Actor, Cameo & Crew Profiles
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Played: Libby Kennedy
Appeared: 1994-2004, 2005, 2007-
Maltese-Australian Kym Valentine was born in Blacktown, Sydney on the 24th of May 1977. She made an early start to her acting career with a part in a McDonalds advert, aged 5, for which she was paid $20.
Her first big part came in 1992 in the short-lived comedy series My Two Wives where she played Lisa Kennedy. Kym’s next role as a Kennedy proved to be much more successful. In 1994, aged 17, she was cast in Neighbours as feisty teenager Libby Kennedy. She debuted in episode 2251 as the only daughter of the new family on the block and stayed for just over ten years, leaving as a mother, and a widow, to be with her teen sweetheart Darren Stark in episode 4605. Like many other Neighbours actors, Valentine managed to star in several UK based pantomimes during her time on the soap. During Kym’s impressive tenure she did take one break for maternity leave which occurred on Australian screens from October 2003 until May 2004 and was explained as a new job for Libby in Adelaide. A brief cameo came in 2005 for Annalise’s 20th anniversary documentary.
Kym moved from television to theatre in 2004 when she won the lead role of Frances 'Baby' Houseman for the musical production Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story On Stage. After a successful run of over a year at Sydney Theatre Royal, the production moved to London in summer 2006 but Valentine was not chosen to continue her role. She has since said that she needed to rest physically and mentally as, during the Sydney season, she was diagnosed as having three hernias in her stomach. Following her operation, Kym took a break from acting and began to concentrate on her other love; music.
Valentine had been regularly singing live in Melbourne pubs with the band Feedback, but since 2006 she has been working in an acoustic duo with Waiting Room guitarist Tommy Rando. They perform weekly at the Elephant and Wheelbarrow, Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, usually as part of The Official Neighbours Bingo & Karaoke Bash.
Kym met her husband Fabio Tolli through his aunt Vanda Tolli, who is the mother of Neighbours actress Jiordan Anna Tolli (Lolly Carpenter). Vanda became friends with Kym after meeting on the Neighbours set and through their mutual involvement in music; Vanda supplied backing vocals to Kym’s work with Feedback. Fabio was also singing with his band Recharge and was introduced to Kym just before her first show with Vanda. Romance blossomed and following three attempts to propose Fabio and Kym were married in December 2001. Their daughter Millana Valentine Tolli was born on 21st August 2003. It was reported in October 2007 that the couple had quietly separated.
Off screen, Valentine has been an ambassador for not-for-profit organisation Taylor & Khoo which provides employment and opportunity for Cambodian orphans. Following an interview with OK! Magazine, she asked that her $2000 fee be donated to the orphanage.
During 2003 Kym gave evidence in the court dispute between Holly Valance (Flick Scully) and her former manager Scott Michaelson. Valentine stated that Valance had told her on the Neighbours set that she would be getting out of her contract with Michaelson as her record company would be looking after her. Valance denied that the conversation had occurred and when asked if she was accusing Valentine of lying to the court, she replied “Yes I am”. When Kym was asked if she still regarded Holly as a friend, she replied with a smile, “I hope so”.
In July 2007 Valentine officially announced that she was returning to
Neighbours on a permanent basis, although her daughter Millana had overheard telephone discussions and told Kym’s in-laws and staff
at her day care. Kym seemed delighted to be returning to what she calls home and said "I am hugely loyal to the show and I'm ready to go back
and do what I love". Three years and one week after she left, Kym returned to Australian screens on 12th November 2007. In July 2008, Kym
collapsed with a collapsed lung and Michala Banas took over the role of Libby for several weeks. She returned to screens as Libby in January 2009, and
departed again suddenly in May 2011.
Kym has said in interviews that her favourite film is Gone With The Wind,
that she’d like to act alongside Edward Norton and that if she weren’t an actress, she’d like to be a director or singer. Asked for a favourite
motto, she answered: “There’s no use complaining when you’ve got a job to do”.
Bye Bye, Baby
Profile by David