Daytime Newcomer Linsey Godfrey Opens Up About Beating Cancer And Her BOLD Beginning
In 2006, Linsey Godfrey was one month shy of her 18th birthday when her mom got a life-changing call from the doctor. “They told her that I had [Hodgkin’s] lymphoma,” the actress recalls. “The first thing I said to my mom was, ‘So, I have cancer.’ It was a shock and a relief at the same time because I felt so sick all the time that I was like, ‘Okay! Finally, we can figure this out and make it better.’ ” Godfrey had just finished filming her first big prime-time role (on NBC’s now-defunct drama SURFACE), but her blossoming acting career was about to take a major detour.
It all started with a pesky lump on Godfrey’s neck and a series of fainting spells while she was working with horses as a ranch hand one summer. “They were thinking it was from exhaustion,” she shares. “I was so tired all the time. It was not normal.” But she wasn’t too concerned. “We’re just not worrywarts in my family. It’s pretty much a ‘If you’re not bleeding, you’re not hurt!’ kinda thing. Like, ‘Get up! You’re fine. Quit being dramatic.’ And so, forever it was, ‘Does this look weird?’ And the lump eventually stuck out an inch on my neck and then I had two below my collarbone. I ended up going to the doctor for something else and said, ‘By the way, can you check out these lumpy things?’ ” A biopsy later revealed irregular cells. “I woke up the next day and there was a new [lump],” the actress explains. “As I was calling the doctor’s office, they were calling me.”
Shortly after her diagnosis, Godfrey spent six months receiving chemo in Jacksonville, FL, which is about a one-hour drive north of St. Augustine, where she was living at the time. She even learned how to drive a stick shift on a Geo Tracker (“It’s a glorified Barbie car!” she laughs) to get around. She lost all of her hair, but kept the passion and perseverance that pushed her to first move out to Los Angeles at the tender age of 15 after she was discovered at a high school drama competition. “From the get-go, I told my mom, ‘If I can go back to L.A., then I’m going back to L.A.,’ and I think it was just something [my family] accepted,” Godfrey explains. “I went into survivor mode and it was like, ‘Let’s get this done because there are things I have to do!’ I was really aggressive about everything. Everybody says, ‘Oh, you’ve got to stay positive.’ But it’s true because if I ever did let myself get down, I would get worse and my health would actually decline. As long as I stayed positive and happy, my blood counts would stay where they were supposed to be. It was amazing to me.” Six months after her treatments were over, Godfrey returned to California. “As soon as I had enough hair that I wasn’t bald anymore,” she adds.
After booking a couple of prime-time gigs (“My hair was so specific and when it grew back, it was tight, curly hair, so it was hard,” she says), B&B came calling. Godfrey felt the role of Caroline — named in memory of the character who died of cancer in 1990 — was sort of meant for her. “Nobody had known that I was a cancer survivor,” she says. “I think it was my second day of filming and Brad [Bell, executive producer/head writer] came to watch, and I pulled him aside and said, ‘I just want you to know how much this mimics my actual life.’ And he had no clue.”
The actress already felt at home in the soap world before joining the show, thanks in part to her boyfriend, Mark Hapka (ex-Nathan, DAYS). “I’d run with the DAYS people way before I was even a BOLD contestant,” she explains. Which is why she was so thrilled when Crystal Chappell [ex-Carly, DAYS] was cast as her other mother, Dani. “I was just over the moon because I’d seen her work before and she has this very quiet strength to her,” Godfrey smiles. “I’ve never felt so at home on a set. Ronn Moss [Ridge] is probably one of the sweetest men ever and the same with John McCook [Eric]. [Katherine] Kelly [Lang, Brooke] has just the most infectious laugh I’ve ever heard. Adam Gregory [Thomas] and I have the exact same sense of humor, so we’re just two nerds!” she laughs. “Joanna [Johnson, Karen] was the first person I worked with. I was so nervous and she just completely took me in, and pretty much if she’s on set, I’m right next to her. She jokes that she wants to adopt me, anyway!”
So, Godfrey is happy to report that she is loving life at B&B and is healthier than ever. “I just had my final five-year PET scan and it came back completely clean,” she beams. “I am officially cancer free and they technically consider me cured at this point. It’s amazing. I’m really
After B&B learned that Godfrey was a cancer survivor, the show wrote in her tattoo. “I went up to get a couple of my tattoos approved and [Brad Bell] said no to all of them until he saw the one on the back of my neck and he said, ‘Let’s write that in!’ ” the actress shares. “My sisters and my mom have the same tattoo in the same place. We got them on the first anniversary of my first chemo treatment. I was really excited. I drew it, so it’s my design. It’s just a [cancer awareness] ribbon, but I wanted it to look a little different and a little whimsical.” The design has even caught the eye of several B&B fans. “One of the fans had e-mailed asking if I could send them a photo. They wanted to get it because of their daughter, who is struggling with melanoma. It’s so nice,” she smiles.
Did You Know
• Godfrey has appeared on Disney’s WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE and THE SUITE LIFE ON DECK.
• She is pals with Molly Burnett (Melanie, DAYS).
• The actress was a live-in nanny when she first landed in L.A.
• She is the youngest of three girls and the only actor in her family.
JUST THE FACTS
Birthday: July 25
Hails From: Stuart, FL “It’s a really small town north of Jupiter. I spent the majority of my life
Prime-time Fave: “SMASH! I really don’t like musicals, but Mark made me watch it and I got hooked.”
Rapper’s Delight: “I love [the South African rap group] Die Antwoord. They’re amazing and crazy. The first time I saw their videos, I couldn’t tell if they were serious or if it was abig joke. Mark is a huge fan, too, and we know all the words. We rap the whole songs. Even the Afrikaans
part, but we have no idea what we’re saying [laughs]!”
Top Notes: “I was in chorus when I was little and the teacher took my mom aside and was like, ‘Maybe you should put Linsey in something where she can express herself a little more and not have to stand so still!’ So drama was just an immediate fit for me.”
Catch And Release: Godfrey competed in junior angler tournaments growing up. “Brad [Bell,
B&B executive producer/ head writer] was the first person who ever asked me about it. It’s on my
resumé! It’s very confusing when people first meet me because it’s so random!”