Soap Opera Weekly went to the source to get the scoop on how real-life romance works when both partners are soap actors… namely, Natalie Hall (Colby, ALL MY CHILDREN), who is currently dating Brandon Barash (Johnny, GENERAL HOSPITAL).
Soap Opera Weekly: What's the best part of being a real-life couple — and a couple of soap actors?
Natalie Hall: The best part is finding someone you can laugh with, have a blast with, enjoy relaxing days together…but also have intellectual, serious and silly conversations with. His parents joke that we even walk the same. We are a lot alike; we have the same moral values, and we completely trust one another with our secrets and dreams in life. We can sit next to each other for hours on end, and just have so much fun doing nothing. He is my best friend, so that's the best part.
Weekly: What factors apply as to when you decide to tell people about yourselves, i.e., to go public?
Hall: I was a little uncomfortable [about doing it] at first. I am a very quiet person — almost a loner — when it comes to my social and private life. I have a small group of friends in my life, but they're the best friends anyone could ask for. When we came out and made it public, we had only been with one another a short amount of time, so how silly would it be if we told people and then broke up?! But I knew in a short time of knowing him [that] he is such a genuine, kind, honest guy, who has poured his soul out to me; has told me all his secrets [and] life lessons. He is so passionate with our relationship, so in the end, I knew it was the right thing. He is an amazing, talented guy. I am honored to stand next to him, hold his hand and say he is my boyfriend.
Weekly: What are the obstacles?
Hall: I would say with mine and Brandon's relationship, there aren't a lot of obstacles. We are both so understanding of one another. We listen; we don't really fight, because we are both laid-back. When we have a disagreement, we always understand where one another is coming from. I would say our obstacle down the road will be being so busy.
Weekly: What are the rewards?
Hall: He is my reward! He is so smart, handsome, honest, supportive, helpful and talented. It has been somewhat of a hard move for me, living in L.A. I left all my fun theater friends, who became my family…since my whole family lives in another country [Canada]! So I have been a little lonely living here in California. But meeting Brandon has completely changed my life. I have never felt this strongly about someone before in my life. He makes me happy every single day.
Weekly: Is it easier when both people are on a soap?
Hall: I don't think it would make a difference where we work. It's easy in the sense that we both understand our situations, and know that we sometimes have 30 pages of lines to learn in one night. And let me say…I make a great Lisa Niles, and recently, I have been playing Anthony, Brandon's father on the show, every night. A couple of weeks ago, Brandon did a wonderful Annie Chandler! He would have made Melissa Claire Egan proud.
Weekly: Do you think being on the same soap would make it easier or more difficult?
Hall: Let's just say I am thankful we aren't on the same show. I think we met one another at the perfect time in both of our lives. That would just be weird to live, work, eat and sleep with someone every day.
Weekly: Can you imagine your soap characters meeting?
Hall: If our characters ever met, I don't know how they would feel about one another. I think Colby is a bit immature for Johnny. Johnny likes to drink, and Colby isn't of age…. So, they wouldn't go well with one another.