Jasmine Stefanovic had worry etched on her face on Tuesday as she stepped out in Cairns, Queensland, with her daughter Harper and mother-in-law Jenny.
The shoe designer, 37, appeared to be in the middle of a tense phone call, which may have had something to do with her husband Karl Stefanovic’s ongoing PR crisis.
Former Today show host Stefanovic, 47, has gone to ground in recent days as his former co-anchor Lisa Wilkinson prepares to release a tell-all memoir documenting their years working together on Channel Nine’s breakfast program.
Among other allegations, the veteran journalist, 61, claims Stefanovic had prior knowledge of her 2017 sacking from Nine and that he abandoned her during salary negotiations in 2015, leading to an ‘off the charts’ gender pay gap.
Feeling the strain: Jasmine Stefanovic had worry etched on her face on Tuesday as she stepped out in Cairns, Queensland, with her daughter Harper and mother-in-law Jenny
While Jasmine is not the focus of the autobiography, she is mentioned in the chapter about Wilkinson’s unceremonious exit from the network four years ago.
Wilkinson claims that, weeks before she left Nine, the Stefanovics had failed to show up to her October 2017 ‘wedding’ to husband Peter FitzSimons – which was actually a 25th anniversary vow renewal ceremony – because they wanted to extend their overseas holiday, without so much as a phone call to apologise.
During her outing in Cairns last week, Jasmine, who is a former catwalk model, wore a white T-shirt, denim shorts and sandals.
She held hands with her one-year-old daughter and chatted to mother-in-law Jenny, who has been spending time with her during her trip to Queensland.
Bad times: The shoe designer, 37, appeared to be in the middle of a tense phone call, which may have had something to do with her husband Karl Stefanovic’s ongoing PR crisis
Trouble ahead: Former Today show host Stefanovic (left) has gone to ground in recent days as his former co-anchor Lisa Wilkinson (right) prepares to release a tell-all memoir documenting their years working together on Channel Nine’s breakfast program
Jasmine had travelled to the Sunshine State in August so she could spend time with her ailing 96-year-old grandmother, who would die several weeks later.
She subsequently attended her funeral in Brisbane.
The Stefanovics will be reunited in Sydney on Monday.
Dragged into the mess: While she is not the focus of the autobiography, Jasmine is mentioned in the chapter about Wilkinson’s unceremonious exit from Nine
Claim: Wilkinson claims that, weeks before she left Nine, the Stefanovics had failed to show up to her October 2017 ‘wedding’ to husband Peter FitzSimons – which was actually a 25th anniversary vow renewal ceremony – because they wanted to extend their overseas holiday
Meanwhile, Stefanovic has been keeping a low profile since extracts from Wilkinson’s book started appearing in News Corp newspapers.
He took two days off work last week, with Today Extra host David Campbell filling in alongside Allison Langdon.
A Nine spokesperson said he was on a ‘special assignment’, possibly for current affairs program 60 Minutes.
Chic: Jasmine, a former model and co-founder of cult shoe label Mara & Mine, wore a white T-shirt, denim shorts and sandals as she strolled around the tourist hotspot
Family ties: She kept a watchful eye on her one-year-old daughter and chatted to Jenny (right), who has been spending time with her son’s wife during her trip to Queensland
Sad trip: Jasmine had travelled to the Sunshine State in August so she could spend time with her ailing 96-year-old grandmother, who would die several weeks later
Out and about: Jasmine was seen pushing her toddler daughter in a stroller
It comes after Wilkinson, who now hosts The Sunday Project on Channel 10, lifted the lid on her final days working at the Today show in an excerpt from her new book, published in last week’s The Sunday Telegraph.
She claimed Stefanovic had given her the cold shoulder in the weeks prior to her sacking, which was prompted when she asked for a significant pay rise.
She alleged she and FitzSimons had invited Stefanovic and Jasmine to attend their 25th anniversary vow renewal ceremony, which took place on October 6, 2017.
Reunion: The Stefanovics will be reunited in Sydney on Monday
Two days before the event, however, Stefanovic supposedly contacted FitzSimons to say they wouldn’t be attending because they’d extended their overseas holiday.
‘In the ten days since [the ceremony] Karl hadn’t contacted me, his co-host of almost eleven years, at all. No phone message, no text, no apology, not even a simple congrats. Just complete silence,’ Wilkinson alleged.
However, several guests who attended the vow renewals have since told The Australian they did not know the event was a wedding until they arrived.
If this was the case and Stefanovic hadn’t been told ahead of time the event was to celebrate Wilkinson and FitzSimons renewing their vows, then his decision to pull out at the last minute arguably wasn’t the snub Wilkinson is making it out to be.
