Forget about a summer of romance on The Young and the Restless, because couples are falling apart faster than cheaply made clothing. Even longterm couples like Michael and Lauren (played by Christian LeBlanc and Tracey Bregman) and Cane and Lily (played by Daniel Goddard and Christel Khalil) are quickly unraveling, and those two crumbling relationships are actually becoming intertwined with each other, which makes their downfall twice as heartbreaking -- and twice as entertaining. But what does Bregman think about the possible end of Michael and Lauren's marriage? And does she see a real future between Lauren and Cane? Soap Central caught up with her to find out.
soapcentral.com: The last few weeks, actually the last few months, of your Y&R material have been so emotional, and I have to give you and Christian LeBlanc props for the really wonderful scenes you've both been delivering.
Tracey Bregman: Thank you so much.
soapcentral.com: What did you think when you realized the story was going to go in the direction of Michael pushing Lauren away because of his cancer and eventual impotence? It's been pretty heartbreaking for fans.
Bregman: I know. It's been a very, very hard story. But I think the actor in me and the actor in Christian, we just want the scenes to be emotionally rich and [we want] something to play, so we were excited for the possibility, even though I know it hasn't been a fan favorite story. It's so hard for our fans to think that anything could come between us, but as actors, we sort of look forward to something that interesting and different to do. But in saying that, we are very protective of our characters, and we want the story to have a good outcome.
soapcentral.com: There's obviously a lot of love there, despite what's happening with Cane, so do you see Lauren fighting for Michael, or do you feel she's just been pushed too far at this point?
Bregman: She's almost at the end of the rope, but that's all I can say.
soapcentral.com: Cane has come into the mix, and the two characters have now kissed, which was a pretty explosive moment. How have you fared when it comes to the Cane and Lily fans, who are pretty passionate about keeping the pair together?
Bregman: Well, [I'll] tell you what happened -- I completely didn't even think about it until it happened, and then when I got skewered by them, I was like, "Oh, my God!" I should have thought about it a little more.
soapcentral.com: They're very passionate fans, I tell ya.
Bregman: Well we love every single one of them and so appreciate that they love the characters so much that they are like that.
soapcentral.com: Do you think there's a real attraction to Cane for Lauren, or do you think she's just hurting a lot and craving any sort of close human connection?
Bregman: Well, you have to remember that they have the commonality of pain, they both have shared the fact that they've both had a spouse with cancer, and I think she looks to him as her lifeline because he's the one who's said, "Hold strong, hold strong, it's going to be okay. He's going to come back around. Lily did this, Lily did that, and it turned out okay."
soapcentral.com: Speaking of Lily, she's been really, really catty about all of this, even bringing up Lauren's history with Carmine [Marco Dapper] and such...
Bregman: I know! And I'm the one who gets skewered. I didn't throw [Cane] down and jump on top of him. I wasn't alone.
soapcentral.com: So true, but her claws have come out nonetheless. Do you think it's fair behavior on Lily's part, considering Lauren's history?
Bregman: No, I just think she's lashing out because she's hurting, and she doesn't want anything to happen in her relationship. And you know, she goes for my jugular.
soapcentral.com: I do feel kind of bad for Lauren, because she is kind of being portrayed as the bad one. But it's been fun to watch, and I imagine it's been fun for you to play, as well. It's different and something you haven't all faced in a long time.
Bregman: Yeah, I've worked with Christel maybe once or twice and Daniel never, so it's always fun to mix it up and work with new people, too.
soapcentral.com: It's very, very hard for fans to imagine Lauren without Michael. Is it hard for you to imagine, as well?
Bregman: Oh, I will need therapy. I'll need therapy for sure.
soapcentral.com: Could you really see Cane and Lauren being an official couple though? Is that truly a possibility?
Bregman: You know, I don't know. I'm not really sure. I think they have good chemistry, and I think they are great friends, but I honestly don't know if it would go into anything else.
soapcentral.com: I guess it truly depends on how much further Michael pushes Lauren and how Lily continues to react to Lauren and Cane's closeness.
Bregman: Right. It will depend on how the spouses react, because what's happening with Lauren, even in the speech she delivered on Friday [when Lauren and Cane kissed], she's so lonely. Everything has been taken away from her, absolutely everything.
soapcentral.com: Do you think she'll ultimately blame herself for everything that's happening in her marriage and with Cane, or do you think she'll blame Michael?
