Karl Stefanovic opens up about his toughest year

‘The lesson I had to learn.’

By Thomas Mitchell
Unless you’ve been walking around with your eyes closed and your ears covered, it’s been pretty hard to steer clear of Karl Stefanovic lately.
By his own admission, the Today co-host is everywhere. There’s Karl on TV, Karl
in magazines, Karl in the tabloids… The man can’t 
even take a holiday without becoming a headline.
Earlier this year, the 2011 TV WEEK Gold Logie winner split from his wife of 21 years, Cassandra Thorburn.
Their break-up – combined with a new relationship with 33-year-old model and shoe designer Jasmine Yarbrough – put the media star firmly in the tabloids’ crosshairs.
“The number of people camped outside my house has diminished, which is nice,” the 42-year-old
jokes to TV WEEK, referring to the hungry paparazzi.
“Hopefully, this period is coming to an end, but I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to it.”
Now, Karl is set to find himself in the spotlight once again with the debut of the time-bending reality show he’ll be helming, This Time Next Year.
“Essentially, people come in through sliding doors, sit down and tell me what they’d like to have achieved in 12 months’ time. “It can be anything from losing 50kg to climbing a mountain or beating cancer.”
The show has held a lesson for Karl too: it’s been a timely reminder of the strength of the human spirit.
“It proves humans can work through really difficult things,” Karl smiles. “We’re resilient – that’s been a great lesson for me to relearn.”
The end of his marriage – and the unwanted attention it garnered – has left the media personality both philosophical and frustrated.
“Look, it’s sad and it’s difficult, but it’s a very normal part of life for many people,” he sighs.
“I don’t see the fascination or why it attracts attention. But as long as my children aren’t plastered across everything, it’s something I alone have to deal with.”
His frustration with the blurring of fact and fiction reached its zenith in June when he angrily called the Daily Mail to account.
After the online newspaper relentlessly covered his personal life, he returned fire robustly on Today.
“Personally, it was just something I’d had enough of,” he explains. “But I didn’t know there were lots of people out there feeling like I did.
“Now more than ever is 
the time for journalists to be right, and to engineer change. We shouldn’t be attracted to cheap – and false – headlines just to get people to read.”
With recent events often weighing heavily, Karl 
admits to exploring new 
ways to wind down.
“I’ve really gotten into meditation recently,” he explains. “I had to find a way to relax, so I’ve been training my brain to just shut off.
“That’s been important over the past 12 months, given the stress of what’s happened, in addition to 
my workload.”
With This Time Next Year, Karl’s workload is only set to increase.
“It may be more work, but I’m excited,” he enthuses.
“They [the participants 
in This Time Next Year] make the pledge, walk off through the doors, I walk across the stage and we fast-forward to one year 
later and they’re back.
“I don’t know who’s coming
out, or if they’ve achieved their goals, so it’s real and raw. For me, that’s what’s 
so exciting.”

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