They’re Unlucky In Love On TV, But Off-Screen, GH’s Chad Duell (Michael) And B&B’s Courtney Hope (Sally) Are Going Strong.
Soap Opera Digest: How did the two of you meet?
Chad Duell: We had a mutual friend that had a premiere for his new TV show at his manager’s house. Bryan Craig [ex-Morgan, GH] was there, too.
Courtney Hope: I wasn’t even going to go! I had been working all day and I was really tired. My mom convinced me to go and I’m glad she did because I don’t think I would’ve met him otherwise! I knew Bryan, but I hadn’t seen him in a while, and I said to him, “I’m testing for your show.” And he said, “Oh, that’s cool. Actually, there’s someone else from my show here. He plays my brother,” and he pointed at Chad. That’s how we got to talking.
Duell: She was actually testing for my love interest on GENERAL HOSPITAL, so I was giving her a little bit of advice. The cool thing was, we mostly just talked about regular things, like about the fruit trees I was planting in my backyard. It was a Hollywood party and we were talking about real stuff. That’s not normal!
Hope: The other people at the party wanted to go to a club and neither of us are clubbers. We both kind of looked at each other like, “Well, if you’re going, I’ll go.” So we ended up going to a club, but we just sat in the back and talked the whole time. We were going to get each other’s numbers by the end of the night, but our friends kind of pulled us in different directions. I ended up Facebook-ing him later and said, “It was really nice to meet you.” So I reached out to him.
Digest: Did you end up seeing each other at GENERAL HOSPITAL?
Duell: Yeah, she came and tested. We were just starting to date at that time.
Hope: It was kind of funny because like I said, I had Facebook-ed him, but then, because I knew I was probably going to be testing with him, I was kind of like, “I’m gonna keep my distance even though I really like this guy.” I didn’t want to be working with him and starting a relationship; that is just not really who I am. But we talked a couple times and then eventually, he was like, “Do you want to come over and we can just hang out?” I came over and we ended up talking until like, 4:30 or 5 a.m. And finally we looked at the clock and said, “Oh, my God!” At that moment, it was like, “Okay, I really do like this human being.” And he felt the same way. But then I ended up going to test and it didn’t end up working out, obviously, which was kind of good in that we were just starting out and I felt like, “Now I can actually pursue this guy and vice versa.”
Digest: It seems like it would put a weird pressure on the beginning of a relationship to also be co-workers.
Hope: And not just co-workers, but love interests, as well! We would have been creating an on-screen romance while developing our own, and kind of comparing it with what they’re writing for us. But now that we’re established, working together is no big shakes. We have a three-and-a-half-year relationship as our foundation.
Digest: Plus, as Michael’s love interest, you probably would have had to die on-screen, Courtney!
Duell: Yeah, seriously! Or she would have had to try to kill me [laughs].
Digest: How quickly did you realize there was potential for
this relationship to be
Duell: Pretty early on, because the conversations we were having were just very real and in-depth. She seemed like a real person. That was big for me. I hadn’t encountered that in a while. I appreciate that about her.
Hope: Yeah, it was definitely pretty early on. It was interesting; I had been living by myself for a while and I just didn’t really want to have anything to do with guys. I had gotten out of a relationship the previous July and we met the next March. I had spent a lot of time by myself, wanting to be by myself. That was part of the reason that I didn’t really want to go to the party to begin with, because I was so focused on work. I was so close to a lot of roles. So when I met him, that was the last thing I was even thinking of. As my mom says, “It’s always when you least expect it.” And like he said, right away, we started having these very real conversations. A huge thing for me is a sense of humor, and he is so funny and he made me laugh right off the bat. And he was someone I could talk to and just talk and talk and talk about everything from family to work to spirituality. I felt like, “This is definitely a genuine human being and I could see it going far.”
Digest: How do you like to spend your time together?
Duell: We like to have date nights and go to a nice restaurant and have a glass of wine. We also have fun going out with the dogs, going to the dog beach or hiking. We have game nights some nights, too, where we have people over and play games and listen to music. We’ve also done a lot of traveling.
Hope: We always try and do one or two date nights a month, like, actual date nights, and then we normally pick one day a week to order in or go to the movies. We have our little crew of friends so sometimes we like to bring them along, too. We’re not, like, crazy. We like the dive bars, we like good restaurants and anywhere where we can have fun, play games and have a good time.
Duell: We like doing the same stuff. We have similar personalities.
Hope: Yeah, we’re definitely very similar on a lot of different levels. Our morals and values are the same, which I think really contributes to a lot of our connection. There are things that we enjoy that are different from the other, but we also, as people, appreciate and love that individuality about the other person. I think that’s a big deal. There’s no scrutinizing of, “Oh, you like this? That’s so stupid.” We’re both big nerds. Chad’s sitting here looking into his box of DRAGON BALL Z toys. A couple years ago for Christmas, his dad found his old DRAGON BALL Z figurines and little toys and gave them to him and he’s literally sitting here playing with them.
Duell: I’m not playing with them; I’m just checking them out.
Hope: But that’s what I mean. He’s got his toys, and my bed is filled with stuffed animals!
Digest: When you moved in together, was combining households stressful?
Hope: No. There are enough rooms that we each have our own space. He has an office, which is where we are right now, and then I have my room, which serves as our guest room, but [it’s] where I go when I read scripts or to meditate. We are very similar in our tastes, as well. Like, I know he likes collecting figurines. I think that’s cool. I think that’s awesome. So it’s like, “Okay, how can we make this aesthetically pleasing for the house and also make it so that you can showcase what you collect?” And vice versa. Was it easy for you?
Duell: When we moved in together? Yeah, it all worked out very well. We like a lot of the same things so it wasn’t very difficult.
Digest: And she didn’t make you throw out the DRAGON BALL Z toys, so you’re golden.
Hope: No! See, I love that stuff. Like, he likes Final Fantasy, so I’m like, “What cool things can I get him?” My mom got him a really big, nice Zelda sword. He’s like, “You’re making me sound like a dork!” But it’s true, though! My parents are the same way, and his mom knows that I like stuffed animals and she’s gotten me stuffed animals. Our families are very similar. There’s not a lot of judgment. It’s like, “Okay, this is who you are. That’s what I love about you.” So [our acceptance of each other] comes from our families, as well.
Digest: Is it nice to have a common work language now that both of you are on a soap?
Hope: I definitely think so.
Duell: We understand what each other is going through; if we have a heavy workload or whatnot, we get it and are able to help each other out and stuff like that. We just get each other well.
Hope: Yeah, we do. He’s definitely my best friend. He’s an amazing boyfriend, but he’s also a really, really good friend, which I think is the most important, in my opinion. What withstands everything no matter what comes our way is that I have a friend that can support and be there for me and that I can also enjoy the journey with. Plus, he’s cute!
Duell: I have to put my toys aside for this one. She’s my best friend, too. Obviously, it’s very important to get along, and we do very well. I enjoy making her laugh; she makes me laugh. We both are very good dog parents. And I like her family as well, which is also a bonus. And she’s beautiful, as well.
Hope: I just feel very thankful that we met each other and feel very lucky that it worked out. I love him with all my heart.