Soap Opera Digest: You just celebrated your third wedding anniversary. How is married life so far?
Darin Brooks: It’s everything I could have possibly imagined.
Kelly Kruger: I will say I love being a wife. Married life is amazing. The first year of marriage is no joke. It really is the hardest.
Brooks: And we were together six before we got married. But then you get married and some of your fears and your little things start coming out. Whatever it is subconsciously, something happens inside you where you go, “Oh, crap.”
Kruger: I’ll tell you exactly what it is, because I’ve actually thought about this.
Brooks: Dr. Brooks!
Kruger: Before you get married, little things can roll off your shoulders and you’re just like, “Whatever.” When you get married, you’re like, “This is my person forever and my future,” so the little things that used to be like, “Whatever” —
Brooks: Water bottles around the house … dishes left in the sink … putting your shoes away…
Kruger: Become a big thing. But he’s the best husband. I won the lottery. One thing that I don’t think I appreciated before marriage is that when you pick the right one, it’s the best thing. And I have very bad role models of marriage. I grew up in a divorced home. I never had a real example of what healthy marriage is. I was always so anti-marriage for so long.
Brooks: And I rocked your world.
Kruger: And then I married him and I was like, “Marriage is amazing.” But it’s hard, it’s work.
Brooks: Yeah, you both have to work. It’s not like anybody has to work more than the other. Both people have to work.
Kruger: His mom, when we first got married, got us Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. We actually sat and read it to each other every night. I’d read a chapter and he’d read a chapter.
Brooks: We didn’t finish it, but we did start!
Kruger: Like really understanding men and women are from different planets and you have to work on it to make it work. But it’s the best thing. I love being married to him.
Brooks: And vice versa.
Digest: Did you want to start a family right away?
Kruger: Our plan initially was on our wedding night, we were just going to stop being careful. And then our wedding night came and I was like, “I’m not quite ready,” because I still wanted to work and there were things I wanted to do, career-wise. And so we kept creating timelines, and then two years went by —
Brooks: And you were busy, and I was busy.
Kruger: I think once we got over the kinks of the first year, we wanted to really enjoy just being married and our careers. It’s so funny, every time I would think, “Okay, maybe now’s a good time,” I would book a job. So we kept looking at it as a sign, like, not yet. And then finally, right around the time when Y&R came around, I was like, “Oh, we should start trying.” And then I was going back to Y&R but we said, “Screw it. Let’s just start. If it happens, great. People get pregnant and work all the time.” And it didn’t happen. I thought when you try to get pregnant, if you’re healthy, you just get pregnant.
Digest: Were people asking, “When are you going to have a baby?”
Brooks: We were getting that, yeah. My mom kept bothering us about it.
Kruger: I got a call from her one day, before we started trying. She’s like, “So, do you have any news?” And we’re like, “No.” She said, “Are you guys gonna try and have a baby soon?” And we were like, “Uh, we’re kind of thinking about it.” She was like, “Do you need me to remind you how to get it done?”
Brooks: My mom’s always wanted a grandkid. She’s like, “We’re not getting any younger. Come on now!” So they joked about that: “Let me show you how to do it” type of thing.
Digest: Were you worried when it wasn’t happening?
Kruger: Yeah. In my head, when it didn’t happen that first month —
Brooks: She went down the rabbit hole.
Kruger: I freaked out. I was just like, “Oh, my God. What if, what if, what if? What am I doing wrong?”
Brooks: After the first couple of months when she was feeling bad, she was like, “You don’t understand. Every month to me, I feel like there’s something wrong. I feel like a failure.” So after months of those conversations I said, “We just need to stop trying. We just need to enjoy each other’s company. Who cares? Let’s have a drink.” And she’s like, “I read on Google that drinking too much can lower fertility and sperm rate and this and that.” And I’m going, “What are you doing right now? Calm down.”
Kruger: It was really, really bad.
Brooks: We got tested. Everything was squeaky-clean. I was like, “There’s your answer.”
Kruger: Once we went to the doctor to get all of our tests done, the doctor was like, “You’re totally fine. Chill out. You are healthy. Everything is good.” Part of why it’s really important for me to be honest about this — because I could’ve easily just been like, “We’re pregnant. All is great” — but I wanted to be really open about it because I remember when we were trying, every time I’d see a pregnancy announcement, everything seemed so perfect and I would cry, thinking, “I don’t understand why it’s so easy for everyone else and not us. Why?” And I feel like after the [pregnancy announcement] came out, and I said that we tried for a year, which is the truth, I had people reach out to me that I know just being like, “Thank you so much for being honest, ’cause I’ve been trying for x amount of time and it hasn’t been happening.”
Brooks: It’s once you stop thinking about it, too. I think a lot of that is just the pressure. The stress of it can really take its toll.
Kruger: The month that it happened, I looked at him and I broke down into tears. I was just like, “I’m done. I can’t do this anymore.”
Brooks: And I said, “Yeah, I agree. I think we should just stop for a second.”
Kruger: I was like, “I can’t handle it.” Every month I’m thinking I’m pregnant, and then you get your period and it is so devastating.
Brooks: I said, “Let’s have a drink. Do the horizontal mambo.”
Kruger: “And make a baby.”
Brooks: I’m a good baby maker.
Kruger: He’s a good baby maker. That month, went to Vancouver to shoot iZOMBIE, drank the whole weekend. Came back, it was Christmas, we had fun, enjoyed each other. And the funny thing is, is that during the two-week wait that’s always the killer for any woman trying to get pregnant, every time I’d have a symptom, I’d be like, “No, this is PMS.” I was in such denial about it and it actually was happening. It’s such an incredible thing that when you really do just let go and stop trying is when it happens. And I think that’s with a lot of things in life.
