Ray Meagher beams with happiness as he acknowledges that without the amazing woman he secretly wed after a brief courtship 12 years ago, he’d be nothing.
Ray, 78, describes his lovely wife Gilly as “simply terrific.”
Ray underwent life-saving triple bypass surgery in 2019, and it was Gilly, a former nurse, who helped him regain his footing. Three significant blockages in Ray’s coronary artery had been found by doctors. Seven months later, the Home and Away fanatic felt a troubling tickling in his chest while out for a walk, necessitating more surgery.
Ray admitted, “I truly don’t know what I would have done without Gilly. “A nurse is a nurse, forever.”
Gilly, who is a fantastic cook as well, closely monitors her husband’s food to make sure he is healthy and prepared for any future health difficulties. They will be able to deal with them together if they do. Additionally, it means that Ray can continue doing the work he enjoys, some 34 years after arriving in Summer Bay for the first time.
Ray claims, “It’s fair to say that I have a fairly balanced diet, and that’s all owing to Gilly. I can probably prepare three or four things, but I never go near the kitchen.
“Gilly and I make a natural pair because he likes to cook and I want to eat!
Before Gilly came into the picture, the situation was very different. Ray acknowledges that his health scare was caused by “poor living for 40 years” due to his emphasis on “having too much fun.”
After his fright, Ray was able to quickly return to Home and Away with Gilly at his side, showering him with love and devotion, even though he had to limit the number of beers he would often drink on nights out with friends.
Ray beams, “She saved my life, and now she keeps me on the straight and narrow.
While Ray’s well-known alter ego Alf Stewart had had two significant relationships (Martha, initially portrayed by Alison Mulvaney and later by Belinda Giblin, and Ailsa, portrayed by Judy Nunn), the actor had never experienced that transformative love.
In fact, Gilly was a single mother of Rebecca when Ray fell in love with her in his sixties.
The couple wed in secret in a low-key ceremony in 2010 after six years of dating. Ray didn’t share the good news until after that year’s TV Week Logie Awards, where he won a long-overdue Gold Logie.
Ray told New Idea, “We just went away and did it, and then gradually notified a few people who mattered to us.” We both feel really happy.
Even though Gilly, who is very private, wasn’t with Ray on the Logie Awards night, “she would sooner swallow a tonne of bricks than go!”
She once made a joke, and in this week’s episode of This Is Your Life, she takes the lead to pay tribute to Ray.
Kate Ritchie, Chris Hemsworth, and Pat, Ray’s adoptive mother who raised him after he was orphaned, will all be present to honour the TV legend.
Millions of Australians view Ray as a national treasure, and he holds the record for the longest-running performer in an Australian TV role.
I now have a fully rebuilt motor, so I should be good for another 100,000 kilometres, he claims.
Ray “loves” that he has a close relationship with his stepdaughter, Rebecca, who is appearing in the This Is Your Life special with her mother. Ray made the decision early in his acting career that he would not have children due of the unstable nature of the entertainment industry.
“I am truly a very lucky man!
“, he exults.