TV

EXCLUSIVE: Heartbreak High’s wildest secrets exposed!

Feuds, fistfights, secret flames: Rel Hunt reveals what REALLY happened behind the scenes
Loading the player...

Heartbreak High was one of Australia’s most iconic shows in the 90s, with many actors on the popular series sharing in the spoils of fame.

Playing Ryan Scheppers from 1997 to 1999, Rel Hunt was one of the show’s hottest heartthrobs – an experience that he describes as “the best thing ever” and something that he “never got tired of”.

WATCH: Heartbreak High’s Rel Hunt plays WHO’s Deadset or Rack Off

And, as fans binge through the newly re-released original series on Netflix and eagerly await the reboot to arrive in 2022, WHO catches up with the 46-year-old as he drops some huge bombshells and secrets about his time on the cult series and spills his thoughts on the show’s revival, as well as his acting career.

Scroll on for all the juiciest ever Heartbreak High goss!

Heartbreak High
Playing Heartbreak High’s Ryan Scheppers from 1997 to 1999, Rel Hunt (pictured left, with co-stars Lara Cox and Callan Mulvey) spills the show’s biggest secrets. (Credit: Getty)

Heartbreak High’s secret hook ups and heartbreaks

While it was common knowledge Callan Mulvey and Lara Cox were embroiled in a romance at the same time their characters Drazic and Anita were dating on-screen, Rel spills they weren’t the only ones with eyes for their co-stars.

I had a thing for Ada Nicodemou but she didn’t want a bar of me,” Rel divulges of the actress, who played Katerina on the show.

“I was kind of seeing Nathalie Roy [who played Ryan’s girlfriend Sarah Livingstone] and we went to the Logies and you know when you really like someone and you get a bit carried away? I tried to kiss her and it was when were about to get out of the car and she literally pushed me away and was like: ‘Not in front of the cameras!’

“It didn’t really go anywhere. I think she thought I was a player, which I probably was back then. I did really like her though.”

Heartbreak High Ryan and Sarah
It wasn’t just Anita and Drazic! Rel admits he had a short-lived romance with co-star Nathalie Roy (pictured) who played his on-screen girlfriend Sarah. (Credit: Netflix)
Heartbreak High Ryan Kat
The actor also had his eyes on Ada Nicodemou, but she rebuffed his advances. (Credit: Netflix)

The reality of being a teen heartthrob in the 90s


There are often celebrities who complain about constantly being recognised on the street by fans. But Rel definitely wasn’t one of them – even if his boyish good looks regularly meant his followers transformed into the embodiment of the heart-eyes emoji.

So what was it really like to hold that coveted heartthrob status?

“Terrible! [Laughs] I mean you know the answer to that one. It was the best thing ever,” Rel confesses.

“And I never got tired of signing any autographs… not that they were asking me all the time. I never got sick or tired of being famous or being in the public eye because it was a show that I was proud of  and everyone loved it.”

Heartbreak High ryan
Rel says getting to be a teen heartthrob in the ’90s was “the best thing ever”. (Credit: Netflix)

Rel adds that it wasn’t just teenage girls who approached him. In fact, there were a few surprising Heartbreak High fans.

“Didn’t matter if it was the hardest group of gangsters, rolling up in a car going, ‘Oi, Scheppers’. I never got a bad comment about it,” Rel says.

“The only bad comments were the bagging from my own mates being sarcastically like, ‘Oh, yeah heartthrob.’ Or calling it ‘Hard Knob High.’ People I didn’t know would come up and shake my hand and give me high fives. I never got a bad experience and so why wouldn’t I love that?”

Rel Hunt
Rel says he never got tired of fans approaching him and never had a bad experience with people recognising him. (Credit: Instagram)

Ryan vs Drazic: The real story about the tension between Rel and co-star Callan Mulvey

The star has previously been open about the tension between actors that existed on the set of Heartbreak High and Rel explains the reason it occurred.

“We were competitive. We wanted to make a really good product and you were doing scenes where it was confrontational, hostile, and you wanted to make it look real,” Rel explains.

“And sometimes there were fisticuffs, like there was a punch on and they captured that. They liked to make us feel like we were in a cage, you know? I think the directors there and also the producers liked that we were in a hostile environment and they would push us into that.”

