Celebrity News

EXCLUSIVE: E Street star Toni Pearen on her comeback to fame at 50

''It was terrifying and beautiful all at once.''
Loading the player...

Toni Pearen was just 17 when she won the role in E Street that would change her life forever.

“I cannot believe I got that job while I was still in high school,” laughs the actor and singer, who is now 50 and raising her own two children, Lucky, 13, and Ever, 10, with her husband Will Osmond.

“I’m watching my own kids now with their own dreams and insecurities and their own anxieties about who they will be and where their lives will go. When I was their age, I only dreamed of being on national television. I never actually thought it would happen, and then I’m in Year 12 and I audition for E Street and I get the part.”

She played Toni Windsor in the drama series, which also made stars of Bruce Samazan, Melissa Tkautz, Alyssa-Jane Cook and Malcom Kennard, and changed her life forever.

“It’s just extraordinary. I have a lot to thank E Street for. And yes, life goes way too fast. I can’t believe it’s been 30 years!”

Now running a talent school on Sydney’s Northern Beaches with Water Rats star Raelee Hill, Toni admits finding fame at such a young age as an actress and then using it as a springboard for a successful pop career was a dream come true. And she never imagined she would have a second chance at fame all these years later.

(Image: Woman’s Day)


Earlier this year Toni got another opportunity when she was asked to perform at the opening of WorldPride at the Mardi Gras Fair Day in Sydney, in what Toni describes as a terrifying and exhilarating challenge to show her kids a completely different side to their mum.

“Can you believe it?” she says. “It was the most magical, mind-blowing experience of my life. Firstly because it was a dream come true, secondly because I turned 50 last year and when you look at the trajectory of your life, you never think at 50 you will be living out your dreams in such a large way.”

Toni reveals she had to train like Rocky Balboa from Sylvester Stallone’s famous films, running up mountains and training for six weeks to get fit enough to perform for 16 minutes in front of 70,000 fans, including her own family and friends.

“I haven’t performed on stage as a front person in that capacity, singing, for probably 25 years. You can imagine how terrifying it was. There were so many demons in my head and so many reasons why I could have run the opposite way,” she says. “It was really fun and I felt like I got a part of myself back – the person who just loves to perform and challenge herself and push herself and set goals and see them come to fruition and just do something purely for myself.”

Toni, who made her big TV comeback in 2021 when she competed in I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, says it was a life-defining moment.

“Being able to walk out on stage and see the faces of my kids starring up at me, my husband, my next door neighbours and the school mums… it was terrifying and beautiful all at once.”


Even Toni’s best friend, Brides Of Christ actress Kym Wilson, and her husband Sean O’Byrne, who are now based in Los Angeles, were there to see Toni belt out some of her hits, including Walkaway Lover and In Your Room.

“I have never walked out on stage – apart from the fact it was one of the biggest crowds I’d ever performed to – and had all the people I love there,” smiles Toni, who has also released two new songs, including one called 1972 to celebrate the year of her birth.

“It was fantastic to think there were a lot of people there who wanted to hear the old hits because they had such strong memories of those times, but also the way people responded to the new songs was just incredible.

“I never thought this would come about in my life again. I hoped it would but I never thought it would. Fifty is just a number, but you still start to reflect on your life and wonder what the next chapter will look like. I could never have even dreamed that this next chapter would look like this.”

Related stories