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Loss of soulmate inspires Jodi Gordon's screen role

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Loss of soulmate inspires Jodi Gordon's screen role

Herald Sun

July 09, 2008

MORE than a year after losing her "soul mate" to leukemia, a Home and Away storyline means Jodi Gordon is reliving the anguish of battling cancer on screen.

Gordon says she will draw on Chris Burkhardt's brave fight against cancer when filming her new storyline for Home and Away, which will see her character, Martha, pregnant and diagnosed with breast cancer.

Burkhardt died in March last year after a much-publicised year-long battle with an aggressive cancer. He was only 23 and Gordon was by his side throughout the ordeal.

"That (my experience) definitely helped with the storyline and it will help with a million more storylines in the future because so many things happen in your personal life that eventually, as an actor, affect your performance and you have to draw and use that to get through the storylines,'' Gordon says.

"A couple of months before we started shooting we all got together to discuss the storyline and mapped out the journey and we had to make sure that everyone was comfortable with it. We worked together to get it where it is.''

Gordon says losing Burkhardt had been terrible, but she has found a way of moving on with her life.

Now dating Channel 7 executive Ryan Stokes, Gordon says she feels proud to be given the task of playing out a storyline that will touch so many people.

"It just feels like cancer is taking over the world,'' Gordon says. "You do your best in that situation (when somebody dies) and then you move on. I know that sounds really blunt, but you cope in the situation, deal with it and it's amazing how everyone comes together and then you move on.''

Gordon says the Home and Away cast, friends and family helped her get through the loss of Burkhardt.

"Friends and family were great, I think when anyone is going through that type of thing you just look to your friends and family. They (Home and Away) gave me as much time as I needed and what I felt was the right amount of time, they never pushed me,'' she says.

Gordon says it was Home and Away's producer -- also one of its former stars -- Cameron Welsh, who approached her about the sensitive storyline.

"I remember Cam calling me into his office and asking if I would be comfortable doing a cancer storyline considering what I'd been through. And as an actor that's just the most scary, but amazing opportunity to be given,'' she says.

Gordon is no stranger to challenging storylines.

Her tomboy character has, in more recent times, gone off the rails and indulged in a pole-dancing career as well as countless empty relationships. She is now pregnant but doesn't know if the father is her ex-beau Roman or her ex-husband Jack (with whom she has reunited).

The demanding storylines have come thick and fast, but Gordon says her latest turn has been the toughest of all -- pregnant and diagnosed with breast cancer just when Martha's life with police officer Jack (played by ladies' favourite Paul O'Brien) seems to be getting back on track.

"I would hate to be in her situation. I definitely think this one (storyline) tops all of them because she has done everything. Paul was counting up Martha's boyfriends one day and she is up to nine in between getting divorced and getting back together,'' Gordon, 23, says with a laugh.

Gordon never had a regret about walking away from the superficial and catty world of modelling.

"I think models are a lot thinner now than they were back then, but I still think a lot of pressure is on models . . . and for models to be one thing,'' Gordon says.

"I think you put pressure on yourself competing with the most beautiful girls in the world. You want to look your best and you do what you can to look your best. On Home and Away there is no pressure, you do need to keep your image consistent. When I got the job I relaxed a lot more because (in) modelling there was constant pressure.''

Now off the catwalk and playing Martha on the small screen for the past four years, Gordon says her acting abilities continue to grow.

"I had no television experience. I had been modelling for seven years and this was totally new territory. I would say the first year I was learning, taking it in and gearing up the character. And I'm still figuring out how to act, but that's what the show is all about,'' Gordon says.

Home and Away, PG

Channel 7, weekdays, 7pm

Life in Summer Bay

Duration: 30 minutes

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"...Paul was counting up Martha's boyfriends one day and she is up to nine in between getting divorced and getting back together,'' Gordon, 23, says with a laugh.

Between the divorce and reunion, there was only Michael and Roman, but between the separation and reunion, there was Ash and Cam as well as Michael and Roman. So there are only 4, not 9 :rolleyes: Unless im missing 4-5 other guys :unsure: They really dont know how to count. Like the love octogon that had 6 sides :lol:

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Despite missing the point of this article completely... I can count:

Jesse, Jack, Corey, Ash, Cam, Michael, Roman

That she has had... so maybe the phrasing of "between getting divorced and getting back together" doesn't actually mean the time in between that, but "between" as in ... like... everything that's ever happened... like it's just a figure of speech... which means... they're counting the reunions with Jack... too... which I guess... is... 9 :huh:?

I don't know. I tried.

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