Two years to the day after Nine Network TV presenter Karl Stefanovic left his wife of 21 years, The Weekly is catching up with Cassandra Thorburn at her harbourside home on Sydney's lower North Shore.
The dark space that she spoke of last year is gone.
She's back – strong, healthy and more confident than she's been in a long time.
"Thankfully I've been gifted with enough resilience and strength to have got us all through these past two years," Cassandra Thorburn tells us.
But arriving at this new positive place in her life has not been an easy journey for the family-focused mother of three.
"Last year, I declared that Karl really was dead to me, a man I no longer know, but the children still have their father."
"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, replaced by a whole new line-up of starters."
"It has been a real adjustment period for me."
Normally very private, Cass, 47, a former journalist, put her own career on hold to be a stay-at-home mum for her children, Jackson (now almost 19), Ava (13) and River (11), while Karl pursued his childhood dream of fame.
He found that, and is now one of the highest paid TV personalities in the country.
Despite a successful run as a television producer, Cass' decision to give up her profession for the sake of her family is one she will never regret.
She remains a strong advocate for women who've made the decision to park their own careers, and believes her choice to be there for her three children while their dad went to work does not equate to lost opportunities.
"I've had an incredibly full and interesting life and wouldn't give up the years of being there for them for anything. It incenses me that stay-at-home mums are, on the one hand, applauded for putting family first, making the choice to forgo careers for the sake of our children."
"But then, when there is a split, we're either accused of manipulating the children or criticised for asking for the money that is rightfully ours – you can't win."
But Cass' career is far from over.
With her close friend, Cara Campbell, she is about to embark on a whole new chapter of her life.
The friends have co-authored their first children's book – Leo Lion's BIG Bed! – which is set for release this month.
For the full story with Cassandra Thorburn, pick up a copy of the September issue of The Australian Women's Weekly. On sale tomorrow.
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