“I was touring 40 years ago with a stage play called Bedroom Farce,” says Belinda. “At the time, Axel was resident designer for the South Australian Theatre Company, and I met him when we went to Adelaide with the play. That’s where it all began.”
And, adds Belinda with a laugh: “He was a pretty gorgeous bloke! We had a chemistry from the start – there’s no question about that.”
Meanwhile, Axel recalls first meeting Belinda one evening in the bistro at the Adelaide Festival Centre.
“I was having a discussion with a friend about marriage and how I didn’t think I would ever get married,” he recalls. “There was a tap on the shoulder. I turned and somebody said, ‘I’d like to introduce you to Belinda’.
That was it. She kept touring [with Bedroom Farce] and the phone calls started to become very expensive!”
Indeed, from the very beginning, Belinda and Axel were aligned.
“I think we met at a time when we both felt we wanted to settle down,” says Belinda. “We both wanted a family – we both wanted children. We had our daughter, Romy, and then, three years later, we got married under the bougainvillea in the garden of my parents’ house in Tamworth. Romy was a flower-girl. It was so lovely.”
Recalls Axel: “Later, Belinda’s father and uncles sang ‘Danny Boy’ beautifully and our daughter was discovered having eaten half the wedding cake. Happy days! It was a delightful all-family get-together.”
Today Belinda and Axel – now devoted grandparents – share their Sydney home with kelpie Billie and cat Arlo.
“Arlo appears to live with us now. He just walked in the back door one day and stayed!” says Belinda with a laugh.
And it’s clear that family ties have always been Belinda and Axel’s top priority.
“The most joyful time in my life was having my babies and then my grandchildren,” she says, with a warm smile. “I’m very much a family person, so family is extremely important to me, and I’m a very hands-on grandmother.”
That said, the talented duo certainly aren’t showing any signs of slowing down.
“The wonderful thing for both of us is that we’re working Home and Away more than ever,” says Belinda. “Axel goes from film to film to film and I’m doing in the daytime and then plays at night.
“I absolutely love it. Work is wonderful – and I want to work until the day I drop. I feel utterly blessed all the time.”
For more, see this week's New Idea - out now!