This interview was originally published in the November 12, 2004 issue of Soap Opera Digest.
Despite Some Loose Ends On-Screen, GH’s Rebecca Herbst Has Got a Beautiful Life All Sewn Up
In the soap reporters’ canon of nightmares, there are a few that really keep us up at night. There’s, say, accidentally calling an actor by their character’s name. (“So tell me, Sonny….”) There’s inadvertently misquoting a daytimer. There’s innocently walking onto a live set in the middle of a taping. (“Um, why does the commissary look an awful lot like Kelly’s?”) All, truthfully, are so rare that we actually sleep like babies, thank-you. But there is on that does strike on occasion, compliments of the tape-recorder gods (sabotage division): an interview tape malfunction. In the case of said disaster, there are few things to do but explain the gods’ wicked sense of humor to the actor you’ve already interviewed … or simply lead insanity. Given the kind and understanding nature of most daytimers, self-flagellation on the interviewer’s part need rarely come into play.
Multiply that sentiment by a hundred in the case of GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Rebecca Herbst, who, after a reporter’s recent discovery of just such a nightmare following the actress’s initial sitdown, not only was downright good-natured about a response redux, she readily agreed to do it from her home … on a Sunday.
Normal congeniality aside, Herbst is all about flexibility these days. Having given birth to her second child just this past April, the actress is regularly busy balancing her hectic home life with an active career at GH. “It’s a lot of work,” she admits,” but it’s so worth it. It’s so enjoyable and I would never change it. Plus, we have a huge family support system. My parents live right down the street, and they’ve always been a huge help. And Ethan just loves Ella. Form the minute he got to the hospital, he just wanted to hold her. HE’s very sweet with her, there was no jealousy whatsoever.”
Not that all of that made going back to work post-maternity leave much easier. “I cried all the way to work!” she recalls. “I just felt so sick inside to have to leave my baby… both of my babies. But then, when I got to work, it was so nice to see my friends and catch up with them that I felt very comfortable. Plus, Michael’s in law school, but he’s doing an online program so he can stay home with the kids while I go to work. I feel very blessed to have my family here to help raise my children. When they do their firsts, it’s just wonderful that Michael’s here or I’m here or my mom gets to see it.”
Herbst admits that this time around, she’s got, well, more time around her family, given Elizabeth’s recent lack of screen time. “I’ve worked so [infrequently] that when I can, I actually bring Ella to work with me,” she notes. “If I only have two or three scenes here and there, I bring her. My sister will come with me, too, or a girlfriend, and they’ll watch her while I’m taping. So it works out really well.”
She doesn’t hold that same enthusiasm, however, for the unceremonious ditching of the Liz/Ric pairing. “I was really disappointed with the way they handled that,” she sighs of the pair’s entirely uneventful dissolution. “I think it was really unfair to the fans out there that Ric and Elizabeth’s relationship was never addressed, especially after having me gone for so long. When I came back, there was no story for Ric and Elizabeth. It just kind of vanished and that’s how it was left. We had done a scene where Ric and Elizabeth connected a little bit,” she continues. “And she had asked him if he wanted to go grab a bite to eat with her at Kelly’s and he accepted. It was very sweet, because it was all about the two characters missing each other without it being spoken.” Alas, she shares, “The scene wound up being cut because they decided that they didn’t want any sort of relationship between Ric and Elizabeth. In my eyes, it was very unfair to the fans because they deserve to have some sort of closure.”
Not one to cry over spilled marital milk, Herbst is ready for her character to move on romantically … and maybe with a face from the past. “Since I think that the Ric/Elizabeth thing has definitely been eliminated from the canvas, I would hope that they would start to make a friendship out of Jason and Liz. There are so many people who would love to see them together again, even if it’s not in a romantic sense. They’ve always been really good with helping each other, so I think it would be nice. And I love working with Steve [Burton, Jason]. Actually, I love working with all the boys. I’d be happy working with Steve or Rick [Hearst, Ric] or Greg [Vaughan, Lucky]. I love working with all of them and I think there’s a group of people out there for each pairing who would be happy.”
Herbst is also excited about the opportunities her character has been afforded by the reintroduction of Liz’s half brother, the long-lost Steven Lars. “It’s nice to have family in Port Charles because the more family you have, the better chance you have of staying on the show!” she laughs. “Also, because he’s a doctor, it puts Elizabeth in the hospital scenes a lot more. I think it’s nice that they made her a nurse, although I do think it goes against her grain, coming from this artistic background. But it’s great for her to have a job where she can come in and out of the hospital scenes and get mixed up in other people’s storylines.”
All of which translates into a happy blend, both on-screen and off, for the actress. “This is the best job I could have ever asked for at this point in my life,” she enthuses. “Especially with having a husband and having children. IT’s ideal, because the hours are unbelievable. Sometimes, I’ll step back and it amazes me how far I’ve come in my life and the transitions that I’ve made in the seven years that I’ve been here. And the choices that have proven to be so wonderful in my life … I just feel like I’m in a really good place. I’m very happy and very secure with who I am and what I’m doing. And that’s a great feeling.”
JUST THE FACTS
Birthday: May 12
Delivery, Man: Herbst, husband Michael Saucedo (ex-Juan) and son Ethan (almost 3) were joined by Ella Bailey on April 12, 2004.
Labor Yeah: “I pushed three times and out she came!”
E-Male (And Female): “It’s not intentional [giving both kids a name beginning with ‘E’]. We just happened to like the names. I’m sure if we have another kid, it won’t be Elmo or anything [laughs].”
Sarah, Smile: “When she first came home, Ethan kept calling the baby Sarah, because he wanted her to be named Sarah. I think there’s a little dinosaur with that name on some show.”
DID YOU KNOW?
- Had she not pursued an acting career, Herbst says, “I would have gone to school for design. I’m really into fashion design and interior design.”
- Here dad came up with the idea to have her middle name be Liberty. “My mom didn’t think it was that cute. But to this day, even though my name is Rebecca, both of my parents call me Liberty.”
- Herbst and Saucedo recited traditional wedding vows to one another during their 2001 nups.