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Jessica Marais' replacement in Packed To The Rafters reboot series revealed

Meet the new Rachel Rafter!

By Rebecca Sullivan
The creators of the hotly anticipated Packed To The Rafters reboot series have announced a brand new cast member, who will take on the much-loved role of Rachel Rafter.
It comes after actress Jessica Marais last month revealed she would no longer be reprising her role in the iconic TV show.
Jessica, who starred in the original series, announced she was pulling out of the project due to "personal reasons".
"Jessica Marais has decided to step away from the new series Back to the Rafters for personal reasons," read a statement released by her management team RGM Artists in February.
"She thanks everyone involved on the show for their ongoing support and love, especially her 'Rafter's family', and sends them her very best wishes for the production."
The 35-year-old was slated to appear alongside her former co-stars, including Rebecca Gibney, Erik Thomson, Hugh Sheridan, Angus McLaren, Michael Caton and George Houvardas in the reboot, which is being filmed this year.
Amazon Prime officially announced the show's revival in December last year, revealing the invigorated series will follow Dave and Julie's new life in the with youngest daughter Ruby, while the older Rafter children face new challenges and Grandpa Ted struggles to find his place.
On Wednesday morning, Amazon Prime revealed Aussie actress Georgina Haig would be stepping into the role of Rachel instead.
"Georgina Haig will be taking on the role of Rachel Rafter, joining the returning original cast in the first scripted Australian Amazon Original series for Prime Video," Amazon said in a statement.
The network also shared a new photo of Georgina alongside her castmates Hugh Sheridan and Angus McLaren, who will play her onscreen brothers Ben and Nathan Rafter.
Hugh Sheridan (Ben Rafter), Georgina Haig (Rachel Rafter) and Angus McLaren (Nathan Rafter) pictured together on the set of the new Packed To The Rafters reboot series, Back To The Rafters. Image: Supplied
Aussie actress Georgina Haig is taking on the role of Rachel Rafter. Image: Getty Images
Georgina, 34, is a Melbourne-born actress who has starred in TV series including Underbelly, Rescue: Special Ops and the popular US show Once Upon a Time, as well as the critically acclaimed Aussie film The Sapphires.
She is married to Australian writer Joshua Mapleston and the couple have a three-year-old daughter, Greta.
The actress has been working solidly in film and television for years. Image: Getty
This isn't the first time Jessica has taken a break from acting.
In 2018, she took some time off following her struggle with mental health issues, dropping out of Nine Network's production of Bad Mothers.
She was later replaced by Tess Haubrich.
Her management released a statement at the time, which read: "Jessica has decided to step away from acting for the remainder of 2018 to focus on her health and spend time with her family.
"She is disappointed that she will not be a part of the Bad Mothers production with such an incredible cast and team behind it, but knows that it is important to take time out to maintain ongoing balance and wellbeing."
Jessica Marais revealed she would be stepping down from the role in February. Image: Getty
The original Packed To The Rafters cast. Image: Channel Seven
Jessica was later attached to Halifax: Retribution and was set to appear in a small role alongside her former Rafters on-screen mother, Rebecca Gibney, but withdrew from this project.
"Unfortunately the shooting time-frame just did not work with Jessica's schedule and personal commitments," a Nine spokesperson said at the time.
The Logie-winning actress has previously been open about her experience with mental health and spoke to the Australian Women's Weekly in 2014 about her bipolar disorder diagnosis.
"There's a history of bipolar in my family and I was diagnosed at one point with bipolar," the mum-of-one explained.
"I've had cognitive therapy training, so I choose not to be medicated."
She added: "I have developed ways to talk myself down from any ledges I find myself on."
WATCH BELOW: Why Australians love Jessica Marais. Story continues after video.
Jessica was engaged to her former Packed To The Rafters co-star James Stewart in 2009 and the pair have a daughter together, Scout.
The couple split in 2015 and now co-parent Scout together.
James, who is now a star on Home and Away, is married to his co-star Sarah Roberts.

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