An emotional Kate Ritchie has spoken in heartbreaking detail about the fears she had departing the soap Home And Away after playing Sally Fletcher for 20 years.

In a candid new chat with Anh Do to air on Tuesday's episode of Brush With Fame, Ritchie admits she wasn't sure if she could "survive" away from the role she'd played since she was just eight years old.

Ritchie left Home And Away in 2008 at the age of 28, having played Sally since the show's pilot episode.

"I didn't know where she ended and I began or vice versa, and I had to work out whether I was more than that," said Ritchie, who explained that it "became really obvious" it was time to finally leave the show.

 

Kate Ritchie: ‘I didn’t know where Sally ended and I began.’
Kate Ritchie: ‘I didn’t know where Sally ended and I began.’

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"It was just so frightening. What do I actually do when someone doesn't hand me a schedule on a Friday afternoon and tell me where to be on a Monday? And they were just the logistics that I knew I'd miss. I think it was the other stuff about missing the character and trying to figure out my identity without this other person, that was the stuff I hadn't really considered too much and that hit me quite hard," she said.

The star, now 42, choked back tears as she recalled taking the leap away from Sally Fletcher, who she described as her "best friend for 20 years".

 

Ritchie as a child star on Home And Away …
Ritchie as a child star on Home And Away …

 

… and crying after filming her final scenes in 2008.
… and crying after filming her final scenes in 2008.

RELATED: Kate Ritchie spotted with rumoured new boyfriend

"She gave me purpose and a sense of achievement. I feel differently now, after loads of therapy. I thought the only thing I'd ever done of value in my life was when I was her. I was lost, and I wondered how I was going to survive without her. How were people going to react to me if I wasn't Sally? Sally was a great person, a great friend and a great daughter … did people only feel something for me because they liked her?" she said.

Ritchie's career has flourished since leaving Home And Away, working as an actor, TV host, children's author and for the past eight years as one of the biggest stars on Australian radio, on Nova FM.

 

Nowadays, Ritchie’s largely swapped TV for radio. Picture: James Croucher
Nowadays, Ritchie’s largely swapped TV for radio. Picture: James Croucher

 

"I think the best thing to come out of all of this, is that I'm great without [Sally]. I nearly choked on the words! We're all great without our security blankets," she told Do.

Ritchie shared the clip from tonight's episode to her Instagram account, writing that she "worr[ies] so often of what people think. Of me revisiting the same old chapter of my life. The chapter people continue to ask me about and the one that defined me. Publicly and personally. One day I'll move through that worry … But for now I'll speak with Anh."

It seems Ritchie needn't have worried - she's already receiving praise for her honesty in the interview.

"You my darling ARE A STUNNING WOMAN … I never knew Sally, but honestly … I love Kate!" wrote singer Tina Arena under the post.

"So beautiful babe! YOU are amazing!" wrote Natalie Bassingthwaighte.

 

 

Watch the full interview with Kate Ritchie on Anh's Brush With Fame, airing 8pm Tuesday on the ABC.

Originally published as 'Lost': Kate Ritchie's tearful confession


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