Mary Beth Evans’s lives, on-screen and off, have gone down two very different paths over the past year.
As Kayla, things couldn’t be worse. Not only is son Joey still serving time for killing Ava, but now hubby Steve has been arrested for espionage, a plot devised when the show and actor Stephen Nichols couldn’t reach terms on a new contract.
“It’s terrible. I’m devastated personally and professionally,” admits Evans about no longer having her longtime love interest and close friend of over 30 years on the DAYS set. “We work together well. I think we both would say that we’re the best partners for each other. From the very beginning of him just not being there, I was kind of teary.
“Plus, I really am a fan of Patch and Kayla. I’m a big fan of them as a couple,” continues Evans. “And I think the two of us, together, bring a lot. Stephen and I try to bring an emotional, real connection. We don’t phone it in. For that just to be gone … It’s weird. Super-weird. I can only hope that he comes back. I hope that’s what happens.”
In the interim, Kayla’s been left dealing with the emotional strife of knowing she’s responsible for her husband’s downfall. Since it was all set in motion via a secret deal she made with Stefan to broker a bionic eye for the once-blind Steve, “She just feels super-guilty and horrible about the whole thing,” says Evans. “It’s all bad. Everything. That Steve gets in the whole mess is kind of her fault, that she was doing it all behind his back and lying … It’s all stuff that Kayla does not like to do. It’s sort of been a year of crossing the line and doing things that she wouldn’t normally do.”
Despite the horrible outcome, Evans has enjoyed the shift in her character. “That was good,” she offers. “I always think that Kayla wants to do the right thing, but I hate for her to be too goody-two-shoes. There’s certainly been more personal and moral conflict for her this year, and it’s been fun to play that. It’s just real. People sometimes do things they don’t necessarily want to and know they shouldn’t. Doesn’t life kind of go like that? Sometimes we have years where we behave ourselves and some where we don’t.” Plus, she’s been able to work with former GH co-star Tyler Christopher (Stefan; ex-Nikolas, GH). “I love Tyler; he’s a doll,” she raves. “Of course, I had an affair with him on GH. When the whole [Nikolas and Katherine] thing started, I said, ‘Listen, you call me mommy and it’s over.’ Now he’s playing a bad guy on DAYS and it’s fun. He’s so good at it.”
As for what the future holds for Kayla, Evans maintains, “There’s still a lot for Kayla to do,” with or without Steve on the canvas. “It’s not just about men. I’ve still got Tripp and a thousand nieces and nephews on the show. There’s Ciara, JJ and Abigail. I love these kids and doing scenes with them. I love being the aunt/mentor type of person and a strong role model for women. I love playing that really heartfelt love for extended family, to be there for them.
“For me, personally, having kids that have grown up and having had those relationships with them has helped me so much as an actress,” adds Evans. “That’s what’s kind of cool about soaps, too. You’re in the same zone as the character, the same age range, and you go through the same life experiences. A lot of times we’re playing story where I’ve done it and I’m talking about it. It’s like you’re playing your history.”
When she’s away from the canvas, real life has been nothing short of idyllic bliss for the actress. “We have a new baby in the family, and he is the cutest, sweetest thing ever,” gushes Evans, referring to her and husband Dr. Michael Schwartz’s first grandchild. “My oldest son, Danny, and his wife, Sharon, had little Henry back in June. They live in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Danny works for a big company down there. We all went to visit them and it was just one person after the next holding Henry. I don’t think he ever was laid down on the bed.”
While Evans is in no great rush for Kayla to become a grandmother, she is totally embracing that role in real life. “Oh, my God! It’s dreamy. It’s so dreamy for my husband and me both,” she smiles. The fact that the baby lives in another country doesn’t hinder her enthusiasm one bit. “Between WhatsApp and FaceTime, we see him all the time,” says Evans. “It’s really cute. We used to see my son every other month before the baby was born. Now that Henry’s here we might try to up that game a little bit.”
As for the rest of their immediate family, Evans reports, “Our daughter, Katie, is getting married to her fiancé, Cory [this month], and we’re all very excited about that. Some friends of ours have property in Ojai and we’re doing the wedding there. Henry is going to be the little ring bearer. We’re thinking about laying a little pillow with fake rings on his lap and having Danny carry him down [the aisle],” recounts Evans. “And then Matt, our youngest, is in commercial real estate downtown and doing really great. He’s happy and living by the beach. Everybody is doing really well. I hope it continues, because it’s nice.”
JUST THE FACTS
Birthday: March 7
Hails From: Pasadena, CA
Family Matters: Evans has been married to husband Michael Schwartz since November 3, 1985. They have three children: Danny, Katie and Matthew.
Record Setters: “I always think that Stephen Nichols [ex-Steve] and I should be in The Guiness Book of World Records. He’s been married for 33 years in real life, and I’ve been married for 32. In L.A., that’s unheard of.”
Otherwise Known As: Katherine Bell, GH, 1993-99; Sierra Esteban, AS THE WORLD TURNS, 2000-2006, 2010
BAY Watch: Evans plays Sara Garrett on the digital drama series THE BAY and also serves as a producer. They are currently in production for season 4. “They are an amazing little Energizer Bunny. They just keep on going. It’s just a couple of days a year, so it’s not that hard, and I get to work with some fun people. I’m working a lot with Matthew Ashford [Jack, DAYS], this time.”
Blogging 101: She launched lifestyle blog Plank (www.plank blog.com) in 2015. “I took the summer off, because I had too much on my plate. I’d written about 150 straight. That’s a lot. Mainly, I write the same thing, about being a good, nice, straightforward person. It’s reinvent, reinvent, reinvent. That’s sort of how I roll.”
Getting Social: On Instagram, find her at @marybeth.evans; on Twitter, she’s @Marybeth_evans1
Did You Know?
- At one point, Evans turned her apple pie baking expertise into a business. “The year that my baby pies debuted in the Williams Sonoma catalogue, they were the No. 1 seller for Thanksgiving. I’ve had some successes for not even being a chef
- She has six Daytime Emmy wins.
- Her first soap role was as Dakota on RITUALS in 1984.
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