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Bec and Beyond

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Bec and beyond


11 May 2005

ART, THEY say, imitates life. But in the case of Home and Away's Bec Cartwright, it's very much a case of life imitating art.

News at the weekend that the 21-year-old Cartwright is expecting fiance Lleyton Hewitt's baby in October follows closely her current Home and Away storyline.

In the popular Channel 7 soap, Cartwright's character, Hayley Smith, has discovered she is pregnant -- but in Hayley's case, she is uncertain which of two guys is the father.

There's no doubting who's the dad when it comes to Cartwright's real-life pregnancy.

Her engagement to Aussie tennis ace Lleyton Hewitt 3 1/2 months ago came after a whirlwind romance that itself was barely months old.

Talking to Cartwright in a tiny coffee shop in the Sydney harbourside suburb of Avondale, there's no doubt family life with Hewitt is very much top of her list of priorities.

"I'm so happy, I can't wipe the smile off my face," she says, laughing.

"He's made my life complete. I'm truly contented. There are no dramas in my life. Everything's good.

"He's not only teaching me about tennis but also the finer points of Aussie rules and the great qualities of his beloved Adelaide Crows.

"I didn't know anything about sport until I met Lleyton.

"He's just wonderful and I'm very happy."

Cartwright said of her pregnancy in New Idea magazine: "It's great, great news. We're both over the moon.

"We're very, very excited. Our friends and family know how much we love each other and they can see how excited we are about it."

The pregnancy comes at a time when Cartwright is enjoying unprecedented appeal after winning the first series of Dancing With the Stars and picking up her first Logie -- a silver for Most Popular Actress in Australia.

But the bubbly blonde star has not let recent events change her -- not outwardly anyway.

The smile is still the same, as is the enthusiasm, and the words still come tumbling out at a million miles an hour, leaving you exhausted just listening to her.

After seven years playing Hayley Smith on Home and Away, Cartwright has become one of Summer Bay's veterans.

"I'm now the fifth-oldest cast member," she says proudly. "We have a great bunch of new characters now and there's a great new energy to the show.

"They're giving me some great storylines to work with and I'm really enjoying my time."

But with the baby due in October, Seven may have a problem enticing Cartwright to remain with Home and Away once her contract expires at the end of the year.

Hewitt has said the baby is "obviously going to be our main priority".

With the wedding also set for later this year, it appears unlikely that Cartwright will look to combine motherhood and being at Hewitt's side with a continuing acting career in a TV series.

An on-screen life with Home and Away demands 5am starts, often stretching late into the day.

It's hard to see Cartwright being able to juggle coping with the pressures of her commitment to the soap and being on hand to support Hewitt on the world tennis circuit.

Home and Away, PG, Channel 7, weeknights, 7pm, Home-grown soap, Duration: 30 minutes

Dancing into our hearts

BEC Cartwright first appeared as a regular in Home and Away in October 1998, but she had featured as an extra on the show back in 1991.

After training at the Creative Dance Academy from 1987-1992, she enrolled at the Australian College of Entertainment for Dance the following year before leaving in 1995.

A professional performer since 1993, Cartwright worked in pantomimes, Christmas concerts and the NSW Premiers Concert in 1994 at the Sydney Entertainment Centre.

In 2000 she filmed Home and Away episodes in England, returning to Britain in 2003 with fellow co-star Tammin Sursok to promote a Home and Away video.

Nominated for Most

Popular New talent at the 1999 TV Week Logie Awards after only two months on screen, this year she won a silver Logie for Most Popular Actress and was also nominated for gold, missing out to Rove McManus.

Last year Cartwright co-hosted Carols in the Domain with Andrew Daddo after winning Dancing With the Stars.

"The show has been very good to me and I'm grateful for the opportunities it has given me," she says.

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