Sunny Lee Hany Lee
Sunny Lee 2009
Lived: 28 Ramsay Street
Brought up in a strict Korean family, insecure Sunny Lee found herself living in the shadow of her popular younger sister. Having travelled the world, due to her father's job, she had spent little time in one place, but believed it was her plain looks, her braces and her 'horrible' personality that caused her to have few friends. When the opportunity came to go overseas and become an exchange student, Sunny's parents saw it as a chance for her to improve her English and add something extra to her CV, but Sunny hoped that she might finally have the chance to make friends and escape the high expectations of her for a while.
The second she set foot on Ramsay Street, in the quiet Melbourne suburb of Erinsborough, clumsy Sunny made a lasting impression by tripping on the kerb and falling flat on her face. She quickly put her guard up, snobbily insulting the small bathroom at the Kennedy house, where she was staying, and acting unimpressed at the food and the effort everyone had gone to. But, delighted to have a new face to fuss over, teenager Donna Freedman was determined to make Sunny welcome and, with Bridget Parker, the went for a drink at Charlie's, the local bar. Sunny continued to be unimpressed by everything around her, and was shocked to learn about Bridget's pregnancy and that her parents supported her, eventually causing Donna to snap at her, saying that there was no need to be so rude about everything. Upset, Sunny claimed to be tired and returned to Ramsay Street, but unable to sleep due to jetlag, she got up and started listening to radio station PirateNet, unaware that the DJ 'Lost Boy' was her new housemate, Zeke Kinski, the stepson of her host parents Karl and Susan.
As Sunny listened, she felt a connection and called in, pouring her heart out about how unhappy she was, and how she never felt like she'd fit in anywhere. Realising she'd said too much, she suddenly stopped, and when lodger Ringo got home, Sunny told him that she was going to get revenge on 'Lost Boy' for allowing her to humiliate herself like that. After calling the underground station and befriending DJ Virginia, Sunny managed to find out where it was, and took some of Karl's old vinyl records to bribe her way in and search for 'Lost Boy'. Though Zeke managed to hide, Sunny refused to give up on her quest. The next day, she went back to the radio station, with Zeke's stepsister Libby, one of the few people who knew about his secret double life, in hot pursuit. Luckily, Zeke managed to put on his emergency back-up record and, as Sunny saw him leaving the studio and accused him of being 'Lost Boy', he claimed that he couldn't be, showing her that 'Lost Boy's radio show was still live. He lied that he too was trying to find out the identity of the mysterious DJ, and Libby stopped Sunny from going inside by pointing out that it would be better if she weren't arrested on her second day in town. Sunny then listened as Zeke told her about his plans to try and work out the identity of their arch-nemesis, unaware that she was in cahoots with 'Lost Boy' himself.
As Sunny continued her quest to find 'Lost Boy', Zeke decided to put her off the scent by claiming that his good friend Kyle Canning was really the mystery DJ. Kyle was only too happy to go along with it, particularly when offered money by journalist Elle Robinson for an interview, but she soon figured out that he wasn't who he was claiming to be, and they were all back to square one. Meanwhile, during auditions for the school play, the romantic tension that was building between Zeke and Sunny came to a head as they took part in an improvisation as an arguing couple, and everyone agreed that their performances had been very realistic, forcing them together in the play's lead roles. When the teens started complaining that the choice of play, Agamemnon, was too boring, an alternative was found, written by Toadie, based on his doomed relationship with Steph Scully. Sunny was horrified to realise that she'd have to kiss Zeke and, having never been that intimate with anyone, she panicked and quit the lead role. Things only got worse when Sunny found out that Zeke was 'Lost Boy', then she overheard Donna, who was now starring opposite Zeke, joking with him and practising their kissing scene.
Though relieved to learn from Donna that they were just rehearsing the play, Sunny continued to deny her feelings for Zeke when anyone questioned her. She took her mind off it by helping Donna to convince Bridget to get married, following her boyfriend Declan's proposal. At a bridal store, the girls bonded and later, Sunny admitted to Donna that she was scared of her feelings for Zeke, as last time she'd liked a boy, it had turned out that he was just pretending to like her for a bet. The following day, the two teenagers were asked to babysit Ben, Callum and Charlie. Once the boys were all in bed, Zeke and Sunny started watching a film and almost ended up kissing, only to be interrupted by Libby and Dan returning home. Meanwhile, Sunny was once again uncomfortable to find that, due to the extensive rewrites of the play, her new character would now have to kiss Zeke too. She decided not to quit again, and face her fears, but when the kids all went away to a rehearsal camp, Zeke and Sunny were locked in a cupboard during a game of truth or dare. For the second time, they were just about to kiss when Donna suddenly opened the door, apologising for leaving them in there for so long.
Realising that something was developing between Zeke and Sunny, Karl did his best to keep them apart, but this only succeeded in pushing them closer together. During a game of pool, the pair got close as Zeke showed Sunny how to play, and soon they were sneaking around behind Karl's back. Their first date took place at number 28, with Zeke sneaking out of the window then arriving at the front door, giving Sunny some flowers, cooking them dinner, then playing video games together. Realising that Donna was feeling slightly left out, after her relationship with Ringo had broken down, Sunny turned matchmaker and tried to get them back together, encouraging Ringo to write love letters to Donna. When she realised how terrible he was at it, she offered to secretly write the letters herself, which ended badly when Zeke overheard them reading out the letter and saying 'I love you'. Believing that Ringo was trying to steal his girlfriend, Zeke was shocked to learn the truth, insisting that Donna deserved to know what was going on. Though Ringo insisted that he'd own up, the deception continued, with a guilty Sunny finally admitting the truth when Donna worked out that Ringo couldn't possibly have written anything so romantic. In a spur-of-the-moment act, Donna kissed Sunny, grateful for her honesty and the beautiful things she'd said in the letters, but Sunny was horrified, as her first kiss had been taken by someone who wasn't Zeke!
