After keeping a low profile and avoiding the spotlight for many months, Karl Stefanovic has finally opened up about his shock Today show axing, admitting he was "struggling towards the end of last year".
WATCH: Karl Stefanovic ex-wife Cassandra Thorburn pole dance
Speaking at Channel Nine's Gold Logie recovery brunch this morning, the former breakfast show co-host candidly revealed he was having a tough time when he was dumped from the program in December while on his honeymoon with his shoe-designer wife, Jasmine Yarbrough.
“It was good to be back (last night). It’s been about six months since I was on the telly, and I needed to have a rest. Towards the end of last year, I was cooked,” Stefanovic began. “It had taken its toll, a lot of the attention — all the unwarranted attention I thought, and you can’t control any of that, I’m not going to complain too much about that, but what it meant was that in a work capacity I don’t believe for a second I was at my best. I think I was struggling towards the end of last year.”
While his sensational exit came as a shock to thousands of Australian viewers, the beloved Nine Network presenter said he knew the change was imminent, inevitable and necessary.
“So it wasn’t a great surprise to me — in fact, it was a relief in many ways — that I was taken off the Today show. Because I just wasn’t at my best and you can’t be doing that show unless you’re at the top of your game,” he said. “You’ve got to be sharp, you’ve got to be witty, you’ve got to be funny. You’ve got to see the angles, and to be honest, at the end of last year I wasn’t seeing much.”
After his final segment aired, Stefanovic said not having to wake at 3.30am and read the news all while trying to be "funny and witty" helped him "see things a lot clearer". Since his lengthy television hiatus, the Sydney sider says his head space has improved and his marriage has been more "wonderful" now they're able "to breathe without having too many paparazzi in the shower with us".
“It allowed me to rest and think about life in a much clearer way and to come back and go ‘OK, when I do come back, I’ve got to make sure I’m OK’ and I think for a while there, I wasn’t sure if I was, to be honest,” said Stefanovic, who was married to Cassandra Thorburn before meeting Jasmine and tieing the knot in Mexico. "It has eased off, which was the whole point of everything (Today axing),” he continued.“ (I’m) just breathing. Taking life in."
While the former Channel 9 newsreader refuses to return to his old gig, he recently announced he will be hosting the second season of Nine's popular series, This Time Next Year.
The second season of This Time Next Year was commissioned two months before Stefanovic's shock dismissal. After being replaced by breakfast program hosts Georgie Gardner and Deborah Knight, there was no official announcement as to whether Stefanovic would retain his hosting gig. Despite remaining hopeful, fans were convinced he'd lost the gig after he was caught 'liking' a serious of scandalous Instagram comments which slammed Today Show producers for sacking him.
"I can't wait until [the Today show producers] realise it wasn't you that was the problem after all," read one comment he liked.
The two-time Gold Logie winner later denied accusations that it was him who liked those comments, arguing that his social media account had been hacked while he was on a fishing trip.
The hosting gig news comes a month after former Today show host Sylvia Jeffreys broke her silence on leaving the breakfast show. Speaking to Stellar magazine, the 33-year-old discussed 'speculation' that she and husband Peter Stefanovic were damaged by Karl Stefanovic and wife Jasmine Yarbrough's high-profile wedding.
"[Karl and Jasmine] are beautiful people who love each other very much and that's all I really care about," she said.
Despite denying that their lavish wedding ceremony— which WHO had exclusive access to— had anything to do with her departure from Nine, Jeffreys did admit the sudden change was also a shock to the system.
"I didn't see change on that scale coming... It was a lot to digest all at once," she told the publication. "I don't know on what basis those decisions were made, but whatever way you look at it, I was collateral."