Digest: So did you take a pregnancy test? Go to the doctor?
Kruger: Okay, two nights before I took the first pregnancy test, Darin was trying to help me with something on my computer, and he didn’t raise his voice, but with a little bit of a tone that I didn’t like, said, “No, press that.” And I got so mad at him that I literally freaked out. And he was like, “You know what, you’re PMSing. I’m gonna leave the room.” And he got up. I went nuts that he was leaving the room. I went into the bedroom, I took his toothbrush and some of his clothes, I threw it out of the bedroom and I was like, “You’re sleeping on the couch!” I slammed the door and locked it and would not let him into the bedroom.
Brooks: I started laughing. I was like, “This is insane. You’re out of your mind. This is either the worst PMS I’ve ever seen or you’re pregnant.” And how long ago after that was the French fry incident?
Kruger: That was the next week.
Brooks: I was sitting there drinking wine and having French fries and we had a disagreement and I started mocking her, just to try to get her to laugh. She was like, “Don’t mock me.” I was like, “Don’t mock me!” I did this voice and I was like, “That’s what you’re sounding like right now.” She grabbed the fries and threw them in my face. My wine knocked over. It was all over me.
Kruger: Wine got on the dogs! I mean, it was all over our couch. I went nuts. And he just laughed. He’s like, “You’re pregnant.” So after that, the next morning I woke up and I felt so bad.
Brooks: She was like, “I am so sorry!”
Kruger: I was so sorry. I don’t know who that was. That’s never happened to me in my life. But then that night I went to the kitchen to make a snack and Darin comes out and he’s like, “You’re pregnant.” It was the weirdest group of foods you could ever put together.
(Kruger secretly took a few pregnancy tests.)
Kruger: [When it was positive,] I just started sweating. I was crying, I was happy, I was terrified — all these emotions were happening at one time and I didn’t know what to do. And then I also didn’t believe it because it had been so long. So he was at a meeting and I was like, “How am I going to surprise him? I can’t wait till tomorrow to order something cute on Amazon.” So luckily, that day he got a package to the house.
Brooks: A delivery of shoes or something.
Kruger: I opened it up, I put the two pregnancy tests inside, I sealed it back up, and I was like, “I’ll just tell him one of his Christmas presents got here late.”
Brooks: But what she did was she put one pregnancy test that was two solid lines in there, and then one that had a faint second line. So I came in and I opened the box and I looked at the one that had the faint line and I was confused. So she pulled out [the test that says Yes/No] and I’m like, “Are you pregnant?” She goes, “Yeah.” I was like, “Oh, my God. Babe!” I kissed her. I was so happy, but the first thought in my mind was, “This is amazing. I told you you’d get pregnant! Just stop thinking about it.”
Kruger: It literally went from this beautiful moment of like, “Babe, oh, my God, I’m so happy,” to “I told you!” Because he was right. I mean, that’s the truth.
Digest: Darin, your mom must have been very relieved.
Kruger: She was very relieved.
Brooks: I was like, “See, I know how to do it!”
Digest: Kelly, how have you been feeling?
Kruger: I’m feeling kind of good. It’s really hard to sleep. I can’t find a comfortable position because you’re not supposed to sleep on your back. I got this huge body pillow, so now when Darin tries to come cuddle, not only does he have to get over this barrier —
Brooks: I have to climb over, like, Mount St. Helens to get over there to get her.
Kruger: But I’m really lucky because a lot of women throw up their entire pregnancy and I haven’t. Cravings are weird. They’re like hearts of palm, sour gummies, olives….
Brooks: All in the same salad [laughs].
Kruger: Chocolate chip cookies. Normal stuff.
Digest: How did your co-stars react?
Kruger: I would say the best phone call we got from the cast was from Thorsten [Kaye, Ridge]. First of all, we have this ongoing joke that Thorsten and I are having an affair. We played a whole, “It might not even be your kid.”
Brooks: I said, “It might not even be mine, I don’t know. But it’s good you’re calling ’cause listen, when college comes up, you’re paying!”
Kruger: But he was so sweet. We always joke. Always. And then he got really serious and he was like, “I’m so happy for you guys. This is the best thing you will ever do in life.” He’s got his daughters.
Brooks: He’s just such a good dude.
Kruger: That phone call meant a lot to us. But everybody’s been great.
Digest: What would you say you are most looking forward to about parenting?
Brooks: Taking her surfing. A buddy of mine posted a video on Instagram. He was holding a GoPro in his hand and he’s on a long board and just caught a wave in Waikiki with his little daughter standing on the nose, bouncing around and just riding that wave. I’m looking forward to that. That’s gonna be really fun for me.
Kruger: I’m looking forward to just meeting her. I’m so fascinated by the idea that I’m growing something that’s 50 percent him and 50 percent me. Also, we’ve been together for 10 years. Being pregnant and seeing the way he’s been with me has made me fall in love all over again. And not in a cheesy way, but in a way that I appreciate him in a way that I never did. I just see the way he is even at the ultrasounds or first kicks and the way he talks to my stomach…. It makes me really excited to just go on this journey together because —
Brooks: I’m awesome!
Kruger: I just think it’s going be so much fun. It’s not getting a second chance but it feels like, in a way, that I will be able to give her everything I didn’t have.
Brooks: I’ve always said that this is sort of subconsciously your way of watching your daughter get what you didn’t have. I’ve told her that I think she’s suddenly going to work out certain things in her head that she hasn’t worked out yet. It’ll be fun for me to see that happen, and for her to be at peace with a lot of things that happened to her as a child.
Kruger: Our life’s going to change, but for the better.
Brooks: It’s going to be great.