The Young and the Restless' Victoria Newman (Amelia Heinle) is a boss in the boardroom, but it took her quite a while to get there. Unfortunately, it has taken her even longer to become a boss in the bedroom, with a love life that has been filled with just as many misses as kisses. However, Victoria's brand-new relationship -- and engagement! -- with sexy New York businessman Ashland Locke (Richard Burgi) could be the beginning of a beautiful chapter for the Newman Enterprises CEO. The question is, will it be a short one?
Soap Central caught up with Daytime Emmy Award-winning actress Amelia Heinle to find out if Victoria and Ashland are the real deal, why the character is jumping straight into marriage with a dying man, and if she thinks this romance will ultimately spell happiness or heartbreak for her longtime alter ego. We also got the scoop on Victor's (Eric Braeden) reaction to his daughter's engagement, what's next for Victoria's sibling relationship with Adam (Mark Grossman), and a few memories from Heinle about the best on-screen romantic connections she's experienced in her soap career.
Soap Central: It's really nice to see Victoria beaming and looking so happy. She's been a little out of sorts recently, so it's a nice change!
Amelia Heinle: I love that expression, "out of sorts." [Laughs] But yeah, I think the fans enjoy watching her be happy again, even though it's kind of a bittersweet happiness. She was all about business when she and Billy [Jason Thompson] broke up, and now, it's kind of like, I didn't see this coming for the character, either, because if it's not Billy, then usually it's nobody!
Soap Central: What were your initial feelings when you realized that the writers were going to explore the Victoria and Ashland connection?
Heinle: I had worked with him a few times on business, as far as Cyaxares and that whole storyline, but you can tell when you're reading the scripts, even if they haven't hooked the couple up yet, you can tell if you start spending more time with someone, they're probably going to put the two people together. But I was really excited about it because I had spent those few episodes working with Richard in the business story, and everybody really likes him, and he's really fun to be around. He's been in the business a long time, and he's just really funny, and he doesn't take himself too seriously. He takes the job seriously, of course, but it was exciting, and I thought, "Well, this could be interesting." And on top of that, they introduced that he was also dying at the same time, and I thought that was kind of cool.
Soap Central: But sad, as you said before!
Heinle: It is sad, but they might be able to write this in a very interesting way, is what I thought. Maybe they'll come up with a different story -- one that we haven't seen before.
Soap Central: That's the fun thing with soaps; you can never really say, "Oh, that's how this story is going to go," because who knows? He could recover, or this could even be a huge ruse for Ashland to get back at Victor.
Heinle: There is that element, too! [Laughs] When I first read it, I thought, "That could be a nice story." But my thinking doesn't go to the diabolical; it always goes to the romantic. So, I'm like, "Oh, she loves him, even to his death!" That sort of thing. [Laughs] He's probably going to do something, but they don't tell us, and we don't really know that far in advance.
Soap Central: All of the drama and health issues and family stuff aside, do you think Ashland and Victoria are a good match?
Heinle: I do! It's a very sophisticated relationship, whereas with Billy -- all of the different Billys! -- it always had more of a fun [element] and was just different. This is her mature relationship with a man in the business world. Her life is her business, it's Newman Enterprises. I mean, and her kids, too, but they don't write that as much -- we just assume that. [Laughs] But there are some things in there that make me think [Ashland and Victoria] have potential, and the more Richard and I work together, the more the characters, with the business, they still have fun; they still have light banter, but the connection is getting deeper and better, for lack of a better word.
Soap Central: To me, the thing that is interesting is that Victoria has finally met someone who can actually be as strong as she is. And I don't mean to say anything bad about Billy, but Ashland seems like he can go on her same level. We see Victoria going head to head with somebody as powerful as Victor, so it seems like she would be capable of walking all over a lot of men, but it doesn't seem like she could do that with Ashland, because we've seen a very ugly, ruthless side of him.
Heinle: Oh, that's true. And he holds his own with Victor, as well, which to her, she's never been with a man like that. I had never thought of that -- that's a very good point.
Soap Central: Victoria and Ashland's relationship has moved very quickly, which they've said is because Ashland is dying, and they want to enjoy every moment together. But might there be any other reasons that Victoria is so open to jumping into this so fast? Like, maybe forgetting Billy, perhaps?
