Actress Jessica Marais is mourning the death of her mother, Karen, who passed away last week.
Jessica’s friend and Packed to the Rafters co-star Hugh Sheridan confirmed the heartbreaking news in an Instagram post on Tuesday.
‘I’m grieving for my dearest and sweetest friend, who has now lost both of her parents far too young,’ he wrote.
Three days earlier, on Saturday, Jessica had hinted at a death in the family when she shared a childhood photo to Instagram of herself with her mother and sister at the beach.
While she did not disclose her mother’s death in the caption, several of her friends understood the significance of the post and offered their condolences.
Jessica was just nine years old when she watched her father, university dean Tony Marais, collapse and die of a heart attack.
Actor Hugh, who has known Jessica since their university days, shared his memories of Karen and said how proud she was of her daughter.
‘We’ve helped each other through our lives changing in so many ways. Our wins and highs met extreme lows sometimes, but we always made it through,’ he wrote.
‘I can’t tell you how s**t I feel knowing I can’t hug you right now. To have distance between us when I want to be with you,’ added Hugh, who lives in Los Angeles.
‘I love you, Jess. I’ll be back very soon and I will hug you for a very long time (after I get lot of quarantine).’
Hugh also quoted The Road Not Taken by poet Robert Frost, adding the hashtags #YouHaveMadeAllTheDifference, #LongLiveOurQueen and #LongMayWeContinue.
In 2011, Jessica told News.com.au that she was haunted by her father’s death, and lived in fear of losing other loved ones in the same way.
But she credited her mother with helping the family ‘pull through a very hard time’.
The Logie winner, 35, added: ‘It’s sort of something you relive I think, everyone that has lost someone… you relive it every day. It feels fresh, but obviously time does heal a lot of wounds and I’m definitely much better at coping with it now.’
It has certainly been a tough year for Jessica, who shares an eight-year-old daughter, Scout, with her ex-fiancé, actor James Stewart.
Four months ago, emergency crews were called to her home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs for a welfare check.
On the afternoon of Saturday, May 2, she was walked to an ambulance where she was put on a gurney and taken to the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick.
A witness told Daily Mail Australia she was not wearing any shoes, her hair was a ‘dishevelled mess’ and she was in a ‘visibly distressed state’.
Fortunately, she appeared happy and healthy several weeks later as she spent time with Hugh and other supportive friends.
In June, Jessica shared a heartfelt open letter to Instagram about ‘loneliness and growth’ following her hospitalisation.
That month, her former Rafters co-star Rebecca Gibney addressed Jessica’s personal issues and departure from the Packed to the Rafters reboot.
The New Zealand actress revealed that while Jessica had her ‘struggles’, she would inevitably bounce back and ‘surprise them all’ both personally and professionally.
Rebecca told TV Week: ‘She is doing really well and I’m in constant contact with her. She is truly one of those unique talents!’
In 2014, Jessica spoke about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
‘I was diagnosed at one point with bipolar. I have developed ways to talk myself down from any ledges I find myself on,’ she told The Australian Women’s Weekly.
‘There’s probably one day a month when I am an absolute mess. In my case it’s hard to separate what is due to trauma or stress and what is due to a simple chemical imbalance.’