“Eric and Stephanie fell in love when they were students at Northwestern,” says John McCook of Bold & Beautiful‘s original matriarch and patriarch. “She was a powerhouse, a get-things-done type of person, and together, they created this empire. As partners, they were unbeatable. But she lacked a softness, which time and again he would seek elsewhere.”
Love or Something Like It
“During the first few weeks, the scripts established that there was a certain malaise in Eric and Stephanie’s relationship,” reflects McCook. “I thought malaise was a tropical fever! These were two people who loved one another but weren’t necessarily in love.” That would prove true to the very end of Stephanie’s life.
The One Who Got Away
Brooke Logan may believe herself to be Ridge’s “destiny,” but that didn’t stop her from marrying his father! “In many ways, she was everything that Stephanie wasn’t,” suggests McCook. “She was beautiful and sweet and giving, and she needed him. That was so complimentary to what was missing from his life that she became the love of his life for a while. And clearly, he’s never stopped loving her. It’s just taken on a different form in recent years.”
“Eric and Stephanie would go their separate ways for various reasons,” says McCook. “Usually because he’d decided to stray again! But they wound up coming back together, because they knew that nothing was more important than the family they had created together.” Of course, that family also included children they’d created with other people, including Eric and Brooke’s son Rick (pictured).
Although they’d shared a pleasant flirtation years earlier, it wasn’t until after Stephanie’s death that Eric and Taylor got truly involved. “There was something lovely about them,” reflects McCook, “but it was clearly never going to work.” Not surprisingly, it was his affection for and defense of her longtime rival Brooke which ultimately doomed this pair.
“She was like a Ferrari with the top down,” laughs McCook of Brooke’s sister, Donna. “She was absolutely the midlife crisis that he needed. Sexy, younger and deliciously fun to be with. She was a poke in Stephanie’s eye in a way that Brooke wasn’t. She would say, ‘You’re just a horny old goat’ and he would reply, ‘Yeah, you got it!'”
Charmed, I’m Sure
“How could he not fall under Jackie’s spell?” muses McCook. “That accent alone would bring stronger men than Eric to their knees! They had an interesting relationship and would have gotten married had it not been for Felicia.” Stricken with cancer, Eric and Stephanie’s dying daughter begged her divorced parents to remarry… and then went into remission, leaving Jackie sitting on the sidelines.
To the She-Devil, a Husband
“I can’t say exactly why Eric was attracted to Sheila,” admits McCook, “except that she was younger and she was a sexual being, and he was drawn to that. I mean, he’s very predictable in that way, I suppose. What bothered me was not so much that he was attracted to her but that everybody else saw that she was bad news, and he ignored that!”
Games (Bad) People Play
“I have a huge blow-up of this photo in my dressing room,” reveals McCook with a smile as he fondly recalls the late Darlene Conley (Sally). “He treated her badly by leading her down the primrose path. It was unfair of him, and it was the most evil thing that Eric actually did in all these years, because he’s not much of a manipulator, but he manipulated her and got away with it for a while.”
Business, Meet Pleasure
“It seemed as if in some regards, she might be his equal,” suggests the actor of the romance that bloomed when Young & Restless’ Lauren briefly relocated to Los Angeles. “He thought maybe he would have his relationship with her at work and with Stephanie at home. But Lauren would never have stood for that. She was powerful and strong on her own and would have walked out on that.”
What Lies Beneath
“From the very beginning of their relationship, Eric has been able to reach through Quinn’s armor and find her vulnerability,” believes McCook. “She doesn’t show that anywhere else. With others, she might pretend to be a vulnerable female at times, but it’s a charade. Eric, however, brings it to the surface in a very real way that no one else does.”
The Middle Man
“It’s easy to understand why Quinn might feel insecure about Brooke,” acknowledges McCook. “After all, there’s clearly a deep and abiding love between Brooke and Eric. That, of course, brings out the worst in Quinn. And to be frank, Eric isn’t always the best about putting her first!”
Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!
Who would win a battle between the first Mrs. Eric Forrester and the most recent? “Stephanie would likely come out on top,” suggests McCook. “But Quinn would put up a good fight and inflict a few wounds!”