If there is one constant in soaps, it is love: finding it, fighting for it, losing it and loving again. THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS’ Devon is currently in the “loving again” stage, having found himself going starry-eyed over Elena after the tragic death of wife Hilary. Bryton James, who plays the widower, admitted to Soaps In Depth that he wasn’t sure how fans would respond. “I know how passionate they have been for me and Mishael [Morgan, ex-Hilary], and I thought it might be difficult for anyone or any character to fill Hilary’s shoes. But fans are loving Devon and Elena together, and they’ve given us our own name already — Elevon! Brytni [Sarpy] is an exceptional actor. She’s been a wonderful addition to the show.”
James believes that fans might have been less receptive if his alter ego had bounced back too quickly from losing Hilary. “The show has done a really good job with the story and the pacing. It’s very realistic for anybody who has experienced the loss of a true love,” he said. “After everything Devon and Hilary had been through together, they’d gotten to the point where they realized they were meant to be together. They were going to have a child. That was a big part of Devon’s life, and those feelings don’t go away overnight.”
Indeed, it was a pivotal moment when Devon finally took off his wedding ring before going to the grand opening of his restaurant, Society, said his portrayer. “It’s very relatable for anyone who has experienced a loss so unexpected. They need to take the proper time to mourn and to finally give themself permission to have those romantic feelings for anybody else.”
Once Devon has given himself permission to embrace a new love, though, James predicts Elevon might be a little less turbulent than Hevon. “Elena is a lot more grounded than Hilary was. Hilary was volatile, which was why Devon tried to contain her — maybe too much. Only at the end did he realize that is who he fell in love with, and there was no point in trying to control her,” he reflected. “With Elena, I don’t think he’ll do that. She’s more grounded than he is!”
Not that James expects his new Y&R on-screen romance to be completely drama-free. The couple already have endured turbulence: Devon infuriated Elena when he quizzed her Uncle Jett about her past, then paid off her student loans without consulting her! “I can guarantee,” he said, “there will be twists and turns ahead for them!”
Over the years, there have certainly been plenty of twists and turns for both James and his alter ego. “I never would have imagined 15 years ago that Kristoff [St. John, Neil] wouldn’t be here with us, or Victoria Rowell (ex-Dru) wouldn’t be on the show, or I wouldn’t be seeing Christel [Khalil, Lily] every day,” he said quietly. “They are the Winters family. That’s where I came in. And now I am literally the last member of that family to be completely on the canvas… it’s a big torch to carry, but it’s my honor. I’m so grateful that the show still has me here,” he added, “and I get to do my best to keep the Winters family going!”
For more on your favorite Y&R stars keep reading the CBS edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.