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Marriage Split Blame: Craig Speaks Out
With two failed marriages behind him and his new action series about to be launched on Australian television, former Neighbours heart-throb Craig McLachlan has turned his broad back on romance in favour of international fame and recognition.
A self-confessed workaholic, Craig says candidly: “There’s nothing I miss about marriage… having been single for a while and working like a dog, my career’s in good shape.”
These sentiments must come like a slap in the face to the actor’s former wives, high-school sweetheart Karen Williams and beautiful actress-turned-reporter Rachel Friend.
While the 30-year-old hunk admits his starring role in the London production of Grease was partly the cause of his split with Rachel, he also lays some of the blame at her feet.
“I am a fairly driven guy and possibly expect too much of people,” he says. “At the same time, I’ve always tried to be a giving person. Sadly, at the end of the day, your partner does not always hang in there with you.”
Craig and Rachel met on Neighbours and lived together for several years before marrying in a romantic mountainside ceremony near Sydney in 1993. Then Craig won the coveted role of Danny Zuko in Grease and his gruelling schedule, couple with living in London, were the breaking points for homesick, 25-year-old Rachel.
After only 18 months of marriage, she returned to Sydney alone and, just as Craig’s career has rocketed, she has carved out a successful niche as a reporter on A Current Affair and the environmental program Wild Life.
Craig says: “I would not have done Grease if Rachel hadn’t agreed to come with me. There were a lot of jobs I didn’t do in the past because I was involved in a relationship.”
Now, long-term relationships are definitely low on the agenda for Craig following the successful launch of his new BBC TV adventure series Bugs – being screened in Australia on the Seven network from April 19 – and with Hollywood beckoning.
He laughs off suggestions that he had an affair with his Bugs co-star Jaye Griffiths, who also plays Detective Inspector Sally Johnson in The Bill: “At the moment, I’m on my own and loving my work.”
In Bugs, a $5 million series, Craig plays Ed, a dare-devil helicopter pilot and martial arts expert. Touted as a high-tech action show for the 21st century, it also stars soap actor Jesse Birdsall.
Despite being superfit, the one-time plumber’s labourer – “I still keep in touch with the people I used to work with” – finds the action sequences heavy going. His role calls for abseiling down skyscrapers, diving off submarines into ice-cold water and scaling rooftops.
Future plans include giving Hollywood a go. He has been offered two scripts to read, one of which he is very keen to do.
“I’ve got money in the bank and no ties, but I’ve thinking very carefully about my next move,” Craig says.
This article originally appeared in New Idea magazine, dated 20th April 1996, and was written by Pauline Wallin