Karl’s tearful tribute to new bride
FEW couples get hitched needing security provided by machine gun-toting Mexican marines, but normal is not a word that can be applied to the nuptials of Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough.
From the choice of venue - an exclusive, remote $1000-a-night resort in Mexico - to the eclectic mix of politicians, celebrities and business identities on the guest list and the three-day non-stop no-expense spared shindig that surrounded it, this was a wedding party on steroids.
Not that surprising, perhaps, in view of the self-described "shit storm" that surrounds Stefanovic - the Channel 9 star whose bitter divorce from his first wife Cassandra Thorburn and subsequent romance with Yarbrough has polarised fans and fuelled countless media yarns.
It was enough to bring the Today host to tears when he paid a tearful tribute to his new bride for putting up with the controversy that has followed him.
"Jas has endured beyond hardship to be with me. When everyone has had their say as to why she is with me, she has gone beyond it," Stefanovic told News Corp Australia.
"And really, why would you be with me with the shit storm that comes with me? It has been very hard. Jas is my rock. I don't go on without her. She is the rock of us as a couple."
Back in Australia, the first Mrs Stefanovic, Cassandra Thorburn, posted cryptically on social media a picture of The Handmaid's Tale, a novel about male oppression of women and added: "A good book for my journey ... an emotional roller coaster for women."
Stefanovic, 44, wed shoe designer Yarbrough, 34, at the exclusive One & Only Palmilla on the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. The couple were married on the stairs of the resort's picturesque Mexican chapel as 200 of their closest friends and family watched on.
"It has been a journey," Stefanovic said. "It feels like we've got to the starting line of our life."
Stefanovic's three children from his first marriage - River, 12, Ava, 13, and Jackson, 19 - were in Mexico to share the occasion with their father.
His groomsmen included brothers Tom and Pete, businessman Ben Tilley and former world motorcycle champ Mick Doohan.
Stefanovic's close mate, billionaire James Packer, had to cancel at the last minute to celebrate his mother's 80th birthday with her in Argentina. Kyle Sandilands and Alan Jones were also unable to make the trip to Central America.
But other guests included former foreign minister Julie Bishop, model Montana Cox, former My Kitchen Rules contestant Della Muscat, and skateboarder Corbin Harris were there to celebrate with the couple as Stefanovic paid a heartfelt tribute to his new wife.
"Jasmine you have taken on enormous stress with me, you have taken on another family, media and social criticism that would break most - you've weathered it. You stand tall, you stand strong, you stand up and keep walking," he said during his speech at the reception.
"Everyone needs a Jasmine in their life, if they have it they're the luckiest people in the world. You are my rock, you are my saviour, you put me back together. I'm a better person because of you, a better friend, a better dad - tonight I celebrate and toast you, Jasmine, my wife."
Mexican soldiers provided patrols around the five-star resort and early yesterday some press were ordered off the public beach by the authorities.
"We chose this place because of the solitude of it," Stefanovic said. "It gives us a bubble, not because of anything other than wanting to have our wedding with privacy."
After the official service, guests were driven in golf buggies to drinks overlooking the ocean surrounded by palm trees before moving on to the beach just a short walk away.
There, organisers set up a spectacular fairy light canopy under which a four-course meal was served.
It was the third and most important day of celebrations, with guests having already partied at a welcome drinks party two days earlier.
"It is very much a family wedding," Stefanovic said. "We drunk the bar dry, they've gone to get extra stock."
Stefanovic's sister Elise Pointon was celebrant and her husband Marcus played an acoustic version of Angus and Julia Stone's The Devil's Tears. He also played Ben Harper's Forever.