A daytime staple since the late 1970s, The Young and the Restless star Tracey Bregman is well known for her love of animals in addition to being the character of Lauren, a former mean girl turned smart businesswoman. The actress sat down and discussed her beloved pets, her birthday, Y&R’s Lauren — whom she’s portrayed since 1984 — and her intriguing possible plans for the future with us on Memorial Day.
Rachel Dillin: Hi Tracey. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me on Memorial Day and the day before your birthday. Happy early birthday. Do you have plans?
Tracey Bregman: I did. I was going to go to dinner with my mother and my kids, but my mom’s sick, so we’re just going to postpone it.
RD: I’m so sorry to hear that. I hope she feels better soon. I wanted to give my condolences on the passing of your horse Buttercup a few weeks back. How are your horses and other pets doing since then?
TB: Unfortunately my Golden Retriever is very ill. He’s been fighting it for 16 months. It’s not great. My Memorial Day weekend has been sitting in the vet with him and now he’s home. He’s been in liver failure for 16 months, so it’s been quite a fight. I did it all homeopathically and he was doing great. Then, he sort of took another turn.
RD: I’m sorry to hear that.
TB: Thank you. It’s been a rough time with animals. They’re our fur babies.
RD: They really are. I hate to move on like this after all that, but I don’t want to waste your time. Last summer, ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ surprised everybody with Sheila’s return. Does Lauren know about her return? Did Eric Forrester call and tell her?
TB: No. And actually I’m surprised because I see Brad [Bell] a lot, and I’m surprised that they haven’t dealt with that. Kimberlin [Brown, Sheila] and I see each other in the hallway, and they haven’t said a word to us.
RD: Oh wow. Maybe they’re planning to surprise you guys like they surprised fans last summer.
TB: Let me tell you. It wouldn’t be the first time.
RD: Do you have any insight on how Sheila is even alive anymore?
TB: Exactly. I said, “didn’t I shoot her?” I’m pretty sure I killed her twice. Once when she was Michelle Stafford and once when she was my doppelgänger.
RD: She is just not going away no matter how many times Lauren kills her. Do you have a favorite behind the scenes moment that might surprise fans like you and Kimberlin Brown not knowing about your characters?
TB: I know isn’t that funny? A year or so ago, they were going to break up Lauren and Michael. Christian and I were running through our lines, and we both read the scene thinking “hmm I don’t know how this is going to play even though it’s a breakup.” Obviously there’s going to be emotion, but I guess we hadn’t really delved too deep into it because one of our favorite things to do is take a scene, do it a couple of times, and then throw everything out on the table. We like to figure out our own puzzle. It’s just our process. That’s one of my favorite things about working with him.
We started to rehearse the scene and the two of us literally started to cry so hysterically that we could not get through the rehearsal and we were so blown away by our reaction to this. Then I left because they called us to scene standby, and I went outside into the hallway. Amelia Heinle who plays Victoria sees me, and she’s like “Oh my God are you okay?” I could barely get out the words ‘rehearsal.’
RD: That’s a great scene.
TB: Then Christian and I were laughing so hard that we were so hysterically crying over the script, we were worried we might not be okay in front of the cameras.
RD: I always felt like you guys must have a great time together. There are great scenes with you two and also Jill [Jess Walton].
TB: We all have such a love for each other. We just laugh our butts off every single day. Jess and I did not understand how they were making us sisters. Now it’s like we’re really sisters. She calls me little sis and I call her sissy.
RD: That is so neat. Do you think that you and Jill will be featured more in the near future? Maybe with Fenmore’s? Have they recovered from Chelsea’s sabotage?
TB: That would be fun. I’m not sure where we are right now. I’m in in a couple of weeks, so I’ll get an update then.
RD: What would you like to see happen with Lauren?
TB: I really enjoy the business storylines, and I love working with Gina Tognoni (Phyllis). I think they call us “Phlauren.” We just have such a great time doing our business stuff and making it personal and bringing everything that we can into those scenes. I really enjoy that. Obviously, I love the love story between Lauren and Michael, but I really love the business side.
RD: I really enjoy seeing the businesswomen working together on the show these days.
TB: I really have to credit [executive producer/head writer] Mal Young for that. He made us very strong, powerful businesswomen, but didn’t make us b*tches. When we figure things out it’s because of our intelligence and not because we’re being b*tchy. I’ve really appreciated that part. We’ve had a lot of business to do against other really strong men and we’ve persevered.
RD: I know what you mean. That has been a great part of the show lately. Speaking of the women friendships, a while ago Lauren and Traci had a rivalry, and they made up at one point. Do you think there’s a chance their rivalry might come back to the forefront at all?
TB: Well actually I think it’d be really interesting seeing how we buried the hatchet to see us go back up against each other in business. She’d be fighting for her family company and I’d be fighting for mine. It’d be a revisit of when Lauren was a mean girl. Just not in bikinis this time.