It’s unclear if Stefanovic was made aware his co-anchor and her husband of 25 years were planning to renew their vows, or if he was simply told it was a party.
Regardless, after returning to work, Wilkinson claimed Stefanovic did not ask her about her holidays, nor did he apologise for being a ‘no-show at the wedding’.
‘For the next two hours, I exchanged not a single word with Karl outside of what was scripted – because for the first time, I just didn’t trust myself to “play nice”,’ she said.
But her recollection of her last show has also been disputed, with resurfaced footage showing Stefanovic had in fact said to her: ‘It’s a big welcome back to Lisa.
‘Nice to see you again. How was your honeymoon?’
Gone to ground: Meanwhile, Stefanovic has been keeping a low profile since extracts from Wilkinson’s book started appearing in News Corp newspapers
Replacement: He took two days off work last week, with Today Extra host David Campbell (left) filling in alongside Allison Langdon (right)
Wilkinson went on to claim in her book she was ‘quietly fuming’ because ‘nearly every interview that day was being done by Karl alone’.
‘For two hours, I sat there feeling completely useless. The Today Show was now The Karl Show. What was the point of me even being there?’ she said.
However, as noted by entertainment journalist Peter Ford on 6PR radio last week, this claim doesn’t hold water because the rundown of Wilkinson’s last show reveals there was a ‘very even spread’ of interviews between the two presenters.
Wilkinson goes on to speculate in her book that Stefanovic secretly knew she was about to lose her job at the network.
Upon learning she had been let go later that day, she wondered: ‘Was this why Karl didn’t attend the wedding and hadn’t spoken to me since? Was this why he never said a word about the show’s strange rundown that morning?’
Shots fired: Wilkinson’s new book, It Wasn’t Meant to Be This Way, includes damning allegations about her former Today co-host Stefanovic. It is released early next month
Other facts in Wilkinson’s autobiography have also been disputed – including the central claim that Stefanovic earned more than his female co-anchor.
She alleges Stefanovic proposed in August 2015 they join forces to renegotiate their Nine contracts – not unlike how the cast of American sitcom Friends famously worked together to broker better deals with NBC.
But she claims he ended up ditching this idea and instead played rival networks Nine and Seven off against each other in order to secure a better deal for himself.
‘Weeks later… the media became awash with stories that Stefanovic was restless at Today and looking for greener pastures – and more civilised working hours – at Channel Seven,’ she wrote.
Bombshells: The veteran journalist, 61, claims Stefanovic had prior knowledge of her 2017 sacking from Nine and that he abandoned her during salary negotiations in 2015, leading to an ‘off the charts’ gender pay gap
Stefanovic was soon at the centre of a bidding war between Nine and Seven that resulted in him re-signing a five-year deal with Nine worth at least $2million per year.
Wilkinson’s deal was worth significantly less, about $780,000 a year, and was only for two years.
‘There was no doubt about it: Karl certainly knew the art of the deal,’ she wrote, adding that the resulting pay disparity between them ‘was so off the charts that no-one would have believed it’.
However, this doesn’t tell the full story, with News.com.au journalist Samantha Maiden (pictured) reporting last week Wilkinson had in fact earned more than Stefanovic for years when they first joined forces on Today, and it wasn’t until much later the roles were reversed
However, this allegedly doesn’t tell the full story.
News.com.au reported last week Wilkinson had in fact earned more than Stefanovic for years when they first joined forces on Today, and it was only at the end of their partnership that the roles reversed.
This article – which challenges Wilkinson’s most significant claim about her exit from the Today show – reportedly sent the book’s publisher into a major spin.
Harper Collins Australia demanded a preview copy of the memoir be returned by the news website following publication of the story, sources told Daily Mail Australia.
New start: In January 2018, Wilkinson joined Channel 10 in a rumoured multimillion-dollar deal to host The Sunday Project
In the piece, written by respected political journalist Samantha Maiden, sources at Nine disputed Wilkinson’s claims that Stefanovic was ‘paid double’ what she earned.
In fact, they claim it was Wilkinson who was paid much more than Stefanovic for ‘many years’ after the pair first teamed up on Nine’s breakfast flagship in 2006.
‘News.com.au understands that when she first signed with Nine in 2006 she was earning more than $700,000. The fresh-faced Stefanovic, who had just returned from a reporting stint in Los Angeles, earned less than half that amount for years as the TV couple co-hosted Nine’s breakfast TV program,’ the article states.
It was only several years later that Stefanovic would negotiate his way into a now-infamous pay rise that saw his salary explode to $2million a year.
It Wasn’t Meant to Be Like This is released on November 3
Under the microscope: Several claims made in Wilkinson’s autobiography have been disputed