As one of only three married couples in Summer Bay, could John (Shane Withington) and Marilyn’s (Emily Symons) relationship be about to come under threat…?
It’s been a traumatic few weeks for Marilyn, who’s been on-edge since getting caught up in the hospital siege which saw Mason Morgan shot dead in front of her. Marilyn has since credited fellow hostage Ari Parata (Rob Kipa-Williams) for her survival and has made it her mission to do everything she can for him and his family.
Since their arrival in the bay, Ari, his sister-in-law Gemma (Bree Peters) and her son Nikau (Kawakawa Fox-Reo) have been staying in a local motel.
With Ari currently off work due to red-tape surrounding his workplace injury, money has been tight. Although receiving compensation payouts, they are few and far between and the family has been feeling the strain.
Gemma was luckily able to score a job at the Pier Diner with Marilyn’s help, but with her pay not due for another couple of weeks, Ari decided that they would all have to share the one motel room to cut costs.
However this week the family are gutted to return to the motel one evening to find all their belongings outside, they’ve been kicked out.
“Ari is challenged between the life he had and is now living,” Rob told TV Week. “He doesn’t earn what he used to and supporting his family is proving a struggle.”
With nowhere to go, the Paratas are forced to spend a night in their car, but it isn’t long before Marilyn notices the strife that the family are in, and of course she’s keen to help.
“Post-siege, there is now incredible trauma and shock for Marilyn,” Emily told New Idea magazine. “Ari was so kind to her when they were being held hostage, and now she feels that no-one else can understand what she went through. She thinks that he was her saviour – that he showed her empathy and kindness when she needed it most – and that she is now indebted to him and his family.”
Using the facilities at the surf club to shower and clean their clothes, Ari and Nikau manage to get on the wrong side of John and they nearly come to blows as John threatens to call the police.
So John is shocked to then return home and find that Marilyn has invited the Paratas to stay with them without even consulting him.
The couple have a huge argument, but Marilyn refuses to listen to what John has to say and insists that the family are welcome in their home. John ends up storming out.
Later Marilyn confides in Irene that she and John are at breaking point, and during a deep and meaningful with Ari she goes as far to say that sometimes she really doesn’t know why she married John.
“There are definitely big thunderclouds approaching in the John and Marilyn nest,” Shane told New Idea. “It’s a huge storyline.”
Will John and Marilyn’s marriage survive this latest stumble, or could it be the beginning of the end?
For a couple who have only just celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary, John and Marilyn have faced some huge hurdles during their marriage.
In 2015, Marilyn ended up in a coma after receiving an electric shock at the diner. On waking up, she had lost the last 20 years of her life, not recognising John and believing she was still married to Donald Fisher. As the weeks went by, John made attempts to woo his wife all over again—and though eventually she regained her memories, she needed to take some time away from Summer Bay after the couple renewed their wedding vows.
In 2017 it was discovered that John was responsible for a spate of fires throughout Summer Bay—though he himself had not been aware of it, having been acting under the influences of a brain tumour.
John was jailed for the crime and later released on appeal which reduced his sentence to community service, but Marilyn worried that the tumour had brought an out an underlying darkness in John which had been there all along. As a result, she told John that she couldn’t love him anymore.
It wasn’t until a hypnotherapy session with Marilyn that John recalled a traumatic event from his childhood—John’s father George had committed suicide in a barn on their property after learning he had motor neurone disease. John’s mother Enid, with John’s help, then burnt down the barn to cover up the cause of George’s death, which she believed would bring shame on the family. With this now out in the open, John and Marilyn were able to move forward with their marriage.
Only last year the couple looked set to split again when their adopted son Jett was injured in Afghanistan. With Jett confined to a wheelchair and having moved to an adapted apartment in the city, John felt that he had to split his time between Summer Bay and the city to support Jett.
With Marilyn unwilling to leave Summer Bay, she was faced with the prospect of a long-distance relationship which very nearly caused the marriage to break apart—but when John fell asleep at the wheel of his car, he was convinced to take a step back and let Jett live independently.
If you’re heading to Sydney anytime soon, why not take the time to visit the beautiful Palm Beach (Summer Bay) yourself on the Official Home and Away Tour – along the way you’ll get to see such filming locations as the Morgan House, the Pier Diner and the famous Surf Club, and you may even be lucky enough to spot some filming and take some snaps with cast members!
There’s now various options for those wishing to take the tour, including the opportunity to have a guaranteed Meet and Greet with a Home and Away fan favourite. This Meet and Greet option provides exclusive access to the Morgan House garden on Wednesdays & Fridays, or lunch with the actor on Saturdays (lunch not included in tour price).
The tour departs from central Sydney five days a week (Mon-Wed, Fri-Sat), and costs $135 per person ($67.50 for children). Please note that during the month of February, there is both a morning and afternoon tour option on Mondays and Tuesdays, the days where you’re most likely to see filming.
You can also now buy Gift Cards, the perfect present for any Home and Away fan! Once purchased, the recipient can use the provided code to book themselves onto the tour of their choice. Gift Cards have a 6 month expiry.
For more information on the tour options, and to book tickets or gift vouchers directly through the official tour provider, click here or on the button below.