CAS­SAN­DRA THOR­BURN ON LIFE AF­TER KARL

Today star Karl Ste­fanovic’s ex-wife fi­nally breaks her si­lence

Woman’s Day (Australia) - - Celebrity News -

It’s right on sun­rise and the streets of Syd­ney’s Lower North Shore sub­urbs are be­gin­ning to stir and Cas­san­dra Thor­burn spares a mo­ment to en­joy the view over Syd­ney Har­bour be­fore re­flect­ing just how far she’s come in the past 15 months.

“There were days in the be­gin­ning I would get up, put on a brave face and drop the kids at school, then I’d get to the back door and I would lie in a heap for the rest of the day un­able to move – there were very dark days,” she ad­mits.

“I was com­pletely gazumped when I re­alised Karl had gone.”

Shocked, hurt and hu­mil­i­ated, Cass re­lied on close friends for sup­port. “I’ve had the most in­cred­i­ble sup­port from friends,” she says. “Dur­ing those dark months, imag­ine open­ing the front door and an esky of home-cooked food was there, even down to the school lunches for the kids. I was so grate­ful for th­ese small acts of kind­ness. My friends re­ally helped me come through the other side.”

Cass found it dif­fi­cult ad­just­ing to life as a sin­gle mum. “I ques­tioned and doubted my­self about ev­ery­thing,” she ad­mits.

“I slept on the couch in front of the fire for months be­cause I didn’tdidn t want to go near the mar­i­tal bed. I was in a very dark place.” Today, Cass, 46, is a very dif­fer­ent woman. Glow­ing with con­fi­dence, and fit­ter, health­ier and stronger than she has ever been be­fore, she has put the grief and anger be­hind her to forge a new life with her three chil­dren, Jack­son, 18, Ava, 12 and River, 10.

“I get up ev­ery day with only one pur­pose – to make sure my three beau­ti­ful kids are happy – ev­ery­thing else re­ally doesn’t mat­ter,” she says. “I’m only con­cen­trat­ing on be­ing strong in ev­ery way, and be­ing the best mum I can be.”

FIND­ING HAP­PI­NESS

She’s also learned to take time out to en­joy the sim­ple things in life and start to re­dis­cover her­self.

“Th­ese days I get up half an hour ear­lier so I can be all on my own with a cup of cof­fee in hand, lis­ten­ing to the birds,” she says. “It’s pure bliss and it’s me time. It’s some­thing I would never have done be­fore my life changed.

“I used to wake up and go straight into au­topi­lot par­ent­ing. Now I’m on my own it’s the most spe­cial way to make me stop and count our bless­ings. Any­one who knows me knows my num­ber num­ber-oneone pri­or­ity will al­ways be my chil­dren but I’ve re­alised I also have to be happy. If I’m not happy, then how can I pos­si­bly ex­pect the kids to be?”

With a new­found con­fi­dence and her first chil­dren’s book al­most com­pleted, Cass de­cided now was the right time to mark a new chap­ter in her own life.

“I wanted to do this one in­ter­view to tell my story,” she says, look­ing the best she has for months as she sur­veys the $8 mil­lion Cre­morne man­sion where she lives.

“I had to stand up and speak out be­cause of all the mis­truths.”

The turn­ing point for Cass to get up and shake her­self off and be­gin mak­ing steps for­ward was when she re­alised how trau­matic it was for their now 18-year-old son Jack­son to move out of their Lindfield home.

“Jack­son found it re­ally hard to leave,” Cass says, wip­ing away tears. “He ac­tu­ally stayed in the house when I’d left with the other chil­dren, even though we’d moved out all the fur­ni­ture. He slept on the floor of his bed­room and I couldn’t, and didn’t, want to make him leave.”

FEEL­ING VUL­NER­A­BLE

It was just min­utes af­ter she saw her son so vul­ner­a­ble that Cass and Jack­son were am­bushed by a pho­tog­ra­pher as they ar­rived at a close friend’s home.

“I started scream­ing and had a com­plete melt­down – Jack­son jumped in to de­fend me,

and on his own, con­fronted the pho­tog­ra­pher, telling him to ‘leave my mother alone, she didn’t ask for any of this’ – I couldn’t be­lieve his strength and courage for some­one so young, and so vul­ner­a­ble.”

Cass says it made her re­alise no mat­ter what hap­pened, she had to stand up for her three chil­dren.

“I’m so proud of my kids and who they are and how they have got through this,” she says.

Cass also now re­alises that dur­ing the “dark days” when she was still try­ing to un­der­stand the split, she was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing grief, and says it was very much like when a fam­ily mem­ber dies.

“I re­alised I was go­ing through stages of grief, and to me it was like some­one had died,” she says. The chil­dren still have a fa­ther but I don’t have a hus­band. He re­ally is dead to me and no, we won’t ever be friends again.”

MOV­ING ON

Woman’s Day un­der­stands the chil­dren are yet to meet Karl’s new girl­friend, Jas­mine Yar­brough, 33, de­spite Karl and Jas­mine liv­ing in the next sub­urb. The Today host was pho­tographed in Queens­land with Jas­mine’s fam­ily on Fa­ther’s Day this year.

With Karl re­port­edly re­cently un­der­go­ing an oper­a­tion to re­verse the va­sec­tomy he had when he was mar­ried to Cass, it has been widely spec­u­lated that Karl and Jas­mine will marry and are al­ready plan­ning to start their own fam­ily.

For now Cass is happy to spend time with Jack­son, Ava and River, and the hand­ful of close friends who re­mained loyal to her in the fall­out of the split, and play with the mis­chievous pug they bought when Karl moved out.

“We cel­e­brated our new be­gin­ning by get­ting the kids a puppy,” she says. “I would love to meet some­one [spe­cial] but it is so far down the list of im­por­tance at the mo­ment.”

‘I started scream­ing and had a com­plete melt­down’

Karl and Cass with a young River, Jack­son and Ava in 2009. Just weeks be­fore... Cass had no idea of the heartbreak soon to come when Karl took this happy selfie.

Karl and Jas­mine have not been shy about show­ing their love to the world.

Karl’s PDAS

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