..and it's goodbye Angel; Home And Away (Monday to Friday, ITV, 12.55pm).
Melissa, 20, leaves Summer Bay on Thursday after three years playing the troubled Angel Parrish.
Angel is to make a new life with her screen lover, computer tycoon Simon Broadhurst, and baby Shane.
"It's a fairytale ending for Angel, a real Cinderella story but I'm glad to be going," says Melissa, who is set to star in new Australian film Dark City with Kiefer Sutherland.
"I came into Home And Away as a wide-eyed 16-year-old and now I'm a woman who's about to spread her wings. I think Angel and I both have exciting futures ahead of us."
Her exit coincides with the soap's 2,000th episode this week after first hitting the screens in 1989.
Like Angel, Melissa left home early after landing her role in the soap at 16. "It wasn't easy at first and I missed my family badly," she says.
Her parents, brother Brett, 17, and sister Katy, 10, live in Perth. Older sister Marnie is a dental nurse in London.
"Living away from home meant I had to learn to make my own decisions," says Melissa, a former Australian roller- skating champion.
But she admits she can be just as rebellious as Angel. That was evident last year when she shocked fans by posing nude for a magazine.
"The pictures were artistic, not pornographic. My parents freaked out at first but once they saw them they approved."
Melissa, who lives in Sydney with actor-producer boyfriend Steve Bastoni, 31, wants to establish her film career. She is also talking about starting a family with Steve.
"I'd love to have kids," says Melissa. "Being pregnant as Angel made me feel broody. I think it's nice to have a family when you're young so you can carry on with your career later."
Not that she would enjoy being pregnant. "I loathed wearing my fake bump - I hated looking fat. The only bonus was that I could eat before going on the set."
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Nov 9, 1996|
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