Two years later Holly and Paul had their second child, daughter Willow, whose arrival only confirmed Holly’s belief that she had to cut back on work and concentrate on being a mum.
“I really wanted to be there for my kids in those years where they are figuring themselves out, and I feel grateful I’ve had that time with them,” she says, adding that it also gave her a chance to figure out what she really wanted to do with her life.
“It gave me time for my own creative development. It was about taking back control of my life. When I hit my 40s I decided I didn’t want to be at the mercy of others, so I decided to move into producing films.”
Holly, now 43, has been in the entertainment industry since she was 13. Three years later, she got her break on Agro’s Cartoon Connection. She then went on to host The Looney Tunes Show and World’s Craziest Videos.
It was acting, however, that was always Holly’s passion, and she learnt the craft working on films like Garage Days and Dynasty: The Making of a Guilty Pleasure. In 2005, she joined the cast of Home and Away as Summer Bay’s resident vixen, Amanda Vale.
It’s been more than 10 years since Holly left the popular soap opera, which made her a household name all over again. But it brought with it a lot of unwanted media attention.
With Levi now 11 and Willow 8, Holly is relishing getting back to work – and this time she’s stepping behind the camera, as well as in front of it.
First up is a feature film she co-produced called Ruby’s Choice. It boasts a stellar cast including legendary British actress Jane Seymour, as well as Aussie favourite Jacqueline McKenzie.
Two more films are also in the works. One is about to start filming, while the second is in development stage. Holly will produce both, as well as act.
“I think it’s really good for [mine and Paul’s] relationship … it feels great to be doing something I love,” Holly tells New Idea, adding that now both their kids are in school, she felt the timing was right to reboot her career.
“There are so many opportunities at the moment and intuitively I know this was the right path for me,” she says. “I’m so comfortable in my own skin and also really happy and, yes, still very much in love. Life is great.”
Read more in this week's New Idea, on sale now.