These days, Bridie Carter thinks back fondly to her first experience on Dancing With The Stars in 2007.
But before the actress found her feet on the dance floor, she was asking herself why on Earth she'd signed up to be on a prime-time dancing show.
"I was absolutely terrified," Bridie, 51, reveals to TV WEEK. "As an actor you're transforming into someone else.
"I thought they were asking me to be Bridie, but that's not me – I don't go out and dance in front of people. That's not who I am."
At first, she struggled – until she took a step back from the mind-boggling choreography and viewed the performance as a whole.
"When I discovered I could create a character in the story and express myself physically through dance, I turned this amazing corner," she says.
Working tirelessly with her dance partner Craig Monley, Bridie found her groove and was involved in all aspects of the creative process, from costuming to music.
"My favourite dance was the final one," she says. "There were bare feet, not a lot of make-up and it was just physical storytelling."
Although the Gold Logie nominee felt she'd discovered something special in dance, over time she let it go, quietly hoping an upcoming role might let her put her new skills into practice. But sadly for Bridie, it didn't – until now.
"When they asked me this time, I was hesitant," she admits. "A lot of time has passed, I'm older and I'm not naturally competitive.
"The mirror-ball trophy is the only one I've ever won in my life. Why not leave it on a high? Why go back?
"But I suppose what it came down to was I was grateful for getting a job offer in a pandemic. I'm a realist and I'm an actor in Australia, so you have to consider every job offer.
"And then I remembered how much I loved the dancing part, so I said yes, but I was still going, 'Oh my God!'"
Rehearsing for DWTS seven hours a day, seven days a week proved tough on Bridie's body.
"I could barely walk every night. As much as it was painful, I loved it. And you know, I was grateful I was getting paid to get extremely fit," she says.
Bridie has spoken candidly about the strain COVID has put on the entertainment industry, but for her personally, it has also delivered some valuable lessons.
"The pandemic has reaffirmed what I have already," she says. "Family is the most important thing in my life. The gift that has come from this is that relationships have flourished."
Living on farm in Byron Bay in northern NSW with her husband Michael Wilson and their two youngest kids, Otis, 16, and Tobias, 11, the McLeod's Daughters star couldn't be happier.
As she chats to TV WEEK on Valentine's Day, she can't help but reflect thankfully on her relationship.
"You know, I love being married," Bridie declares. "To find your soulmate is a gift, and not everyone gets that.
"I always believed in true love and I knew I was never going to settle for anything else other than my one true love.
"I think having a happy marriage isn't the norm these days. But it is the norm in my home. My children are happy and secure with parents who love and adore each other. Our marriage gets better every day."