I'm the boy next door
Pin-up boy Jesse Spencer is a young man with his feet firmly on the ground… Despite the adulation of thousands of teeny female soap fans.
Such is the Neighbours star’s popularity as heart-throb Billy Kennedy that he was crowned Prince of Television by readers of an Aussie magazine.
But Jesse prefers just to be thought of as the boy next door.
While Billy is involved in a steamy on-screen romance with Melissa – played by Amy Drenth – Jesse says he has no girlfriend at the moment.
And, despite rumours sparked by their authentic-looking romantic scenes, Jesse insists he and Amy are “just good friends” off the Neighbours set.
At 17, Jesse remains shy of his new-found fame.
He says: “I’m an actor for the sake of the acting, not because I’m a show-off.
“It’s not until you start getting recognised that you realise how good it used to be to walk down the street and not have people coming up to you all the time. But I suppose it has its good side, too. At least it proves you’ve been noticed.”
So, hasn’t he even been tempted to take the groupie route and get involved with one of his young fans?
Jesse, sounding very mature for his years, says emphatically: “No, because a lot of the girls who come up to you get all giggly and girly. A lot of them think they’re talking to Billy, rather than Jesse.
“But I’ve had some nice chats with some of the girls who’ve said hello.”
In Neighbours, the hot-blooded young Billy was seen practising kissing with a lemon and an orange, then trying to get Melissa into bed.
But, unlike his soap character, Jesse has no special girl in his life at the moment.
He says: “I had two different girlfriends about two years ago, but I only went out with them for the sake of it, not because I really liked them.
“I’m over that stage now. I’ve decided I’ll only have a girlfriend if the circumstances are right, not just so I can be seen to have one.”
Given his amorous on-screen antics, Jesse is level-headed when asked how he feels about having full-on relationships at 16 or 17.
Pausing to consider, he says: “It’s a question everyone has to decide for his or herself.
“Not everyone’s mature enough to handle sex at that age. Basically, you’ve got to decide what’s right for you. You shouldn’t do something you don’t want to just because you think it would be uncool to say no.”
Jesse is smart enough to know that, in the fickle world of showbiz, his stardom might not last.
That’s why he sensibly continues to juggle Neighbours with his schoolwork at Scotch College, Melbourne.
He says: “My school’s been great – they’ve let me spread my Year 12 studies over two years. But there are some days, especially when I have to get up at 6am, when my eyes don’t open until I hit the shower.”
So, if the acting work did dry up, what other career would he choose?
Jesse reveals: “I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately and come up with everything from being a pilot to becoming a vet. I just don’t want to do anything too `normal’.
“But my dad’s a doctor and both my elder brothers are studying medicine – so that’s the last career I’d choose!”