Home and Away couple reveal the challenges of an on-screen romance

Not only are Sophie Dillman and Patrick O’Connor the golden couple of Summer Bay, playing Ziggy Astoni and Dean Thompson on Home and Away, but they also have a strong relationship in real life.

After experiencing dramatic car crashes and a near-fatal poisoning on the popular soap opera, the couple has now opened up about the challenges they’ve faced portraying an on-screen romance.

Sophie Dillman and Patrick O’Connor.
Sophie Dillman says it’s “hard work” being an on-screen couple with her real life boyfriend Patrick O’Connor. Photo: Instagram/paddy.oco

“It's actually really hard work,” Sophie told TV WEEK about filming with her boyfriend on the Channel Seven show.

“Paddy and I are different to our characters so making their instincts seem natural when they aren't our own is a good challenge.”

She also described her and Patrick’s home in Sydney as a “sanctuary” where they both love to switch off at the end of the day.


Speaking about some of the extreme storylines that played out in the most recent season, Patrick remarked that it’s been “a huge year”.

“I really enjoyed playing out the car crash scenes,” he said.

“It was an incredible shoot to be on and watching the car get flipped from behind the scenes was pretty impressive. Not to mention the beautiful locations of Yass and Wee Jasper in New South Wales.”

Sophie Dillman and Patrick O’Connor on Home and Away.
Sophie and Patrick play Ziggy and Dean on Home and Away. Photo: Channel Seven

Although Sophie and Patrick’s romance blossomed on Home and Away, where Ziggy first appeared in 2017 and Dean arrived in 2018, the couple already had a strong connection from before the show.

“We actually knew each other at uni - we went to acting school together years ago,” Sophie said on The Morning Show earlier this year.

“We were friends then, and then we were in different years, so we didn't really see each other - but then when found each other on the show. And conveniently, our characters got together on the show.”

While their on-screen personas have gone through several hardships, they are often referred to as the loves of each other's lives.

Sophie Dillman and Patrick O’Connor.
Sophie and Patrick met at acting school before they were cast on Home and Away. Photo: Instagram/paddy.oco

Sophie and Patrick’s comments come shortly after former Home and Away star and major Hollywood actress Isla Fisher spoke to Yahoo Lifestyle about a potential return to the show.

The Confessions of a Shopaholic star, who played Shannon Reed in the long-running soap opera from 1994 to 1997, admitted that she’s often considered making a cameo appearance in Summer Bay.

“Of course I’ve thought about it!” she said.

“I've thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be hilarious?’ But then the reality of it is, obviously, you have to give lots of notice and then it gets written in and then you have to commit.

“But obviously it would be fun just to sort of like, walk by with a surfboard or something at some point.”

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