INTERVIEW: Alexa Havins takes a walk down AMC memory lane

Posted Wednesday, November 21, 2018 12:15:17 PM

All My Children's Alexa Havins (ex-Babe Carey) opens up about reuniting with Jacob Young (ex-J.R. Chandler) for Lifetime's Killer Vacation, the heartwarming reason why she's not on social media, and what her Pine Valley days were really like.

Former All My Children star Alexa Havins (ex-Babe Carey) lives a fairly private life, choosing not be on any form of social media and only giving occasional interviews when her projects call for it. That somewhat elusive nature means that any interview with the New Mexico native is guaranteed gold, as are the very rare glimpses she gives into her life with her husband Justin Bruening (ex-Jamie Martin, AMC) and the three children they share together in Southern California.

Fortunately for Havins fans, the actress was extremely forthcoming in an interview with Soap Central to help promote her new Lifetime Movie Network film Killer Vacation, which reunites her with her former AMC love, Jacob Young (ex-J.R. Chandler). Havins opens up about the special chemistry she and Young share, what it was really like to be a part of All My Children, her thoughts on the passing of David Canary (ex-Adam/Stuart Chandler), why she's not on social media, what her family dynamic is like with Bruening, and much, much more.

Check out a brief synopsis of Killer Vacation, which airs Friday, November 23, at 8PM PT/ET, below and keep reading for Soap Central's interview with Alexa Havins, which follows.

Lindsey (Havins) and Jake (Young) have been together for two years, ever since he discovered his wife was having an affair. When Lindsey finds out she is pregnant, Jake is thrilled and tells her they will get married the day his divorce is final. He has to attend a business conference in New Mexico and invites Lindsey to join him for a romantic "babymoon."

The couple checks into an upscale resort and decides to go on a hike. When Lindsey falls behind and can't find Jake, she nearly falls to her death when the trail gives way. When they return to the resort, they find that Jake's soon-to-be ex-wife, Gwen (Avery Clyde), has arrived to surprise Jake. He insists to Lindsey that this is the perfect time to get her to sign divorce papers. He will have them drafted and make sure she signs them before they leave.

At dinner later than night, Lindsey has a freak accident that almost kills her. She is saved by Chad, the yoga instructor at the resort. Lindsey sees a woman who looks like Gwen walking away from the scene of the accident. When Lindsey confronts her, Gwen insists she is only there to warn Lindsey: there was no affair, and there will be no divorce. Jake sleeps with pretty young girls, but when they get too close, he takes them on vacation, and they never come back!

Is Gwen telling the truth or just trying to get Jake back? Is Jake trying to kill the girlfriend he never intends to marry? Whatever it is, it looks like the dream babymoon has turned from idyllic to deadly!

Soap Central: There is no better time for your movie with Jacob Young to be airing than Thanksgiving, because all your All My Children fans are so thankful to see you guys on-screen together again!

Alexa Havins: Isn't it amazing? When it came about and they first offered me the movie, he wasn't attached to it, so I had no clue. So, literally, the day before filming, I had said to [my real-life husband Justin Bruening], "I think they'll get Jacob for this." And he was like, "That is so random. Why would you think that?" And I was like, "I don't know. I just think he could be amazing at this role. And, if they're smart, they're thinking of putting Babe and J.R. back together." And then I showed up to do my fitting, and I looked up and saw our headshots up on the wall. My jaw just dropped and then I heard his voice as he was walking into the building, so I ran out and gave him a huge bear hug. It was a pretty good reunion!

Soap Central: That sounds amazing! What about the role of Jake made you think that Jacob would play him so well?

Havins: You know, when it first came through, they didn't have the cast yet, and I was trying to convince Justin, "Come and film with me! Come do it!" And I was half-teasing him because his schedule [was full], as he was working on something else. And then, once I got there in New Mexico, they said they didn't have anyone locked down yet, and one night I just said, "It's going to be Jacob." I don't know why. He's good at the romantic thing, but he has so many facets to it, and then, as I was saying, what's more important than getting the two of us back on-screen?

Soap Central: Did the two of you guys keep in touch at all over the years?

Havins: A little bit. I'm not on social media, which is kind of a hindrance as far as day-to-day keeping up with everyone; I'm not on Facebook, Instagram, nothing. We did see each other when All My Children was wrapping up its last days; I saw him [at a gathering that was held for us to say goodbye to the show]. So, we really just spent those weeks that we were filming getting caught up. He has a beautiful family. We showed each other pictures, because we both have three children now, and he just seems so happy with his wife, Christen, and I'm the same with Justin. We both have wonderful marriages. There are a lot of similarities in our lives. So, it was neat. It felt like a high school reunion of sorts, and it was definitely an All My Children reunion.

