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The Young & The Restless

Y&R’s Eileen Davidson Opens Up About Ashley’s Alters


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Daytime Emmy winner Eileen Davidson is no stranger to playing multiple soap roles at once. After all, she famously made television history by portraying five different characters in the same storyline on Days Of Our Lives: Kristen DiMera and lookalike Susan Banks, as well as Susan’s quadruplet siblings Sister Mary Moira, Thomas, and Penelope. While those over-the-top performances earned Davidson an Emmy nomination for her comedic timing, the actress demonstrates a more dramatic side these days on The Young & The Restless in a storyline exploring Ashley’s mental health struggles through Dissociative Identity Disorder.

While Ashley has suffered several mental breakdowns in the past, the DID storyline adds a new layer to the character’s ongoing mental health problems. After Ashley’s marriage to Tucker fell apart and a car accident sparked a flashback of losing her unborn child back in 2003, three alternate personalities have emerged: naïve teenager Ash, controlling Ms. Abbott, and the latest alter to appear, Southern charmer Belle.

In a chat with Michael Fairman on his YouTube channel, Davidson explained that she welcomed head writer Josh Griffith’s DID storyline with open arms. “I’ve never done that,” she confessed. “And honestly, at this point, I wasn’t sure I ever would get the opportunity to explore something like that.”

Y&R Ashley's Alters
Ms. Abbott fights for control inside Ashley’s brain.Howard Wise/

When creating the nuances of Ashley’s alter egos, Davidson admitted that she had to give some extra attention to portraying a teen. “Ash was actually the most difficult one,” she admitted. “Because I didn’t want to do anything too broad and too ‘teenagery.’ So, it was just trying to be honest about somebody who’s kind of young and sees the world in a certain way and is perhaps defensive and an angry teen.”

Conceiving Ms. Abbott came more naturally. “It wasn’t hard for me to figure her out,” the Y&R star revealed. “It was the very first time she was introduced on paper. She’s in Tucker’s hotel room; she breaks in. I’m like, ‘Okay. she’s sitting in the chair, and it says kind of like a ‘Sharon Stone-type moment.’ I felt pretty comfortable embodying that in control, kind of toying with a man. She knows how to put on vulnerability and softness to get what she wants, but is always in control. And her ugly side shows more and more as the story has been coming out.”

Davidson had some artistic freedom in creating Belle, whom the writers described to her as a Southern and flirtatious woman with a penchant for tequila who is always on the prowl for a man. “I was off to the races,” she shared. “It’s been really, really fun for me. I didn’t want her to sound like she’s from the South completely, because Ashley is not from the South. It’s just a persona of how Ashley thinks a Southern person sounds. It’s very different.”

Y&R Alan Ashley
Belle wasted no time putting the moves on Alan!Howard Wise/

One thing that all the personalities have in common is their desire to protect their host. Even if that means Ms. Abbott is successful in removing Tucker permanently from Ashley’s life. “The most fascinating thing about DID and what I kept trying to inject into the performance is these alters are created to protect somebody. They all believe they’re protecting Ashley. Ms, Abbott thinks the way to protect Ashley is to kill Tucker because Tucker’s caused Ashley so much pain. So, from that aspect, it’s good daytime drama.”

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