One of the ongoing on-screen rivalries involved Rel’s character Ryan, who often butted heads with Drazic (played by Callan), over various seasons – and Rel admits sometimes the clashes were authentic.

“Me and Cal – there were times when, I guarantee you, I hated him,” Rel confesses.

“Because the scene crosses over and he would say something in an improv which hit a nerve. He’d know what pissed me off and I’d know what would piss him off and you use that in a scene and it would flare up.

Heartbreak High Ryan Drazic
“There were times when, I guarantee you, I hated him,” Rel says his on-screen clashes with Callan Mulvey (pictured) were often authentic. (Credit: Netflix)

“We had fight scenes where we were throwing each other and I guarantee you there were times when my fist was clenched when I was hitting him. And same, he would hit me too. We hated each other.”

However, Rel insists they left any hostility between one another on set and off set it was a different story.

“When they called cut and we had a beer at the end of the day, it was over. I never had a bad feeling about him and I don’t think he had a bad feeling, but in the scene, we hated each other. We wanted to hurt each other,” he says.

He adds: “I wasn’t that close with Cal because he was a big star and because he had a lot of stuff going on. But we never hated each other. I never hated him and he never hated me. We were mates at the end of the day as far as I’m concerned.”

Heartbreak High Ryan and Kurt
“He’s a tough man, he’s a hard man,” Rel also clashed with Jeremy Lindsay Taylor (pictured) but were mates after the scenes were done. (Credit: Netflix)

Ryan vs Kurt: Why there was also tension between Rel and Jeremy Lindsay Taylor

When the students moved from Hartley High to Hartley Heights in the later seasons, it ushered in a host of new students, including Kurt, played by Jeremy Lindsay Taylor.

Kurt and Ryan quickly got off on the wrong foot as they fought over the same girl – and this tension spilled over between the actors.

“Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, he’s a tough man, he’s a hard man. He would destroy me in a fight. But I would give it a good go. But he’s a very tough guy. Him and I had a lot of fight scenes,” he says.

“I guarantee you in the fight scenes, it was real but then at the end of the week on a Friday night, we’d have a beer together and we loved each other.”

WATCH: Heartbreak High’s Lara Cox plays WHO’s Deadset or Rack off!

Loading the player...

Sibling love! Rel’s relationship with Lara Cox was “organic”

After not catching up with on-screen sister Lara Cox in years, Rel reunited with the actress for WHO’s exclusive video shoot (which you can watch in the player above and the top of article) and their easy chemistry was palpable.

“Seeing Lara, that was natural and I wasn’t even that close with her. We had each other’s back, we were in a lot of scenes together but it was real,” he says.

“We [me and Lara] became brother and sister straight away. It’s funny, I was never in the mix for Heartbreak High until suddenly something happened. We were doing these auditions and they liked the way we looked together and then Cal and I hated each other straight off the bat. In the scenes, there was an antagonism there so that’s why I got the role – because of him. Because he hated me and I hated him on the auditions.”

Lara Cox Rel Hunt
Sibling reunion! Lara Cox and Rel Hunt caught up in WHO’s studios in December 2020. (Credit: Are Media exclusive)

Meanwhile, Rel says his bond with Lara was “organic” and like a siblings’ relationship from the get-go.

“Then with Lara, there was something nice about that. It was a lovely brotherly sisterly thing. Then I saw her and I never felt… every other guy in the world loved her and wanted to be with her but I just saw her as being a nice girl that I wanted to protect.”

Callan Mulvey Lara Cox Rel Hunt
“Every other guy in the world loved her and wanted to be with her but I just saw her as being a nice girl that I wanted to protect,” Rel says he had a brother-sister-like bond with Lara. (Credit: Supplied)

A sneaky traffic-stopping appearance by the Bra Boys

Heartbreak High filmed the majority of its scenes in the Sydney coastal suburb Maroubra, home of notorious surf gang, the Bra Boys.

Turns out the gang actually had a role – albeit an unofficial one – in the production of Heartbreak High.

