Relationship break-ups do strange things to the best of us. Some of us howl down the phone to a girlfriend for an hour. Others drop 20kg, or pack on 10. If you’re Taylor Swift, you share every grisly detail in song. Yet in an age where social media is one of our primary communication sources with friends, family and everyone else, we still condemn the Facebook over-sharer for a post-breakup rant.
Last night, Cassandra Thorburn, 44, the estranged wife of Karl Stefanovic, 42, let loose on Facebook about the demise of her marriage. Her husband’s program, The Today Show, had just released its ratings figures, beating rival Sunrise.
“Apparently Today Show finally won a year,” Thorburn shared with her Facebook friends. “This took a huge toll on my family and I, and I’m congratulating myself today for all the effort that went into making that happen."
Thorburn added that she felt she deserved some of the credit for the show’s historic win. “The suggestions, the story ideas, the constant counselling of questions for years,” she added. “I’m giving myself a pat on the back tonight, as I know many people will also know how much effort I put into it.”
And, in the spirit of breakup confessions through the ages, she finished by revealing that a good bottle of plonk was also in the picture.
“Found a lovely tipple to cheers myself,” she wrote. “Thanks for the red Sharon Finnigan SF Celebrity Management” – a sly shout-out to Karl’s agent.
The response to Thorburn’s post has been catty and condemning. “She shouldn’t air her dirty laundry,” said one commenter. “Why don’t they just sort it out between themselves?” huffed another. “This just comes across as bitter,” said another. The feeling is that people going through something as personal as a divorce or separation should stay stoic, dignified and silent. Anything else embarrasses the writer and the rest of us.
But perhaps we’d do better to see the pain behind the impulse. Thorburn’s words show she’s clearly wounded from the demise of her 21-year marriage to the father of her three children, Jackson 16, Ava, 11 and River, 10. She’s in the unenviable position of being the phantom ‘real person’ in a celebrity match-up; the invisible support behind the scenes, whose contribution to her husband’s career has rarely been acknowledged publicly, and perhaps not privately either.
"Thorburn’s words show she’s clearly wounded from the demise of her marriage"Alexandra Carlton
The first many of us heard of her was at the Logies in 2011, when Karl announced that his wife, who quit her job at the ABC to look after the pair’s children, “ has been a great influence on my life,” before adding, to great derision that she has the “best arse I have ever seen.”
Is it any wonder that the woman attached to that great arse wants the world to see her as something more?
So Thorburn did what so many of us have done in a vulnerable moment; threw back a couple of glasses of red, overanalysed and dissected her hurt and jumped on a keyboard.
That single moment of impassioned release doesn’t make her undignified. It shouldn’t make her an object of pity. It doesn’t deserve our mockery.
It makes Cassandra Thorburn deeply human. And we hope her future looks brighter from here.