Shades Of Grayson Page 2

Knowing that daytime was his best option (“There are only a handful of things you can do in New York as an actor: Work on one of four soaps or get a job in meat-packing”), he consulted friend and former ALL SOULS co-star Daniel Cosgrove, who plays Bill on GUIDING LIGHT. Cosgrove put him in touch with ATWT, and McCouch was hired to play Dusty soon after. “There was something in me that thought I’d never be on daytime again,” admits the actor, who had played everything from the lead in prime-time series to a featured part in the blockbuster Armageddon (see sidebar) during his time away. “For whatever reason, yes, it felt regressive. But I think that was erroneous thinking — it’s a great job.” More importantly, it brought him back to the grounding influence of his family and the (relative) stability of the East Coast. His love life is another area where the balance between superficial temptation and spiritual fulfillment is a struggle. “I think I choose my relationships, fortunately or unfortunately, as a model for my whole m.o., which is not to settle,” he says. “Finally, when one does marry, it will be the utopian arena that illustrates who you are as a person. It’s not so much who I want to be with, it’s ‘In whose company am I going to perform the best in life?’ Show me that woman who makes me feel like a million bucks, spiritually, mentally, physically, all of it. That’s what I’m waiting for, that’s what anybody’s waiting for.”It’s what he didn’t find in two of his more notable long-term relationships. He was first drawn to veteran theater and film actress Betty Buckley, who is around 20 years his senior, when she took the stage at the Williamstown Theatre Festival just before he got the job at AW, and their romance lasted three years. “True women-lovers like myself go through this evolution where when they’re younger, they go for older, and when they’re older, they go for younger, and somewhere at the end of the day, you have experienced the whole spectrum of womanhood. And hopefully, you emerge to a place where you’re not oedipal, and you’re not a pedophile,” he chuckles. In retrospect, he believes he was drawn to Buckley’s talent and wisdom, but it was definitely a high-maintenance relationship. “Oh, man, she was the most difficult woman in America!” he blurts. “I was dysfunctional. My parents clearly had something to worry about. You can imagine bringing her home to my mother. The two of them, it was like Clash of the Titans.”It was about two years later, on the set of LEGACY in the pastoral backdrop of Richmond, VA, that he fell for co-star Sharon Leal (ex-Dahlia, GL; now on BOSTON PUBLIC). “Only in retrospect do I see how utopian it actually was. It was a dream for me. I had a good time with my horse, my woman and a great car,” he jokes. But the idyllic life didn’t extend west when the show was canceled. “It’s funny, I saw sides of Sharon after LEGACY that I never saw before. This is what happens in Hollywood: You meet someone on a job, and what you forget is that when you’re working, especially on location, it’s fairyland. You don’t have to worry about dishes. You don’t have to worry about bills. You don’t have to worry about any of the obstacles that life presents because everything’s taken care of for you. All you have to worry about is hugging and kissing one another. Then, once it’s over, you go, ‘Oh, okay, Now there’s life.’ I found that it was a real challenge doing the obstacles of life with Sharon.”

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