I’ve interviewed Beth Chamberlin (Beth Raines) before, but I never had the pleasure to do so in person. By the time I arrived in Orlando, she’d already been down for a few days, enjoying the sun with her son. Although Guiding Light had been down to Florida for a big Spaulding event before, that was the year just before Beth joined the cast. Since she has been with the show for so long, however, it’s sometimes hard to imagine her not being there. Even her co-stars sometimes forget that she wasn’t always Beth Raines. “Grant [Aleksander] and Michael [O’Leary] tend to forget that I wasn’t there originally. They’ll always say, ‘And remember when…?’,” she laughs.

She may not have been one of the original Four Musketeers, but she often feels like she is, “Because I have such a close relationship with all three of those people now in a personal way. I love being with them,” she said. Aside from her lengthy friendships with Grant and Micheal, she’s also gotten to know Krista Tesreau (Mindy Lewis) and hopes that they can have her on the show more in the future. We discussed the highly publicized reunion episodes and how it didn’t exactly turn out to the nostalgic and glamorous affair it was hinted to be. “I understand what people’s expectations were compared to what it was, but considering the circumstances for me and for Phillip, it probably wouldn’t have been right for it to be another way. Beth was going to remind herself that there was another in her life and she did get strength from her friends,” she explained.

Having Phillip has changed a lot of things for her character and the estranged couple will soon have other things to deal with together. Their daughter, little drama queen Lizzie may be putting her life back together, but someone else from the couple’s shared past is coming back, in a surprising form. Their son James (Zack Conroy) has been magically aged into his late teens. Beth’s taking it in stride, conceding that there’s more story to play with an older character. “There’s not much to play with an eight year old unless that eight year old is Hayden [Panettiere, former Lizzie],” she added. Although Zack has only been with the show for a weeks, she says that he’s been an absolute pleasure. He has a great work ethic and has proven that he is really interested in molding his character. “Every single one of our young people, there’s not a bad seed in the bunch,” she said proudly. Right now she’s looking forward to cementing her on-screen relationship with her son. She offered a few hints about what their relationship will be like: “Beth was mommy and daddy. She was the one who was there… she probably let him get away with some things shouldn’t of let him get away with, but she was trying to compensate.” That led to her being, “A little more lenient than she should be, a little more protective.”

While her character has often been pushed to the sidelines in recent years, the past months few months have been remarkably busy for her. Beth has turned in some truly stellar work, reminding fans old and new of just what a powerful actress she can be when the material is right. Case in point: The Coop affair and his death. She admitted that the relationship Coop and Beth had wasn’t one that, at first, seemed like it would work. “It, strangely, did work though. I would have liked to have seen it go on, even if they were going to do the same story,” she said.

She agreed with many viewers that the whole affair seemed rushed. Although she went to the writers to ask for more time for the plot to develop so that the relationship could become something that the audience could really care about, by then they had already moved too far ahead and it was too late. But even if the story was rushed, the material that came out of it as it peaked, and the performances it allowed for, made it worthwhile. “They were trying to bring a lot of these events together. I really enjoyed that story a lot. I loved working with John [Driscoll] and I think that the writers wrote it in a way that it brought out some interesting things in the character of Beth. I’m just hoping that we honor that and see that Beth holds on to what she got from Coop,” she concluded.

– Matt Purvis