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Lisa Wilkinson: Dispute over whether Karl Stefanovic snubbed wedding

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Karl Stefanovic may not have intentionally ‘snubbed’ his Today co-host Lisa Wilkinson when he failed to attend her vow renewals with husband Peter FitzSimons in October 2017.

Wilkinson, 61, claims in her new autobiography that Stefanovic’s no-show was the final straw for their troubled relationship – even going so far as to imply he refused the invitation because he knew she was about to get sacked from Channel Nine.

But this narrative has been disputed by guests who attended the ceremony, many of whom told The Australian they didn’t know it was a wedding until they arrived.

Karl Stefanovic may not have intentionally 'snubbed' his Today co-host Lisa Wilkinson when he failed to attend her vow renewals with husband Peter FitzSimons in October 2017. Pictured together at the TV Week Logie Awards in Melbourne on Sunday, May 3, 2015

Karl Stefanovic may not have intentionally ‘snubbed’ his Today co-host Lisa Wilkinson when he failed to attend her vow renewals with husband Peter FitzSimons in October 2017. Pictured together at the TV Week Logie Awards in Melbourne on Sunday, May 3, 2015

If this was the case and Stefanovic hadn’t been told ahead of time the event was to celebrate Wilkinson and FitzSimons renewing their vows, then his decision to pull out at the last minute arguably wasn’t the snub Wilkinson is making it out to be.

It’s unclear if Stefanovic, 47, was made aware his co-anchor and her husband of 25 years were planning to renew their vows, or if he was simply told it was a party. 

Regardless, Wilkinson took Stefanovic’s last-minute cancellation to heart, and it effectively marked the end of their personal and professional relationship.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Channel Nine for comment.

Wilkinson, 61, claims in her new autobiography that Stefanovic's no-show was the final straw for their troubled relationship - even going so far as to imply he refused the invitation because he knew she was about to get sacked from Channel Nine. Pictured: Wilkinson and her husband Peter FitzSimons at their vow renewal ceremony on October 6, 2017

Wilkinson, 61, claims in her new autobiography that Stefanovic’s no-show was the final straw for their troubled relationship – even going so far as to imply he refused the invitation because he knew she was about to get sacked from Channel Nine. Pictured: Wilkinson and her husband Peter FitzSimons at their vow renewal ceremony on October 6, 2017

This narrative has been disputed by guests who attended the ceremony, many of whom told The Australian they didn't know it was a wedding until they arrived. (Wilkinson and FitzSimons are pictured at the ceremony with their children, Billi, Jake and Louis)

This narrative has been disputed by guests who attended the ceremony, many of whom told The Australian they didn’t know it was a wedding until they arrived. (Wilkinson and FitzSimons are pictured at the ceremony with their children, Billi, Jake and Louis)

Wilkinson lifted the lid on her final days working at the Today show in an excerpt from her new book, published in The Sunday Telegraph.

She claimed Stefanovic had given her the cold shoulder in the weeks prior to her sacking, which was prompted when she asked for a significant pay rise.

She alleged she and FitzSimons had invited Stefanovic and his partner, Jasmine Yarbrough, to attend their 25th anniversary vow renewal ceremony in October 2017.

If this was the case and Stefanovic hadn't been told ahead of time the event was to celebrate Wilkinson and FitzSimons renewing their vows, then his decision to pull out at the last minute arguably wasn't the snub Wilkinson is making it out to be. Pictured on June 28, 2007, in Sydney

If this was the case and Stefanovic hadn’t been told ahead of time the event was to celebrate Wilkinson and FitzSimons renewing their vows, then his decision to pull out at the last minute arguably wasn’t the snub Wilkinson is making it out to be. Pictured on June 28, 2007, in Sydney

Two days before the event, however, Stefanovic supposedly contacted FitzSimons to say they wouldn’t be attending because they’d extended their overseas holiday.

‘In the ten days since [the ceremony] Karl hadn’t contacted me, his co-host of almost eleven years, at all. No phone message, no text, no apology, not even a simple congrats. Just complete silence,’ Wilkinson alleged.