“We were in Maroubra and the Bra Boys were down there. So we’d go for a surf and they wanted us to go and hang out with them. And they’d been going to Maroubra Bay High School so we’d just kicked them out of their school. [The producers] wanted us to get that tension,” Rel says.

“We went and surfed with Koby Abberton and all those hardcore boys from My Brother’s Keeper. Full on. So we go down there and then they’d say, ‘If you play by the rules down here, you’ll be ok. If you f**king drop in on us, you’re dead!’”

Rel reveals that once they got to know each other, the Bra Boys ended up lending a helping hand.

“I became mates with them and then there’d be a Heartbreak High scene on a street and they would help us stop traffic – the Bra Boys would help us stop traffic. We became mates with them. Half of them are in jail now because of drugs or whatever,” he says.

Heartbreak High cast
In one surprising ancedote, Rel reveals the Bra Boys once helped them stop traffic so they could film scenes for the show (Pictured: Heartbreak High’s Tina Bursill, Lara Cox, Rel Hunt, Ada Nicodemou and Sebastian Goldspink.) (Credit: Supplied)

From school to the streets: Life after Heartbreak High in Macbeth and Underbelly 

Following his exit from Heartbreak High, Rel scored a contract in the US, working on the Cruel Intentions prequel, Manchester Prep, and doing voiceovers and cartoon work.

Locally, he nabbed roles in high-profile Australian productions such as Macbeth (2006) and Underbelly: Razor (2011) and shares some intriguing behind-the-scenes goss on these gigs.

Sam Worthington I became really good mates with on [Macbeth] and we were out on the drink every f**king night and who else was there? [Steve] Bastoni, Gary Sweet… we were out on the drink,” Rel spills.

“We got into a lot of trouble actually because Worthington got into a fight and I had to protect him.”

Macbeth
After Heartbreak High, Rel starred in Macbeth and helped co-star Sam Worthington out during a fight on a night out. (Credit: Supplied)

Meanwhile, Rel says his time spent playing feared brothel owner William Archer in Underbelly: Razor came with an unexpected cost.

“It was all night stuff so we were cutting each other up and we were fighting each other and we were being awful creatures – this is the show, not me… and it actually started to impact on us,” he says.

“There must be some psychological experiment that they could do to show… we turned into those people. We weren’t sleeping.”

Underbelly
He also featured in Underbelly:Razor and admits playing a gangster had unexpected effects. (Credit: Stan)

Headed back to class? Rel’s thoughts on the Heartbreak High reboot

As far as a return to the upcoming Heartbreak High reboot is concerned, like many of the show’s alumni, Rel says never say never.

“[I’d return] if they asked me! As long as it fits in with my commitments now,” Rel says. “I would but I’d be equally cool if they said, ‘Oh yeah, we don’t want you for the reboot.’ I’d go, ‘F*ck yeah, it’s a new generation.’”

And he’s already got some ideas for how he could make his way back now that he’s outgrown the possibility of being a high school student, admitting he’d be up for returning as a parent, teacher or something else entirely.

“What I thought would be good is if I go in there as like a gangster. Like a mad bastard who goes in for one episode and scares the sh*t out of everyone and gets blown away,” he laughs.

Rel Hunt
Rel says he’d “100%” return for the Heartbreak High reboot, suggesting he could be the “Shark Pool owner”. (Credit: Instagram)

“I could be the Shark Pool owner as a gangster. Like the guy who sells drugs to the kids and he gets locked up or he’s a bad dude. I think that would be the best option. I’d do that.

“So if you talk to the producers, I know they’re going to do the remake, I want to get in there. 100% if it works in and the character’s decent… I wouldn’t mind being like an edgy teacher.”

Praising his time on Heartbreak High two decades ago, Rel adds he’s eternally grateful for the opportunity and would never turn up his nose at the series.

“I’d be mad not to say thank you. This show has given me so much. It got me everything,” he says.

“I can’t believe it’s still so popular. I just feel like Ashton Kutcher is going to jump out like I’m getting Punk’d. I’m just waiting for someone to say, mate, no one f**king likes the show, we’re just gee-ing you up.”

WATCH: Heartbreak High’s Rel Hunt and Lara Cox reunite to play TV WEEK’s 2-minute challenge

Loading the player...

Related stories