As ditzy secretary Betty Wilson, Julie appeared in the show’s entire 10 seasons. Chris, who played Gerald ‘Nudge’ Noritas, did six of them.
“It was a very close-knit cast and many of us are still friends,” remembers Chris, 57.
“We enjoyed each other’s company and used to go out socialising a lot. There was only one person who kept to himself.”
That was lead actor Robert Hughes, now 74. He became the subject of sexual abuse allegations in 2010 when Hey Dad..!’s child star Sarah Monahan bravely revealed how he had molested her.
In 2014 Hughes was jailed for 10 years and nine months after being found guilty of 10 sexual offences involving a number of underage girls. Last June, Hughes was granted parole and he immediately fled to the UK.
WATCH: Former Hey Dad! victims tells all on ACA reporter Ben McCormack
“Hey Dad..! was a great show in its day but it’s all become a bit tainted. It was surreal to discover what had been going on behind the scenes,” reflects Chris, who still acts and sings but also runs two Airbnb rentals.
“I never knew anything about it when I was doing the show.”
Looking back with very mixed emotions, Julie and Chris remain thankful the sitcom brought them together. He loves her “good energy” and ability to get on with anyone.
She appreciates his talent, kindness and help with the technology that baffles her.
“I really remember Chris from the first day of rehearsals on Hey Dad..!,” says Julie, who coyly admits to being “broadly” over 65. “He was such a natural he didn’t act at all. I thought, ‘Wow, he’s really got something this guy.’”
Last year, the duo finally performed together again in a regional theatre tour of Mother & Son, a stage adaptation of the Ruth Cracknell and Garry McDonald TV classic. Audiences were hit by torrential rain and devastating floods, but somehow they got through it and still had fun.
“I think there’s a lot of friendships in the acting fraternity, but the reality is that you move from one family to another with every show you do,” Julie tells us with a smile.
“It’s something of a gypsy life but there’s always people you run into in different ways and keep the friendships from show to show. That’s Chris for me!”
He chuckles and adds: “We’ve been mates forever and you’ve got to be there for your friends. I guess you do your best. We do our best for each other.”
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