Summer Bay farewells its favourite son
VJ Patterson - teenage dreamboat and all-round good guy - has flown the coop.
Played by 12 different actors (including 4 sets of twins), VJ has practically grown up on the show.
From appearing as a newborn baby back in 2001, he’s morphed into the handsome young man we’ve come to love.
Most recently portrayed by Matt Little, VJ’s teenage years have been an emotional rollercoaster.
Let’s take a look back on his time in Summer Bay.
VJ’s father (and Leah’s husband), Vinnie, was arrested the day he was born. Vinnie was presumed dead after a prison fire, leaving Leah devastated.
On VJ’s third birthday, it was revealed that Vinnie was in fact alive and well, but he was in witness protection. Sadly, Vinnie died in a farming accident shortly after. In his final days, he regretted being estranged from his family.
VJ grew up with multiple different father figures, including Leah’s brother Alex, and several of her boyfriends.
Leah’s second husband Dan loved VJ like a son. However, Dan too was killed. He died in an abseiling accident in America, where VJ and Leah were set to join him.
VJ was also kidnapped by Home and Away villain Brain Lawler. Brian had his sights set on Leah’s inheritance. Thankfully, VJ was rescued shortly after by police.
VJ and his mother Leah always shared a close bond. It was them against the world most of the time.
When Leah married Zac recently, VJ was pleased to see her happy, despite some earlier doubts.
When Zac’s son Hunter arrived in the Bay, the boys butted heads. Hunter was a troublemaker, upsetting the community and even setting fire to Leah’s house.
Hunter turned over a new leaf though, and the boys became close friends. It was later revealed that Hunter wasn’t Zac’s biological son, but him and VJ retained their brotherly bond.
When Zac cheated on his mother, VJ was furiously protective and unforgiving.
Relationship with Billie Ashford
Last year, VJ developed a crush on the slightly-older Billie Ashford. She assured him that she didn’t return his feelings, but the pair ended up sleeping together and then dating.
Leah disapproved of their relationship, because of the age gap, but eventually came to accept it.
When Billie was sexually assaulted, she fell pregnant. Wanting a loving upbringing for her unborn child, Billie told VJ the baby was his.
VJ proposed soon after. However, riddled with guilt on their wedding day, Billie confessed to everything. Although shocked at first, VJ’s love for Billie made him promise to stick by her. They decided to raise the baby as a family.
Soon after the child was born, Billie fell ill. It was revealed that she had an aggressive form of lung cancer, brought on by a recent bush fire in the Bay.
VJ and Billie finally made their wedding vows to one another, in an emotional ceremony at the hospital. She died in VJ’s arms several hours later, at peace on the beach.
Becoming a father
After Billie’s death, VJ was lost and distraught.
Still a youngster himself, he struggled to juggle his schoolwork with the demands of having a newborn.
Billie’s brother, Martin Ashford, eventually filed for custody and took over caring for baby Luc.
However Luc’s biological father, the mentally unstable Mick, returned to the Bay and set everyone on edge.
When Mick announced that he wanted to be part of his daughter’s life, Luc’s family agreed that the safest thing was to flee.
Leah was worried and upset about her son leaving the country, but VJ was determined to do the right thing and fulfill his promise to Billie.
“I know I’m not Luc’s biological Dad, but this feels right," he said.
In an emotional departure, VJ and Luc disappeared into the sunset, leaving their family devastated (and us too…).
Home and Away continues weeknights at 5.30pm on TVNZ 2. Stream the latest episodes right here.