It was on Christmas Eve 2000, that ALL MY CHILDREN’s Bianca — whom viewers had watched grow up — said the words that neither she nor her famous mother, Erica Kane, would ever forget: “Do you love me, Mom? Do you? I’m gay.”
Bianca and Erica embarked on a long journey that night, but the way it began left an indelible impression. Eden Riegel, who played Bianca, recalled to Soaps In Depth that the moments after shooting it felt “like time had stopped. Susan [Lucci, Erica] and I both had tears streaming from our eyes and were totally wrung out. Sharing that was a real bonding moment in our relationship.”
A press event had been planned for the night, and Erica had been eager to show the world what a loving mother and daughter looked like. She’d even arranged for her and Bianca to be dressed in identical, glamorous gowns. However, when it came time to leave, Bianca removed her earrings, undid her hair and stripped down to her slip. “I don’t want the world to see me, Mom,” she’d explained. “I want you to see me.” What followed was one of the most confusing moments of Erica’s life. She couldn’t stop worrying about her company’s image, honoring her fans and the waiting reporters. Clearly, Bianca had other plans. “Mother, look at me,” she begged. “I’m exactly who you always knew. I’m still your baby, and I still love you.”
When Bianca finally put an end to Erica’s agony and spit out her truth, viewers held their collective breaths, waiting for the renowned diva’s response. Turning her back, Erica fiddled with the Christmas tree and urged Bianca to get dressed. But when Bianca wouldn’t budge, Erica’s words came in a torrent. She invalidated her daughter’s declaration, instead blaming the rehab center that Bianca had been in and surmising that Sarah had preyed on her there. Denying that, Bianca said that her relationship with Sarah was about love.
Riegel’s older sister had been “out” for many years, so the scenario seemed foreign. “I just didn’t understand what the big deal about it was,” the actress admitted. But wanting to do the scenes justice, she’d made it a point to get her sister’s input. “I ended up learning a lot about her and other people in my life — I wanted to hear a lot of voices before portraying this moment.”
Reflecting on why Bianca is still missed by fans, Riegel concluded, “She was brave, courageous and loyal, and she fought for the people that she cared about. She was everything that I would like to be.”
For more on your favorite AMC stars, keep reading the ABC edition of Soaps In Depth magazine!