Home and Away EXCLUSIVE: Sophie Dillman ‘cried every day’ after shock exit

Sophie Dillman and Patrick O'Connor have quit the show.

Home and Away stars Sophie Dillman (Ziggy Astoni) and Patrick O’Connor (Dean Thompson) left fans devastated on Monday when they confirmed their upcoming exit from the show. After months of speculation, the pair spilled on Instagram that their departure storyline will be airing over the next “few weeks”.

Now, Sophie has revealed that their last month of filming was extremely emotional after working on the iconic Aussie soap for six years. The show films roughly five months in advance, so the real-life couple would have wrapped up in October last year.

L: Sophie Dillman and Patrick O'Connor as Ziggy Astoni and Dean Thompson on Home and Away. R: Sophie Dillman with copper hair
Home and Away's golden couple Sophie Dillman and Patrick O'Connor have quit the show. Photo: Seven & Instagram/ellajeanhairandmakeup

“It was really hard, I’m not gonna lie,” Sophie tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I cried probably every day for the last month of work. It is such a big family.”

The show is known for churning out episodes at an extremely fast pace, meaning the cast and crew spend a huge amount of time together. The strong bond with her co-stars is something that Sophie knows is truly unique.

“I know it’s cliche to say, but everyone is so humble. And everyone is working towards a common goal, and everyone wants everyone to succeed. And I don’t know whether I will ever find that in a workplace ever again,” she admits.


Sophie joined the show in 2017 as Ziggy Astoni, and fans instantly took to her sassy and headstrong character. Falling in love with her real-life partner Patrick, who also plays her onscreen boyfriend, further cemented her status as a firm fan favourite.

While she did find her final days filming full of emotion, she says she was so “lucky” to have spent the last six years on the show.

Patrick O'Connor and Sophie Dillman as Dean Thompson and Ziggy Astoni on Home and Away
Patrick and Sophie fell in love while working on the soap. Photo: Seven

“It was really, really hard. But also, it was really wonderful because you get to look at it from the outside and really appreciate all the incredible opportunities you’ve had.

“I’ve had such a great run with storylines and publicity opportunities and working with such incredible actors,” she adds.

Sophie and Patrick are close with their former co-stars, with the bubbly actress supporting Sarah Roberts’ (Willow Harris) latest film Wog Boys Forever alongside Courtney Miller (Bella Nixon) in October last year. She tells us that the friendships she has created on the show will “last forever”.

“I just couldn’t thank Home and Away enough for the opportunities, I was just so lucky,” she sums up.

Sophie Dillman and Patrick O'Connor in Tokyo, Japan
Sophie and Patrick recently shared some snaps from their Tokyo trip. Photo: Instagram/sophiedillman

Sophie and Patrick’s future plans

Home and Away’s golden couple spent their time after finishing filming with family and friends, with Sophie joking that she “napped a lot” over the summer.

“We [were] chilling out and spending time in the sunshine…we [hadn’t] been able to do that for a while so [it was] good,” she tells us.


The pair have been busy travelling this year and were spotted in Japan before heading to Ireland. Travel has been a huge goal for Sophie and Patrick, but Home and Away’s rigorous filming schedule made that difficult in the past.

“Because we’ve worked so hard for this period of time, we haven’t really had the opportunity to do a decent stint of travel. So we’re hoping to do that,” the star tells us, before adding they are considering moving overseas for good.

“After working so hard for many years, I want to focus on me for a bit.”

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