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    Inside Kate Ritchie’s troubled years after leaving Home and Away as she faces more drama with her drink-driving charge

    Kate Ritchie’s world came crashing down last week after she was slapped with a drink-driving charge on the eve of her big TV comeback.

    The Australia’s Got Talent judge, 44, was fined $600 and faces a three-month driving ban, as rumours swirl about the future of her plum $1million-a-year radio job.

    But it’s not the first time Kate has fallen on hard times.

    Kate Ritchie’s world came crashing down last week after she was slapped with a drink-driving charge on the eve of her big TV comeback. (Pictured on September 11, 2019, in Sydney)

    In 1988, at the age of eight, Kate made her acting debut as Sally Fletcher in the popular soap opera Home and Away.

    She played a beloved character on the programme for 20 years, but she has recently acknowledged that it was challenging to develop her own identity.

    Despite taking home two Gold Logies during her time on the show, Kate admitted that she continued to doubt her own value.

    Kate was just eight years old when she entered the spotlight in 1988, starring as Sally Fletcher on long-running soap Home and Away (pictured). She was on the show for 20 years, and has admitted she found it difficult to find her own identity outside of her beloved character

    ‘People wanted to meet me because of Sally, or I won awards because of Sally, or I was invited to great events because of Sally,’ Kate told Stellar in December 2017. (Pictured on Home and Away with Heath Ledger)

    In December 2017, Kate stated to Stellar, “People wanted to meet me because of Sally, or I won prizes because of Sally, or I was invited to fantastic events because of Sally.”

    “What is it about me that is attractive?” you may question when you can’t remember your life without it and it suddenly disappears.

    In March 2021, TV Week quoted Kate as saying that she eventually sought counselling to help her deal with her problems: “It truly did feel like the loss of a large part of who I was.”

    The Australia’s Got Talent judge, 44, was fined $600 and faces a three-month driving ban, as rumours swirl about the future of her plum $1million-a-year radio job 

    It took me a long time to get used to that, she continued, adding that at that point, “[therapy] was what I needed.”

    Kate has struggled to achieve the same amount of acting success since leaving Home and Away.

    She was cast in a minor role in the second season of Underbelly in 2008, appearing in two episodes.

    In 2008, she landed a small role in Underbelly’s second season, appearing in two episodes. (Pictured in Sydney on January 11, 2019) 

    She later starred in the 2010 police drama Cops L.A.C for Nine, but the series’ poor ratings caused it to be cancelled after only one season.

    Since then, Kate has spent the most of her time in radio. In 2014, she joined the Nova FM national drive team.

    Along with Joel Creasey and Tim Blackwell, she co-hosts the well-liked programme.

    Following the dissolution of her marriage to former NRL player Stuart Webb, Kate has also struggled in her personal life.

    The pair divorced in 2019 under contentious circumstances after getting married in 2010 and having a daughter together named Mae.

    In November 2019, Kate and Mae began living in a granny apartment owned by friends from her Home and Away days after leaving the family home in Randwick, in Sydney’s east.

    After Stuart went to court in December 2019 for blowing 0.083 when he was stopped by highway patrol officers in the city’s east in March of that year, a police fact sheet detailing his five prior incidents of drunk driving was made public.

    At the time, Woman’s Day stated that although Kate was attempting to “keep their personal lives secret,” Stuart’s March drunk driving arrest had left the couple “exposed.”

    The publicity-shy former soap star said that the legal troubles had “been terrible” on her.

    Earlier, Kate refuted rumours that her marriage was in jeopardy.

    Speaking to The Australian Women’s Weekly in 2018, Kate described divorce rumours as “baseless” and stated she and Stuart were dedicated to their marriage and happy.

    In November 2019 Kate and Mae moved out of the family home in Randwick, in Sydney’s east, and began living in a granny flat owned by friends from her Home and Away days. (Pictured in Melbourne on January 23, 2015)

    In 2020, Kate moved on with a much-younger boyfriend, 25-year-old cyber security expert John Bell (pictured), but the couple reportedly split less than a year later 

    The pair reportedly broke up less than a year after Kate moved on with a considerably younger boyfriend, 25-year-old computer security expert John Bell.

    On a PDA-filled vacation in Byron Bay in January 2021, the couple was last spotted together.

    “Kate is not married. Late last year, a source allegedly blamed lockdown, according to Daily Mail Australia.

    Even though Victoria’s borders opened a few weeks ago, Kate and John haven’t seen each other since January [2021]. Not once has she shown a desire to see him.

    Last Monday, when she was captured by police drink-diving in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, Kate encountered new difficulties.

    After being stopped for a random breath test, the radio personality tested positive; she was promptly taken into custody and transferred to Maroubra Police Station.

    In a statement posted on Instagram on Sunday, Kate expressed regret for her behaviour and acknowledged that she had made a “bad mistake.”

    “Recently, I took a breathalyser test at random. The test proved positive, despite the low amount, according to her post.

    “I made a bad choice, and I am aware of how severe my acts are,” the speaker said. I sincerely apologise.

    Ritchie tested positive by the roadside and was immediately arrested and taken to Maroubra Police Station where she underwent a secondary breath analysis which returned a positive reading of 0.06, just a shade over the legal limit of 0.05

    At 2.45 pm on Heffron Road in Pagewood, the former child star’s blue Subaru station waggon was pulled over by police for a random test.

    She gave a positive roadside test, was detained right away, and transferred to the Maroubra Police Station for further testing. There, she gave a positive reading of 0.06, just a hair over the legal limit of 0.05.

    ‘She was handed an infringement notice for the offence of Drive with Low Range Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol and issued a Licence Suspension Notice,’ a police spokesman told Daily Mail Australia.

    According to reports, Kate received an immediate $600 fine and a three-month driving suspension.

    She was set to make her broadcast comeback as a judge on Channel Seven’s Australia’s Got Talent when she received her driving ban.

    Kate’s driving ban came just as she was about to make her television comeback as a judge on Channel Seven’s Australia’s Got Talent. She will appear on the show alongside David Walliams (top right), Alesha Dixon (bottom right) and Shane Jacobson (bottom left)

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