|Stephen Nichols and Mary Beth Evans play Steve and Kayla Brady on Days|
of our Lives.
The 1988 wedding of Steven Earl Johnson and Kayla Caroline Brady helped Days reach the top spot in the Nielsen ratings for the first time in more than a decade, with fans glued to their TV sets as Kayla regained her ability to speak during the ceremony. That marriage turned out to be invalid (though not in the minds of many fans), and the couple made it official once again in 1990. Sadly, Steve was presumed dead shortly after the next wedding, and the couple remained apart for 16 years until he turned up alive in 2006. The couple divorced in 2012, and Kayla focused on her job as Chief of Staff at Salem University Hospital. When Steve returned to Salem in 2015, he was determined to win his "Sweetness" back, and has been a man on a mission ever since.
On February 15, Steve and Kayla recommit to each other in a Valentine's Day wedding ceremony in front of family and friends. We Love Soaps spoke with Stephen Nichols and Mary Beth Evans this week about the wedding, the history of their characters, and more. Read our interview below.
WE LOVE SOAPS:You may be making TV history with this week’s wedding. And it would only happen on a soap, where viewers see a couple get married, and then watch the same couple get married again 29 years later.
STEPHEN NICHOLS: That's amazing.
MARY BETH EVANS: Stephen and I have both been married for 31/32 years, and then this couple comes back around nearly 30 years later. It's pretty remarkable really.
WE LOVE SOAPS: And you guys look the same!
MARY BETH EVANS: Yeah, right!
STEPHEN NICHOLS: I've been look at photos from the '80s, and I beg to differ. [Laughs]
WE LOVE SOAPS: For each of you, what would you say is the biggest difference in your characters in 2017 versus back in 1988?
MARY BETH EVANS: Hopefully they've grown and mature, and are more confident in who they are. There are so many layers of their fabric now. It's just different.
STEPHEN NICHOLS: We've matured a bit. Patch has matured to the point of slowing down a little bit. He's not quite as frightening as he used to be.
MARY BETH EVANS: [Laughs] Patch always had some swagger, and some thing going on, and now you're just a solid guy.
STEPHEN NICHOLS: Look how long it took me to get her back this time. She keeps getting smarter.
WE LOVE SOAPS: Your chemistry was off the charts from your very first scenes back in 1986. No matter who is writing the show, viewers can feel that chemistry whenever the two of you are onscreen together. Why do think you work so well as a TV couple?
STEPHEN NICHOLS: I feel so fortunate and grateful that Mary Beth and I found each other. It's so easy for us, in a sense, because from the very beginning we had this understanding and friendship and respect for one another. It's just been a joy working with her all these years.
MARY BETH EVANS: And we don't get all bent out of shape. He can say, "You said that wrong," or "You did that wrong," or I can say, "If you did this that would help me," and we don't get worked up about anything. We just sort of help each other.
STEPHEN NICHOLS: We collaborate.
MARY BETH EVANS: Collaborate! That's the word.
|Days of our Lives' Johnson family: Kayla (played by Mary|
Beth Evans), Steve (Stephen Nichols), Stephanie (Shelley Hennig)
and Joey (James Lastovic).
STEPHEN NICHOLS: It's very intimate. Back in the '80s, I think everyone in Salem was on that boat for the wedding. This one, it's a very small group of very close friends and loved ones. It was so intimate, it forced us to be more focused, and forced the entire wedding to be more focused on the vows and what we were saying to each other, and the meaning of what this relationship is. It was a joy.
MARY BETH EVANS: I agree.
WE LOVE SOAPS: And Stephanie (Shelley Hennig) is coming back.
STEPHEN NICHOLS: That was another plus.
MARY BETH EVANS: It was beyond for us. She just stepped in like no time had past. Steve and I adore her, and she fit in so well with Joey [played by James Lastovic]. I wish she could have stayed, but she's on Teen Wolf [as Malia Tate]. She's got other plans.
STEPHEN NICHOLS: She really added a lot to it.
WE LOVE SOAPS: Mary Beth, what would Kayla say is her favorite thing about Steve? And Stephen, same question, what does Steve love most about Kayla?
MARY BETH EVANS: I think people think Patch is so tough, or whatever, but he's the softest, sweetest guy. And that's why I always like his character so much, because he was tough but so marshmallow inside. I love that about that character.
STEPHEN NICHOLS: Well, I love Kayla's sweetness. She's so affectionate. There's nothing better than being in a scene with Mary Beth when she starts getting really affectionate. It just sends me. The other thing is she's really strong, strong-willed, and nobody pushes her around. I love her strength. [Laughs] I know I'm speaking from my perspective, but it all kind of blends together.
WE LOVE SOAPS: You reminded me of the nickname "Sweetness". Was that scripted originally or how did it come about?
MARY BETH EVANS: Stephen made that nickname.
STEPHEN NICHOLS: I came up with that. I kind of looked at the names people called each other, and wanted something that was more unique. I used to call my eldest child [Vanessa] that years ago. She was a real tiny girl, a total sweetness, and I took that.
MARY BETH EVANS: That's nice.
WE LOVE SOAPS: If a fan of Days, or Steve and Kayla, is reading this story and maybe hasn’t tuned in for a while, why is this wedding a great time to check out Days of our Lives again?
STEPHEN NICHOLS: There are a lot of old faces you haven't seen in a while, and a couple of surprises of people showing up at the wedding.
MARY BETH EVANS: It's so heartfelt, real and intimate. It's just a nice afternoon of television.
STEPHEN NICHOLS: We both felt, and everybody that was there that day, felt the energy and love in the room. It was quite sweet. I can't wait to see it.
MARY BETH EVANS: I hope it's as good as we thought it was. [Laughs]
STEPHEN NICHOLS: I think it will be good. It will be fun.
EDITOR'S NOTE: It turns out there was also nearly 29 years between Victor and Nikki's first wedding on The Young and the Restless (1984) and their last (2013). One Life to Live's Tina and Cord were married multiple times over the years, with 25 years between their first (1986) and last (2011) nuptials. As the World Turns' Bob and Kim also had a 25 year gap between their first (1985) wedding and last (2010, with a renewal in between). If you can think of others, let us know in the Comments section below.
Roger Newcomb is a producer and writer in New York City. He has written and produced a full-length indie film, Manhattanites, and two radio soap operas. He founded and produces annually the Indie Series Awards, which honors the best in independent entertainment on the Web. He was executive producer on the indie short May Mercy Lie and, from 2009 to 2013 he created and hosted We Love Soaps TV. He has also made acting appearances in shows such as Imaginary Bitches and Empire. Recent film appearances include the documentary Soap Life—ruminating alongside Agnes Nixon and Eileen Fulton—and James Franco's indie feature, Francophrenia. He currently co-hosts entertainment talk show Serial Scoop Now, and is producing a TV pilot, We Be Nurses.