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DAYS' Arianne Zucker Discusses Rafe and Nicole Romance and Becoming a Heroine

Arianne Zucker, Days of Our Lives

Days of Our LivesArianne Zucker (Nicole Walker) opens up about the mess her alter ego has gotten into by getting steamy with her best homegirl Ava's (Tamara Braun) man, Rafe (Galen Gering). While Nicole has tried her best to stay away from the Commish, she finally succumbed to temptation and unbeknownst to her, has placed herself in Ava's crosshairs, right after her and Eric's (Greg Vaughan) marriage ended. How could Nikki do her ace Ava like that? Zucker explains to Soap Opera Digest about the predicament Nicole is in.

What were your thoughts moving into a Rafe/Nicole romance pretty soon after splitting from Eric?

I’ll always justify the reasons Nicole does what she does. Her relationship with Rafe has been long and ongoing. He did a lot of favors for Nicole when she asked him to pretend to be the father of EJ’s [then-James Scott] baby. They’ve been friends for a long time. Rafe was in her life and showing up when Eric wasn’t, so it made sense. What made it [bad] was Rafe wasn’t single. He was with Ava. And Nicole was coming off a relationship with Eric. Of course, that made the desire to be with him even bigger. It’s like the poisonous apple. Don’t take a bite.

How does Zucker feel about her demise of Nicole's friendship of Ava? Zucker stated:

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Yes, because I love Tamara [Braun, Ava]. It was like, ‘Oh, no! I’m not going to get to work with you.’ But by no means was this meant to be a betrayal to Ava. It’s not what Nicole meant to have happen. That’s not her m.o. anymore. Nicole’s a better person now. If she was an even better person, she probably wouldn’t have [slept with Rafe], but we need the drama. This story has moved relatively fast and can turn in any way. I try to stay open to that, that maybe we can revisit Nicole and Ava’s friendship again. I love having female relationships on the show, when we get a chance to interact and have some real things go on. There’s got to be a way somewhere down the line where these two [reconcile]. It can be time or there’s a situation where one of them is in trouble and the other one comes to their aid, that somehow they find forgiveness for each other.

Viewers have noticed Nicole has slipped into being a heroine and not a scheming troublemaker. What is Zucker's take on it? The actress remarked:

At first I was like, ‘Are they making me good? What’s happening here?’ In the past, Nicole didn’t always make the right decisions. Having been married to Eric changed her a bit. She started to become better for her person. She’s learned some lessons. She’s pulled it together. She’s not switching babies anymore. I’m very appreciative of [DAYS] allowing me to show them what I could do. I’ve really worked hard on my acting chops and studying and going to acting class to show them that this character deserves to be in it.