Soap Central: I was actually going to ask you about the social media thing, because you're actually quite unique, being an actress that doesn't have social media. Are you nervous to put yourself out that way? Or is it more that you're against social media in general?

Havins: It just kind of evolved naturally. It wasn't a strong decision at first. It was more just, "Eh, I don't want to do that." But it is kind of nice, when you are so exposed and out there. When I was on All My Children, every ounce of me was on display -- our marriage, everything. I think for a minute, it was just nice to have a couple of things for myself, but it wasn't purposeful. I do like the fan connections, because that was nice, getting that on a day-to-day basis, better than just walking around in New York. But I don't know why. Maybe there's something of me that is kind of vintage, I guess. I read old-school books, like, I read a true book, not a digital book. So, I guess that kind of plays into it. And the second factor is probably just that I'm focused on my family. I feel like it would take away time or I would be more distracted as a mother if I'm worried about what to post on Instagram or if somebody liked my whatever. So, it's one part motherhood and the other that I'm just old-school. Maybe I'll give in one day, I don't know. Everybody keeps asking, so maybe I'll have to give in sometime.

Soap Central: I'm actually quite jealous. Being on social media is necessary for my job, because I have to follow all you guys!

Havins: Oh, yeah, that is definitely a huge part of your job! [Laughs] But that's the problem: when I say, "Maybe I will get on," everyone says, "Oh, my goodness, I'm so jealous that you're not on it." And Justin isn't on it, either. But we'll see.

Soap Central: The dynamic of Babe and J.R.'s relationship was so special. Would you say there are any similarities in your guys's pairing for Killer Vacation?

Havins: You know, it really does have a lot of similarities, just because there's that strong romantic pull, that chemistry and love for each other. And it's kind of unconventional, how the relationship came together; it was quick, kind of like how Babe and J.R.'s relationship first evolved. A couple of times I had to watch myself and not accidentally say Babe or J.R. I had to really focus on saying Lindsey and Jake. It felt really natural to slip right into what we had. And it took no time at all: literally one day and one scene. I looked at him and I said, "Okay, we found our rhythm, we're back!" It was just like riding a bike, Babe and J.R.

Soap Central: Do you think chemistry is more actor-based or more character-based? And I ask that because you guys had undeniable chemistry as Babe and J.R. Did the chemistry feel the same, even though you were playing two different characters?

Havins: I think it's a little bit of both, [and also] good writing and good story. I mean, we were really lucky to have such solid writing and leadership when we were on All My Children. They just had such a vision for our storylines -- the love triangle and the baby swap -- so it was a very fortunate time to be a part of daytime. That played so well, the things we said, and the stories had such high emotion, that it helped to feel what we felt on-screen for you guys. But at the same time, Jacob immediately took me under his wing because he was a daytime veteran, and I had never done anything; it was one of my first jobs. So, he was there and guiding me, and we were running lines, and so I guess that off-camera does lead to an on-camera connection. Same thing with my husband. We became friends for a while, and then it turned into a relationship.

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Soap Central: You have a lot more experience under your belt now, having done many projects since your AMC days. Being with Jacob again, did you feel that you've grown a lot as an actress? Was that something noticeable?

Havins: Maturity wise, yes. Between the characters, there was more of a grounding maturity as far as maybe not being as na´ve. And she's a little less of a free spirit, Lindsey. She's not as fun and wild as our Babe was! Lindsey is coming off of a really tough time in her life and moving to a new city for a fresh start, so I think there's something very broken and hurt and vulnerable and damaged about her. But as we go on, she does find her strength because she has to.

Soap Central: What are your thoughts when you think back on your All My Children days, and is it a time in your life that you think about often? You did meet your husband there, so I assume it comes up from time to time...

Havins: Of course! All the time. I absolutely loved every minute that I was on All My Children. Daytime for me was such a beautiful gift. The people I worked with both on camera and behind, it literally was absolute perfection. I met my husband there, as you said, and now we have a beautiful family because of our time on All My Children. I've thought about it a lot. And the times that I was asked to go back, it just wasn't a good time, either my life professionally, or Justin and I personally. But I always missed Babe, and when I found out that they had killed off the character, I was just as heartbroken as you guys were! [Laughs] It was bad! But it's a soap opera, so you're never really dead, right? So, I say to myself, "She's not dead!" Because that was a piece of me. I poured my soul into that character. And there really have been very few roles I've enjoyed as much as Babe. So much of me was in her; I just gave myself to that role so freely, and I had such freedom to build and create with them and was able to put pieces of me into it. So, Babe is very, very dear to me.