After returning to work, she claimed Stefanovic did not ask her about her holidays, nor did he apologise for being a ‘no-show at the wedding’. 

‘For the next two hours, I exchanged not a single word with Karl outside of what was scripted – because for the first time, I just didn’t trust myself to “play nice”,’ she said. 

Wilkinson went on to say she was also ‘quietly fuming’ because ‘nearly every interview that day was being done by Karl alone’.

‘For two hours, I sat there feeling completely useless. The Today Show was now The Karl Show. What was the point of me even being there?’ she added.

Upon learning she had been sacked later that day, Wilkinson wondered: ‘Was this why [Karl] didn’t attend the wedding and hadn’t spoken to me since? Was this why he never said a word about the show’s strange rundown that morning?’ 

This isn't the first time key facts in Wilkinson's autobiography have been disputed. The book, which is released next week, includes a chapter alleging the gender pay gap between them 'was so off the charts that no-one would have believed it'

This isn’t the first time key facts in Wilkinson’s autobiography have been disputed. The book, which is released next week, includes a chapter alleging the gender pay gap between them ‘was so off the charts that no-one would have believed it’

Meanwhile, this isn’t the first time key facts in Wilkinson’s upcoming autobiography, It Wasn’t Meant to Be Like This, have been disputed.

The book, which is released next week, includes a chapter dedicated to her sacking from Channel Nine and falling out with Stefanovic over a pay dispute.

She alleges Stefanovic proposed in August 2015 they join forces to renegotiate their Nine contracts – not unlike how the cast of American sitcom Friends famously worked together to broker better deals with NBC.

But she claims he ended up ditching this idea and instead played rival networks Nine and Seven off against each other in order to secure a better deal for himself.

‘Weeks later… the media became awash with stories that Stefanovic was restless at Today and looking for greener pastures – and more civilised working hours – at Channel Seven,’ she wrote.

Stefanovic was soon at the centre of a bidding war between Nine and Seven that resulted in him re-signing a five-year deal with Nine worth at least $2million per year.

Wilkinson’s deal was worth significantly less, about $780,000 a year, and was only for two years.

‘There was no doubt about it: Karl certainly knew the art of the deal,’ she wrote, adding that the resulting pay disparity between them ‘was so off the charts that no-one would have believed it’.

However, this account allegedly doesn’t tell the full story, with News.com.au reporting this week Wilkinson had in fact earned more than Stefanovic for years when they first joined forces on Today and it was only at the end of their partnership that the roles reversed.

This damning article – which challenges Wilkinson’s most significant claim about her exit from the Today show – reportedly sent the book’s publisher into a major spin.

Harper Collins Australia demanded a preview copy of the memoir be returned by the news website following publication of the story, well-placed sources told Daily Mail Australia.

In the piece written by respected political journalist Samantha Maiden, sources at Nine disputed Wilkinson’s claims that Stefanovic was ‘paid double’ what she earned.

In fact, they claim it was Wilkinson who was paid much more than Stefanovic for ‘many years’ after the pair first teamed up on Nine’s breakfast staple back in 2006.

‘News.com.au understands that when she first signed with Nine in 2006 she was earning more than $700,000. The fresh-faced Stefanovic, who had just returned from a reporting stint in Los Angeles earned less than half that amount for years as the TV couple co-hosted Nine’s breakfast TV program,’ the article states.

It was only several years later that Stefanovic would negotiate his way into a now-infamous pay rise that saw his salary explode to $2million a year.

But it seems the contrary claims about Wilkinson’s original Nine contract did not go down well with her book publishers, with one insider claiming news.com.au were ordered to return the company’s only preview copy of the tell-all tome.

‘They blew up and asked for their copy back,’ said an insider at the website.

News.com.au editor Lisa Muxworthy declined to comment when contacted by Daily Mail Australia. A spokesperson for Harper Collins declined to confirm the allegation.

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