Pete’s ‘great sympathy’ for Karl
THE Stefanovic name is no stranger to headlines and the past six months have been no exception.
In March, Weekend Today host Peter Stefanovic and his older brother Karl were embroiled in a phone recording scandal, dubbed Ubergate, after a conversation between the siblings was released to the media by an Uber driver.
And this week, Peter's wife and Today show newsreader Sylvia Jeffreys was forced to hit back at rumours of trouble in their year-old marriage.
In an exclusive interview to kick off news.com.au's new podcast series Balls Deep, Peter Stefanovic admits the attention on both of their private lives has been hard to take and almost led to him and Jeffreys eloping.
Speaking just before the now-infamous Uber phone call scandal, Peter acknowledged the "hurt" his brother often went through in the media, saying their surname came with the curse of constant public scrutiny.
"[Karl] is in new territory," Peter said of his brother's media attention.
"But he handles it very well. Like, can you imagine them following you around? He doesn't do the Kanye and lash out and grab … He hasn't had the meltdown yet … as much as he's probably felt like doing that."
Karl has copped a barrage of negative headlines since his high-profile divorce in September 2016 to Cassandra Thorburn, with whom he shares three kids. Media interest was also feverish when it was revealed he had moved on with former-model-turned-shoe-designer Jasmine Yarbrough, who is 10 years his junior.
The 36-year-old said while Karl was "battling away" after the bad press, but he was happy, especially when it came to his relationship with Yarbrough.
"He's a good man, I love him," Stefanovic said. "If someone is hurting, you hurt with them.
"He's battling away, and he seems really happy at the moment. Work is going well for him, the new show is going well and his relationship is obviously going really well and he's happy, and what more can you ask for.
"I just hope that his kids are all right."
On Monday, Peter's own private life was hurled onto the cover of Australian gossip magazine New Idea, with the glossy suggesting his marriage with Jeffreys was in trouble.
The story, headlined "New relationship hell" pushed Jeffreys to call out the story online - which said pair were having relationship issues after the Ubergate scandal.
"Today's offering from the 'Fabricated Stories Based on Unflattering Paparazzi Photos' file. Why no byline @newideamagazine?#itsanextensivefile," Jeffreys posted on her Instagram account.
Since they tied the knot in 2017, the pair have been challenged with navigating a marriage in the public eye, with tabloid magazines often using their relationship as weekly fodder.
Speaking of his wedding day, which took place at a private estate in the Kangaroo Valley in April last year, Peter said the pair considered eloping, because of the growing paparazzi interest in their private life.
"We both kind of always felt uncomfortable around that [paparazzi]," he said.
"We are just journalists at the end of the day. We did think about [eloping] when we realised there might be potentially a drone involved. We thought maybe we should just do something beforehand quickly at home and then have the party afterwards.
"But then we thought, nah don't worry about it. Let's just carry on and do what we were originally going to do and have a big party. And that's what it was at the end of the day, just a really good party."
Peter said the attention didn't dwindle after their wedding day, and it had resulted in the pair avoiding some of their favourite public places simply to avoid the paps.
"Sylvia doesn't like going to the beach anymore," he said.
"And I don't like going because she's not there. You try to ignore it, you try and carry on but it's still hard to get used to … so I have great sympathy for what Karl is going through with all of that, because it can be unrelenting."
Peter said the interest in his wedding day was only heightened by his brother Karl's attendance, whose marriage had fallen apart only months prior.
"Karl had a fair bit to do with it [paparazzi]," Peter said.
"Not in a bad way - he's my brother and I love him - but there's a certain appeal in our surname, the family name, and Sylvia is in that family, so we have become a bit of a squad."
Peter said he knew very early on that he would marry Sylvia, so he didn't listen to the many voices pressuring him to pop the question.
"There was never any doubt," he said.
"[A lot of people asked about the engagement] online, but that came from a nice place. I was very much in control of what was going on.
"I always thought when I was younger that 35 would be a nice age to get married. And I was 35 in the end, and it all went really well."
Peter - who celebrated his one year wedding anniversary with Jeffreys in April - said the focus had now turned on when the pair would have children, a question he admits usually falls to Sylvia.
"We have had that [question] ever since we got married," he said.
"People are interested in the whole circle of life thing, and the circle of a relationship. It's something that we want to do … I feel like I'd be missing out if I didn't have a kid, but we are both pretty busy with our work at the moment and we still have a bit of time on our side so we are happy just to focus on work."