Though Zeke was surprised to learn about the kiss, Ringo insisted that it didn't count, as it was with a girl. Zeke was also pleased to realise that the things Sunny had been writing in the letters were actually her feelings towards him, and soon they were looking forward to performing in the play together, though they still hadn't had a chance to kiss and it was quickly becoming apparent that their first kiss might be on the stage in front of the audience. And this proved to be true as, despite a few hiccups, including Sunny's dress getting torn and her nerves almost preventing her from missing her final cue, Sunny and Zeke got their big moment and had their first kiss. The first hurdle overcome, Zeke then struggled with Sunny's difficulty in showing affection, but she agreed to tell her parents about them. However, when it came to it, she couldn't tell them the truth, though she lied to Zeke that she had. A brief distraction came when Bridget and Declan ended up stranded in the country when his car broke down and called the others for help, where they announced that they were getting married in a small country church. Though Sunny disapproved of not telling their parents, she was still happy to be a bridesmaid and joined Donna and Bridget in getting ready. She then admitted that she hadn't told her parents about Zeke, and the girls encouraged her to be honest. However, when Sunny found her grades slipping at school, she made another decision entirely and decided to end her relationship with Zeke, admitting that she had never told her parents about him.
When the class were given the task of making an anti-smoking ad, Sunny was keen to do well and make up for her earlier problems, though Zeke was just determined to try and convince her to give him another try. When the gang's first ad ended up a disaster, Zeke managed to break the rules and steal back the 'cigarette suit', though when they were found out, Sunny tried to cover for Zeke and take the blame, though in the end, the whole gang admitted to it and were all given a punishment of handing out anti-smoking leaflets around Lassiter's. The following day, for Bridget and Declan's honeymoon, the gang all headed off to the Winter Cool Festival, where, alone together, Sunny admitted to Zeke that her parents wouldn't like someone 'unstable' like him. Still in counselling after problems earlier in the year, Zeke was offended, but Sunny explained that she'd used the wrong word, and had meant someone who wasn't from a respectable family. They shared a kiss, but when Ringo and Declan interrupted them, Sunny ran off, embarrassed and ended up getting lost in the bush and falling down a cliff. As Zeke tracked her down and tried to help, he ended up falling down there too, and with Sunny's ankle badly injured, it was up to Declan and Lucas to find them and help. During their ordeal, Sunny noticed Zeke's odd behaviour, realising that he was still suffering the effects of being held captive by Phil Andrews, back in Erinsborough she told Susan and Karl. She had further things to worry about when it emerged that, when she'd gone missing, her host parents had contacted her family, who had known nothing about the festival or Zeke and wanted her on the next flight home. She protested, and it was arranged for her to go to a new host family in Sydney, but Zeke then came up with the idea of moving across the street to live with Steph, so Sunny's parents would have nothing to complain about. Catching Sunny just in time to stop her from posting a letter of complaint about her host family, Zeke excitedly told her that she could stay - and that he loved her, a declaration that she responded to with silence.
Confused Sunny spoke to Donna, trying to find out how long it took someone to realise whether they were in love or not. Believing that Sunny was just too shy to say 'the L word', Donna tried to force the issue with balloons and cheerleading, before Sunny admitted that she'd never been in love, so didn't know what she felt for Zeke. After establishing that he gave her butterflies and often made her furious, Donna and Didge told Sunny that what she felt was love, so she gave Zeke a traditional Korean doll to show him how she felt and they patched things up. There was more upheaval for the teen gang when, following the birth of Bridget and Declan's baby daughter, India, the others overheard the new parents talking over the baby monitor about how none of them would be appropriate godparent material. This led to a huge falling out, which was quickly forgotten when India, Bridget and her parents were involved in a car accident during a trip to Queensland. Bridget was airlifted to hospital and underwent emergency surgery, but, having patched things up with her friends, she died suddenly from an undetected blood clot, leaving everyone in deep shock. Sunny coped with her grief by researching the condition that had killed Bridget, causing tension with Zeke, who saw her actions as cold. In the end though, the whole gang pulled together for the funeral and, afterwards, Sunny gathered them all for a Korean ritual in which they lit candles and told stories about their deceased friend. The following week, the gang all got together to celebrate Didge's life by planting a tree in the Community Gardens.
Meanwhile, Zeke's behaviour was growing stranger. With Declan spending the night away celebrating his birthday, Zeke was left to babysit India, but started obsessing over her safety and whether he would be able to cope in any given situation. Though most of his friends and family put his odd behaviour down to the stress of looking after a baby for the first time, Harry Ramsay was slightly more concerned as he watched Zeke and saw many of the signs of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
• Hany originally auditioned for a six-week role in the Dolly Magazine Neighbours' Next Big Stars competition. Though that role went to Chelsea Jones, producers were so impressed with Hany that they changed the new character, exchange student Madeleine 'Maddie' Pace, into Korean Sunny Lee
• Click here to read our interview with Hany
Episode 5663: Sunny's Arrival: Part One
Episode 5664: Sunny's Arrival: Part Two
Biography by Steve