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Shorty star’s unbreakable bond ‘We’re so grateful for this friendship’

Best friends Rebekah and Courtenay reveal how they help each other through their most heartbreaking moments

Stunning Shortland Street stars Rebekah Randell and Courtenay Louise spent three weeks apart over the summer break, so even though it’s their first day back at work when they chat to Woman’s Day, they’re absolutely fizzing to be reunited.

“We literally just sat down together for an hour and planned our lives,” says Courtenay, 28, with a broad smile. “We’ve got the gym Wednesday and Thursday, and a walk together on Friday.”

After a fun-filled festive season where Courtenay jetted off to Surfer’s Paradise with her fiancé Chris Read while Rebekah and her hubby Bevan Randell soaked up some sun at Northland’s Kai Iwi Lakes, the pair are ready to take on the new year. “We’re going to get healthy and drink less!” laughs Rebekah, 29.

The bubbly actresses, who live just around the corner from one another, formed an immediate bond when Courtenay’s character, model-turned-PA Monique, first blazed into Ferndale.

Rebekah, who has played the perennially lovelorn nurse Dawn for the past six years, took Courtenay under her wing right from the start.

In their personal lives and on Shorty too, these two have a lot happening this year.

“I was in the green room and Bex asked if I wanted to grab coffee,” remembers Courtenay. “I was like, ‘Hell yeah, I don’t know anyone here and it’s freaking me out.'”

From that first gossip session at a café, they were basically joined at the hip. They love shopping, dining out and sampling the odd cocktail after work. They also go to the gym together, although they say they don’t compete to see who can do the most sit-ups or chin-ups.

“Definitely not – Bex would waste me,” chuckles Courtenay.

Says Rebekah, “Working somewhere like Shortland Street, where it’s such a pressure-cooker environment and you spend so much time here, having people who really understand what

it’s like and what you’re going through means you form an eternal bond.”

The women have also supported each other while filming though COVID, which meant endlessly changing schedules and epic storylines that have included murder, mayhem and a fire ripping through the famous clinic.

“I’m so grateful for Court’s friendship,” confesses Rebekah. “She’s helped me out during some tough times.”

Although both stars are delightfully vivacious and fun-loving, they also share a strong sense of empathy and each takes care to use their fame to help others.

Courtenay has been open about struggling with body image and battling an eating disorder.

“When you’ve got a voice and you’ve got younger people looking up to you, I think it’s important to let them know they’re not alone,” she says.

“I know how truly consuming and isolating eating disorders can be, and when I was growing up, there was nobody talking about it. Hopefully by speaking out about my experience, other people will find the courage to ask for help.”

Rebekah also shared details of her miscarriage last year, in the hope that others going through the same heartbreak don’t feel like they have to be in a “secret club of suffering”.

“It comes back to normalising conversations that are usually a bit more taboo,” says Rebekah.

“I think if someone reads my Instagram post and feels less alone, then it’s so worth it.”

Both Courtenay and Rebekah agree that after a massive year in 2022, they’re going to strive for a better work-life balance in 2023.

Rebekah is planning to kick back and enjoy her new house with Bevan, 34.

Rebekah and Bevan love their new home.

“We moved into our home in June and it’s so nice doing life without this big thing hanging over you, especially because Bevan built the house,” she explains. “All of our energy went into that and I feel like we’re still recovering from it. For the moment, we’re just enjoying life, although I know Bevan will want to build more in the future – he loves it!”

For Courtenay, the time has come to finally nail down her wedding plans with Chris.

“Last year was just so busy and the thought of organising a wedding was daunting,” she admits. “We toyed with eloping, but realistically, my mum’s not going to let me do that!

Courtenay and Chris have a wedding to organise!

“Over Christmas, Chris and I sat down to work out what we want out of 2023,and I’m so excited to say that the wedding is going to happen this year.”

“I’m excited too!” shrieks Rebekah.

As for what’s on the cards for Monique and Dawn after Shorty’s fiery finale last year?

“You do not want to miss the first 10 episodes,” Rebekah enthuses.

“Watch this space for Monique,” adds Courtenay. “It’s gonna be great!”

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