RD: What is your all-time favorite Y&R storyline?
TB: Lauren and Michael’s love story. It all came about because they came together to try to help Greg Rikaart’s character Kevin, who is Michael’s brother. The show did not want us together at all. We kept saying, “hey what about us together.” But the head writer at the time, Jack Smith, did not want us together. So Christian and I were like “oh really.” So, every single scene we had whether it was pass the salt or no matter what it was, we just played sex, and they started to see it. So they put us together, and Jack Smith wrote us as the greatest love story of all time.
RD: It’s almost unimaginable to think of you apart.
TB: I think I’ll need therapy. They did try to break us up and put Cane and Lauren together. I totally forgot about his fans with Kristel (Lily). The “Lane” fans. Oh my God, I got skewered.
RD: The fans get attached. They’re going to have to have therapy if Lauren and Michael ever break up.
TB: I totally forgot about that part of it.
RD: At the Daytime Emmy’s you were part of the tribute to Susan Seaforth Hayes when she received her Lifetime Achievement award.
TB: Did you see that hair?
RD: It was great! I wondered if you felt that perhaps Lauren and her mother, as portrayed by Susan (who currently portrays Julie on Days of Our Lives), had any unfinished business?
TB: I’d love to see Lauren’s mother back. The character of Lauren’s mom was so significant. Bill Bell wanted to explain why Lauren was such a bully. That’s when he brought Susan Seaforth Hayes, and the audience really got to understand how Lauren was abandoned by her mother and brought up by her father and what happened.
RD: Do you keep in touch with people from your time on Days of Our Lives?
TB: Yes. I stay quasi in touch. I ran into Deidre Hall the other day. Kristian Alfonso and I talk over social media, and obviously we’re very happy whenever we get to see each other. Mary Beth Evans and I were nominated against each other a couple of years ago, and so we got a chance to really spend time together. Plus, our sons work together.
RD: Are they on TV?
TB: They’re in commercial real estate.
RD: What a small world.
TB: I know. Who would’ve thought?
RD: I know you and Daniel Hall stayed in touch after he left Y&R recently. Do you think he’ll return as Scotty soon?
TB: I hope so. I thought he was great in that role. I certainly miss him at work. You’re right. We’ve stayed good friends and we see each other outside of work now. I would hope that they bring him back.
RD: If you could pick anybody in daytime right now to do a scene with, who would you pick?
TB: That’s hard. Obviously, all the actors on Y&R are amazing. I’ve worked with them and a lot of the actors on B&B. I’ve always loved working with Michelle Stafford, and that would be fun to get to do scenes with her again now that she’s Nina on General Hospital.
RD: Is there any other show on TV that you would love to guest star on?
TB: I’m obsessed with The Arrangement right now. I love Unreal. I would’ve loved to have done Episodes. Matt LeBlanc’s series. It was hysterical. Television has never been better.
RD: I noticed you’ve recently been in Nashville and you saw Todd Chrisley.
TB: Yeah, I did an episode of Chrisley Knows Best.
RD: Okay. Is there any chance that you might have a reality TV show in the works for yourself?
TB: Well heck, you never know. It was funny. He was doing a scene with Jay, the lead singer from Rascal Flats. During the scene, Todd said I was his first crush. One of the producers on the show used to be an intern at Y&R, and we’ve stayed in contact all these years. He texted me and said, “you’re not going to believe this. Would you send a video to Todd?” I said, “well of course. You know, it’s so funny that you’re calling because I just saw the episode where they’re moving. Where are they moving to?” He said, “Nashville.” I said, “Oh that’s funny. I’m on my way to Nashville.” He said, “yeah, he’s having a big birthday party.” I asked when the birthday was, and he said, “May 24.” I told him I’d be in Nashville then, so he asked me to come to the party as a surprise for Todd.
RD: May 24? Five days ago?
TB: Yes. I don’t know when it airs, but soon. He’s coming out here on Tuesday and he has an idea for something. It’s funny.
RD: Well that would be exciting. I hope so. Is there something besides the fact that you were Todd Chrisley’s first crush that fans would be shocked to learn?
TB: Well, I think everybody already knows about my love of animals. I guess that I’m just as comfortable in breeches and boots as I am in sandals.
RD: Where do you keep your Emmy?
TB: I keep it on the mantle in the living room, but it needs Emmy rehab. It looks like it’s turning colors, the band keeps trying to come off. I need a new one, but it’s the one I actually won, so I don’t want to replace it. At one point it had duct tape on it. It was awful. Just ridiculous.
RD: Hopefully there is an Emmy Rehab. I don’t want to take up too much more of your time. I appreciate you spending part of today talking to me. Thank you.
TB: Have a great rest of your Memorial Day.