ICYMI Abigail Klein Interview

Abigail Klein was totally clueless about one word when she joined the DAYS fold: supercouple. “When I was first told I had booked the role and would be playing Stephanie Johnson, the daughter of a supercouple on the show, I had no idea what a supercouple meant. But it sounded cool,” Klein delivers with a laugh.

That “cool” word kept popping up as she began working more closely with Robert Scott Wilson (Alex) and Billy Flynn (Chad), both of whom had already been part of dynamic daytime pairings. “I obviously know that they both have a history with that, and it’s unique in that they each have such a fanbase,” says Klein, referring to Wilson’s “Cin” (Ciara and Ben) followers and Flynn’s “Chabby” (Chad and Abby) devotees. “It is funny to think that now I’m in a relationship with each of them in some way. So here I come sort of disrupting their history of supercouple moments. Because, again, I had no idea what I was walking into, this world of supercouples.”

On the job since mid-March, Klein is finally well-versed on the term and its connotations, as well as the ins and outs of Stephanie. “The longer that I’m there and the more scenes I have with different characters, I know how I feel about them, what I want from them, what I don’t want from them, and how I’m going to show up when I see them,” she explains. “I’m finding my groove.”

Klein reached a turning point during a scene that recently aired opposite Wilson. “I had a longer speech, my first chunk of dialogue,” she recounts. “I was telling him that he needs to read the HR manual. I remember when we were filming it, and I got all my lines correct. Afterward, Rob gave me a high five, and I was like, ‘I did it. Sweet.’ We only had to do one take, and I felt really proud of myself. It was also one of those moments where I felt like, ‘Okay.’ This character is not afraid to say how she feels or what she wants from people. I just felt more at home in her skin.”

Having TV parents like Mary Beth Evans (Kayla) and Stephen Nichols (Steve) to welcome and inspire her along the way has only helped. “They never made me feel like the new kid,” insists Klein. “They always let me feel like their daughter is home. It’s just the sweetest thing. They’re both exceptional people. I love their relationship and the characters that they’ve built for decades. They’re both very committed, very present and very generous in acting and in life.”

Joining the pair’s TV family was a long time coming for Klein, who has wanted to act ever since she was a child. “When I was little, I begged my parents to film me constantly on the video recorder, whether I was dancing or had written a script and wanted to perform it. I was obsessed,” recounts Klein, who initially ended up focusing on dance.

Klein pursued that passion while attending North Lake College in Irving, TX, at which point her life took a significant turn. She decided to audition for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. “I was 18 at the time,” she recalls. “My parents are Cowboy fans. I grew up down the street from where they practiced. I loved dancing and performing. So why not try? It just made sense while I went to college.”

The auditioning process “was really rigorous and tough and a whole summer long,” says Klein, who opted to take a break from training camp, when she got the chance to sneak away to Las Vegas to visit a friend working on the first Ironman movie. “I got to go to a set for the very first time, watch Jon Favreau direct, and see these big name actors and actresses do their thing. That’s when I got bit by the [acting] bug again.”

Yet, she was torn. “I had that pull of, ‘Oh. I realize now I want to do this.’ But I also knew I wanted to see if I made the team in Dallas,” explains Klein, who ultimately landed the Cheerleader gig. “I decided my first allegiance was to the Cowboys, that I was going to do that first. But it was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to move to L.A. I wanted to get out of Dallas, and I wanted to pursue something that I had always had a passion for.”

Klein ended up dancing with the team for three years and remembers it as “an adventurous time. I got to meet some of the best friends that I still have to this day. I got to travel all over the world. I got to go to Iraq and Kuwait and Afghanistan and do a USO tour. So it was way more than cheering at a game.”

But when she turned 21, Klein knew she was finally ready to pursue acting. “I decided to retire from the Cheerleaders,” she says. “I had danced there for three years and had a blast. But I just knew, I gotta go west. So I moved to L.A. and immediately got into acting classes and got my headshots done. I didn’t know a soul, but I knew I wanted to give it a good, hearty try. I kind of hit the ground running with working on commercials. Then, slowly but surely, I booked guest-star and co-star [roles] on shows and small parts in movies. I loved being on set. I found it really inspiring. I kept working, being patient and staying positive, and then I got the call that I would be working on DAYS OF OUR LIVES.”

Klein’s been soaking up every minute of her new daytime venture. “I love the fast pace so much. I love that we only get one take, because there’s no time to really overthink,” she observes. “I’ve developed a lot of trust in the producers and the directors, knowing that if they say we’re moving on to the next scene, they must have gotten something that’s worth airing. It takes a lot of the pressure off.”

The response from the DAYS fanbase has been supportive, too. “People are really welcoming, and they’re happy that Stephanie is home,” contends Klein. “They’re happy that I’m playing her and bringing her back to life. I appreciate that so much, because I didn’t know what to expect.”

