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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Californian clinch in the ‘Australian’ outback

On-set love stories often don’t live up to the myth, or last beyond the premiere – but this one did!

1 Rachel Ward and Bryan Brown, 2006 (printed 2020) Peter Brew-Bevan. © Peter Brew-Bevan. 2 Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward from the Thorn Birds, 1983 unknown artist. © From the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia / nfsa.gov.au.

In 1982, Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward met in the Simi Valley, California, on the set of the TV mini-series adaptation of The Thorn Birds. ‘What happened on screen was happening off it – that’s why our love scenes were so believable’, Ward told the UK’s Daily Express before the pair’s subsequent (1983) wedding. Brown played the brutish Luke, whose marriage to Ward’s character Meggie was entirely mercenary. Happily, life would mirror fiction only superficially: the couple have prospered, often working together over the ensuing decades, and most recently on Palm Beach (2019) – written and directed by Ward, produced by and starring Brown. ‘It’s pretty unusual and pretty fantastic that we can go off to work together … and have a collaboration together’, Ward told the ABC.

That’s one to get your heart started! You are 9 stories away from seeing your love score...

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency