The Nine Network has at last snapped over tabloids ragging on Karl Stefanovic‘s marriage break-down, hiring one of the biggest media and defamation lawyers in the country.

Since news broke of the Today host’s split from wife of 21 years, Cassandra Thorburn, the tabloid mags have been running wild with endless speculation about the sad end of this relationship.

The final straw appears to be New Idea‘s claim that Karlos had quit The Today Show to do some “soul-searching”, which a Nine spokesman swatted away immediately as being a straight-up lie.

Brand new issue of New Idea out today!! #karlstefanovic #jenniferaniston #ketithurban #nicolekidman #newidea #shanepaxton

A photo posted by New Idea Magazine (@newideamagazine) on

The issue of New Idea, which appeared on news stands Monday. 

Now Nine news boss Darren Wick has confirmed that the network is lawyering up, big time, telling 9Honey in a statement last night:

“This very personal campaign is being prosecuted by weekly women’s magazines running fictitious and damaging articles about Karl Stefanovic that are without any foundation of fact. At best, this is lazy and reckless reporting. At worst, there is a case that this campaign is designed to damage not only his reputation but our business as well and we no longer intend to tolerate these lies. NINE has instructed Mark O’Brien, one of Australia‘s most experienced media and defamation lawyers, to act on Karl and NINE’s behalf in this matter and take the necessary steps to defend his reputation against the endless fabrications.”

Stefanovic’s co-star Lisa Wilkinson recently expressed her disgust at the tabloid gossip to Mamamia‘s Mia Freedman, telling her in a podcast that “there’s a lot of rubbish out there at the moment, a lot of lies… lies that are published without any regard to the fact that there’s human beings involved, that there are children involved.”

“And my disgust, my growing disgust, for the people in charge of those magazines and those websites, right now makes me so angry.”

Long story short: you can expect to see larrikin-about-town Karlos on your telly in 2017.

The Nine Network is a publisher of PEDESTRIAN.TV.

Photo: The TODAY Show.