B&B Y&R Victor Newman Eric Forrester
Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

“He’s my friend, even if I don’t always agree with his decisions!”

When John McCook was first approached by Bold & Beautiful executive producer/headwriter Bradley Bell about the erectile dysfunction storyline which would lead Eric to push his wife into another man’s bed, he was all in… with one caveat. “I thought, ‘Well, I’ll play it, even though I disagree with it, as long as I know that in the end, Eric’s going to realize this wasn’t a very good idea!'”

Once it became clear that was the path down which the story would go, McCook was all-in. “The more difficult scenes are to play, the more fun work is. So I loved playing that story and trying to keep Eric as dignified as possible by playing him as frustrated and angry as opposed to ashamed or sad.”

He also appreciated the tone the show took when handling Eric’s condition. “Brad mentioned a story that had been done years ago on The Young and the Restless with Eric Braeden’s Victor,” McCook says. Longtime viewers of Bold & Beautiful‘s sister soap will recall that at one point, Victor became impotent after being shot in the groin with a spear gun. “That wound up going in a slightly more humorous direction, which we didn’t do. I suppose it did get a bit more comical when Donna and the honey entered the picture, but I tried to pull it back a little bit, because I didn’t want to treat this like a joke. It’s a very serious problem for many people.”

Eric, Donna bedroom B&B

More: This marriage is over before it even started!

Ultimately, the controversial storyline proved extremely rewarding for McCook… and might prove even more so should he walk away with a Daytime Emmy. Because it was scenes in which Eric explained his behavior to Ridge which McCook wound up submitting on his reel. “It was a scene where Ridge was confronting Eric, saying what what he was doing was stupid,” shares the nominee. “And Eric finally said, ‘You think this is easy for me? I hope this never happens to you. I hate this! I don’t want to be in this house alone!”

A highlight of the episodes — one of which can be viewed below — was the actors with whom McCook shared them. “Any scene I get to play with Thorsten Kaye (Ridge) or Rena Sofer (Quinn) are good scenes,” he enthuses. “I’m always happy, because they are wonderful players to work with.

More: Bold star lays claim to very special Emmy

Eventually, of course, Eric realized that perhaps encouraging his wife to sleep with Carter wasn’t a particularly great idea. “I was gratified, frankly, that it had a resolution that I sort of approved of,” McCook admits. “Eric realized that he was taking the wrong approach, and that it wasn’t serving anybody very well.”

After 35 years of sharing the same headspace, the actor freely admits he’s very protective of his alter ego. “He’s my friend, even if I don’t always agree with his decisions!”

What does McCook have to say about each of the women with whom Eric’s been involved? We ran down the (rather extensive) list, and you might be surprised by his thoughts!