As the handsome relationship therapist Dr Lawrence Pethbridge on hit series Offspring, Ido Drent’s female fanbase has grown by the day. Just as charming in real life as he appears on the TV One show, the former Shortland Street star can’t deny that he’s attained a certain heart-throb status since taking on the role.
“Yeah, look, let’s just say… they have been very kind to me on social media,” he says sheepishly, before laughing.
“I think it’s awesome,” affirms wife Mandy, unable to contain her glowing smile. “I’m married to a heart-throb! I think he’s handsome, so I’m not surprised women think he’s attractive.”
But Ido (27) knows which side his bread is buttered on. “Mandy’s not worried because at night, I’m lying next to her, not anyone else. She’s got my ring on her finger and I’ve got her’s!”
It’s clear the young couple, who tied the knot in December 2011, are still madly in love and having lots of fun together. But they also readily admit to experiencing massive ups and downs. Travelling from pillar to post in pursuit of acting work, the couple have been living out of a suitcase, “23kg at a time”, for the last two years.
“I love travelling, but not having a place to come home to can get a bit tiresome,” South Africa-born Ido explains. “I think we long for that now.”
Adds Mandy (26), “I don’t think you realise how amazing having your home, your friends and your community around you is until you up and leave.”
It’s been a whirlwind few years for the young couple. When the Weekly last spoke with them, they were off to Melbourne to film season four of Offspring. Since then, Ido and Mandy have been shifting between New Zealand and Australia to accommodate his almost back-to-back roles. He stayed in Melbourne for the fifth season of Offspring, but before that had lead roles in the new TV movie INXS: Never Tear Us Apart and a six-part WWII miniseries in New Zealand, When We Go to War, earlier this year.
The next stop is Los Angeles, where Ido hopes to develop his profile (and hopefully become the next Ryan Gosling!).
“Not that I am comparing myself to him,” Ido says quickly, with a laugh. “But I admire what he’s done work-wise – cool romantic lead stuff and dark, edgy films such as Drive.
“I feel like people go to the US looking for overnight success,” he adds. “But I’m willing to develop a strong network, to get people to build trust in me. Ultimately, the goal is to do films there, and I realise it’s a long process, but I plan on being in this industry for a long time.”
His latest role, as INXS drummer Jon Farriss, may be a minor bump in his quest to become a romantic hero. He had to get an unsightly perm to transform into the ’80s icon.
“I got home from filming and Mandy was like, ‘There’s no way I’m kissing you. You look like your mum,’” he laughs.
But the three-month shoot was an amazing opportunity for Ido to further develop his acting repertoire and put his drumming skills to the test.
“I played the drums from about age 10 to 14,” he reveals. “As soon as I started tapping away, it all came back. Actually, Jon Farriss had said that one of the prerequisites for playing him was that the guy needed to have drummed before.”
But one of Ido’s biggest career opportunities became one of Mandy’s biggest challenges. The cast of Never Tear Us Apart, and families, were accommodated in a five-star hotel during the shoot but she found that hard to cope with. “A five-star prison,” she says now, wryly, describing how it felt to be confined within four walls with nothing to do. But it’s the sacrifice she’s willing to make to ensure they’re together.
“We didn’t get married to live in separate cities,” says Ido. “We see those actors who say they are always away from their family, and we don’t want that. I’m fortunate that Mandy’s willing to support me in that way.”
The “gypsy” lifestyle was tough for Mandy at first, having gone from full-time work as a make-upartist to unemployment,but it has allowed her time to explore her passions. She has studied psychology via correspondence and wants to start her own organic skincare line called Basiese.
“It was always my dream not to work, but it isn’t as glamorous as it sounds,” she admits.
Currently back in New Zealand on a trip to catch up with family and friends, both Ido and Mandy are benefiting from time out and inviting their parents around on a Saturday night. “Who does that?” laughs Ido, adding, “It just goes to show what a strong relationship we have with our families.”
But both are aware that they can’t keep up their unsettling lifestyle forever if they want to have children.
“I really want New Zealand to be my home,” says Ido. “We’d love to get a house here and keep travelling back to the US. The day is coming where we want to start a family.”
“But we need to find a base,” nods Mandy. “Then we can start thinking seriously about it.”
By Laura Weaser
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