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All you need to know about our favourite Martha star’s real life – family tragedy, co-star hubby and soap return

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Belinda Giblin, who starred in the Australian soap opera Home and Away, is a Summer Bay icon.

Since 2018, the 71-year-old actress has played Martha Stewart in the Australian serial, replacing Alison Mulvaney.

Belinda made her Home and Away debut over 30 years ago as Cynthia Ross, so she’s no stranger to the Channel 5 show.

Belinda has played Martha through a number of trials in recent years.

The character has had to deal with her Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) diagnosis as well as recent health issues that have left her in critical need of a kidney transplant and maybe on the verge of death.

Belinda’s life outside of the show has been documented by the Daily Star.

Early life

Belinda was born in Australia on March 2, 1950.

Her mother, who led a dramatic club and played and directed in performances, died at the age of 23 from breast cancer.

She was born and raised in Tamworth, New South Wales, and made her screen debut in 1974 in the TV series Homicide.

In the 1970s, Belinda featured in an episode of Blankety Blanks, but her big break came when she was cast in The Box, a long-running TV drama about what went on behind the scenes at Melbourne television station UCV-12.

She went on to star in a number of films, including The Sullivans, Skyways, Copshop, Sons and Daughter, and Heartbreak High.

Family values

In the early 1980s, Belinda met her husband, Axel Bartz.

Belinda was starring in a travelling performance of Bedroom Farce, and Axel was the resident set designer for the South Australian Theatre Company in Adelaide, when the two met.

“He was a really attractive bloke!” Belinda said of their first meeting to New Idea.

“We had chemistry from the beginning — there’s no doubt about that.”

Belinda gave birth to the couple’s daughter Romy soon after, and the couple married three years later.

In 1987, the couple welcomed their first child, Nicholas, and their children are now adults.

Belinda and Axel now live in Sydney with their pet kelpie Billie and cat Arlo, yet they still get to see their grandchildren on a regular basis.

“Having my babies and subsequently my grandchildren was the most happiest period in my life,” Belinda continued.

“I’m a family person, so family is very important to me, and I’m a very hands-on grandma,” she says.

Home and Away debut

Mother-of-two Belinda first appeared on Home and Away in 1991.

Cynthia Ross was played by the actress for a number of episodes until the character was dropped from the show.

Belinda returned to the serial for a one-episode cameo as Catherine Clements seven years later, but her involvement on the show was far from ended.

She made a surprise comeback to Summer Bay in 2018 as a legendary and long-thought-to-be-dead character.

Martha’s shock return

For years, Roo Stewart’s mother Martha has only appeared in flashbacks on Home and Away.

Alison Mulvaney portrayed her in two episodes, and she is believed to have drowned in a boat accident.

The character made a surprise return to the soap in 2018.

Martha’s husband Alf (Ray Meagher) lied about her death to keep Roo (Georgie Parker) from learning the terrible truth of her mother’s abandonment.

Belinda took over the iconic mantle on March 27, 2018, when the character was reintroduced.

“I just adore it,” Belinda said of her return to Home and Away to Stuff.

“All of the young cast members – these great young kids who are all shooting each other or having affairs – are utterly delightful, and I have to add there are no divas in this production, which means no one is acting like a celebrity.”

In the United Kingdom, Channel 5 broadcasts Home and Away on weekdays.

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