Karl Stefanovic break up: On the way to joining a surprising list

Every day, more than 125 marriages fail in Australia.

On Sunday, a 42-year-old commercial breakfast television presenter who has been married for 21 years was reported to be on the road to joining the list. 

Karl Stefanovic, who earns nearly $3 million a year being chirpy at a time of day most of us are wiping sleep from our eyes, moved out of the family home he shares with his wife, Cassandra Thorburn, 44, and three children in recent weeks, according to News Limited. 

Karl Stefanovic and Cassandra at the 2011 Logies. Photo: Melanie Faith Dove

Karl Stefanovic and Cassandra at the 2011 Logies. Photo: Melanie Faith Dove

Coming a day after rugby league coach Wayne Bennett confirmed he was splitting from his wife of 42 years, the resulting headlines have underscored Australia's love of a celebrity bust-up: Bob and Hazel, Tom and Nicole, James and Erica/Jodie/Jodhi, Daryl and Ozzie.

​Australians crave more than just the usual tabloid obsession of hatches, matches and dispatches. We also want to know about dropped catches.

While Mr Stefanovic's marriage had apparently survived the flim-flam world of commercial television for years, he is now said to be living in the Bondi Beach digs of his twice divorced billionaire buddy James Packer.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2014, there were 46,498 divorces granted in Australia, a decrease of 1140 (2.4 per cent) from the 47,638 divorces granted in 2013. News Limited reported Mr Stefanovic and Ms Thorburn, who have three children together, are understood to be trying to work on their marriage. 

Recent research shows one in five divorces now involve couples who have been married for 20 years or more.

In a 2011 interview with Women's Weekly, Ms Thorburn spoke of the tough times when her husband was forever on the road as a correspondent.

"The first 12 months we were in LA, Karl was on the road for eight of them," she said. "I was pregnant. I remember one morning waking up with awful morning sickness and barely being able to get out of bed. [Our son] was four years old and could see his mummy was sick and said, 'If Daddy doesn't want to be the daddy anymore, I'll be the daddy'. It broke my heart."

The couple met in the mid 1990s at a party and Mr Stefanovic was immediately smitten, he told the Herald in 2014. He had just moved to Rockhampton to work for WIN television and she was working for ABC radio. 

"She told me I look like a preppy. She said, 'I suppose that's how you got your job in television, because of your pretty-boy looks'."

"It took me a while to track her down afterwards, but I did," he said.

He praised his wife last year for giving up her own career as a journalist to support his television career.

"She gave up a promising career at the ABC and I'm forever thankful and tremendously appreciative of that," he told the Herald-Sun in 2015. "Cass wanted to be at home, and wants to be there now, and we're very lucky to be in a financial position where we can do that.

"But should she ever want to go back to work, then of course she can."

Tabloids and women's magazines lap up celebrity break ups, hoping for circulation spikes and an increase in readership as readers pore over pictures of the once happy couple, their wedding pictures, baby photos and their strained faces at the first sign of trouble (or was it swatting away a fly?).

Australians also love to take sides in a celebrity break-up - in the case of former PM Bob Hawke and his late wife Hazel, Australians firmly sided with the former first lady when he took up with his biographer Blanche D'Alpuget.

​Similarly, Australians sided with Nicole Kidman in her split from Hollywood star Tom Cruise.

Channel Nine declined to comment on Mr Stefanovic's situation.

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