The sizzling affair between Terese Willis and Leo Tanaka in Neighbours gets closer to being sensationally exposed next week when Chloe Brennan catches her boss and her ex in the act and blackmails them in order to maintain her silence.
Enjoying some secret sexy time with her toy boy on the boat being used for Lassiters’ events, Terese thinks she’s found the perfect safe haven for her and Leo’s passionate hook-ups. But after catching them out on Thursday 20 September when Paul Robinson tasks her with preparing the boat for a forthcoming function, Chloe becomes the second Ramsay Street resident – after Terese’s stepson Ned – to learn of the lusty liaison…
“They want to keep their relationship quiet so being caught like this freaks them out,” reveals Rebekah Elmaloglou, who plays cougar Terese. “Chloe herself is in trouble now people know she’s running an escort agency sideline, which jeopardises her job at Lassiters as the company isn’t comfortable with the association.
“While Chloe doesn’t see anything wrong with what Terese and Leo are doing, she does use the situation to blackmail her boss into protecting her job if she keeps their secret!”
The couple admit neither are ready to go public with the fledgling age-gap romance quite yet, not just because of the scandalous reaction they’d no doubt receive from the community but also the fear of how Terese’s ex, and Leo’s dad, Paul Robinson would take the news. Put it this way: it’s unlikely he’d give the couple his blessing…
“Awkward doesn’t even cover it!” teases Tim Kano, aka Leo. “The biggest fear of Leo and Terese being out in the open is the potential fallout with Paul who would feel betrayed, knowing he still holds a torch for Terese and how ruthless and conniving he is. They’re petrified of what he’ll do when he finds out.
“There are so many layers to this,” continues Kano. “Leo lives with Paul, his siblings David and Amy would be dragged into it, Terese works with Paul…”
“It’s a mess!” picks up Elmaloglou. “Terese is not only dating a younger man, it’s her ex-partner’s son. Paul is still her boss so it could cause problems with her upholding her professional position at Lassiters.”
With both parties having clashed with the Robinson rogue in the past, is there an element of revenge for his wrongdoings underpinning their reasons for embarking on this affair? “Paul is the last thing on her mind once she gives into her attraction for Leo,” insists Elmaloglou. “And Leo is different to his father, who Terese knows will hurt her if they ever got back together. Leo dotes on Terese and their feelings for each other are absolutely genuine. Plus it’s an ego boost for her and she’s flattered by the attention.”
“Leo has spent years trying to earn his father’s respect,” points out Kano. “After everything they’ve been through to build a relationship, if he was going to upset him it would have to be for a very strong, heartfelt reason. This is more than just a fling and getting one over on Paul.
“I’d even go as far as to say that, if it came down to a choice between his father and Terese, I think Leo would follow his heart and choose her – that’s how special the connection is.”
It appears to be a question of not if, but when, Paul learns of the shock romance – and Kano promises fireworks when he does. “It will be a different reaction you perhaps haven’t seen before. Rather than immediately overreact, Paul’s strong, vengeful side comes out and Leo and Terese must navigate that.
“Basically they’re petrified of what Paul will do,” laughs Elmaloglou. “And you’ll see why!” The forbidden fling has certainly come out of leftfield, but Kano thinks his character’s unlikely romance isn’t as random as you might think. “Despite the age difference they are a good match and it makes sense, both are business-minded and savvy. Leo has had a tough time with his love life, and I think being with a strong, powerful, mature woman is an eye-opener for him.”
And Elmaloglou is embracing the unexpected pairing, and reveals she was more worried about the difference in height than age… “When the producer first told me the characters were getting together, I thought he was kidding – mainly because you couldn’t get two more opposite-looking people. You’ve got me, the smallest little voluptuous actress, paired with someone half her age, tall and slim. I worried we’d look ridiculous together -I’ve had to stand on a box a few times!”
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