Interview: Doug Davidson Speaks Out About Shocking Y&R Exit & Return
Image: Howard Wise/JPI
Young and the Restless actor reflects on the past year.
Soaps.com readers were shocked in 2018 when Doug Davidson was dropped from Young and the Restless as Paul Williams, a role he had played for forty years. Fortunately, the actor recently returned, and spoke with Soap Opera Digest about the ordeal. He admitted that in his four-month absence from the show not much had changed and it was surreal. “It was strange in the fact that nothing had changed,” he noted. “From my perspective in that period, I let everything go and decided to move on with my life and do other things, so it was a growth period for me. And then when I got [back] into the building it was like, ‘Oh, wow, nothing’s changed here.’ It was strange in that way.” However he states that returning to Young and the Restless, “Was like returning home. I’m happy to be back and excited for [a] new story and we’ll go from here.” He admits his entire identity was tied up in the show. “The fact that it was cut off after 40 years was shocking to my spirit. I’ve been there longer than anywhere I’ve been in my entire life.” When Davidson was let go, his co-star Eric Braeden (Victor Newman) was very vocal in speaking out against the move on social media. Of Braeden’s words, Davidson said, “I can’t explain how much it meant to me that he would step up for no reason. It was because he cares for me and he cares for the show. That’s incredible. I mean, how many other actors on the show would take that stance? I will be forever grateful to Mr. Braeden and his devotion. He is one of a kind.”
Recently the soap world lost Kristoff St. John on February 3. Davidson had known the actor since he joined Young and the Restless in 1991, and his loss has affected everyone deeply. “To continue the mourning and his departure is incredibly painful and it carries a bigger weight than you might guess. It’s a subtle and latent pain that you drag on. And when we did the tribute show, everything bubbled up again. You relive the pain over and over. I think for us it’s time to move on and remember him for the great guy he was. He was a loving human being, and that’s what I will miss more than anything. He was always concerned more about you than himself and he was always giving.”
Of his on-screen TV wife Lauralee Bell (Christine Blair Williams) he feels their romantic scenes are part of the show’s niche. “It’s a relationship, it’s a bonding between human beings that supersedes lust, and I think that’s what the romance of a soap opera should entail. I think you can see it in the relationship with Victor and Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) in particular. It’s so incredible to see that relationship go from where it was in the ’80s to where it is now. I think that’s what our audience relates to.”