Karl Stefanovic's oldest friends are concerned the TV host might be over-indulging in his new life as a man of leisure following his sudden departure from Today late last month.
"Now that he doesn't have to wake up to his alarm at 3am every day, we're all worried he's just going to party every night," one long-time acquaintance tells Woman's Day exclusively. "He'll still be awake when the old alarm clock would have gone off."
No longer restricted by the early-morning starts that came with his top-paying gig, 44-year-old Karl has plenty of time on his hands to do as he pleases. And as Woman's Day went to press, he'd spent the last few days on a road trip with his new wife Jasmine Yarbrough, 34, and a bunch of the shoe designer's 20-something friends.
"They all just drink and party. We've told him he's too old for all that," continues the source. "It's like he's some sort of reckless teenager."
During his almost 14-year tenure on Today, Karl curbed his midweek partying knowing he'd have to be up bright-eyed and on air every morning.
His ex-wife Cassandra Thorburn also ran a very clean house says the source, and made sure he was always immaculately presented.
"Karl is the sort of bloke who could just end up a sloth around the house – a vicious cycle of waking late, heading off for a boozy lunch, drinking well into the night… go to sleep, get up and do it all again the next day if he wants to."
The father-of-three has always been one for a good time – he famously appeared intoxicated on air following the 2009 TV Week Logie Awards.
In 2015, Karl insisted that he was limiting his alcohol intake, telling Sunday Style magazine, "I'm a pain in the arse and just talk and talk and talk and talk about myself.
It's almost like being at confession... so I don't drink as much as I used to. I don't like losing control.'
However, after Karl fell for Jasmine in December 2016, the smitten pair quickly became firm fixtures on Sydney's social scene. And last November, Karl had a wild bucks night as he kissed bachelorhood goodbye for the second time.
Still, ahead of his lavish Mexican nuptials in December, Karl hinted he'd cut out the grog again, as he attempted to shape up.
"I was told a little while ago by a doctor I needed to make some changes to my physical health," he wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of himself working out in the gym. "It's been tough. I was fatter than I thought. Ha. But I'm getting there."
Now it seems the festive season saw him once again press pause on his plans.
"Karl's been through a lot the last few months, what with the wedding and then leaving Today. Some are wondering whether if it might be a good idea if he headed off to a really secluded retreat or resort to give himself a proper break," suggests an industry insider.
WATCH: Richard Wilkins shares an emotional tribute to Karl Stefanovic following his Today Show departure. Post continues...
Karl is still contracted with Nine and is continuing his hosting gig on This Time Next Year. Sources say his ultimate dream is to take over from Robert Penfold in Nine's US bureau when Robert retires. He and Jasmine are eager to relocate to LA, where she lived while working as a model.
Also sparking concern among Karl's old circle of friends was his expletive-filled rant a photographer at the airport on Christmas Day. Then there's the fact that Karl liked an Instagram comment that slammed Nine for letting him go from Today.
"I can't wait until the ratings drop even lower and they realise it wasn't you that was the problem after all," read the fan comment.
Meanwhile, a second friend tells Woman's Day, "I worry about Karl. He's clearly not looking after himself, surrounded by people who are going to bolt for the door. He's cast off people who love him for just being Karl and not the Today host."
He's tipped to replace Karl as Today's male co-host, and Brenton Ragless is now being described by some viewers as "the kind of man Karl used to be 10 years ago."
Brenton, a Nine newsreader from Adelaide, took over the reins from Karl for a three-week stint over Christmas. During that time, ratings dramatically increased among female viewers by 37 per cent.
The 42-year-old is a devoted husband to wife Hayley, and the long-time sweethearts share two sons, Edan and James. The family man is also an active firefighter volunteer and regularly attends church.
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