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Home and Away’s Sophie Dillman on falling in love in the workplace: ‘Butterflies’


EXCLUSIVE: When Sophie Dillman and Patrick O’Connor met on the set of Home and Away, sparks flew.

The new columnist for Yahoo Lifestyle Australia is Sophie Dillman. Sophie will provide intimate knowledge about everything from her time on Home and Away to what it’s like to be famous and experience love at work.

I’m not sure because I haven’t worked in every industry, but in my world, it’s normal practise to kiss your coworkers. But labour it is nonetheless. For starters, the script specifies who you are supposed to kiss, there are usually a lot of onlookers, and cameras are observing every drop of perspiration from the summer bay, drop of saliva, or in my case, the occasional moustache hair.

To be really honest, sending an email and kissing another actor at work have very similar feelings. It simply comes with the job. Unless Dean met Ziggy.

I wish I could claim that every young girl dreams of falling in love. The man is laughing with a companion when you first see him, and then he slowly turns to face you when the sun catches his attention. The song “(I Just) Died in Your Arms” begins to play as time slows down and everything around his face becomes fuzzy. It didn’t exactly go that way for me.

It went quite slowly. Before being coworkers who had to put up with one other through some of the most harsh weather conditions, sleep deprivation, and never-ending hours on set, we first became friends many years ago. When you’re with someone in the desert in 42 degree heat, you rapidly find out if you can stand them.

Sparks began to fly as the laughter grew louder and more personal with time. Both Sophie and Patrick were falling, as well as Ziggy and Dean. For a while, I wondered if I was only crazy about him because our characters were, or if I was truly feeling something for him.

Then I started to doubt everything. Did he hold my body for longer than usual? Did he just give me a peculiar look? Was I focusing too intently? Were we just doing Diggy’s romance really well? It turned out that every emotion was genuine. I can pinpoint the precise moment when it ceased to seem like I was kissing a coworker, and despite the onlookers and the sweat trickling down my back, I still felt a few butterflies in my stomach.

We definitely moved cautiously and respectfully when we were together since we didn’t want to jeopardise the fantastic working connection we already had. There were many candid discussions and time spent on the best course of action. We had worked together for so long and had gotten to know each other so well, which was a huge plus. We were aware of each other’s quirks, grievances, and limitations. We were able to communicate about anything and everything without much difficulty or contention.

Both of us were really apprehensive about starting a relationship with a workmate. We had never done anything like before, and, to be completely honest, there aren’t many inter-office romance stories with happy endings. Knowing that Ziggy and Dean would have fallen apart if our relationship had failed in secret made things even more nerve-wracking. That was my main worry. Nothing was going to stop me from getting the job of my dreams.

Whether it was crazy or not, we made the decision to try the relationship, and we are so glad we did. We have a few years of experience under our belts, a pet, a lot of wild holiday tales, and have relocated across the globe. We are grateful that Dean and Ziggy connected. Not many people are as fortunate.


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