James Stewart and Ada Nicodemou’s summer of love

The on-screen couple share their holiday joy
Paul Suesse

They’ve had to navigate more than their share of challenges on Home And Away, but in doing so, Justin Morgan and Leah Patterson-Baker have thrived, becoming firm soap favourites since 2019.

“I believe they’re currently the longest-running couple on Australian TV, so we’ve created a pretty solid fan base,” says James Stewart, who plays Justin. “Husbands and wives at home can identify themselves in them, and stick up for their respective points of view.”

The dramatic storylines of 2023, which included an attempt on their lives, have been incredible to watch, but they’ve come at a cost.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to sink my teeth into the story, but it was very draining,” tells Ada, 46, who has played Leah since 2000. “By the end of it, I was physically and mentally exhausted. It was a tough subject matter, but I wanted to do it justice.”

James, 48, says his colleague “knocked it out of the park”, adding, “It amazes me that Ada has been doing this for a while and still finds performances like she does.”

Both actors are looking to soak up some relaxation with their families over summer.

“There’s always food,” Ada says of her get-togethers. “We’re also very lucky that we’re going to be welcoming a new baby – my brother and sister-in-law are having a second child.”

After a health scare, which saw Ada suffer a back injury that required surgery, she’s eager to spend time with her son Johnas, 11, and partner Adam Rigby. “We just want to hang out,” she smiles.

Meanwhile, James will be enjoying time with his 11-year-old daughter Scout. He tells, “A highlight is watching how intelligent Scout has become. She’s just a sponge. Also, I’m a sucker for performance gifts – recently, she drew me a whale in grey pencil and I was absolutely stunned. She’s amazing!”

Much like his character, James won’t be far from the sand this summer. “It’s all about family, beach, barbecues, surfing, guitars, laughs, siestas, books, love and sunshine!”

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