As Klein’s on-screen time opposite Wilson and Flynn increases, however, she has been advised to tread carefully. “Rob and Billy have both said, ‘It may get a little crazy for you,’ ” she shares. “I appreciated that, because I am still so happily naive to it all. I’m just doing my thing, so it’s been easy for me. I like social media. I like to interact with people on social media, but I definitely don’t go down any rabbit holes, so to speak.”

In real life, Klein’s devoted to one leading man, her husband, Chris Armstrong. The pair met in 2012, after Klein spied a photo of him on social media. “My friend Candy, from Dallas, posted a picture on Twitter of her, her husband and this really cute guy,” recounts Klein. “I was living in L.A. at the time. I messaged her. I don’t even think I said ‘Hi.’ I just said, ‘Who is that guy in the picture you just posted?’ She was like, ‘Hi to you, too. That’s Chris, Hunter’s agent.’ Her husband is a professional golfer, and Chris, now my husband, is a sports agent. He represents mostly PGA tour golfers.”

Candy played matchmaker and suggested the twosome meet. “I was like, ‘Oh, yeah. Twist my arm,’ ” says Klein, noting she was initially drawn to her future husband’s “kind eyes. I remember telling Candy, ‘There’s just something about him. I just want to meet him. I don’t want anything serious.’ ”

The next time Chris was in L.A., he and Klein met and went out to dinner. “Sure enough, it was great,” she rhapsodizes. “He’s Canadian, so he was living in Toronto at the time. We kissed on our first date. I remember thinking, ‘Oh. Is this how Canadians do it?’ Because I had never kissed on a first date. We just kept talking, and he would come to L.A. for work all the time. We did long distance for three years. Then he proposed, while we were in Vancouver. I freaked out. I was completely surprised. It was such a blissful, euphoric moment. I said, ‘Yes,’ then we planned our wedding.”

The twosome have been well-matched ever since for many reasons, above all how easily they’ve adapted to each other’s careers and work commitments. “I’ve always loved that about our relationship,” says Klein. “He’s been a huge source of support and a great sounding board. Chris has helped me navigate things when I have questions. He gets it. He gets what the job requires. He gets the patience and the hard work that’s needed. We’ve always had good, strong communication, because we’ve had to. Our whole relationship has been us long-distance. So the pandemic was actually really nice for us. It was the first time we’ve had so many consecutive days together. It was lovely to have all of that uninterrupted time together. Now we’ve fallen back into our groove of cheering each other on wherever we are. Sometimes I’ll have work where I’m traveling. I spent a month in Boston filming a Christmas movie a couple of years ago. It just was the best feeling to go to work knowing your partner is so proud of you and so excited for you. I’m really grateful that we have that.”

Meet The Parents

Before she began working on DAYS, Klein decided to get to know her TV parents via the web. “The fun part was really starting to follow Stephen on Instagram. His Instagram is like going down memory lane of all of his and Mary Beth’s scenes together. I watched all of his videos, and it gave me so much insight into their history and their dynamic. Of course, he still posts videos of them on set, and now I’ve been included in those.”

Klein’s learned a lot from the videos; particularly the subtleties of creating a successful soap couple. “There was a scene, when Mary Beth first came to the show. It was them meeting. It was a long scene and there was a lot of chemistry and tension going on, and they weren’t even speaking. It was just really special. I even told Stephen, ‘Wow! That’s the way to do it.’ I try to learn from that and remember that when I’m approaching a scene. There’s just so much under the surface. It’s not even in the dialogue. It’s a look. It’s a tension build. Soaps, in general, are so good at that. It’s been fun for me to lean into that.”

Just The Facts

Birthday: December 24

Birthplace: Dallas, TX

Wedded Bliss: Klein married sports agent Chris Armstrong on October 22, 2016.

Game Time: “I’m obsessed with Wordle, The New York Times word game. Billy [Flynn, Chad] turned me on to this. I have such a love-hate relationship with it and usually play it every day.”

Let It Roll: Klein loves roller-skating. “It is such a fun workout. I like to wear headphones, listen to music, and pretend I’m really good at it. I roller-skate in my garage. I’m trying to get comfortable and good enough to go to Venice Beach and really show off my stuff.”

In the Kitchen: “I enjoy cooking and baking equally. I just made some banana bread this morning. I cannot wait to dive into that.”

Leaves Her Laughing: “HACKS on HBO Max is hilarious, and the writing is fantastic. Jean Smart is on it. Hannah Einbinder is the other lead. It takes a lot for me to laugh out loud at something, and this show has me giggling. Laughing is like a miracle. When a show makes me laugh, it’s like, ‘Whoa.’ It’s just so, so good.”

Food for Thought: “I will eat anything and everything. I think that’s what happens when you’re from Texas. I remember I went vegan for about four months. I went home to visit my family and they didn’t even know what to do with me.”

Comfort In A Pie: “Pizza is my favorite comfort food. A classic pepperoni pizza.”