Y&R's Lauralee Bell Keeps Her Daytime Motor Running

YOUNG AND RESTLESS fans are thrilled to see Christine (played by Lauralee Bell since 1985) back for a short spell. Like Bell herself, the character has changed and matured. Soap Opera Weekly recently caught up with the actress, Web soap creator and mom.Lauralee Bell: Maria [Arena Bell, head writer/executive producer] said I’d come back for a couple days, and help Nina during this time of trouble with her son. I was thrilled that I was more than just a shoulder for Nina to cry on. Christine is more FBI- and business-minded this time.

Soap Opera Weekly: Is returning to Y&R like riding a bike?

Bell: Last July, it was a little odd, only because I hadn’t spoken in legal terms and I’d never met Eden [Riegel, Heather] and Jeff [Branson, Ronan] and John [Driscoll, Chance]. At this point, coming back is fine, but I’m sure that if I were given a trial — which I don’t think I will be — I would be nervous. That self-doubt might come into play. Before, I was like a machine. Doug [Davidson, Paul] said, “You have to keep your machine working — otherwise, it will start to slow down.” I was saying to Doug the other day it’s so bizarre, because in the past, I would have a seven-to-eight-page monologue with cross-examinations in between, and I would be like, “Let’s go! Let’s go! I got it! I got it!” And now, I just don’t know that I would do that. He’s right: You have to keep the muscle going. If you say, “For sure, I can do this, I’ve been doing this forever, it’s not a problem,” there’s that devil on your left saying, “Ooh, you know, 25 pages…you used to be able to do that, no problem.” Back then, I had all the time to do it; but now, by the time I get my kids to sleep, I’m exhausted and trying to find time to study.

Weekly: Your life has completely changed since when you started on the show.

Bell: It’s just a different time of my life. Before, I could sit at home and study all day, and now I can’t. It’s okay that I’m not as focused as I used to be. Christine is more of a woman now, and she’s taking her job very seriously. She’s a little bit different now. We have no idea what her life’s like in D.C., so we don’t know what’s making her different.

Weekly: Does Christine have any lingering feelings for Paul?

Bell: That was kind of a non-issue this time. There was sort of a scene with Ronan that was very small and not so businesslike. I think we toyed with playing it in a way where you know there are feelings there. But he’s pretty hot and heavy with Heather now. It was too much of a life-or-death situation to bring romance in, and I’m glad they didn’t, because it would have been really inconsiderate of my character.