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Victoria Rowell Shares Backstage Secrets of Dru and Neil’s Japanese Wedding on Y&R (EXCLUSIVE)

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The folks from YOUNG & THE RESTLESS’ Genoa City had something extra to celebrate during the Christmas of 2003: Drucilla and Neil got re-married in a lavish ceremony on the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. The bride’s portrayer, Victoria Rowell, remembers the event very well. “Our first wedding was innocent, subtle and lovely. It really fit the tone of where we were on the show,” she recalled to Soaps In Depth. “The Japanese wedding really spoke to how much Neil and Dru had grown as characters and the importance of the Winters family in terms of the entire show’s paradigm.”

Rowell, now a producer herself, recalls the episode as being one of the first times she contributed behind the scenes. “I was very proud of being invited to participate in that way, so those parts behind the camera were exciting for me,” she confided. “In front of the camera, obviously, to work with Kristoff [St. John, Neil] was lovely, but we had wonderful guest stars come in for that episode as well.”

In fact, the musical accompaniment for the ceremony — Clint Black’s “When I Say I Do” — was a direct result of Rowell’s footwork. “I reached out to my friends, Kenny Lattimore and Chanté Moore, and brokered them to sing. That was exciting!” she explained, adding, “I also collaborated on the creation of the wedding dress, which was later selected for [a costume exhibit] at the Hollywood Museum.” However, when looking back at the photos from that special day, it was Drucilla’s unusual hairstyle that stands out. “The producers had hired Nancy Morrison, who was a wizard,” Rowell shared. “We researched authentic Japanese wedding hairstyles, and she created the wig. She was marvelous!”

The Young and The Restless Neil Dru Wedding

“He’s a legend,” Rowell said of guest star George Takei, “and was lovely.” (Photo Credit: Aaron Montgomery/jpistudios.com)

The actress recalls really appreciating that Sony Pictures Television would “roll out their backdrops from the lot,” resulting in yet another memorable day for Dru and Neil. “We worked really long hours for our first Y&R costume ball where Dru was a firebird ballerina and Neil was the Grecian god. I loved that,” she said, adding that fortunately, the wedding didn’t require as much overtime. “Nonetheless, it was spectacular, and we had a lot of the cast there, including Peter Bergman (Jack), Tonya Williams (Olivia) and Christel Khalil (Lily), for the wedding party itself.”

Of course, for Rowell, any time that she got to spend a whole day making eyes at St. John was a favorite, so the Japanese wedding ranked right up there. “You can’t put a price tag on that kind of chemistry,” she laughed. “So we always had a good time.”

For more on your favorite Y&R stars and storylines, keep reading the CBS edition of Soaps In Depth magazine!

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