Her exit came shortly after her ‘bestie’ Lukas Radovich, who played Ryder Jackson, also left the show.
The star opened up to Yahoo Lifestyle about how difficult it was to say goodbye, Lukas' ‘special’ surprise and how she’s using art to fuel her passion.
Fans broke down over the emotional on-screen goodbye that took place between Bella and Ryder, and Courtney has now revealed that she ‘broke down’ before the last take.
While Lukas was crying on every take, Courtney still had three more weeks on the show — so it hadn’t sunk in that she was really saying goodbye.
“He was really upset,” she begins, before adding that Lukas was crying during every take. “It got to the last take and I did an alright job, he was crying and it was really good on his part. The director said ‘Okay, that’s a wrap, I think that’s done’.
“And then I just broke down. I went, ‘It’s not good enough, not good enough!’,” she recalls.
The director decided to let the pair film one more take, and Courtney said she found herself crying during the entire scene.
“That ended up being the last take of me, crying…it was a really fun scene to do, but very sad,” she says.
‘Most beautiful farewell'
The actress says that at Home and Away actors constantly come and go, with most doing ‘their three years’ before moving on.
“Throughout my three and a half years, I was constantly seeing people leave. So even when I started I was imagining what it would be like to leave,” she admitted.
Courtney was ready to say goodbye to Bella, so she could head to drama school and continue to grow as an actor.
While she was excited about what was to come next, she tells us that her Summer Bay family sent her off in a ‘beautiful’ way.
“We do speeches, on your last day, on your last scene. You come out of the studio and everyone’s there and just celebrating your time on the show — no matter how long it was,” she explains.
“I had about four really important people do speeches plus the producer, and it was everything I ever wished for.”
“It was really, really special”
Courtney and Lukas have been close ever since meeting on set, with Courtney dubbing her costar as her ‘bestie’.
While Lukas stayed in Sydney after he wrapped up his time on the soap, Courtney made her way down to Melbourne to study acting at the 16th Street Actors Studio.
The actress is an accomplished artist, and held an art exhibition in Sydney that was supported by many of her costars.
After painting ‘in her room for six months’ while studying, she held another art exhibition titled ‘Milked’.
The star was rushing around on the morning of the show, frantically trying to hang her paintings at the venue. Little did she know that Lukas had secretly made a plan to surprise her at the exhibition.
“[Lukas] rang me and said, ‘Oh hey, I know it’s the day of your exhibition. How are you going?’, and I was like, ‘I’m all good, I’m a little bit stressed’.
“He said, ‘well, when do you want me to help out?’ And I just went, I said a few swear words,” she laughs.
The star lights up when she tells the story, saying that it was ‘amazing’ to have him in Melbourne for her big night.
“It was really, really special. I don’t think he knows how special that was,” she says.
‘Acting is the passion, art will help’
Courtney really enjoys painting, but admits that acting will always come first. However, she’s hoping to make money from her art, to support herself as she searches for her next role.
It’s been a juggling act to balance her painting with acting, and now that she’s finished drama school, her focus has turned to self-tapes and auditioning.
“If I had to choose one, you know which one I’m gonna choose — it’s acting, 100%. I’m trying to make a profit from art so that I can act freely,” she says.
The artist has amassed a large fan base from her time on Home and Away, and she’s found affordable ways for fans to own a piece of her art.
“I have a lot of things coming out smaller size-wise instead of getting originals, which can be really expensive.
“I’ve got a lot of A5 prints coming out, a lot of A3 prints,” she shares.
You can purchase Courtney’s original art on her website here.
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