Jessica Rowe has opened up about her one-time feud with Karl Stefanovic telling her podcast listeners on Saturday she no longer resented the high-profile TV star. The popular 52-year-old journalist was left bitter after she was sacked as Karl’s co-host on Channel Nine’s Today show in 2007.
The outspoken mother of two used the one-year anniversary of her podcast on Saturday to revisit the issue over her sacking. In an emotional statement Jessica said Karl’s apology had lifted a ‘weight of resentment’ she had been carrying for a long time.
She never spoke to Karl again before the star appeared on her Listnr Jessica Rowe Big Talk Show podcast a year ago. Karl, now 48, offered a tearful apology on the program, telling Jessica he could have done more to protect her.
‘I didn’t mean to be carrying it, but it was there. It was my baggage and I felt lighter after our conversation,’ she said. ‘Part of why I’m here today is to apologise to you,’ Karl said on Jessica’s podcast. ‘I feel genuinely sorry. I wasn’t a good host and I certainly wasn’t a great co-host.’
She thanked Karl for his ‘willingness to be vulnerable.’Karl had appeared as Jessica’s first ever guest on her now popular podcast and told listeners if he had his time over he would have done things differently.
A year ago Jessica explained to Stellar Magazine why she asked Karl to appear on the show following the terrible humiliation of her sacking in 2007.
‘I remember seeing Karl at an airport one year. He was walking with a bunch of people and I was walking with a bunch of people, and we just said hello, but we’d never spoken about what happened between us,’ she said. Jessica had invited Karl to appear on her podcast, so they can talk over the drama and finally put the past to bed.
‘Even though nearly 15 years have passed, there are some things that never leave you and feel unresolved, even though both of us have gotten on with our lives and we are both much happier people now than we were then,’ she said.
In 2006, Jessica was thrust into the spotlight when she moved from Channel 10 to the Nine Network to replace Tracy Grimshaw as co-host of the Today show.
But scandal struck when Nine’s chief executive Eddie McGuire allegedly asked when he could ‘bone’ Jessica, with reports suggesting at the time he meant to ‘sack’ her.
He reportedly made the comments during a conversation with his then deputy Jeffrey Browne and Nine’s head of news and current affairs, Mark Llewellyn. ‘What are we going to do about Jessica? When should we bone her? I reckon it should be next week,’ McGuire had reportedly asked.
McGuire has since denied using the term ‘bone’ in the conversation, which was laid out by Llewellyn’s sworn affidavit (made public after he left the network for rival station Seven).
Llewellyn then allegedly told McGuire the network might risk also losing Jessica’s husband, Nine News reporter Peter Overton, if they sacked her. McGuire is said to have replied, ‘Maybe we have to take that risk,’ before Browne added: ‘She’s a laughing stock and if we keep her on air we’ll be the laughing stock.’
Discussing the ‘boning’ incident years later, Jessica said that people forget ‘how powerful words can be and how they can hurt like hell’, adding that she was still ‘terribly upset’ by what happened.
‘That year was a terrible time in my life and it was not helped by public abuse, abuse from within the network that I worked at and abuse from someone who was in charge of that particular network,’ she told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2016.
‘It was horrific and it pre-empted then a very dark period in my life. A whole lot of factors contributed to a perfect storm… and it just makes me terribly sad.’
Jessica was then sacked from the Today Show in 2007 following her return from maternity leave. She then joined Channel Seven as a presenter for Seven News in Sydney, before taking part in Dancing with the Stars.
Jessica moved to Weekend Sunrise in late 2010 and stayed there for three years. In 2013, she signed with Network Ten and hosted morning show Studio 10 alongside Ita Buttrose, Joe Hildebrand, Sarah Harris and Denise Drysdale.In March 2018, she announced she was resigning from the program to spend more time with her family.