Rachel Ward: Bad Reviews From “The Thorn Birds” Drove Me Away From Acting

Rachel Ward starred in one of the most popular television mini-series of all time, but said it was her work on “The Thorn Birds” that ultimately drove her from acting.

Speaking at an event in Hollywood this weekend, Ward said that critical reviews of the beloved mini-series led her to leave acting as a profession and become a director instead. Ward said after seeing the negative reviews she “didn’t have the self-confidence” to continue acting, Access Hollywood reported.

“When I got slaughtered, I really took it to heart,” Rachel Ward was quoted in Hollywood Reporter. “I never really got my confidence back after that.”

The experience didn’t get her to leave acting entirely. Rachel Ward has still made a number of appearances, mostly in television movies and mini-series.

Rachel Ward reunited with her “The Thorn Birds” co-star Richard Chamberlain this weekend in Hollywood. Ward starred as Meggie Cleary in the ABC miniseries, a woman who got between Father Richard de Bricassar and the church. Though the two shared the screen in the wildly popular series, Chamberlain said they only saw each other one time since its 1983 debut.

“We did run into each other very briefly in an airport in Thailand,” Richard said at the “Pioneers of Television” Season 3 presentation during the Television Critics Association summer tour in Beverly Hills. “We were working on the same project, but we didn’t have scenes together. Rachel was just leaving town and I was just coming in and we met in the airport for about 10 minutes and it was so great to see you.”

“The Thorn Birds” was the second-most watched miniseries in television history, following only “Roots.” The 10-hour miniseries drew more than 35 million viewers per episode, Access Hollywood reported.

Rachel Ward: Bad Reviews Drove Me Away From Acting

Though it may have been bad reviews from “The Thorn Birds” that ultimately drove her from acting, the experience at least wasn’t all bad for Rachel Ward. She married her on-screen husband, Luke O’Neill, played by actor Bryan Brown.