Interview: Eileen Davidson Opens up About Mal Young and Y&R Departure
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Soap opera actress explains why she left daytime and her exit story.
Soaps.com recently reported that Eileen Davidson left The Young and the Restless in October 2018, but soon after comments from former YR head writer Mal Young indicated the actress may return to her iconic role of Ashley Abbott. Recently she spoke with Soap Opera Digest about leaving the show, stating, “I decided pretty much a year before I left. It really had nothing to do with Mal. He actually wasn’t even technically the head at that point.” She made the decision to leave due to the long work days. “I just found myself exhausted and completely consumed with memorizing lines. I found myself doing a lot of homework on the weekend. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I was kind of wanting to not have to be somewhere all of the time.” When she finally announced her decision, Young had taken over, and Davidson admits her news put him in a state of distress. “He was very unhappy. He was very sad. He told me how much he loves to write for me and how I’m one of his favorite actors on the show. He was devastated.” She clarified, “It’s not really fair for people to think he pushed me out because he didn’t.” When asked if she was surprised that Young left she was, but wasn’t, because of the turmoil on the show over the last year, and the number of turnarounds. And even though they didn’t see eye to eye on everything, she reiterated, “I can’t blame my leaving on him, and that’s really, really important for people to know.”
Of her exit storyline, Davidson admits she loved it. “I thought it was something so completely different. It kind of wrapped up a lot of things that have been hanging out there for a year that hadn’t been dealt with, so I loved that.” She revealed, “Some things were out of character, but I thought that [Ashley] dealt with things that have never been handled properly. I thought it was very timely with the #MeToo movement, and equal pay. The fact that her brother treated her as ‘less than’ and not as ‘good as,’ then it came out that she was probably more talented than him and he was intimidated by that I thought was epic! It was a real game changer.” When asked if Ashley could return for visits she revealed, “I don’t know. I don’t have anything against it. I never did. I did tell them when I was leaving that I wasn’t able to be there on a consistent basis in the near future. If they had to recast, they should do that. I’d be happy to come back to do a little story arc, if that’s possible.” But when prodded a little more if anything could entice her to return, even if for a year, she admitted, “Maybe. You never know.”