After finalising her divorce from her husband of 21 years, Karl Stefanovic, in court on Tuesday, Cassandra Thorburn felt Wednesday's champagne-filled awards luncheon in celebration of women was the perfect opportunity to make her first official return to public life and raise a toast to the momentous occasion.
"I felt really good to be stepping out to support other women at The Australian Women's Weekly's Women of the Future Awards and it also felt fitting because I am looking towards my future as a single, confident, mother of three," she told Fairfax Media exclusively.
"It was a celebratory day for me. I am excited to start a new chapter."
Stefanovic, 43, and his girlfriend Jasmine Yabrough, 33, have been regular fixtures on Sydney's social scene since February, and although Thorburn, 46, was used to having the Channel 9 Today host on her arm in previous occasions, she said "it felt great".
"I was invited as me and I wasn't alone. I brought my girlfriend Cara along with me. It felt like a milestone," she said.
Dressed in a chic pink Scanlan Theodore dress, her image appeared across a number of media outlets heralding it as the moment "Cassandra showed Karl what he's missing", but not everyone was best pleased by her appearance.
Stefanovic's Today co-host and good friend, Lisa Wilkinson, who was on emcee duties, snubbed Thorburn, who she has known for almost a decade.
An observer at the event told Fairfax Media: "Everyone was watching to see what Lisa would do, but she completely ignored Cassandra. It felt a bit awkward."
Stefanovic and Thorburn, who have three children together - Jackson, 18, Ava, 12, and River, 10 - split in July last year.
"The divorce has been finalised but a settlement has yet to be reached and it all happened on Tuesday and not months ago like some tabloids have suggested. Those claims are untrue," she added.
Lisa Wilkinson at The Australian Women's Weekly's Women of the Future Awards on Wednesday.