This interview was originally published in the December 19, 1995 issue of Soap Opera Digest
Melody Thomas Scott doesn’t toot her own horn, but she could crow like crazy if she were so inclined. Think about it: She’s go ta fabulous job, a leading man whom she loves to work with, millions of fans, a blissfully happy real-life marriage, wonderful children and perfect hair. What more could one woman ask for?
In front of the cameras, her life isn’t quite so serene. As Nikki Newman Abbott, she’s been putting the “restless” in YOUNG AND RESTLESS since 1979. But even though Nikki changes lovers more often than most people change socks, her heart has always belonged to her on-again, off-again hubby, Victor Newman.
When you sit down for a conversation with Ms. Scott, you may not get what you were expecting. While she’s flip and funny, she’s still a far cry from saucy Nikki, who says anything and everything that’s on her mind. Scott, on the other hand, knows where to draw the line. After all, she’s been an actress since she was 3 years old. And, honest as she is, this very smart cloned knows how to handle herself in an interview.
Right now, Scott wants to talk about Nikki’s reawakened love life. A few months ago, the Genoa City vixen hit the sheets with studly Brad Carlton. “Out of the blue, at the end of one scene, Nikki said, ‘I have a good idea. Let’s get married!’ “ Scott chortles. But wait a minute — do they know each other well enough to tie the knot? “You don’t need to on this show!” she retorts.
But seriously, Scott says that while Brad is a worthy conquest for Nikki, nothing compares to the chemistry she shares with Victor (Eric Braeden). “It’s been 15 years,” the actress marvels. “Eric and I have a unique connection on-screen that I don’t have with anyone else, and everyone tells me he doesn’t, either. Personally, it’s not romantic love, but it’s a great fondness.”
Scott says that one reason why their friendship has lasted so long is that she knows how to read Braeden. “I will yield to him in certain situations,” Scott admits, “as I’m sure he does with me. It’s a give-and-take accommodation. I’ll give him a kiss in the morning and someone will say, ‘Aren’t you just kissing his a—?’ But it’s a genuine greeting, and I like to make the men in my life feel good. I don’t want Eric to read this and think that I’m trying to manipulate him,” Scott cautions. “I just like to think that we know how to work together in real life and on the show.”
The No. 1 man in the actress’s life is Edward Scott, her husband of a decade. This is her third shot at marriage — the first two lasted six months each — and she views this union as the one she was meant for. “In my heart, this is my only marriage,” she maintains. Although Edward pulls no punches as Y&R’s executive producer — he was once heard growling, “I’m getting my shotgun out of the car” when he was unhappy with the way a big party scene was progressing — you can rest assured: A big heart beats beneath that gruff exterior.
Through her marriage, Scott says, she’s learned to better understand relationships. “A marriage is two people who love each other, obviously, and respect each other enough to both be caretakers of the unit they’ve created,” she asserts. “It’s swallowing your pride about something gif it makes your partner feel better. It’s hard sometimes, but I very firmly believe that when you write down a list of priorities, your mate should be No. 1, because a family is based on the bond between the parents.”
After 10 years, Scott reports with an impish grin, “The spark is still there. We’re like teenagers. The only question is trying to find out where and when there aren’t any kids around!”
The Scotts’ tight-knit, blended family is like an updated version of Yours, Mine and Ours. Ed’s 23-year-old daughter, Jennifer, just moved out of the house after graduating from college. “She’s lived with us since she was 11,” says Scott. “Although she will be living close by, we will miss her being in the house.” Alexandra, Scott’s 13-year-old daughter from her relationship with makeup artist Carlos Yeaggy, is a gifted pianist, who plays everything from Mozart to Motown. “Alex is a rough-and-tumble kid,” Scott says affectionately. “She was a tomboy, but now she’s got boyfriends… she’s impulsive and gets into trouble.” Rounding out the troop is Edward and Melody’s daughter, Elizabeth, 6. “She’s straight from God in an angel package,” Scott praises. “She’s teacher’s pet and gets straight A’s.”
Scott has sacrificed career opportunities to keep her family life stable: “I may not be the star that I wanted to be when I was 12, but I have something that a lot of people don’t — a loving family. You have to invest time or it’s not going to happen. Someday, my family will be grown, and then maybe I’ll have time to take off with my husband.”
Scott’s childhood was not as secure. Since she was born when her mom was very young, Scott was raised primarily by her grandmother. “I had a dreadful upbringing,” she confides. “But I’m not going to get into it. That’s a whole book, which I will write someday.”
Until then, she’s content to play the role of wife, mother and, of course, Nikki. “I don’t worry about the future, which is probably very stupid,” Scott says. “My husband gets frustrated with me, because he’s very goal-oriented and I’ve never set one. I wouldn’t know how to do it. I just trust in my guardian angel, or myself, that what should happen, will happen.” Suddenly, Scott’s name is called. But it isn’t a message from her guardian angel — it’s a summons to the Y&R sound stage. “What am I doing talking to you?” she says with an airy wave. “I have to go!”