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Home and Away's Emily Symons reveals all on Marilyn and Ari ‘romance’!

Home and Away Emily Symons

Emily Symons gives the lowdown on Marilyn Chambers' shock marriage troubles in Summer Bay and what’s REALLY going on between her and construction worker Ari Parata...

Marilyn Chambers' marriage to John Palmer has had its ups and downs but the odd couple are currently facing their biggest test yet. Home and Away (opens in new tab) star Emily Symons has talked to about her new shock storyline and if there's a new romantic twist ahead for the Summer Bay favourite.

Big-hearted Marilyn’s growing closeness to construction worker Ari Parata and his family - sister-in-law Gemma Parata and nephew Nikau Parata – has enraged a suspicious John.

But will it cause a permanent split?

Home and Away, Marilyn Chambers, Ari Parata

Ari protected Marilyn during the hospital siege that ended in a death Marilyn Chambers (Picture: Channel 5)

Marilyn first met Ari in the most dramatic way possible, when they were trapped together in the armed hospital siege.

“She was very anxious and very frightened and Ari just calmly talked to her and looked after her,” explained Emily. “He was her saviour at the most terrifying time of her life.”

When Ari and his family moved to the Bay in the wake of the siege, Marilyn was horrified to discover the homeless family sleeping in their car. Despite John’s objections, Marilyn insisted that they stay at the Palmers’ until they got back on their feet.

“Marilyn is happiest when she’s helping others and trying to do the right thing,” commented Emily. “But John’s quite suspicious and not trusting of everybody.”

Home and Away, Emily Symons as Marilyn Chambers

John Palmer gave Marilyn Chambers information on the Paratas murky past (Picture: Channel 5)

Increasingly irritated by Ari and the Paratas presence, John went on a mission to oust them from his house. After finding some dirt on the family (opens in new tab) he thought he had the trump card. But Marilyn refused to evict them and let an obstinate John move out instead!

“She tolerates a lot of his behaviour and she’s very much a loyal wife who puts up and shuts up. But he doesn’t seem to have any empathy for the trauma that the Paratas have been through and it throws up a lot of questions for Marilyn.”

The couple have been married for a long time and survived several big wobbles. Marilyn even stuck by John after he started a string of bushfires that almost killed her.

But with a new man in the mix, could this latest drama see Marilyn tempted to split from John for good?

Home and Away, Ari Parata, John Palmer

Ari stands up to John's bullying tactics when he confronts him over his past (Picture: Channel 5) (Image credit: Channel 5)

“I have to stress there’s no romantic angle with the Ari story!” insisted Emily. “A lot of people are thinking she’s going to leave John for Ari but it doesn’t play out that way. Even people I work with keep saying that to me!”

Emily is keen for Marilyn and John’s marriage to survive and for the couple to learn from the experience.

“It comes down to what are her values and what are his values and I think they’re very different. The way John reacts is very extreme and I think that throws up a lot of questions. It’s a really interesting time for them.”

Jamie Hope. Louise Appleton, Emmerdale

Emily Symons also starred as Emmerdale's Louise Appleton, who was engaged to Jamie Hope (Picture: ITV)

If things don’t work out for Marilyn in Summer Bay, could Emily pay the Yorkshire dales a visit?

Although Emily’s played Marilyn on-and-off for 30 years, she did a seven-year stint in our very own Emmerdale as Louise Appleton, who left the village with Bob Hope’s son Jamie Hope in 2008.

“Louise lives in Australia. They didn’t kill her!” pointed out Emily. “But I’m very happy here. I love my job and our Home and Away family. I have a young son so I don’t have itchy feet, I just have tired feet!”

Home and Away will temporarily air a reduced schedule of THREE episodes a week. Watch on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 1.15pm on Channel 5

Rachel Lucas
Rachel Lucas

Rachel is a soaps and TV writer for (opens in new tab)WhatToWatch (opens in new tab).com, soaps podcaster and resident soap expert for UK TV listings magazines What's On TV and TV Times. After graduating with an art and design degree from Birmingham City University, she found her true calling in all things soap and has been writing about them for magazines and websites for over 20 years. A self-confessed soap addict, she's always had a great love of all the UK and Aussie soaps and owns everything from a Neighbours 1990 Annual to a DVD box set of classic Corrie episodes to prove it.