Jessica Marais flies from Rafters coop

Another member of the Rafters family is on the way out.

Jessica Marais, who plays Rachel Rafter, is leaving the show indefinitely to pursue US acting opportunities.

Marais, who is considered one of the show’s brightest stars, is expected to remain on air until June. Her character is not being killed off in case she decides to return.

“After four seasons, Jess is taking a break from Rafters to explore some other acting opportunities,” a Seven spokesman told The Daily Telegraph yesterday. “Creatively, it’s great to stretch and grow as an actor.

“She has Seven’s full support and will always be a part of the Rafter and Seven family.”

Marais has spoken a number of times about pursuing a US career, including recent denials. In 2009 The Hollywood Reporter singled her out as one of 3 Australians named on its list of the ‘Next Generation of International Television.’ Former fellow castmate Zoe Ventoura also quit the show to try her luck in the US.

Fiance and co-star James Stewart plans to remain in the Seven drama.

The 25 year old Silver Logie winner will be the third regular cast member to exit the series, following Zoe Ventoura and Jessica McNamee. All three represent the show’s younger female principals.

Star Rebecca Gibney recently announced her own drama project which she expects to advance following a fifth series, although she has made no noises about quitting the series.

Source: Daily Telegraph


  1. I thought at the time it was an odd choice to make all the kids grown ups because it’s natural they’d have to leave, and if they didn’t, they’re tragic for being so dependent on Mummy and Daddy. And it was also weird that they made Julie an only child and Dave adopted and with no family ties, which cut off the extended family option. It’s like the creators didn’t look further than their nose.

  2. it’s probably going to pull up stumps in a year or 2. she might make it in the us, maybe. i have doubts about the other. other than than rebecca and tell him he is dreaming

  3. When Rafters ends in a year or two she’ll be unemployed anyway, so she may as well hasten the inevitable and give the US a crack. Zoe Ventoura is 31 and may have left her run too late, given Hollywood’s ageism (And I agree with whoever said upthread that Zoe is somewhat limited as an actress- but when has talent ever counted for anything in showbiz?).

    If we as Australians want our actors to stay in the country, we have to start producing enough TV, film and theatre to support them. (A mass culling would also work…but I digress.)

  4. The show will continue well with out her,another young girl who found fame on tv series and thinks now hollywood is for her.Well she is joining very long list of actors trying to break the big time in America.Yes some aussie actors do make it big there,but a lot end up getting no work.

  5. i remember her saying in an interview “i plan to act my entire life so theres no rush” when talking about US stuff.
    i think that’s hilarious.

  6. @Simone – I think it’s a combo of both, with the writing of his role being mainly to blame. I don’t think Carbo’s role is particular well conceived. I presume he is meant to be the hapless, amusing sidekick, but he just comes off as a supremely annoying dingbat. His character plays into all those tiresome ethnic stereotypes (tied to mummy’s apron strings, emotional immaturity, his speech/accent, etc). I don’t think George Houvardas is an experienced enough actor to pull the role off consistently well.

  7. Jessica Marais is a very good actress, but she’s been phoning it in on Rafters since the beginning of last season. I guess we now know why.

    Agreed about Carbo- I don’t know if it’s the writing or the actor that is to blame, but he is so annoying.

  8. @Margaret Bugeja – totally agree with you, I have often had the very same thought. The age of the Rafter children should have been much more staggered than what it is. They look like there is no more than 1-2 years between each of them, meaning that Julie’s childbearing years were pretty much over by age 24? (from memory, wasn’t she only about 18 when Rachel was born?) Not very realistic. It would also have made for better storylines, if the age difference between the kids was more varied. I know the premise of the show was all the kids being off the parents hands, then moving back in, but they are simply all too close in age.

    @Ruth – I agree. Zoe V and Carbo are nowhere near in the same league as the other young actors. Carbo is the weakest link, by far, he needs to do an acting apprenticeship in Home and Away. Jess McNamee’s character was badly written, so I didn’t really get to see her acting chops.

  9. They are very good at keeping secrets on that show. Since Jess got engaged all she has said in interviews the US is on the backburner and she wants to spend all her time with James.

    Im not surprised though. She is one of those actors that you know will succeed in the US. Its just a shame that we finally get this good Aussie drama and people leave. If Hugh leaves then Rafters will be no longer.

    Its good that she isnt being killed off as the 7 spokesperson said so she can come back if she wants.

    Its a shame they cant fast foward ans make Ruby grow up faster.

  10. Might need to reboot the show in the future (reboots are all the rage in Hollywood these days), a new Rafters family in an entirely new suburb.

    Either that or keep the core Rafter parents, and turn them into a foster care family H&A style.

  11. Yep, it’s going to be hard to have a a show about the Rafter family when the original Rafters are shedding like crazy….

    This made me think of the The Secret Life of Us – what a great show with a great cast chemistry that was. Then, they all started leaving one by one onto supposedly bigger and better things, completely killing the show in the process. And….where are any of them now? (Apart from those like Deborah Mailman and Claudia Karvan who were already well established, of course).

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