SHE is an accomplished actor with international acclaim. Just don't mention the other ''a'' word … ''Angel'' from Home and Away.
Melissa George has blasted Australian media for referring to the teenage role she had on the soapie 20 years ago, saying it has caused her so much stress she is unlikely to return here.
''I love this city so much,'' she said of Sydney. ''And I want to come home a lot but the stress that this has created in me is not worthy of my health.
''I think it will be the last time [I visit and work here] for a while, to be honest, because I just get too upset coming home.''
George, whose new series Hunted begins screening on SBS on Saturday, said she was sick of people referring to her as Angel because she had the role 20 years ago.
''I don't need credibility from my country any more, I just need them all to be quiet. If they have nothing intelligent to say, please don't speak to me any more. I'd rather be having a croissant and a little espresso in Paris or walking my French bulldog in New York City,'' she said.
George is dating French millionaire Jean-David Blanc, with a lifestyle a long way from Summer Bay.
''I've got to be honest. I'm not going to be a good Aussie any more. I'm going to speak out. I've just had it,'' she said. ''It's disgusting.''
George was 16 when she moved from Western Australia to Sydney for the Home and Away role, with the full backing of her parents.
She became a household name while playing the role of Angel Brooks, opposite Dieter Brummer's Shane Parrish, from 1993 to 1996. The pair eventually married on screen and became one of the most popular couples the show has produced. She won two Logie Awards including most popular new talent, launched her Angel at my Bedside nightwear range and then appeared on the cover of Playboy.
The 36-year-old has gone on to success on US and British television (including a Golden Globe nomination) and received critical acclaim for her latest roles in The Slap and her new series, Hunted. But she is upset that Angel still takes up more airtime than her other characters combined.
''I've never spoken out about it because I have to be the loyal good Aussie, who goes away and comes home. But I'm a really hard-working woman and people have to respect me for what I've done,'' George said.
Her extraordinary outburst came after a television interview with Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies on Seven's The Morning Show on Friday, where the actor saw old footage of herself as Angel.
She said the presenters only mentioned her more recent international acting accolades when she ''threatened to walk off the set''.
''Right behind my head was pictures of Angel and on the montage they called me 'Home and Away actress Melissa George','' she said. ''Now, it's because it's Channel Seven, so my next call will be to Home and Away to ask them to pay me because nobody does more promotion for that f---ing show than me.''
Despite vowing she is unlikely to return to Australia for some time, George will continue with her current stay here. She is due to start making a new film Felony with Joel Edgerton and Tom Wilkinson on Monday. It will be directed by Matt Saville, who also directed George in The Slap.
A spokeswoman for Seven said the station had ''no comment'' about George's displeasure.