was a relatable, super-charged version of all of us.
He could take it up to the prime minister but then totally lose it in a light segment. How funny is Karl? Any minor indiscretions, such as getting loose at awards nights, made us wish were were tossing onions with him at a community sausage sizzle. He was a living dad joke.
But then he left Thorburn and his great strength, that relatability, became his weakness.
Suburban spouses feared that if it could happen in the family of their everyman hero, it could happen to them too. Best to denounce him then look away so as not to catch the divorce disease or God forbid, the newer model syndrome.
Karl became a black hat, not least because he was totally out manoeuvred in the post-split PR campaign by Thorburn.
A former journalist whose past colleagues viewed her as tough as nails – that’s the polite version – Thorburn was masterful in airing her feelings and dirty laundry.
She went public. Karl stayed quiet, although his and Yarbrough’s social media sharing of their happiness weighed heavily with the court of public opinion.
By choosing a new life, Karl lost more than just ratings. He lost his lustre and perhaps will lose his job.
But being divorced didn’t make him any worse at his job. If your hairdresser, lawyer or doctor got divorced you wouldn’t abandon them, thinking their competency had been impaired by their change in marital status.
So it would be a nice wedding present for him and Jasmine if we all get over our own insecurities and put down the pitchforks and flaming torches.