WHEN Peter FitzSimons appeared on The Project to promote his new book, it was only a matter of moments before he was asked about his wife Lisa Wilkinson's spectacular exit from Channel Nine.
Of course, FitzSimons should have expected it. Publicity rounds for his new book, Burke and Wills, coincidentally began the very week his wife defected from Nine's Today program and signed on with Channel Ten as a host on The Project.
Since Monday's exit, Wilkinson has dominated the news cycle. So when FitzSimons appeared on Sunday's edition of The Project - the very program Wilkinson will begin co-hosting in January - viewers waited for the question to be asked.
After FitzSimons regaled the panel with anecdotes from his new book, co-host Sophie Monk innocently brought up Wilkinson, asking if the family is OK.
"Everything is fine. It's been an amazing week, but a weird thing when you're in your footy shorts and T-shirt and you're taking the rubbish out and (there's paparazzi)," FitzSimons said, giving the panel a prepared answer.
He thought that was it. But just before the interview wrapped, host Chris Bath threw out a question no one saw coming.
"Pete, just one final question," she said, seriously. "I just gotta ask: Is there pay parity in your household?"
The panel broke out into laughter and the studio audience cheered.
FitzSimons laughed as he waited for the crowd to settle.
"I'll say this: A few people have sneered unpleasantly, (saying things) along the lines of, 'Nah, nah! Your wife's humiliating you by earning more!'"
FitzSimons said he only has one message for his wife when it comes to her earnings.
"Oh please! Humiliate me! Spank me!" he laughed.
Earlier in the week, FitzSimons appeared on Nova's Fitzy & Wippa where he also struggled to avoid being asked about his wife's shock departure from Nine.
"We're obviously in a media environment where anything I say can and will be used against me ... I'm very proud of Lisa but I'll let her speak for herself," he told the radio hosts, adding: "It's obviously been a very intense couple of days and it's nice to have her back."
Despite his caginess, FitzSimons admitted their home life had significantly improved since the news broke.
"We had dinner with the kids last night, and I'd forgotten the pleasure of being with your partner when one of you doesn't have to get up at 3am," he said.
"We were talking until midnight and it was just fantastic."