Bregman: I think she's blaming everybody. [laughs] She's just blaming everybody.
soapcentral.com: You've played her long enough by now to probably figure out how she deals with stuff. Do you think Lauren is pretty strong and she'll move forward with grace through this, or is this whole thing going to blow up into a huge mess?
Bregman: She's very strong, but when you keep getting rejected, rejected, rejected, rejected, there's only so much you can take. And then you're like, "All right." And when someone offers you warmth, sometimes you can turn to that, because they understand it, and I think that's what happened with the kiss with Cane. She's just been rejected too much.
soapcentral.com: You mentioned you've barely worked with Daniel Goddard in the past, so what has it been like to suddenly be thrust in each other's orbit?
Bregman: It's funny because I'm really good friends with he and his wife. So Daniel and I already have a rapport and a friendship, which helps a lot.
soapcentral.com: I'm going to switch gears a little bit, because over the weekend, you were honored for your animal activism at a gala at The National Museum of Animals, so how did the event go?
Bregman: It was amazing, and it was amazing to be honored alongside Moby. He's done so much for animal rights. He even donates music royalties. I mean, he's pretty amazing. There's [a vegan movement] that's coming out against animal testing, and for me, it's more about conditions. I mean, I'm horrified by a lot of the conditions for our food, for how people handle animals. It just blows my mind. So for me, my work is safer and more humane conditions. I don't think the world is going to go vegan. I'm vegetarian, and I have been since I was eight. I do not eat animal of any kind. Some people consider themselves a vegetarian but eat fish, but I don't eat any animal. And for me, it's about making [the conditions for the animals] better, because I'm not sure we will abolish [eating them].
soapcentral.com: For fans who might be interested in getting involved, what would you suggest?
Bregman: Well I think first they can go and support their local adoption agencies, the no-kill adoption agencies and rescues. That would be my first thought. The other would be to donate to a cause like Mercy for Animals, like The National Museum of Animals. And then [slowly changing their diets]. A very strong political person in our midst came up to me recently at a luncheon and of all the people they could talk to, the person came up to me and said, "My daughter just went vegetarian, can you help her?" And I'm the one, when people go gluten free, I'm the one that takes them shopping. And I wrote a blog all about it, because it's hard. And let me tell you something, I have a dear friend who is so lovely, who for Christmas will get me a whole basket of gluten free stuff that is so horrible. I've never tasted worse stuff in my entire life, and she's so lovely and I don't have the heart to tell her, but I have gluten free products that are amazing. I mean, I have big strapping boys, that when I cook, I make it gluten free and they love it. Because you have to know what products to get. And it can get overwhelming. I just recently took a cousin shopping, and she said, "I just don't know where to start," and she was right. That is the hardest thing. But there are a lot of great vegetarian cookbooks, and if anybody is interested in going vegan, my dear friend Kathy Freston has written six books on veganism, which she calls leaning in, that you slowly do it. And she's a gluten free vegan, so I can eat with her anywhere. And actually, being a vegetarian, I learned more from one lunch with Kathy Freston than anything. In fact, she taught me how to eat in a restaurant, because what I did was I would eat around the entrees and I'd eat appetizers and sides, and she said, "That's crazy! You can eat an entrée, just change out the meat for avocado." And I was like, "Oh, my God! Where the hell have I been!" And I thought that was an incredible tip.
soapcentral.com: What made you go vegetarian at the age of eight? Did you just not like the taste of meat, or did you do it for the animals?
Bregman: Strangely enough, my mother just told me exactly what it was, because I had thought it was something different. I thought it was the crackling on a roast, but it was several things. I lived in London, England, and the Harrods food hall, the butcher section, everything is hanging from cleavers, and I just remember the smell of the meat. So when I was really, really young, I wouldn't go in with her, and I would stand on the outside, and I'd have to stay in eye contact with her, but I have a memory of probably being four or five and standing outside. And then I guess my mother prepared lamb, and everything else is hamburger, a roast, a pork chop -- nothing saying ground cow, a slab of pig. You don't really know what you're eating until it's lamb, and then it's just baby lamb. And I said, "What do you mean it's lamb?" And then came the question, "Oh, my God, if that's lamb, what's this?!" And that was it. That was the last time I ate it. My poor mother. So I'm growing up in private school in London, home of the meat pot pie, and there was not a lot to eat, but my mother was a total rock star. She was amazing.
What do you think about Lauren and Cane's burgeoning attraction? Do you think Lauren and Michael's marriage is really over? And who do you blame -- Lauren, Cane, Michael, or somebody else -- for the current state of Lauren and Michael's marriage? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.