Tina Arena was just nine years old when Australia came to learn her name.
The singer burst onto our scenes on the children’s talent show Young Talent Time, where she would become the longest-serving cast member between 1974 and 1983.
"I just remember being an elated, young kid living the dream. You know, my life was so surreal at that time," Arena told Mamamia's Extraordinary Stories podcast.
For years, Arena sung and danced her way into Australia's hearts, unaware of just how popular she was becoming.
"I just found every moment exciting. I didn't have the intellectual capacity at that time to sit there and go, 'Oh, my God, I'm on national TV and everybody knows me.' I had no idea. All I was, was a kid, having fun dressing up dancing, singing, and just doing what I love."
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But as she approached her 16th birthday, she knew - just like other contestants - her time on the hit show would inevitably come to an end.
"I did struggle with it. In the beginning I did. I was like... I’m 16, I've got to go. And it was confronting only because it had been so familiar and something I loved so much, but I really was equally ready to move on as well," she explained.
"I remember the time I made the decision to move on, it was it was a massive decision for me. Probably one of the hardest I've ever made in my life."
Looking back on her last ever show, the 53-year-old said, "It was an incredibly surreal day and I do remember that there was a real there was a sadness, unfortunately."
"I had been the longest serving cast member and my departure was imminent. And I think everybody really struggled with it. But I think that the people that struggled with it the most were probably [Host] John [Young] and myself... it was difficult for him, it was difficult for the crew, it was a tough day."
"I really felt the weight of leaving. And I also realised what a privilege it was to have been a part of that show."
Leaving the Young Talent Time family behind, Arena knew her life would forever change.