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EXCLUSIVE: “She wants to make me smile”: Johnny Ruffo says he’d “be lost” without his girlfriend Tahnee Sims

''I don't know how she does it. I really don't.''
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When Johnny Ruffo, 34, took to the X Factor stage in 2011, the appeal was immediate.

Although the singer took the bronze rather than the gold, his career flourished as he replaced the stage for Summer Bay, scoring a role as Chris Harrington on Home and Away.

A year after departing the soap, Johnny was diagnosed with brain cancer. While he announced he was all-clear of the disease in 2019, it devastatingly came back a year later.

“At some point it will get me, but I’m still fighting, still kicking on,” Johnny told Carrie Bickmore on The Project earlier this year.

By his side during the fight is his girlfriend of seven years, Tahnee Sims.

By Johnny’s side during the fight is his girlfriend of seven years, Tahnee Sims.

(Image: Instagram)

When Now To Love asks Johnny about Tahnee being a pillar of support during his cancer journey, the performer is quick to correct us, deeming his partner “the foundation” of support.

“I’d be lost without her,” he gushes. “She’s just everything.”

“She comes home from work and she’s probably so tired and just wants to have a break, and then she has me. She wants to try and make me smile,” he adds.

“I don’t know how she does it. I really don’t.”

Johnny makes sure to use the term “we” to discuss their journey – they’re both in this together.

“It’s not a walk in the park, but you find ways to get through it.”

(Image: Instagram)

“I always say, ‘Oh yeah, we’ve got chemo this week’, ‘we’ve got treatment’, or ‘we’ve got an appointment’ about our cancer. I feel like she’s going through this just as much as I am. And she’s experiencing it just as much as I am. She’s been the most incredible support.”

Johnny admits his treatment is “not easy”.

“It’s not a walk in the park, but you find ways to get through it,” he tells us. “Tahnee helps me every single day to get through it. She’s like a motivational speaker now. ‘We just need to get through this week. And then, you know, next week it’ll be a little bit better’.

“Because the chemo you have on a particular day, and then the first week’s usually the worst. As it goes, it’ll slowly filter out of your system, I guess. You feel a little bit better as time goes by.

“Tahnee’s always there motivating me to get outside and get some sun, go for a walk, and different little things. She’s constantly there by my side trying to motivate me to feel better and to just keep going. One foot in front of the other.”

WATCH: Lynne McGranger speaks about how much she loves Johnny Ruffo. Article continues after video

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Amidst his cancer battle, Johnny has teamed up with Amazon Australia, who have announced their Top 100 list and 2022 toy trends for the holidays with the help of kids from the Starlight Foundation, as well as a stop motion film.

Johnny is lending his renowned pipes to the character of a naughty pirate from the TOMY Pop Up Pirate Action Game.

“The goal, I suppose, is to brighten the lives of seriously ill and hospitalized children across the country,” he explained.

“It’s an amazing initiative to work with them because you get to see the smile on the face of these kids that are facing such adversity, and you get to take them away from their everyday reality.”

Amidst his cancer battle, Johnny has teamed up with Amazon Australia.

(Image: Amazon Australia)

He continues: “Being able to do that is such a good feeling. You see the smiles on their faces and they’re just completely lost in this world of playing with toys; it’s a really good feeling.”

Johnny admits the campaign has been a “huge distraction” for himself as well.

“I forget about what I’m going through. You’re like ‘Okay, so my goal today is to make these kids smile. I just want to make them smile and I want to make the whole day about them’.”

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