Skip to main content

INTERVIEW: Days of Our Lives' Eric Martsolf and Jen Lilley Talk Toxic Love, "Unraveling" and Fetal Theft

  • Author:
  • Updated:


Publishing tycoon Brady Black (Eric Martsolf) and grifter Theresa Donovan (Jen Lilley) have one of the most dysfunctional relationships in fictional Salem U.S.A. on Days of Our Lives. She enabled the addict's stumble back into extreme drug and alcohol abuse. Theresa also framed him for a crime she committed. He hates her, but can’t get away from her. Or does he even want to?

Theresa announced she was pregnant with Brady's baby, shortly after being outed as the person who actually attacked his father John Black (Drake Hogestyn).  For a second, it looked like Brady might be able to get past his rage at Theresa — for the sake of their unborn child. Unfortunately for Theresa, test results proved there was no baby.

What neither of them realizes is, Brady's ex,  Kristen DiMera (Eileen Davidson), snatched Theresa’s embryo from her womb! The clueless hunk thinks the pregnancy was yet another of Theresa's cons. With all the insanity surrounding their relationship, is there a future for this sexy couple?

I caught up with  Martsolf and Lilley at "Day of DAYS". They shared how the fetus-napping will change Theresa, which plot point Marstolf found hard to believe and why he likes playing a character who always falls for the wrong women.

Daytime Confidential: Kristen committed fetal theft. How does the embryo-snatching impact Theresa?

Jen Lilley: It’s a really wonderful unraveling of Theresa. I think it’s a chance for fans, that have not otherwise empathized with her, to maybe see a little bit of the softer side of her. I mean, she’s not a gooey, mushy character, but at the same time, most women can relate to maternal instincts and losing, I don’t know, the love of your child.

DC: Let’s talk about poor, poor Brady. He’s really had the worst month ever.

Eric Marstolf: Has it been the worst? I don’t know. Look, when it comes to women, the guy just can’t really get it right. The women are just projects that need help. Theresa needs help. Kristen DiMera needs a lot of help and he just seems to fall into these pathways of these women that are less than stable. And, given his propensity to be unstable, it’s a beautiful train wreck to watch. That’s what I love about him. It’s not always the couple that’s in the bubble bath eating strawberries. It’s the couple that’s struggling to find that little bit of happiness. Sometimes you’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince or a princess. He’s out there trying the best he can. Meanwhile, he’s fighting all these demons, these addictions that he has, and it’s a hard arena to find love in. Salem’s just full of cuckoos.

JL: I feel like Theresa and Brady are very much like that movie A Day of Wines and Roses, where it’s just like tragic and wonderful. It’s toxic when you love to watch it, because on some level there’s still a vulnerability that draws you to the characters and I like that.

EM: I love how imperfect it is.

DC: In a weird way, they’re perfect for each other, even though they often bring out the worst in each other. Is there hope for these crazy kids to find some sort of romance?

EM: There’s always hope. There’s been “Hope” on Days of Our Lives for a long time.  Get it, Hope?

DC: Let’s talk about Brady’s final scenes with Kristen. He told her he never wanted to see her again. Yes, she almost had sex with somebody else, but she was totally single. Shouldn’t she just have told him, “We were on a break?”

Recommended Articles

EM: I know. I actually struggled with those scenes personally too, when I read about it. I almost felt like they were discrediting Brady and Kristen’s relationship by having her so easily fall into another bed, when she was proclaiming her love for this man for so long to the point where fans bought it. They thought that this love couldn’t exist between these two people, but we worked really hard to sell it and then, all of a sudden, “Aw, screw it.” But it did make sense in retrospect. I understand Brady did shun her.  Jennifer shunned Daniel. People try to find happiness, but in the end their feelings for their mutual others won out. They [Kristen and Daniel] apparently didn’t have sex.

DC: Kristen was like, “We were rolling around naked, but it’s not actually sexual unless you round home plate.”

EM: And Brady made a strong point. He was like, “What were you doing there in the first place?” But that’s life. These things happen and Brady’s had it stuck to him. I mean, his father, his best friend, they've both shared flesh with his ex-fiancee. Only in Salem, right? How do you play that? He would never put up with that. Eric Marstolf would never put up with that. Would you?

JL: No, I don’t think so. But that’s the same thing you hear from couples. It’s like, you don’t think that they’d put up with it, but love makes you do crazy things. That’s why this show has been on for 49 years.

EM: And our characters are emotional. They shoot first and ask questions later.

Days of Our Lives promo, DAYS

DC: What’s coming up for your characters?

JL: For Theresa, it’s just a complete unraveling. She’s already like halfway out and it just keeps going and going. It’s just an awful unraveling of Theresa. I don’t know how else to put it. It’s just so tragic, because I think she’s kind of like the boy who cried wolf. It’s like all of a sudden there’s no hope for her. Nobody believes anything that comes out of her mouth.

EM: Brady is in line with many of those people. He’s not willing to listen to anything she has to say, really. Everyone manipulates me. Everyone lies to me. He’s in no position to believe anything she has to say.

JL: Brady’s the only person she cares about in Salem and she’s lost him. She’s lost everything.

EM: But obviously with this set up, we can’t go into detail with what goes on. But, even [the shows we are filming] right now, we are dealing with what’s going on. It’s a big set up and the fans, I think, are going to be really excited about the payoff. It took me by surprise.

JL: It took us all by surprise. Get your tissues ready.

EM: It’s heart-wrenching. It’s sad.  This tough-ass character of Theresa Donovan, you’re going to see a much softer, more vulnerable side. Her underbelly’s going to be exposed, so to speak. If you thought she was the woman to hate on the program, you’re going to change your mind very quickly, because you’re going to feel some sympathy with her plight that’s going on. Will Brady be there for her? I don’t know. You’ll have to see.

DC: What about Brady and John’s relationship?

JL: Theresa put them back together in her way of thinking.

EM: In a funky way, I guess you can look at it that way, but he was kind of tricked into sobriety. He was led to believe that he put his father in a coma and that’s what made him finally realize, “Okay, I’ve got to clean up my act here." So with that sobriety is going to come a polishing of relationships with almost everybody in town, including his brother, his father and Marlena. He definitely gets himself on the right track, only to very quickly get thrown off the rails again by other things that happen. But he’s definitely cleaned his act up for a while.