The irony of Rachel Ward and Bryan Brown’s meeting is remarkable, despite the fact that Hollywood celebrities frequently find love while working. While portraying an awkward couple in the obscene miniseries “The Thorn Birds,” they became friends.
Bryan Brown, who plays “Better Man,” and his wife, Rachel Ward, who plays “Twisted,” both have enduringly prosperous film careers. While Ward has been in “Hotel Colonial” and “Fortress,” Brown has starred in movies like “Along Came Polly” and “On the Beach.”
Luke O’Neill and Meggie Cleary’s roles as love interests in the ABC TV miniseries “The Thorn Birds” from the early 1980s will, however, be what they are most remembered for.
The dramatized relationship between an ambitious Catholic priest (Richard Chamberlain), his vivacious ward (Rachel Ward), and the ranch hand Luke (Bryan Brown), with whom she sought refuge, was the focus of the production.
Despite Luke’s more mercenary than romantic intentions, Brown and Ward had incredible chemistry in real life. Ward recounts her initial reaction to seeing him as one of profound recognition. When asked what drew her to her future husband, she pondered, according to DailyMail:
“Little thought has been given to it. I liked him. That was about it, you know.”
The “Blackbeard” actress also made fun of herself for potentially initiating contact. She described Brown as being “slow as a rainy week” and saying that it “took forever” for him to reveal his intentions for her.
Brown attempted to make amends by calling himself a “cunning Aussie bloke” and explaining that he was trying to take his time getting to know her. And while we’ll never be able to be certain who was telling the truth, it is clear that they had an obvious case of love at first sight.
For a man who frequently acknowledged worrying about commitment, Brown quickly realized he had found “the one.” Nine months later, at Cornwell Manor, a magnificent Georgian mansion in Oxfordshire and the location of Ward’s childhood home, they were wed.
Father Ralph’s Chamberlain believed that Ward cherished him. You see, their characters were meant to be romantically involved. The twist, though, was that Brown and Ward were actually falling in love as it happened. Chamberlin reflected: “If I may say so, Rachel was falling for Bryan, but since we’re portraying characters who do, she was shining with love, leading me to believe it was me! It was wonderful. ‘God. I truly like her.”
When Larry King questioned whether the love scenes had required nuanced acting, he recalled his feelings. Because of how drawn his character had been to Ward’s, he revealed how simple it had been.
As Chamberlain reflected: “As Father Ralph in “The Thorn Birds,” I had a lot of fun acting in the love scenes with Rachel Ward because she was such a magnificent creature. And I had a crush on her.”
The Thorn Birds, which debuted in 1983 and quickly rose to popularity, is now considered the second-highest-rated miniseries of all time. With its rebroadcasts decades later, it continues to attract new audiences.
As would be expected, the stars benefited greatly from the numbers, with Brown establishing a lucrative career in Hollywood and Chamberlain securing a new title as the undisputed king of TV series. He made appearances in “Cocktail” and “Gorillas in the Mist” due to his recent surge in fame.
Ward received more negative news from the broadcast than positive. She felt insecure because of the show’s scathing critiques, which severely chastised her for her performance. She spoke candidly about it, according to The Hollywood Reporter:
“I took it to heart when I was annihilated. After that, I never really regained my confidence.”