Move over, Cher, because there's another powerful woman who's about to take over all association with the term "heart of stone." The force to be reckoned with is Diana Cooper, the brand-new Days of our Lives character being played by soap opera legend Judith Chapman. And according to the daytime veteran, Salem's new diva is one heck of an enigma.
Viewers were given the pleasure of meeting Leo Stark's mom in the Tuesday, January 29, episode of the NBC series, but there's way more than meets the eye when it comes to the kind of material Diana will be slinging in the weeks ahead. And it all stems from the character's mysterious dark past with John Black (Drake Hogestyn), which, as Soap Central previously reported, left major scars on Diana that forever changed her.
"I had to keep quiet about [all of the storyline details] for six months [due to DAYS' production schedule]. I had to zip my mouth!" Chapman tells TV Insider. "Diana sees Drake's character as the love of her life, but she comes back to try to get him and all hell breaks loose. She's so damaged."
But viewers shouldn't mistake the fact that Diana is damaged for her being a reckless witch on a broom (even though that's sometimes difficult to do, considering Chapman made a witch-like return to Salem as her former DAYS alter ego Anjelica this past Halloween). As the actress explains, there's a refinement to Diana that serves as a lovely dichotomy to her normally tough-as-nails attitude.
"I think it's wonderful that Diana is so elegant. She's had her problems, but I wanted to bring an elegance and grace to her along with her having a heart of stone," Chapman explains. "There's an element of how damaged she was because of her past with John Black -- or whatever name he was going by at the time! She's a broken soul with a veneer of elegance."
But how did this role even come about? As fans know, Chapman played Anjelica Deveraux from 1989 to 1991, and when the show brought the character back to the canvas in 2017, they recast the role with Morgan Fairchild. That move, as it turns out, was because Chapman wasn't able to get away from her recurring role as The Young and the Restless' Gloria Abbott. But that didn't prevent the show from bringing Chapman back to the canvas as Anjelica this past Halloween, when she briefly appeared as a devilish, ghostly version of the character.
"My agent called me and said DAYS wants to know your availability. I said, 'Really? For what?' It was to come back and play Anjelica's ghost for the Halloween episode," Chapman reveals. "I thought that would never happen since they had previously hired Morgan to play the role since I was unable to get out [of] Y&R. I had so much fun revisiting all the actors and Albert [Alaar, co-executive producer], who's still there [from my first time on the show]. It was like going home. I had mentioned to them at the time that I was doing a little more Y&R, but I'd love to come back and play some more... Albert was so wonderful. He said he'd love to see me again and I said I'd love to play with you all again. A few days later, they call me about this wonderful character."
For more from Chapman on her return to DAYS, including what it was like to reunite with her on-screen Y&R son Greg Rikaart (ex-Kevin Fisher), check out the actress's full interview with TV Insider.
What are your first impressions of Diana Cooper? What kind of skeletons do you think are hiding in her closet, if any? Would you like to see her win John Black's heart, or are you hoping Marlena succeeds in keeping her longtime love to herself? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.