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Eileen Davidson, The Young and the Restless

Eileen Davidson/Photo Credit: John Paschal / JPI Studios

The ethereal Ashley Abbott (Eileen Davidson) returns to Genoa City this Friday on The Young and the Restless. The late John Abbott's (Jerry Douglas) "Beauty" is back just in time to help siblings Jack (Peter Bergman) and Traci (Beth Maitland) embark on a new mystery involving their ailing mother Dina Mergeron (Marla Adams). What other secrets are locked inside Dina's mind as she battles Alzheimer's disease?

"Dina’s past never ceases to put us on guard," Davidson revealed. "We’re always trepidatious about what we might find!"

Davidson was happy for the opportunity to play with her coworkers again once the Y&R cast was finally allowed to return to work following the month's-long production shutdown. What does she make of the new safety protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic?

"Strange for sure," she admitted. "Great to see everyone. It felt very safe and like every precaution was taken."

The Abbotts are one of the most loving, touchy-feely clans on TV. I couldn't help but wonder if it's been hard for Davidson and her costars not to be as expressive as they were allowed to be pre-COVID.

Beth Maitland, Peter Bergman, Eileen Davidson, Marla Adams, Melissa Ordway, The Young and the Restless

Beth Maitland, Peter Bergman, Eileen Davidson, Marla Adams, Melissa Ordway/Photo Credit: CBS

"It is difficult," began Davidson. "We like each other a lot off camera so we do always play that intimacy."

Davidson isn't merely known for dazzling daytime soap fans with her return engagements. The multitasker also manages to pop up for visits on Bravo's hit docusoap, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Davidson recently revealed to it would "take a hell of a lot" to get her back on the series full-time. What would it take to get her back on contract at Y&R?

"I’m so happy with how things are right now," she shared regarding the current state of her life and career. "I have no idea what that would look like!"

Daytime soap stars and alums are having a serious moment on Reality TV. Davidson's former Days of Our Lives costar and real-life pal Lisa Rinna continues to steal scenes on RHOBH. Ex-Genoa Citizen Eva Marcille is an Atlanta 'housewife'; and Chrishell Stause is prominently featured on Netflix's Selling Sunset. Why does Davidson think Reality TV has become so attractive to soap stars?

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"It’s different," she offered. "And clearly the money and exposure. Branding. Lots of reasons."

Ashley Abbott may not have found her soulmate just yet, but Davidson did in Renaissance Man Vincent Van Patten. I asked how the couple and their family are coping during these trying times in our country.

"[We're a] very creative household," said the author of mystery novels Death In Daytime, Dial Emmy For Murder and Diva Las Vegas. "We’re both writing. I’ve been taking guitar lessons and painting. I finally finished Pillars of the Earth! Our son is a runner so he’s been training. Oh, and cleaning and cooking. A LOT of that!" 

7 Days to Vegas

Vincent Van Patten/7 Days to Vegas

Davidson and Van Patten teamed up for 2019's critically-acclaimed feature film, 7 Days to Vegas. I asked Davidson if there was a chance quarantining together inspired a sequel.

"He’s working on something very fun with my amazingly talented stepson, Duke," she teased. "They wrote a terrific part for me. They better! [Laughs]"

Y&R fans got quite the kick out of those classic episodes CBS aired during the lockdown. What did Davidson make of reliving Genoa City's days gone by? "I loved them all! Listen. The hair."

Now that Y&R is back with all new episodes, Davidson had this to say about lapsed viewers finding their way back to the venerable genre: "There’s a renewed passion and excitement surrounding soaps now; a greater appreciation, I think, because of not being able to tune in. Absence makes the heart grow fonder! And Y&R is back better than ever!"

Tune in for Eileen Davidson's return to The Young and the Restless Friday on CBS. Check your local listings. Follow her on Twitter: @Eileen_Davidson