The Home and Away actress Belinda Emmett and the television comedian were married for just 18 months before she died of cancer.
For more than 20 years, Rove McManus has been one of Australia’s most adored comics.
The now 49-year-old stand-up comedian, who has won three Gold Logie awards, was the host of several iconic noughties shows, including Rove (1999–2009), Rove LA (2011–2012), and the short-lived Saturday Night Rove (2019), and he also founded his own production company, Roving Enterprises.
Despite his confidence, Rove has seen his fair share of personal heartache, most notably the loss of his first wife Belinda Emmett in 2006.
Belinda, an actress, withdrew from her role as Rebecca Fisher/Nash on Home and Away in 1998 after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis at the young age of 24. She underwent surgery to remove the cancerous tumour, followed by six weeks of treatment.
The actress’s greatest fears were realised three years later, when Belinda visited the doctor again due to severe back pain.
Her bones were now affected by the cancer, which had returned.
Belinda bravely revealed her terminal prognosis to The Australian Women’s Weekly a year later in 2002, portraying her approaching death as a foregone conclusion.
It wasn’t a question of if, but rather when. They were going to get me, those tiny bastards. It felt strange, almost like an out-of-body encounter. I doubt I’ll ever be able to articulate it.
On 60 Minutes that same year, Belinda continued to discuss her experience coping with cancer, telling Charles Wooley that she had “surprised herself.”I believe that people seriously underestimate their own strength, and I believe that when faced with obstacles of this nature, you are forced to dig a little bit deeper and discover your true character. I’ve always had a lot of guts and balls, but I guess this time I surprised myself.
Even so, Belinda was fighting for her life, being married to her almost seven-year partner Rove McManus in January 2005 at Sydney’s Waverley Immaculate Church.
Six years earlier, in 1999, the two had first met at the opening of Fox Studios in Sydney. Belinda had described them as having “kindred spirits” at the time.
But despite a valiant fight, Belinda passed away at the age of 32 from metastatic breast cancer and secondary bone cancer just 18 months after their dream wedding and eight years after receiving her initial cancer diagnosis.
The public outcry was immediate, as was Rove’s, who later acknowledged that he “routinely shut down” as a coping method whenever someone broached the subject of Belinda.
Rove said on the audio episode of The Jess Rowe Show Big Talk Show, “I would give them a very brief answer.”
Prior to appearing on Rove’s chat programme, guests were allegedly instructed not to bring up Belinda.
It was challenging at the time since you were attempting to balance your personal and professional obligations. Again, since others want to know what you’re doing, promotion is a necessary aspect of the job.
Then again, individuals are curious about what is going on at home. What goes on at home is none of your concern, he continued.
I’m not here to discuss what’s going on at home. You must be a buddy of mine if you want to know. However, if you’re an unknown person on the street, you’ll likely hear “fine, it’s good.”
Rove took a much-needed hiatus from the spotlight when Belinda passed away before making a comeback to television the following year.
Since then, he has been married to the actress Tasma Walton, with whom he has a daughter who was born in 2013.
And in a fortunate twist of destiny, Tasma was the one who first introduced Rove and Belinda to one another in 1999.
We were all at a Fox Studios opening, Tasma recalled to our sister site New Idea, “and I had obviously worked with Rove on his show, (and) worked with Belinda, (and) I thought they would be an interesting couple and introduced them.”