The harsh truth about the insistent rumours Karl Stefanovic and his wife Jasmine Yarbrough are expecting their first child has nothing to do with whether or not the pair are to be parents.
It’s that they can expect more of the same intrusive stories from now until whenever Karl decides he’s had enough of his reincarnated breakfast TV career, or it spits him out again.
Stefanovic, who likes nothing more than to sit in front of his fireplace at home (even on hot days, he claims) and watch a bit of telly with Jasmine and their dog, must be gritting his teeth this week.
A month before he’s due back on Nine’s Today show set with new co-host Allison Langdon, Karl is already facing the thing he arguably hated most about his last stint at the desk.
Unconfirmed stories about his private and professional lives, which he proved this week he’s willing to sue over.
The Daily Telegraph claimed on December 9 the rehabilitated Nine golden boy and the shoe designer are “over the moon” to be expecting after Stefanovic had a second vasectomy reversal surgery.
“It is understood Stefanovic has told his three children – Jackson, 19, Ava, 13, and River, 12 – and, as a courtesy, his ex-partner.
“Friends have also been told and are understandably excited for the couple,” said the story.
Other entertainment reporters including Peter Ford claimed the story as fact. When contacted by The New Daily, Nine refused to comment, in part because Yarbrough doesn’t work for the network.
That’s fine, given it should be up to a couple to tell or not tell the world their happy news.
Or a cynic might say maybe Karl’s camp is brokering a deal with, let’s see, the Australian Women’s Weekly, to simultaneously celebrate his career rebirth and an actual one.
Who doesn’t love a baby yarn and a pumped expectant father? Good business for all involved.
Still, while Karl will be keen to be rebadged in palatable fashion to woo back the suburban hordes who turned off him because of his past love life, the thorny issue for him remains.
In June 2018, the day after media stories outlining alleged financial details of his divorce from ex-journalist Cassandra Thorburn were printed, Stefanovic told The New Daily he was totally over the “made-up bulls–t written about me”.
His life was portrayed as “like Mills and Boon,” he said.
“I am so sick of it.”
Karl’s gripe was that “nobody” in the media had “ever” fact-checked stories with him in the past, and said those about his divorce in particular had cut deep: “I have been broken.”
It should be noted Nine has a history of deflecting questions about the man who is still reportedly one of their highest-paid stars, especially if they involve matters which are true.
And Karl’s manager, Sharon Finnigan, rarely returns calls.
At that time of The New Daily interview at Melbourne’s Crown 18 months ago, Stefanovic said “every time” he and Yarbrough left their house, they faced cameras and were often chased by paparazzi.
“The point I’m trying to make here is that my life is a microscope to these people, which makes it seem I’m everywhere,” he said.
“I don’t have any control over that.”
Which is going to be a problem with his return to Today.
Karl is no media neophyte.
He knows the interest in his private life with a glamorous wife is going to be stoked up to 11 again, and clearly he’s now willing to cop that for the money, prestige and profile.
Whether Jasmine is just as up for it is another matter. Especially when it comes to the most private of topics.