Soap Central: Would you take another soap opera role, or would you say those days are behind you?

Havins: Well, no, I don't look at it like a behind thing. Never say never. The times that I had been approached, I had just had a baby, or Justin was filming, and it wouldn't have worked. We always want one of us to be with the kids, so we split it. If I'm working, he's with them and vice versa, if he's working, then I'm with the kids. So, the times that it came up, it just wasn't a great fit. It's always hard to say, "No, I'm sorry. Thank you for thinking of me." And part of me always wanted to go back, because I literally can say nothing bad about it. It wasn't like I just used it as a steppingstone or whatever. I think daytime is brilliant. I love it. So, I guess never say never. If it was the right character and the timing worked, possibly, right? But I don't know.

Soap Central: Did you see the special AMC reunion that Kelly Ripa [ex-Hayley Vaughan] did on her talk show?

Havins: Wait, what? No! How did I miss that? Well, probably because I'm not on social media! [Laughs]

Soap Central: You have to look it up and watch it. It's so good. They included Susan Lucci [ex-Erica Kane], and Sarah Michelle Gellar came back as Kendall. It was hilarious.

Havins: Oh, I love that! That's what it felt like when the big group of us that weren't part of the current cast got to go back, just to say our goodbyes to the show when it ended. It felt that way, such fun, bringing everyone back through. That's cool that Sarah made time for that. I know she always liked Kelly, so that's fun. I'll add that to my list.

Soap Central: I know you worked closely with David Canary while you were on the show, so how did you react when you heard the news of his passing?

Havins: Heartbroken. And that's another thing, I felt that there was no way to express that when you're not on social media. But at home, and my family members who had met him, as well, we were all just devastated. He is just an all-time classic. Being on set with him, he had such a presence of just a magical, old-school, Hollywood actor. He was kind and generous, and so was his family. We were devastated to say goodbye. He was such a part of welcoming me there and shaping Babe, because he gave me something to play off of, his anger and hate toward her. It was nice to have somebody so strong to stand up to and learn from. I'm so fortunate to have had the chance to work with him. He was so insanely talented, and to play the both characters, he felt like the soul of the show. Susan Lucci was the heart and the rock of it, and he was the soul of All My Children.

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Soap Central: Is there anyone from the show that you have kept in contact with over the years?

Havins: You know who I'm really close with? Connie Fletcher. She was Fletcher then, but she's Staton now. She played Erin Lavery. Connie and I were pregnant and had our first children together and lived on the same street. So, we became very, very close and even more so after our days on All My Children together. So, Connie, yes. She's amazing. When I see her, we don't skip a beat. And same thing with Eden [Riegel, ex-Bianca Montgomery]. I lived near Eden, too, which was strange, because she had babies, Connie had babies, we all had babies at the same time! So, honestly, when we run into each other or see each other, or like when Alicia [Minshew, ex-Kendall Hart] and I will randomly text each other, we don't skip a beat. Because when you work that many years together and those long hours, you develop a really deep bond. And Bobbie Eakes [ex-Krystal Carey] and I [still talk], and I just talked to Michael Knight [ex-Tad Martin] a few weeks ago. But just as it comes up, because like I said, I'm kind of removed in my anti-social media bubble! [Laughs] But when I do, I have such love for every single person.

Soap Central: I think because you're in that "anti-social media bubble," an interview like this will feel so much more valuable to the fans, because you're not as accessible on a day-to-day basis.

Havins: It's true! Like, for instance, I'll see people, and they'll be like, "Whoa, you have three kids? I thought you only had one." And I'm like, "Oh, yeah, I guess it's not out there because I don't really announce it." So, yes, Justin and I have three children together. I guess [not being on social media] adds a little bit of allure, and it's nice to get some new info out there.

Soap Central: So, then, let me ask you this: How do we find out what you're up to next?

Havins: I guess wait and see, and I'll just suddenly be out there! [Laughs] Or I'll give in and start promoting. I don't know. We're so old-school. Like, I'm teaching my kids how to write letters. I belong on a vintage farm! [Laughs] I did a guest-starring role on Barry, the comedy on HBO, so I think that's probably the next thing that will come out. I don't know when it's scheduled to air, but it was such a phenomenal show to be a part of. To be a part of that was pretty exciting. The show is hilarious. I don't watch a ton of stuff, but it's on point. It's really good, especially from an actor's perspective. It's really funny.

