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    EXCLUSIVE: Why Tammin Sursok took a gig on Neighbours after swearing off soap operas

    Tammin Sursok promised herself she’d never return to a soap opera after quitting her long-running role as Dani Sutherland on Home and Away. But now, after 18 years, she’s changed her mind.

    “You know, I always said I’d never come back into soaps,” Tammin, 38, reveals to TV WEEK. “It’s not because I don’t love it or it wasn’t a great experience. It’s because I felt like this chapter of my life was over.”

    Tammin guest stars on Neighbours this week as Montana Marcel, a troubled fashion designer who has come to Ramsay Street to hold her next fashion event.

    The experience of working on a fast-paced weekday drama transported the Logie award winner back to her 16-year-old youth, when she landed her first part on Home and Away.

    “It changed my life completely and defined who I was from a very young age,” Tammin explains.

    “I felt like I really needed to make sense of that whole period of my life and realize that it wasn’t so big, scary and overwhelming. It was a wonderful thing to be part of. It was definitely very cathartic.”

    Her guest appearance came at a bittersweet time for the mother of two, as the demise of Neighbours was announced while she was on site.

    While the actors and crew were understandably devastated, Tammin was impressed by their positive attitude on set every day.

    “You would think that people would bring that into their work and they just didn’t. They came to work professionally and there was no giving up to anyone on set,” she says.

    “Seeing how hard everyone works, such a good work ethic, was wonderful to see.”

    Tammin has lived in Los Angeles for the past 15 years with her husband, writer, and producer Sean McEwen, and their two children, Phoenix, nine, and Lennon, three.

    But the Pretty Little Liars star always felt at home in Australia.

    “We always wanted to make our home Australia and America,” she says.

    “It was always our decision before we had kids. When we had kids, things like school can become problematic, moving from one place to another.”

    When the epidemic struck and the borders were closed, Tammin and her family’s plans to visit Australia were put on hold and living in LA, a COVID hotspot in 2020, became a terrifying reality.

    “It was a difficult time for everyone. My husband got COVID and had long COVID affects,” she reflects.

    “It was a really scary time. There were no vaccines, and people didn’t really know what to do. The hospitals were full and he got it really bad. He was sick for quite a while and I’m just really grateful that he’s feeling a lot better and we’re moving on from it.”

    Tammin landed intriguing jobs like Neighbours and Stan’s series Joe vs Carole back home in Australia as the world began to open up again in 2021.

    It wasn’t like we made a decision to pack up and come to Australia, it was just happenstance,” she laughs.

    “Now, we’ve been here for almost a year and we’re going to go back to Nashville, and then come back here in a few months for my daughter to start her next school term.”

    Tammin is back on the soap opera scene, but she has no plans to return to Home and Away just yet.

    “I definitely know 100 per cent that I would never go back to a long-term character. The work is too intense and it’s continuous. It’s hard to spend time with family when you’re working that many hours,” she says.

    “I prefer shorter six-week roles or a guest spot but you know, never say never.”

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