Karl Stefanovic’s secret past with new MasterChef judge!

The Today host was captivated by her “dazzling smile, quick wit and charm”.
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MasterChef Australia has returned for another season. And if Karl Stefanovic happens to be tuning in, he’ll be seeing a very familiar face on his screen. 

Indeed, his one-time ‘crush’, Sofia Levin, is part of the cooking show’s new judging line-up alongside Poh Ling Yeow, Jean-Christophe Novelli and returning favourite Andy Allen. 

WATCH NOW: MasterChef Australia promises it’s biggest season yet

Although this is Sofia’s first big TV gig, the Melbourne-based food journalist is no stranger to rubbing shoulders with celebrities, Karl, 49, being one of them.

The pair met and became friendly in September 2016 after Sofia appeared on Today alongside celebrity chef Luke Mangan. Karl was newly single following his split from first wife Cassandra Thorburn.

A man and a woman side by side smiling
Karl is thrilled Sofia got the MasterChef gig! (Credit: Media Mode)

Karl and Sofia, 35, enjoyed many outings together. They even attended what appeared to be a party at James Packer’s Bondi Beach apartment that November, with Karl and Sofia arriving together in his Mercedes. At the time, an insider told New Idea that Karl was captivated by Sofia’s “dazzling smile, quick wit and charm”.

“Karl loves how free and easy Sofia is,” the source continued. “She is a lot of fun and the fact that she’s seriously beautiful doesn’t hurt either.”

Karl was destined to stay in the ‘friend zone’ with Sofia though, as she was engaged to her longtime partner, Matt John.

A group of people stand behind table outside.
Karl first met Sofia in 2016. (Credit: Social media.)

“[Karl and I] just got on really well and have stayed in touch,” Sofia said in December 2016. She added that she and Karl “FaceTime and text each other”.

While their friendship raised eyebrows, Sofia insisted it wasn’t “at all inappropriate. I didn’t know him when he was with his wife.”

The following year, Sofia and Matt married in Lombok. While Karl and Sofia were only ever friends, he of course, didn’t stay single for long. That same December (of 2016) he met shoe designer Jasmine Yarbrough.

They fell madly in love and married in 2018. They now have a daughter Harper, who turns four in May.

MasterChef Australia 2024 judges
Sofia, Poh and Jean-Christophe join long-time judge Andy. (Credit: Network Ten Publicity.)

Given how happy Karl is in his own life, both personally and professionally, he is thrilled that Sofia is also thriving.

“Karl is stoked Sofia got the MasterChef gig,” one insider says. “He’s excited to watch her career flourish.”

As for Sofia, she is excited about taking her career to new heights with MasterChef’s 16th season.

“The first season aired the same year I started writing about food,” Sofia recently told Broadsheet“I’m giddy with excitement at the people I get to stand beside.”

For more, pick up a copy of New Idea. On sale now!

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