One, Two, Three, and Four of our interview with Melissa Reeves, the beloved and acclaimed actress discussed early career on SANTA BARBARA, Jennifer's romances on DAYS OF OUR LIVES, the Jack & Jennifer phenomenon, and how her faith guided her through public rumor and speculation. In the final part below, Reeves shares her thoughts on her outspoken exit from DAYS in 2006, saying goodbye to Frances Reid, and her future on and off DAYS. Which DAYS hunk is Jennifer going to be spending her "days" with? Find out below:
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: You were very candid about your dissatisfaction with your role when you left in 2006. Jennifer had quickly married Frankie after Jack was presumed dead for the millionth time.
Melissa Reeves: Right [laughs]. Sometimes you just have to laugh. I don’t mean it in a bad way. But the audience knows what’s going on. They think they can throw one over on them but the audience knows exactly what is happening.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: And that speaks to your integrity. You spoke up when things seemed unjust.
Melissa Reeves: I think we’re so afraid of not being liked that we don’t speak out for what’s important. Now I don’t want to just be a blowhole because that is ugly. But when I think something is not right, I definitely want to speak out about it. You have to. That’s how we love and protect people. It is a fine line between that and becoming completely obnoxious about it. But Scott is my barometer on that. He keeps the “Jersey” at a level.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Where were you when you received the news of Frances Reid’s passing?
Melissa Reeves: I remember when we moved to Tennessee I told Scott that I had to be ready at a moment’s notice to fly back. I knew when I said goodbye to her in that last scene that I was never going to see her again. That’s why I cried to so much. I looked at her in that chair. While I was saying those lines I was thinking to myself, “I’m never going to see her again.”
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: I love that the show did such a very extended and loving tribute to her.
Melissa Reeves: Me too. People were getting impatient but we knew they were trying to write it really well and make it great. And then gathering up that many actors at one time in the same week or two, that was hard too.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: So many of your former costars were there. Patsy Pease, Lisa Trusel, Mary Beth Evans, Bryan Dattilo. What was it like to be all around all these people again?
Melissa Reeves: We were all saying that this was one of the happiest days of our lives, and one of the saddest days of our lives. It was so bittersweet, yet perfect.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: When did you get a call about returning to DAYS after the tribute?
Melissa Reeves: When we were doing the tribute to Frances, they asked, “Are you here now?” And I said, “Yes, I’m here, Emily is going to school here, so if you want to work me, I’m here.” Then I didn’t hear from them. I thought, “Okay, cool, I get it.” I knew I wouldn’t be going back there. Then they called and said, “Hey, we want you to come back.” I started laughing because I was thinking, “You just can’t plan your life.” It’s better not to plan.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: The question on everyone’s mind: Is Matt Ashford coming back?
Melissa Reeves: Matt, thank goodness, has been working so steadily. I don’t know. I really don’t know what their thought is on that at this moment. You never say never. You never know what is going to happen. Of course I would love it. But it’s hard to say what their plan is. Jennifer has some good scenes coming up with Daniel Jonas (Shawn Christian). I’ll be curious to hear your take on them. We work really well together.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: One of the strong things about the show now is how the current writing team writes more for unique characters and is building current stories on history. Even Jennifer using the last name “Spencer” when she went undercover at the prison is a nod to her mother’s maiden name.
Melissa Reeves: Yes, I love that. I totally agree.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: You also have some scenes coming up with Robin Mattson.
Melissa Reeves: Yes, who I love! That has been a treat for me. She is so good.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: It has been apparent to viewers since you returned that you are radiating a calm peace and beauty, more so than before. Are we just imagining it or is there something there?
Melissa Reeves: I think it’s moving out of L.A. and living in the country for the past four years. The four of us were together every single day and we were with some incredible families. We had times devoted to praying and spending time alone with God, seeing what our purpose is in life, and asking how we can love others and not make this world all about our goals and aspirations. It was really teaching the children, and ourselves, how not to make this world all about us. It’s hard in Los Angeles because this whole lifestyle is about yourself. It is so ego driven and career driven. We wanted to come back, taking what we’ve learned, and just love on people. We want to love them, pray for them, be available to other families, be with our own family. There is a peace we’ve gotten in these past four years that is hard to find in Los Angeles. But at the same time I love Los Angeles and I love that our kids have grown up here, for the diversity of it. Our kids don’t see race and color, they weren't raised that way. That’s what I love about Los Angeles.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Your peace and self-care is evident.
Melissa Reeves: That’s nice to hear. You want to think that your work is showing. It is a different level to live on. It’s humbling to get to the place of saying, “This life is not about me.” It’s about how we can serve others and love others. Every day that we wake up we have the choice to have joy. You can be negative, you can be pessimistic, and that is a choice too. But the better choice is to have joy. You’ll be amazed when you make that choice how you can walk through your day and not be a pain to be around.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: I discuss this very subject with my clients and in my book Absolutely Should-less. We have all been conditioned to believe that our moods are a consequence of external circumstances, when in fact it is exactly the opposite.
Melissa Reeves: I agree 100%. That is so true.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What have you learned from Jennifer Rose Deveraux?
Melissa Reeves: Her perseverance is something to be admired. She has persevered through so many situations. She has a great family legacy that has kept her grounded and taught her how to love and care for others. I look at her and think, “Jennifer is cool. She makes some pretty big mistakes, kind of like Melissa.” But we learn from our mistakes, we gain wisdom, and we grow from every experience that we have. I think she’s a great modern day woman. She is 100% devoted to her family, which I think is her greatest attribute. I want that to be mine.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Do you know how to ride a motorcycle like Jennifer?
Melissa Reeves: Only when Scott is driving it. I can ride a little dirt bike but have never been on motorcycle by myself.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: How would Jennifer describe Melissa Reeves?
Melissa Reeves: I think they would be friends. Jennifer would think Melissa is a little too tenderhearted in some areas but I think she would like that about her. Jennifer is even more feisty than Melissa. We both dive into things pretty quickly. But Jennifer doesn’t think about it at all whereas Melissa thinks about it for a minute, then dives in.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: If you could go back to the beginning of your career on SANTA BARBARA and give yourself a piece of advice, what would that be?
Melissa Reeves: Less hairspray, more sleep, less insecurity. Take the advice and wisdom that people are willing to give you at age 18 instead of throwing it away.
Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Therapist now accepting new clients in New York City. He is also the author of the popular book "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve," currently available at Amazon.com. For more information about scheduling an appointment, please email him at Shouldless@gmail.com.