He was one of the most well-known faces on Australian TV during his time on police drama Blue Heelers, from 1994 right through to 2006.
But while most fans of the show managed to bid an emotional farewell to actor John Wood and his co-stars when the show came to an end, one of his female fans has struggled to let go – and has been following him round the country for the last 15 years.
Speaking in an exclusive chat with Starts at 60, the 71-year-old actor has revealed he’s been getting two to three letters every week for more than a decade from the same woman, including birthday and Christmas messages with a return address.
“I answered a fan letter to [her] a few years ago, and now I get two or three letters a week,” he explained. “She comes to the little town and hangs around the shops in the hope I’ll be there. She’s fine but she’ll turn up in the most obscure places.”
While John has stepped back from his busy TV schedule, he’s now appearing in hit play Senior Moments alongside an all-star cast including Benita Collings, and it means he’s touring round the whole of Australia on a regular basis.
“I think she’s harmless but I’ll be at a car show in the middle of nowhere and there she’ll be,” he said. “She’s got a bigger obsession with a newsreader down here too, as well as various other people. I don’t know where she finds the money to keep buying the cards and birthday cards and what not.
“She sends me cards with self-addressed envelopes in the hopes I’ll write back.”
John – who has chosen not to contact the police over the issue – revealed he often wonders if it’s somehow his own fault for replying to her fan letter in the first place, however he insisted he’s always found it important to speak to fans openly to thank them for their loyalty and support through the years.
He added: “I’ll be standing there and all of a sudden there she is. It’s mind-boggling. I guess I should never have written her a fan letter in the first place, but you can’t know.
“A lot of stars won’t even sign autographs, but I just think a lot of these people have committed a lot of their lifetimes watching the show, I feel I owe them something.”
Asked how his family find it, he added: “They just get annoyed. It hasn’t had a huge impact on them.”
John revealed he secretly split from his wife Leslie five years ago, but they still live together as friends – united by their love of their grandchildren.
The former couple, who married in 1970, share two daughters and three grandchildren together, who they see regularly, and John credited their mutual love for their grandkids for “lighting up their lives”.
John is now focusing on his comedy play Senior Moments. It follows the lives of a group of older people on stage as they struggle to deal with the younger people alongside them, and their differing views. It tackles a series of social issues and puts a funny spin on people’s everyday lives – appealing to all demographics in the audience.
Senior Moments has proved such a success, its tour has been extended to cover Brisbane too at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. Visit the official website to book tickets.