For nearly four decades, Tracey Bregman has wowed audiences on The Young and the Restless as hellcat heiress-turned-department store exec Lauren Fenmore. The stunning redhead has done just about everything. Lauren sang up a storm with Danny Romalotti (Michael Damian), duked it out with Traci Abbott (Beth Maitland), survived the schemes of Sheila Carter (Kimberlin Brown), romanced Genoa City’s finest, from Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) to Brad Carlton (Don Diamont) and even nearly froze to death in Iceland (on The Bold and the Beautiful). Late last year she celebrated 12,000 episodes of Y&R, along with her castmates.
Lauren might be happily married to DA Michael Baldwin (Christian LeBlanc), but "Likey" wasn't even supposed to be a couple at first. How did Bregman and LeBlanc convince then-Co-Executive Producer/Head Writer Jack Smith to pair them romantically? Bregman said with a chuckle, "Well, we just played everything sex. Pass the salt, sex, sex, sex. Everything that we did, we played it, even though it wasn’t written, and Jack finally went, 'Okay, okay, let's try it.'"
It wasn't until Lauren's marriage to Michael that she became part of a cohesive on-screen family unit. Bregman relishes being part of the Baldwin-Fisher clan with Gloria (Judith Chapman), Kevin (Greg Rikaart), and Co. She joked, "I have, over the years, had these Christmas parties called 'the Grifters' Christmas,' because all of our characters, if you think about, we’re all the bad characters. We’re all the bad seeds in one family and all of us have killed people and gotten away with it."
She noted, "We put the 'fun' in dysfunction." Bregman added, "We’re the misfits, and I just wish we saw more of it, because it was always so much fun to do." As for her dream storyline? She'd love to play "a caper, a big mystery that's fraught with comedy" with the Baldwin-Fishers.
More recently, Lauren has teamed up with ex Jack Abbott to mentor Genoa City newcomer Sally Spectra (Courtney Hope). Jack and Lauren have been "reminiscing about who they were in the past," Bregman observed. "They talk about being the ones who needed the second chances and what they see in Sally[...]"
Like Sally, Lauren spent time at Forrester Creations and romanced a member of that legendary family. Of her '90s B&B fashions, which included many Thierry Muglier designs, she recalled, "You know, I used to wear shoulder pads so big that they would yell 'Hike!' when I could come on stage, and they actually called me ‘Shoulders.’"
One unforgettable scene came during a wedding between Lauren's ex Eric Forrester (John McCook) and Stephanie Douglas Forrester (Susan Flannery). After Sally Spectra Senior (Darlene Conley) placed a picture of Lauren and Eric in bed in the minister's bible, all hell broke loose.
Bregman recalled, "And then Susan Flannery got to slap me, which I think she really liked doing it. I actually heard my jaw pop because she really likes contact.” Bregman has many fond memories of working with Conley, too. During her first scene taping with Hope, she remembered, "I go on stage and I turn to Courtney and I was like, 'I can feel her here.'"
The Fenmore's boss sees her own "rough edges" in a young Sally, Bregman observed. Looking back, she said, "Lauren was, I think, fearless and heartless. Aad what she’s trying to show Sally, through the scenes that we’ve shot and scenes that are coming up, is that, don’t make the mistakes I made. I can help you get where you're going to go without hurting people and making the mistakes I did, if you listen."
Could business associates Jack and Lauren rekindle an old spark? Bregman said diplomatically, "That's up to the writers," but she admitted that "there's always a blurring of the lines and a little bit more familiarity than two people who just work in a company together."
Mama Bear Lauren would also welcome the return of her younger son, Fenmore (Zach Tinker). Bregman gushed, "Could Zack Tinker be any cuter? He’s just the most adorable thing ever and such a great actor. He is literally, I mean, a chip off of Christian. He’s like a younger Christian, it's so funny."
Bregman described Y&R celebrating 12,000 episodes as positively "epic." "And the fact that I’ve been able to be there and see a lot of that," she mused, "I'm so grateful for the opportunity and the fact that I’ve been able to be there for it."