B&B’s Katherine Kelly Lang Reflects on 32 Years Of B&B — And 8 Days In The Jungle She’ll Never Forget
It feels like the last years just flew by,” marvels Katherine Kelly Lang, having just marked 32 years as B&B’s beleaguered heroine, Brooke Logan Forrester. “The show really makes me happy. Even though I go out and do other things and travel around the world, I love coming home to B&B because that really is my home. It’s a part of me, and I feel like it always will be.”
Like many of the fans, Lang loves when the show taps into the past to tell story. “I love seeing the history come back in now,” she smiles. “Most of the fans I talk to say they’ve been watching from the first day, so they know all the history. When I did the Digest podcast with John McCook [Eric], we were reminiscing and that got me wanting to watch the first episodes of the show, so Dom [Zoida, her longtime beau] and I watched the first three episodes that night. It started bringing back all the memories of what happened and the relationship of the families and who was who. I didn’t realize that Ridge was such a jerk in the beginning. He was such a womanizer!”
Despite their supercouple status, Lang insists that she didn’t know at the time that Ridge would be Brooke’s destiny. “I didn’t know anything!” she muses. “It’s similar to today. We don’t know anything until we get the script, which is about a week in advance [of taping]. We didn’t know where our characters were going and what was in store for us. I had no idea in the beginning that I was going to end up with Ridge. That was in the back of [Co-Creator] Bill Bell’s mind. I don’t like to look too far ahead. I’m a person who likes to go day by day; it works for me.”
She also marvels at the fact that the Brooke/Ridge/Taylor triangle also got as much play as it did. “At times we were like, ‘Oh, my gosh. How many times can we go in a circle with these three?’ ” she admits. “But the fans loved it so much that we did keep it going. They were always finding ways to change it up.”
So when Ronn Moss opted to leave the show after 25 years as Ridge, “Brad [Bell, executive producer/head writer] had to recast,” Lang asserts. “That’s a big character in the show. We did need a Ridge, and he was smart to wait a year. He also let Thorsten [Kaye, Ridge] create the character in a different way and not try to be Ronn Moss. Nobody can be Ronn Moss. Thorsten took it and did what he was going to do with it, which was great. He’s a fabulous actor.” And now they’re able to revisit the most successful trio in B&B’s history. “Waiting a while to bring back the triangle idea again, I also think is interesting,” she notes. “I think it has played out nicely. It’s a lot of fun with Hunter [Tylo, Taylor].”
While Lang acknowledges she has enjoyed her sentimental journey on B&B, she has embraced some exciting new challenges in her personal life, as well. First and foremost, the actress is now a grandmother. “[Zuma] is nine months now, and she is adorable,” beams Lang. “She’s a lot of work. This little girl has so much energy. She never stops. You see her brain always thinking as she’s crawling across the floor and grabbing things. I mean, she just never stops. [Daughter] Zoe’s like, ‘Mom, can you watch Zuma?’ and I’m instantly exhausted! It’s different when it’s yours and you’re younger, but then when you’re the grandparent you’re like, ‘Oh…. Yes, honey, of course!’ And, of course I love it. I can’t wait till she’s actually talking and running around.”
Lang recently traveled abroad to film the Australian version of the gritty reality series I’M A CELEBRITY, GET ME OUT OF HERE!, but was voted out after eight days. “I loved it, but I admit I was very sad when they called my name to leave,” she says. “What happens is, it takes months of preparation — filling out paperwork, having to take all these psychological tests, doing interviews with the producers and the psychiatrist and the manager…. I was freaked out about leaving my family and knowing I wouldn’t be able to contact them. You have no phone or contact with the outside world. They do say if there’s an emergency that they will let you know, but when they had to take away my phone, I was clinging onto it. I think I started crying!”
Of course, the wilderness itself was no picnic, either. “They dump you in the jungle the next day with a backpack and the essentials,” she details. “You don’t get to take anything with you. You get one luxury item; I chose an exercise mat. Everything else is toothpaste, shampoo and skin cream, which were not the high quality, super-duper stuff that I use. But it was just biodegradable. You have to shower out in the open. You have to survive with 12 strangers, and you have to live on 800 calories a day. You’re living outside with all of the bugs and the snakes going through camp — and then you’re doing the trials and the challenges. I had the opportunity to do two of them before I got kicked off. But to this day, we all talk on WhatsApp, all the cast members. It was really an experience.”
One that gave her a deeper perspective on her journey so far. “That was all about getting used to living with the bare minimum, and from that you realize, ‘I’m really lucky, and I really need to be grateful for everything I have in life,’ ” she reflects. “It’s kind of like that with B&B, where you just have to let go; whatever happens, happens, and just enjoy the ride. I certainly have!”
JUST THE FACTS
Birthday: July 25
Hails from: Los Angeles, CA
Beau Jest: Began dating Dominique Zoida in 2014.
Mom’s The Word: Lang’s children are sons Jeremy, 28, Julian, 26, and daughter Zoe, 21.
Name Game: Recent guest star Tamar Braxton (Chef Chambre) named her child after Lang’s character: “Her little boy, Logan, is 5 now and he’s adorable. I met her years ago, before her son was born, at Babyface’s house. I love hearing stories of people naming their son or daughter Brooke or Logan. It warms my heart.”
Sweet Caroline: “I was actually just texting with Joanna [Johnson, ex-Caroline/Karen] saying we have to get together. We call each other twins because back then, the fans used to call us twins because we looked so much alike at one point. We still have that nickname for each other.”
Fight Club: Lang has had some memorable catfights with Hunter Tylo (Taylor), and one in particular stands out. “I remember it was Brooke, Taylor and James, who was trying to help us get past our anger toward each other. He put us in a mud tub together and was trying to talk us through this, and she started flicking a little piece of mud on[to] my face. I flicked a little piece back. He was giving his psychiatry spiel and in the background, we’re fighting in the mud. It was very fun!”
Sweet Charity: The actress works closely with Breakaway From Cancer.
The Family Business
Thorsten Kaye (Ridge) had a question for his co-star: “Kelly, your grandfather, Charles Bryant Lang, was a cinematographer who shot one of my favorite movies, A Farewell To Arms, and won an Oscar for that film in 1932. He worked with Brando, Lancaster, Monroe, McQueen, etc. What was his advice to you when you first started out? Also, did he ever mention me?”
“Oh, my God. It always comes back to Thorsten!” she laughs. “It’s funny because he was a very stoic man. We would go spend time with him over at his house in Brentwood. He lived till 96. I was young when he retired; 1973 was his last film. He never talked about his work much. I wish I were alive during that Golden Age of Hollywood when he was working on those sets because I think I would’ve learned a lot. It’s funny because my mom [Judy Lang] was an actress and did a ton of TV and she never spoke about it, either. I never learned that much from my family, which you think I would. I had the bug because it was in my blood. He passed away in 1998. I don’t know what he really thought, honestly, for me to be on a daytime soap opera. I don’t know if he really understood it, because he worked with every huge movie star in Hollywood for 40 years. That was his job. That was his business. He was so passionate about it. It was a different world back then.”