TV Week
19th July 1997

The Heartbreak High star knows just where most of his fans want to see him!

HOLDING court from his double bed, a cheeky Rel Hunt knows the scene is the stuff to ignite many a teenage fantasy. The Heartbreak High hunk has a pile of suggestive fan mail to leave no doubt in anybody’s mind which room in the house most his female fans would prefer to see him “relax”!

And the mail isn’t just from local fans. Now that Heartbreak High is sold to more countries than any other Australian drama, much of Rel’s mail comes from highly passionate Europeans.

“I haven’t had any stalkers yet,” he says, laughing. “But I do get some bizarre sexual mail from mainly France and Germany.

“The letters are very explicit, loaded with fantasies about where they want to take me and what they want to do with me when they get me there. Most are from young women between the ages of 18 and 22.

“The younger girls are very polite. When they get older they break out a little bit more. They’re more open with their feelings.”

Despite being adored by women from all around the world, Rel, 22, appears a pretty humble bloke.

Inviting TV WEEK into his inner-city Sydney apartment, where his bookshelves pay homage to his heroes — James Dean and Marlon Brando — and his stereo blasts his favourite Eighties music, it is clear that Rel is happiest when ensconced in his private world.

“This is home,” he says. “I want a nice place to live, so I’m willing to spend an extra bit of money for somewhere where I feel comfortable and where I want to come home to.

“This is a place where I can feel comfortable, where I can hang out. I do a lot of entertaining here, it’s a comfortable place.

“It’s important to have a pad that is totally away from the madhouse. My place is quite a fair way away from work, which I think is an advantage.”

Much to the wishful fans’ chagrin, Rel currently does have a girlfriend, actress Kelley McMaster. The two met when Kelley was playing the ex-girlfriend of Rel’s character, Ryan, in Heartbreak High.

“We’re good mates and lovers,” says Rel, of the relationship. “We don’t live together, I’d say it’s a well-balanced relationship. We understand each other.”

It’s probably just as well Rel’s home life is stable. In future episodes of the ABC soap, Rel’s character, the troubled and moody Ryan, is going to be plunged into the nightmare world of drug addiction.

Rel says filming the scenes left him thoroughly exhausted.

“It’s good to have this place to come home to,” he says.

When it comes to the issue of drugs, Rel isn’t slow to offer an opinion.

“I think it is the biggest issue the show has covered in the past 12 months,” he says.

“I actually believe alcohol and cigarettes are probably the worst drugs of all. Society’s view of drugs is so one-sided. The fact its, illicit drugs only count for one per cent of all drug-related deaths.

“Alcohol and cigarettes I am totally against. I can have a beer at the end of the day, but heavy drinking turns so many people aggressive.

“While I don’t engage in drug-taking practices, I don’t believe the more illicit drugs are as bad as the media perceives them to be.”

Rel’s addiction is acting.

“I just want to get better every day,” he says.

And if he ever gets a break from the rigors of Heartbreak High, there is a smouldering pile of fan mail crying out to be answered.

Story: Glen Williams
Main pictures: Brett Stevens

Original content copyright TV Week.