Karl Stefanovic has finally opened up on his Ubergate episode, saying he takes "full responsibility" for the embarrassing fallout.
The Today host revealed the incident – in which he was overheard criticising Today's Georgie Gardner and Richard Wilkins, and network bosses – had caused friction with his higher-ups at Nine.
"Channel Nine weren't happy, and upstairs weren't happy, and that's fair enough," the breakfast host told KIIS FM's Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O on Thursday morning.
"Whatever comes out of my mouth, I'm responsible for, and if that brings the company into disrepute or whatever, that's on me. I accept full responsibility."
Offering some insight into the debacle, Stefanovic said he called Sandilands for "sound advice" during the ordeal, joking the radio host was like his "mentor".
"I said, 'Mate, this is a bad place I'm in now…', and there's a lot of other stuff going on. And he said to me, 'Mate, I don't think it's a big deal, you've gotta say sorry, blah blah blah… But when you're losing advertisers, that's when you've got to worry!"
Stefanovic also hit back at rumours he disliked working with Gardner.
"We hate each other!" he joked. "No, I don't know where it comes from. Georgie and I, we love working together; she's fantastic.
"Wherever it comes from it, it doesn't matter. If you didn't like working with each other, you wouldn't do it. You wouldn't sign up for it. I think she's wonderful, and she's really starting to give it to me now," he added.
He joked that Gardner is "a country mile better" than former co-host Lisa Wilkinson.
In the revealing chat, Stefanovic – who confirmed he's marrying partner Jasmine Yarbrough later this year ("It was not a $120,000 engagement ring – that's more bullshit from those magazines. It was a lot more," he joked) – lashed out at Women's Day, New Idea and Daily Mail, calling the publications "disgraceful" for fuelling interest in his private life and publishing paparazzi photos of his family.
He also touched on his floundering public perception following the breakdown of his marriage to ex-wife Cassandra Thorburn in March 2017.
"It's hard. I think for some out there, what happened is here was a guy a couple of years ago who was married with three kids," Stefanovic said.
"I think this happens to people, and I'm sorry for any hurt that it caused and causes. But this happened to me… and I fell in love not long after that.
"At the end of the day, it is what it is and I'm sorry if that causes anyone hurt. But I won't be apologising to my nearest and dearest because I don't need to."
Rob Moran is an Entertainment reporter for The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and Brisbane Times.
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