Heinle: I was going to say some emotionally disturbed reasons! [Laughs] But yeah, I mean, there is probably that element, as well. There was an episode where she was saying, "I really don't have much of a life," basically, and I think she was feeling lonely, and maybe part of the reason is based on that. Because I don't think she'd be the type of person that would just marry him just because he's dying. There has to be more to it than that. At first, it seemed the way it was being written was that she wanted to give him the best, last whatever time he has left, whether that be a year or a couple of months, but there is definitely more to it than what meets the eye.
Soap Central: Part of the dynamic is that they have their companies together now, so what can you say about their ability to work together? Because for both of them, their careers have been number one.
Heinle: Well, I'm not going to give a spoiler! [Laughs] But some things do start to pop up in the future that are going to signal to the audience that Ashland has some things in mind that are kind of tweaking Victoria... Maybe there's something more going on, but it is interesting -- the big thing that will happen is very funny, and the audience will be like, "Wait a minute!" It hasn't happened yet, but there are going to be little hints to the audience, and it will be left open to everybody's own interpretation of what's going to happen.
Soap Central: Knowing what you know of Victoria -- and you have been playing her for quite some time -- do you think she has what it takes to play Ashland's game as well as he would if he's not on the up and up? Basically, do you think she's strong enough to handle whatever might come her way?
Heinle: I think so. I think she might lose her ground for a bit if something does happen -- she would probably have a moment of weakness -- but she always rallies with Victor. She always ends up going to her dad, and he always ends up supporting her in the end, and they always fight back. If anything does happen -- and I'm not saying it will or it won't, because I have no idea! -- but I think it would leave the door open for a connection with Victor. Because right now, there is stuff going on with Victor and Victoria that she is not pleased about. But she loves him, and even if she's not pleased with him, they always come together and kind of pool their strengths, and they always overcome whatever obstacle is in front of them. So, I think that could be a route that they go with it.
Soap Central: What do you make of Victor's reaction to Victoria becoming engaged to Ashland? She's basically sleeping with the enemy, but he was surprisingly supportive!
Heinle: I think he is! But I also think he's probably cautiously optimistic. He wants to see his daughter happy, and he actually does like Ashland for the reasons that Victoria does, I think. Well, not all of the same reasons! [Laughs] But he's a strong businessman, and he's probably, in Victor's opinion, worthy of his daughter, because he knows her so well and knows what she needs. And that's why Victor has always given Billy such a hard time -- he thinks Billy is a good-for-nothing, gambling playboy, which he kind of is! Not right now in the story, but I think that's why Victor is okay with Victoria and Ashland getting married. He wants the best for his daughter -- even though it's fast! But I think he understands that aspect of it, too, which is why he approves it. He's like, "You know what? I see what she's doing. I know why she's doing this. Plus, I kind of like the guy."
Soap Central: In your career, you've survived a serial killer, got pushed out of an attic window, I mean, so many crazy things! How does locking horns with Victor Newman compare?
Heinle: I love it! Working with Eric is my favorite. The scenes that we have together, I always look forward to them, because you never know how they're going to turn out. They can be written a certain way, and they can always turn out better. They always do turn out better. He's so fun to work with; he doesn't stay married to anything, and that's what makes it fun. And they're always dynamic, because he's a dynamic man, and he will do something so unexpected that makes you do something so unexpected, and it gives you the freedom to do that. So, by far, he is one of my favorites, if not my top favorite, person to work with. It's like a piece of candy or a piece of chocolate or Christmas morning -- a treat -- when I read a script with him in it. And especially if it's something emotional, because, oh, my goodness, he brings it.
Soap Central: How is it for you to see Eric Braeden working with Richard Burgi? They're both such powerful men and actors playing powerful characters, and you get a front row seat!
Heinle: I love it! Melody [Thomas Scott, Nikki Newman] and Eric, and me and Richard, we've done a few scenes together, and I really just love it. It's so fun. It works. The chemistry works for all of us, and we all enjoy it. Again, none of these people take themselves too seriously, so we just end up having fun. There's definitely a difference in strength between Ashland and Victor -- there are two different strengths there -- but they are both powerhouses, so it's really fun.
Soap Central: I'd like to ask about Adam, because Victoria and Adam are squabbling -- again! It's what they do best, it seems. What do you think of their sibling dynamic?
