After the “roller-coaster” of the last year, Sydney Weekender presenter Rosie Jacobs is in a good place. In fact, she’s never felt better. Having relocated from Vanuatu to her hometown of Sydney, she’s exuberant—and she’s only six days in.
Speaking exclusively to WHO amid divorce proceedings from her partner of 11 years, former Today weatherman Steve Jacobs, the 39-year-old reflects on how the decision to call things quits was far from an easy one. Meeting on the set of the Nine breakfast show in 2007, the pair married three years later and went on to have two daughters, Isabella, now 7, and Francesca, 5.
And while, to the outside world, the pair were the epitome of the perfect couple, behind the scenes, cracks were starting to appear.
“Work was having a major impact on us as a family,” recalls Jacobs. “Steven was travelling more than 300 days each year for more than a decade, so we needed to spend more time together as a family. Plus, our lives in Sydney were very chaotic, especially with two young kids. It just felt a bit overwhelming.”
Quitting their high-profile media careers and hectic lives in favour of a more relaxed, back-to-basics existence in tropical Vanuatu in an attempt to heal their relationship, the couple announced their “sea change” and migrated to the South Pacific hotspot in January last year. However, despite the paradise setting, once the dust settled and the excitement faded, their old problems resurfaced.
“Unfortunately moving countries doesn’t always fix everything,” concedes Jacobs. “As anyone will know who has tried to make a sea change or tree change, if something isn’t working, it won’t fix itself simply by changing location. We go to Vanuatu and the first year felt like we were on a permanent holiday with the white, sandy beaches and all our new friends,” she continues. “But ultimately it wasn’t working. I have no regrets whatsoever, especially having children. Also, when you still have a lot of love for your partner, you don’t give up straight away, you try absolutely everything.”
After admitting defeat, when the pair finally announced their separation, it made headlines around Australia. Though Jacobs stayed in the expat community in Vanuatu for some time afterwards, she made the decision to return home to start a new life as a single mum. “It was a gut feeling; I just knew it was time to go home,” she says.
And although Isabella and Francesca love their new home, the relocation hasn’t been without its upsets, inevitable in a marriage breakdown when young children are involved.
“Any separation is hard on a kid,” Jacobs acknowledges. “For me, it was important to find the right wording to explain it to them, to say that, while we’re not together anymore, we’re still Mum and Dad, and that we still love them both—to make them aware they are loved and nothing will ever change that."
She added: “We share the girls now. Week-on, week-off. Steven moved back the day before I did because we’re so committed to this 50-50 arrangement. He’s very present and engaged with the girls and loves them entirely. Now we’re sharing custody, we’re so much more present with them, and grateful for the time we have with them, because it’s so precious. If anything [the split] has made us better parents.”
Read the full story in this week's issue of WHO, on sale now.