Soap Opera Digest: You both joined B&B in 2009 and soon became on-screen buds. What was your first impression of one another?
Don Diamont: I was thrilled. We didn’t know how it would necessarily flesh out. It’s like when you get a new love interest: Is it going to work well? Is the chemistry going to be there? As it happened, it was great right off the bat. Aaron was great in going with the flow and getting in there and mixing it up and having a good time. I thought, “This will be a terrific relationship,” and over time, they’re best friends.
Aaron D. Spears: Luckily, Brad [Bell, executive producer/head writer] brought Justin and Bill together. That was a relationship that really wasn’t forged in stone at first. We made it work and did the best that we could do and our chemistry caught on. People seemed to like the camaraderie between us. Man, I’m really grateful to be here for as long as I have been, considering that wasn’t the original pathway.
Digest: What’s a quality that you admire about each other?
Spears: I love that Don takes his job seriously. When it comes time for action and it’s time to go, even if Don messes up, somehow, some way, he gets it right. When we get to the set, he has already gone over the whole dialogue and what he’s going to do, what he’s going to say, what he’s not going to say, and makes it blend right there on the spot. The years that he’s put in definitely show in the work. We do whatever we have to do to make it right and fit the confines of time.
Diamont: Aaron is very natural. He’s in the moment. I admire his ability to adjust on the fly and his openness to collaborate. His ability to roll with the improv part of it is great. He’s very present and he’s able to roll with anything that comes up.
Spears: I remember meeting him thinking, “Man, this dude has been doing this forever, and I’m the newbie,” and was just trying to get the pace and not wanting to mess up. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if he was going to be cool. I didn’t know if he was going to be an a-hole. I just didn’t know and I was like, “We’re just going to have to figure our way through this.” I could have been the type of actor who doesn’t like things thrown at them off-guard. Well, you can forget that with Don. The dude changes everything so in the beginning, I told him, “Look, it’s ping-pong and I love playing ping-pong. If you serve the ball, I’m going to hit it back.” That was when the relationship just blossomed.
Digest: Even though Justin works for Bill, they’re more like peers. Describe that aspect of their relationship.
Spears: I’ve had to fight for that with every single script just about. Early on, I thought they were trying to make Justin soft sometimes, like, “Bill’s my boss,” and I was like, “No, that’s not going to work,” because you see how brash Bill is. He is not going to have a pushover-type friend. He’s not going to have a friend who’s going to tell him whatever, so every time they would write the word “boss” in the script, I never would say that. I continued to do that year after year so eventually … now they pretty much don’t write it because they have to be peers. That’s what makes the dynamic.
Diamont: They are similar personalities. The most important for Bill was he found someone he could trust. They have similar interests and a similar code. Over time, Bill made it clear, “This is how I operate. This is who I am and the line will get blurred at times in terms of what I have to do to accomplish my goals. That is the world that I live in, so it’s a kill-or-be-killed scenario. There are times when you’re going to have to get your hands dirty and if I can always trust you and you don’t compromise that trust, then we’re good.” Justin has proven himself to be that guy who has always had Bill’s back, and also has called him out, if necessary, when he f—-d up. Ultimately, this is the guy who would hide the knife [laughs].
Digest: How would you describe your characters’ friendship?
Diamont: As close as they are, there is that Batman and Robin feel, and Bill is like, ‘I’m Batman. You’re Robin.” They are the best of friends and Bill totally counts on him. To Justin’s credit, he understands that. It’s like Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock.
Spears: There are a lot of things they have in common, and Bill is very much an A-type personality and so is Justin. I understood that coming in, and out of respect, I’m going to play Robin. I’m not going to try and be Batman against Batman because that’s not going to work. Justin will give Bill his just due.
Diamont: I like when Justin thinks Bill is going down the wrong path, because Justin will never kowtow. I never want the relationship to be that. I like that Justin will challenge Bill and stand up to him, and sometimes Bill actually hears him. Justin can’t just be a “yes” man. It’s important for the strength of the character that Justin is his own man. That’s an important part of the relationship.
Digest: What’s been your favorite scene together?
Spears: We’ve had some really good times. I enjoyed our scenes when Bill was in Dubai because we were both out of our element. I wasn’t in a suit and tie for once — that was different for me. I enjoyed the helicopter stuff because it was just wild.
Diamont: Yes, I like when Justin and Bill are completely in sync and Justin is willing to doing whatever he needs to do, like dumping Ridge into the ocean. “Cool him off!”
Spears: I would say it’s probably a cross between the two when he was asking, “How do you even know I know how to fly a helicopter [laughs]?” How many people do you know who know how to fly a helicopter? [Justin] was like, “Come on, man, and not only do you want me to fly it but you want me to dump Ridge in the ocean?” You’ve really got to be skilled to be able to lean, dip to the left, dip to the right, drop him off in the water and then regain straightness in order to continue to fly! That and Bill asking Justin to wear lipstick and stage the scene in his office where I had to make kissy-poo faces with a pillow [to make Wyatt think Bill slept with Steffy]. Man, Don made so much fun of me on set that day when I had to put lip- stick on. We laughed so hard.
Diamont: Another one that sticks out was that whole thing with Ridge and the judge [during Will’s custody hearing] and Bill and Justin took a little drive together on a pretty day and recorded their meeting and busted Ridge. We just happened to have recording equipment with us. It was a pretty day, and they were joking about how much they enjoyed hanging out together. That was fun.
Digest: You are both dads to large families, Don with seven and Aaron with five. Do you exchange stories about your kids?
Diamont: Oh, yeah. Aaron was a football player, so he always keeps up with what’s going on with the football-playing kids, and his son is a tremendous soccer player. We talk about that and his girls are also into sports, so we talk about that. We totally keep up with each other’s kids. Aaron is a terrific dad. He’s a good family man. He loves his wife, loves his kids, so I have a lot of respect for that.
Spears: Man, we definitely love our kids. He’s a crazy family dude. I’ve learned over the years what it is to not just be home but to be present. Time goes by so fast. I had the chance to go to one of his son’s football games and that was a good time.
Digest: Do you ever get to spend time together outside of the studio?
Diamont: I was just thinking about that, not just with Aaron but really with everybody. No, not really. I should make more of an effort but we have so much going on with all of our kids that we just don’t seem to have a lot of time to do that. I regret it but we do spend a pretty decent amount of time together when we’re in the studio.
Spears: It was a little different back in the day but you’ve got to make time. That’s the key. I remember the one chance we got to hang out. It was homecoming and his son was playing at Venice High School and I just happened to be in the area and we both popped up at the game and we had a great time. We went out to eat afterward so I was like, “We have to do that more often, for real.”
Diamont: We do.
Spears: You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to make time for us to get together once all this crazy Covid mess has blown over. We’ve got to get together more, man, because we have a good time together. We need a chance to hang out away from the set.
Digest: If we had a mash-up for this bromance, what would you like to see?
Diamont: For Justin and Bill? I like “Bustin”. No question. It’s “Bustin”.
Spears: “Bustin” loose. “Bustin” out. For sure. There’s nothing that even comes close.