Heinle: I have to say, for the first time ever, Mark Grossman, I have really good chemistry with him. Out of all the Adams that we've had, I feel like my chemistry with him is the best. I like how he plays him so much. There's a little bit of love under the way that he plays Adam, where I didn't feel that before. With his character, we are brother and sister, and there should be that underlying [love]. Even though we're always bantering back and forth and say we don't like each other, there has got to be some sort of love and other level to it that is hidden beneath that you see between the players, and with Mark, I feel it. He's just got a lot of layers and a lot of depth, so when he plays this stuff, you can feel the hurt in his character; there is love there, and he feels left out, or whatever. I just always feel that with Mark, and that makes the scenes a lot better. He's got a vulnerability.
Soap Central: Yes, definitely. And I don't know if the writers picked up on that and have seen that between Adam and Nick, as well? Because they are somewhat getting along these days, which is interesting to see. How do you think the two of them getting along might affect Victoria?
Heinle: I feel like she's not going to go for it. The difference between Nick and Victoria getting along with Adam is Victoria is always protecting her CEO spot in Newman, and she feels like Adam is a threat to that. Nicholas couldn't care less about Newman, so it's not a threat. So, I'm pretty sure Victoria will always have her guard up around Adam, and she'll probably never let him in the way that Nicholas has, even though deep down she might want to.
Soap Central: Do you have favorite scenes that you like to play? Like, Victoria being the strong businesswoman, or Victoria falling apart or being wronged? Just your favorite type of scenes that you always look forward to playing?
Heinle: I don't really wanna go through being disappointed again, with Ashland. I really don't want to play that again, I can tell you that much! [Laughs] But at the same time, I don't want to play that everything is hunky-dory and happy. I do look forward to playing the scene where, if it's going to happen -- and again, I swear I don't know if this is happening or not -- but if something happens with Ashland where it doesn't work out, however that may be, even if he dies, I look forward to playing scenes with Eric and Melody where they're just there to love me and support me. Because those always turn out to be the best ones.
Soap Central: You've had the opportunity to share romantic scenes with some really, really talented men in your daytime career, like William deVry, Don Diamont, John Callahan, Cameron Mathison -- just so many. They're all amazing, but did you feel a particularly strong connection with any of them or found one of them to be really special?
Heinle: Well, I mean, I worked with Michael Weatherly, and he and I got married! That was way back, on Loving [where I played Stephanie Brewster and he played Cooper Alden]. So, I had a connection with him. Thad Luckinbill [ex-J.T. Hellstrom], who I married, too! [Laughs] But if you're talking on a professional level, then I'd say Billy Miller [ex-Billy Abbott] was hands down the best. We had a really fun, great relationship. It was a moment in time. But I've never had a bad experience with anyone -- I've loved all of the guys that I've gotten to work with. But Billy Miller and I, it can't be denied that we had a special connection.
Soap Central: Ah, we miss him. We love Jason Thompson, of course! But we miss Billy Miller.
Heinle: You can love Jason and still miss Billy! I love Jason, too. He's one of the nicest, sweetest, kindest, wonderful, and giving people. And he's such a great actor. Oh, my God, he's so good. But connection wise, because of the time period and because of the writing [with Billy Miller], that's right when they recreated the Billy character, they threw them together in this Romeo and Juliet thing, so that was really special.
Soap Central: Is there anything else that you'd like to add before I have to let you go?
Heinle: Just that I'm grateful that everybody stuck it out during this rough period of time with all of the [COVID] mandates and the things that we've had to do. It's been really difficult, and I'm proud of everyone on the show and proud of the powers that be. Everybody tried to do their best to keep it going, so I'd like to thank everyone for that. I know it's not easy. So, that's it. And that it's wonderful to be here!
Soap Central: The fans were also grateful that you guys did all you could to keep the show going -- you were strong, you got on set, you did what you needed to to make sure that the fans were still entertained, so the thank you goes right back to you for giving us all the entertainment over this really rough year and a half.
Heinle: I'm really, really glad that we got back and kept going. It's a really strong group here, and all of the other productions in general, it's just really hard for everyone right now, so kudos to all of us, and God bless everyone!
What do you think about our interview with Amelia Heinle? Do you think Victoria and Ashland are a good match? How do you think the writers will take this story? Which of Amelia Heinle's on-screen romantic partners have you loved seeing her with the most during her soap career? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.