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Home and Away

EXCLUSIVE: Sarah Roberts gets candid about leaving Home And Away as her character Willow says goodbye to Summer Bay this week

''I need to step back.''

By Stephen Downie and Tamara Cullen
So much has changed for Willow Harris – and her portrayer Sarah Roberts – since she rolled into Summer Bay.
A tough biker babe in leathers, Willow waltzed into Justin's garage and let her fists do the talking in Home And Away.
"When I first came in on a motorbike, that was Willow in her prime," Sarah, 35, recalls to TV WEEK. "She tossed her hair and then punched Justin in the gut. Who knew he'd [Justin's portrayer James Stewart] be my husband? But she was a badass."
Willow first joined the show in 2017. (Channel Seven)
Almost three-and-a-half years later, it's time to say farewell to Willow – and to Sarah – as the character finally leaves the Bay.
"It's been a dream come true," Sarah says of her time in H&A. "The cast and crew are like family. I'll always be attached to them, 'cause Jimmy is still in the show. People said to me, 'Do you want to take anything from the set?' I have my husband!"
On screen, Willow fell in and out of love, became a gambling addict and was revealed as the surprise "Witness X" who helped put away former police officer Colby (Tim Franklin).
We're still not over this moment. (Channel Seven)
Off-screen, it's been a roller-coaster of emotions, from marrying sweetheart James in a fairytale wedding in Ireland in 2019, to tragically losing her brother Karl and grandmother the following year. She also bravely spoke about suffering two miscarriages.
The actress and DJ says leaving H&A "has come at a good time".
"I can now reflect on myself within and outside of work," she says. "It'll be nice to work on myself for a bit.
"I need to step back, relax and breathe. I want to meditate, have family time, work out and enjoy life."
Sarah is ready to "step back" and focus on herself. (Kristina Soljo)
While Willow had relationships with Justin and Dean (Patrick O'Connor), it was her same-sex romance with Dr Alex (Zoe Ventoura) last year that really made an impact on many fans.
"A lot of new fans came out of the woodwork when Willow got together with Alex," Sarah says. "I asked the producers for that storyline and I felt proud to represent people who aren't normally seen on screen."
This week, Willow leaves for Queensland hoping to reconcile with Alex, with Amber (Maddy Jevic), Irene (Lynne McGranger), Dean and Bella (Courtney Miller) there to say goodbye.
"It's a lovely way to leave the show," Sarah says. "Zoe and I have made a wonderful friendship and we still catch up, which is nice."

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