Soap Central: Well, if there's anything in the future you'd like to promote, you can reach out, and we will promote it for you so you don't have to be on social media!

Havins: Oh, that's great! Let's see how long I can hold out. I really can't believe that I'm still not on it, to be honest. It's a conversation that comes up every two weeks. We say, "Do we need to do this? Should we?" You'll be the first one we contact if it happens. But we're just living a really fulfilled life, Justin and I and our kids. And when I'm not working, I just love being a mom, every second. They're phenomenal. I always knew I'd love being a mom, but I enjoy it even more than I thought I would. So, I've just been focusing on them a lot, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Soap Central: They sound like they're very lucky kids.

Havins: They're my priority. I almost forget about the acting sometimes because I'm just so much in love with these little cuties. We've got three children, two little girls and a boy, and it's pretty awesome. But it's funny, in California, when I go into a room, people are like, "You have three kids?!" And they look at me as if I have ten. [Laughs] Three in California is like absolute insanity. People look at me like I'm crazy.

Soap Central: Are you going to have any more?

Havins: No! I shouldn't. I need to focus on my job! [Laughs] I need to work again. Because every time you get pregnant, everyone is really supportive, but it's like, "K, bye. See you later." And I like having time during those early years together. So, our littlest now, she'll be turning three. She's old enough now for me to be away, so it would be nice to focus on work a little bit more. But it's been a really fun eight years just being a mom.

Soap Central: How old are your other two kids?

Havins: Our oldest, she just turned eight. Our middle one is our son, and he's five. And then our baby girl is going to be turning three in December.

Soap Central: We haven't seen any photos, but they must be beautiful kids, coming from you and Justin.

Havins: That's so kind! Thank you! Our son Zane looks exactly like Justin, and then the girls, our oldest is a mix between the two of us, and then the baby looks like me with Justin's skin tone. They all have Justin's coloring but a lot of my expressions. Someday, maybe we'll put their picture out there. I guess that's something I am more cautious about, not putting the kids out yet. But I'd love to share them with you guys someday, because we're so proud, and they're just amazing.

Soap Central: It's probably for the best if you don't put their photo out there, all things considered.

Havins: I know, especially because it's something you can't take back. And they have their privacy. They have no idea what we do. Justin had a movie in theaters, Indivisible, that just came out, and I was debating even showing them. We don't even bring it up. They don't even know what we do. We say, "You know how you pretend like you're a frog? We pretend, too." That's how we basically explain it. But then they saw the poster for Justin's movie, and he's looking intently into Sarah Drew's eyes, and our son was like, "Wait. Why are you looking at her like you love her? That's not mom!" And Justin got into trouble. [Laughs] I mean, they're looking at each other like they love each other and they're snuggling, and I'm thinking from a child's perspective, that's gotta be very confusing. So, we try to shield them. Like, I would never let them see something that was a romantic aspect with someone else. But I let them see little bits of things here and there. They have a very normal life. A very normal life. They ride bikes and play outside for five hours and get in the dirt and find worms. I just want to give them an all-American childhood.

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Soap Central: Would you be open to any of your kids going into acting at some point in time?

Havins: I wouldn't not support, just because my parents were always so supportive of me, as crazy as it sounded to them. But not as a child. We wouldn't be into childhood acting. But I say that now, and then watch, something changes! Maybe if it were like, "Hey, come do a day and play my son or be my daughter." If it was something like that, then maybe. That would maybe just organically happen without us even meaning to, because it almost has a few times. But if they came to me, we would listen and be supportive, but maybe wait until they are old enough to make wise choices. Because it's an adult business, a hard business. Long hours. I think they have a lot of time to work. But if one of them came to me and it's their passion, then I'll support them in whatever way. One of them has got to, right? Between the both of us, somebody will end up doing something at some point, I just don't know what!

Soap Central: Well, with two parents in the entertainment industry, it's bound to happen.

Havins:I know! Some aspect of it. If it's not acting, maybe it's directing or something behind the scenes. We'll see. But of course, I love my children, and I will support them. Just right now, it's a dead no. Just us, for now!

Soap Central: Before I let you go, is there anything else you want to add that I didn't ask you about?

Havins: Just that I think this movie will be fun on Friday. Everyone will get a kick out of seeing our reunion on-screen.

Killer Vacation, starring Alexa Havins and Jacob Young, will be airing this Friday, November 23, at 8PM PT/ET on Lifetime Movie Network.

What do you think about our interview with Alexa Havins? Will you be tuning in to Killer Vacation? What are your favorite memories of AMC's Babe? Would you love to see Havins return to daytime? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.

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