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"I was lost": Kate Ritchie reveals the one, beautiful thing that saved her after her after leaving Home & Away

The Aussie actress has opened up to ABC's Anh's Brush with Fame.

By Jess Pullar
Pull up a picture of Kate Ritchie and you can bet any Australian will immediately be able to tell you where they've seen her before.
The actress spent more than two decades playing the beloved character Sally Fletcher on Home and Away. A role she remains forever synonymous with, and one that'll be ingrained in the memories of the soap's loyal following for years to come.
But there's something about playing an iconic character that the everyday fan might not realise - and Kate has summed it up in an eye-opening, and heartbreaking way.
Kate Ritchie literally grew up before Australia's eyes.
Seen almost every evening on our screens playing young Sally in Home and Away, the actress experienced the highs and lows of her teenage years alongside her character.
From wearing her first bra, to her first kiss (with Heath Ledger, no less), Kate was the unintended model of Australian youth throughout the 80s and 90s.
Kate Ritchie, on the left, grew up before Australia's eyes as a key character on Home and Away. (ABC)
That's why after two decades, aged 29, Kate's departure from Home And Away was like nothing we could imagine.
This week, Kate opened up to comedian and painter Anh do on his popular ABC show, Anh's Brush With Fame, where she delved into that dark, post-Home And Away period, and revealed what ultimately gave her a new purpose.
Kate bared her heart on Anh's Brush with Fame this week. (ABC)
Speaking through tears in the heartbreaking episode, Kate tells Anh: "I thought that the only thing I'd ever done of value in my life was when I was [playing Sally]."
"I was lost, I wondered how I was going to survive without her... And how were people going to react to me if I wasn't Sally. Because Sally was a great person. She was a great friend, and a great daughter and… she was just great."
Adding that she had received "loads of therapy" in the years following her departure, Kate broke into fresh tears as she told Anh: "And I think the best thing to come out of all of this is that I'm great without her."
Kate's heartbreak was raw and real as she explained the reality of leaving the soap - and her long-running character. (ABC)
Sally was a beloved character on Home aAnd Away. (Channel Seven)
And after everything that happened, there was one thing, or one person to be more precise, that ultimately saved Kate and gave her a new perspective and purpose - her daughter Mae.
Welcoming Mae with her then husband Stuart Webb in 2014, Kate's whole life was turned upside down - in the best way.
Everything changed for Kate, even things regular parents wouldn't think twice about, like the daily pick-up from school.
"Her little friends would yell through the fence, 'That's Mae's Mummy!', but I've been used to being the girl from the television," Kate says of her refreshing new identifier.
Kate's love for her six-year-old daughter Mae is evident. (ABC)
The pair share a special bond. (Instagram)
Elaborating on six-year-old Mae's future, Kate tells Anh exactly what she thinks about her daughter going on television like herself.
"If I could guarantee that she could have the wonderful experience that I had without all the bad things, of course I would encourage her to do it, because I have had a wonderful life," she explains.
"But I would always want her to know that she doesn't belong to anyone but herself. And I'm not sure you can do that job and know that in your youth."
As for Kate, she leaves viewers with some words to remember as she reveals the advice she would give her younger self.
"Trust in kindness, and trust in the fact that being a good person and a kind person wins."
"Its okay to be exactly who you are and that you are enough and it will work out well."

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