CENTER STAGE: ‘Y&R’s’ Elizabeth Hendrickson and Melissa Claire Egan On Friendship and the Shocking Details Set to Potentially Blow Their Onscreen BFF Relationship Apart!
As playwright Oscar Wilde once said, true friends stab you in the front. And so begins the inevitable downward spiral between “The Young and the Restless” besties Chloe (Elizabeth Hendrickson) and Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan), two female characters who’ve become a daytime rarity — true best friends — and whose recent storyline is setting the pair up to potentially take a serious fall. Will the recent death of Chloe’s daughter, Delia, followed by the heart wrenching transplant of the little girl’s corneas to Chelsea’s infant son, Conner, followed by the possible news that Conner’s father, Adam (Michael Muhney) is responsible for Delia’s death end up tearing the best friends apart? Soap Opera Network spoke with both Egan and Hendrickson for the scoop!
Finding true best friend characters on soap operas is like finding horribly ugly people on soap operas: It just doesn’t happen! So both Egan and Hendrickson were thrilled when it first became apparent that their alter egos were bonding. After all, romances happen on soaps every day, but close female friendships aren’t exactly a dime a dozen. “It’s so rare to have friends on soaps that are actually friends, and to not show women being catty and pulling each other’s hair and getting in cat fights,” Egan says. “I think it’s really important to show real, true relationships amongst women, like we all have with our girlfriends. And Lizzy and I are around the same age, and we’re both girls’ girls, so when I saw that they were writing us to become friends, I thought it was really awesome.”
“Missy and I have even told each other that we were excited about it, because it is rare, “ Hendrickson says in agreement. “We both have very close friendships with our girlfriends [in real life], so when we come to set, it’s very easy for us to act, because that’s how we naturally are with our girlfriends. So it’s not even acting; it’s kind of like playing. And we have a fun time doing it.”
As luck would have it, the show has done a great job building the relationship between the pair, even showing quirky moments between the girls that mirrors real life female friendships. “I love that they play the comedy,” Egan notes. “Obviously, Chloe is very funny, and so I like that they played a lot of the lightheartedness as girlfriends in the beginning, and they can be goofy together and kind of call each other out and be silly and funny. But they’ve also played the drama and real depth of being girlfriends and being there for each other and what they really do for each other. So I feel like the writers have been doing a really good job of showing every aspect of friendship, the lighthearted stuff and the really intense, heavy stuff as well.”
As viewers know, the recent hit-and-run storyline has been extremely heavy — so much so, that it may have long lasting consequences that may permanently shred the girls’ onscreen bond. And while neither actress knows exactly how the situation will play out just yet, they are both happy to speculate as to what lies ahead in the coming months. And they both say it may not be at all what you think! “Missy and I have been doing soaps for a long time and been on other shows, so we’ve been through the baby switches and all of that, so sometimes it’s easy to figure out,” Hendrickson shares. “But this story for me came out of left field! It’s really clever, and there are so many layers. I was really surprised by it and also excited to see what is going to happen with their friendship. [I’m just] predicting something, but if we’re really going to raise the stakes, Chelsea will find out beforehand and not tell Chloe for whatever reason, whether it’s Adam saying, ‘You can’t tell her,’ or she’s afraid, and that would really cause a rift in their friendship.”
And because Chelsea is knee-deep in a relationship with Adam once again, Egan says the sky is the limit when it comes to backstabbing and betrayal potential. “Chelsea is living with Adam again, and their feelings are coming back, and I was actually thinking that the other day, when we were filming some scenes, I thought, ‘Gosh, I wonder what’s going to happen?’ Because we really don’t know,” she says. “If Chelsea found out that Adam did this and hit Delia, and if they were potentially back together at that point, would she dump him? Or would she go to Chloe and tell her ‘I’m still in love with him,’ and what would be her reaction? There are so many elements and so many things that could happen, and we really don’t know what’s going to happen yet. But I really love this story. It’s really intense.”
As one might imagine due to the nature of the storyline, the mood on set has been quite dramatic — which makes Hendrickson all the more thankful that “Y&R” is filled with supportive cast members. “I’m very lucky that most everyone that is involved directly in this storyline I have either worked with a long time or have known for a long time,” she says. “I go back with Amelia (Heinle, Victoria) all the way back to ‘All My Children’ 15 years ago, and I’ve been working with Billy (Miller, Billy) so closely, and then working so closely with Missy in the past year but knowing each other for a longer time, and working with Greg (Rikaart, Kevin) and being friends before the show, so for me, it’s been so easy, because I feel so supported. No matter what scene I’m playing, as long as I lock into my friends’ eyes, I know that I’m ok. There have been so many times that I’ve been freaked out about how I’m going to do this or how I’m going to do that, and at the end of the day, I have such awesome support on the other side, that I just trust them and it all just kind of goes from there.”
The end result, according to Egan, has been pure magic. “Lizzie has been doing such an incredible job,” she raves, adding that she agrees with her onscreen bestie that feeling comfortable with your co-stars is very important. “You feel so much safer knowing that you have that relationship and that you’re in good hands.”
As for the future of their characters’ friendship, both actresses hope that they’ll be able to weather the storm — both because they enjoy playing the relationship, and also because friendship is so important to them in real life. “Friendship is everything,” Egan declares. “Your friends are your family. It’s everything in life. Guy friends, girl friends, and that unconditional love and support and no judgment. Being honest, being open, caring for each other and being each other’s family members, essentially. A lot of my girlfriends, and I’m sure Lizzy is the same, are like sisters that I never had. So it’s everything.”
“Yes!” Hendrickson says in agreement. “I came from a very broken family as an only child, so friends for me have always been my family. Friends are really everything to me, because without them, I really don’t know where I’d be.”
EGAN ON HER FAVORITE FRIENDSHIP MOVIE:
“I’ve always said Steel Magnolias makes my heart melt. That movie, and those relationships are just so special, because they’re like real girlfriends: They give each other a hard time and they give each other love and support in good times and in bad times. Steel Magnolias is such a good example of good girl friendships.”
HENDRICKSON ON HER FAVORITE FRIENDSHIP MOVIE:
“I’d have to say Bridesmaids. What I love about it is that it’s so true to life, like when the new girlfriend comes in, and it’s like the new, better girlfriend. So I like the mix of old friendships and the new friendships.”