John McCook offers insight into his alter ego

After 35 years, what do you like the most about playing Eric? “I like that he’s a sensitive man, that he is sensitive to the needs of those around him — and not just the women in his life but the men in his life, as well. He is sensitive to other people’s feelings and needs. I like that.”

What do you not like about Eric? “Well, there is not much I don’t like. I like him even when he makes poor decisions, which he has, and I still like him. There’s nothing about him I don’t like, except maybe those plaid jackets or the country club pocket squares.”

What would you say is his greatest strength and greatest weakness? “His greatest strength is his sense of duty to both his business and his family. His greatest weakness is love and tenderness with a woman. It’s not about beauty because he deals with beautiful clothes and beautiful models all the time. That doesn’t lead him astray, but he loves tenderness and sweetness and that has a big effect on him. That is a weakness that gets him in trouble.”

Which family member is Eric closest to? “I’d say Ridge. He’s close to Brooke. He loves her and supports her. He has great history with her and he considers her family, of course, since they do have children together. But I think he is closest of all with Ridge, and they write those scenes for us, and that’s good.”

Besides Eric, of course, who do you think has done the best job of running Forrester Creations? “I would say Steffy. She has had her hands on the reins for a couple of years now and she does a great job with the company. Granted, she is a co-CEO with Ridge and he’s wonderful at the job, too, but Ridge is still an artist, bottom line, and Steffy is a businesswoman. Steffy has more of her namesake’s business acumen than any of the rest of us.”

Who would you say is the love of Eric’s life? “I think when he comes to the end of his life, and he thumbs through the pages as it were, I think it would be Stephanie. She was his partner in procreation and making their business a success and raising a family of wonderful children who are smart and talented people. She’s the biggest reason for his success, and so he gives her that respect gladly. She deserves a lot of credit and I don’t think that will ever change, no matter how much he feels he’s in love with Quinn or Donna or anybody else.”

Who is the one who got away? “Oh, they never go away. They always love Eric [laughs]. Actually, I think Donna was the one who got away, and he didn’t realize that until she reappeared.”

What about Brooke? “Well, he loves her, and he will always love her, but I think he truly believes that Ridge is Brooke’s destiny, not Eric. I believe he even said that not too long ago.”

Since everybody goes to Eric for advice, who does Eric go to for counsel? “Eric goes to Ridge for advice.”

What does Eric do for fun? “For fun? Well, he pretends to go play pickleball. He actually doesn’t do much for fun because he loves his work so much. He’s like me in that regard. I love my work so much that I don’t need a hobby. Nothing I do is more fun than my work. I have great fun with my family. I love my wife and my kids and my grandkids and what we have together. There is great joy in that, but nothing is more fun than going to CBS and doing this show.”

Was there ever a decision that Eric made that you wish you could change? “No. As an actor, I love when he makes a wrong decision and has to atone for it, or has to come back from it and make it better. I love that. I think he’s made bad decisions, usually about going outside of his marriage. I hate that he kept a secret from Stephanie for years that the major ownership of Forrester Creations belonged to her, and he kept that information from her in a safe for a very long time, which made her very angry. That was when I lost the use of my groin there for a few weeks.”

What would you say is a signature storyline of Eric’s? “The big fashion shows and the competition with Sally Spectra or another company. His signature was always wanting to please Stephanie, yet wanting to please someone else at the same time, like Brooke or Lauren. He always has his eye on someone else because they have eyes on him, and he is flattered by that. He thrives on that.”

What are Eric’s thoughts about his current dilemma between wife Quinn and ex-wife Donna? “It’s huge for Eric to step outside his comfort zone. He has done it a few times over the years. He loves Quinn but there is distrust and dissatisfaction with her after everything that occurred in the past year with Eric and Quinn and Carter, even though that has all been resolved. There is a darkness there and he looks for light in his life, and that’s what he finds with Donna. He is conflicted.”

Is he worried about what may happen if and/or when Quinn finds out? “He’s not worried about her throwing stuff at him or pulling a gun on him or anything but he is worried about his relationship and if she were to find out this was going on, it would be the end of their marriage. No question about it. And, I will put this as a closing argument. I cannot defend Eric’s behavior here. I don’t believe Eric can defend it, either. He knows why he’s doing it but he can’t defend it, and I think that’s why he’s at a loss for what’s going on in his life right now.”

What would you say are the highest and lowest points of Eric’s life to date? “The highest point in Eric’s life was winning the international accolades for the success of his business with Stephanie. The lowest point was when Stephanie died. The way Brad [Bell, executive producer/head writer] wrote that story was very moving and very special and very powerful.”

What do you like most about the B&B fans? “They’re just so happy to see all of us [at fan events]. They smile. They laugh when they see us because there we are in front of them when we are all in the same house. That’s the best thing about it. The most fun is going internationally because when you go someplace in another part of the world, you don’t expect anyone to know you and, of course, everybody does, no matter where we go. We could go almost anywhere and they know us, so that’s the fun of it. Those are the best fan encounters we have, whether we are shooting in some small city in Italy or in Paris [France] or Sydney, Australia. No matter where we are, that’s the best thing, to have people around us who are so gleeful that we are there with them. And the same holds true for us, as well.”

What would you like to see him do next? “I think Eric loves the idea of traveling. I think he’d love to spend a year in Italy somewhere, or living on a vineyard in the south of France and just seeing what it’s like to not be internationally famous and just be a gentleman farmer, riding horses and getting to know the locals. I think he would love that.”

Me Vs. Him

Who dresses better? “Eric. I am much more casual in real life, and I greatly prefer that.”

Who has the nicer house, you or Eric? “Well, Eric lives in a mansion, for God’s sake, so I’d have to say him, although I do love our house and especially our backyard. I do like to spend time there.”

Favorite set? “The Forrester living room — and I love that it really hasn’t changed very much over the years. It still looks elegant.”

What’s the most frequent comment you get from fans about Eric? “It used to be, ‘You look a lot younger in person,’ but they’re not saying that anymore. I don’t know why.”

How would you describe Eric in three words? “Devoted family man.”