Heather Tom

Is this the end of Bill & Katie? Or just the end of Katie? On the August 1 episode of The Bold and the Beautiful, heroine Katie Spencer — played by three-time Emmy winner Heather Tom — will go into cardiac arrest when her hubby Bill (Don Diamont) says he wants to end their marriage to be with the young and flirtatious Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood). As fans know, this is no normal heart: In 2008, B&B aired a controversial plot in which a dying Katie got her brother's ticker after he committed suicide to save her. TV Guide Magazine spoke with Tom about this startling new health crisis for Katie and what it means to the character's future.

TV Guide Magazine: First off, congrats on winning another Emmy last month!
Tom: It was such a surprise! [Laughs] I haven't won in, like, a decade. I'm used to going to these things and losing, so I never stress out about it. I'm friends will all the other ladies who were nominated in my category — I've known some of them for 20 years! — so I was rooting for all of us. I was so proud to be in the group. And the award meant a lot to me — something really special — because it was my first for B&B and I'm so proud to be on this show.

TV Guide Magazine: And it looks like this heart-attack plot could bring you another! Word is, there's some powerhouse acting coming at us.
Tom: I'm really excited about this story. It's going to be surprising for the audience and for Katie. She's horribly shocked by Bill's betrayal — shocked enough to have a heart attack.

TV Guide Magazine: She really doesn't see this betrayal coming? Let's back up a bit. Katie recently gathered family and friends for a surprise ceremony to renew her marriage vows — a surprise even to Bill. Like, who does that? Somewhere deep inside she must have known her marriage needed cementing.
Tom: I really don't think so! Up to this point, she's never had a reason not to trust Bill. He's never lied to her, as far as she knows. She knows there's a flirtation with Steffy and that it could be a problem, but I don't think she's suspicious of Bill in any way. She feels they've gone through a really hard time and come out on the other side. She thinks they can work through anything. [Laughs] But obviously she doesn't know what's really going on. The idea that Bill would cross the line with Steffy is totally foreign to Katie. She just doesn't believe it's possible.

TV Guide Magazine: I'm so surprised to hear you say that. Katie's urgent need to remarry him just reeked of insecurity! Besides, how can she be so trusting? He's Dollar Bill! He's ruthless, he's cutthroat.
Tom: Yes, but his ruthlessness comes from the fact that he tells the truth. Bill has really inspired a confidence in Katie. She knows he's no boy scout. She knows women want him. But she's, like, "You ladies can throw yourselves at him all day long, but he comes home to me!"

TV Guide Magazine: So what's it like to play a fool?
Tom: [Laughs] Hey, I totally see where Katie's coming from! I have a relationship right now with my boyfriend where we have our ups and downs but, if he cheated on me in some way, I would honestly have to question everything I know to be true in the world, because he is not that guy. For Katie to find out that Bill is that guy is devastating. And that's what gives her a heart attack.

TV Guide Magazine: So it all kicks off with Taylor [Hunter Tylo] spilling the beans?
Tom: Yeah, Taylor comes over and says, "Listen, your husband and my daughter are involved." And Katie's, like, "Your daughter is sick and needs help. She's obsessed with my husband and she's living in a fantasy world!" But it's at that point that a seed of doubt is planted, since Taylor is not the type to make stuff up. Then when Bill comes in I have this two-page monologue where Katie tells him what Taylor said and through it all Bill says nothing. It becomes clearer and clearer that things are not the way Katie thinks they are.

TV Guide Magazine: This could warp a gal for years!
Tom: I think — I hope — she's going to be left with some major trust issues when it comes to men. It's a huge breech. I hope the writers don't just play it off fast or forget about it because something like this could affect you for years.

TV Guide Magazine: It's great that they're evoking the story of Storm's heart here. It still has such resonance for the audience.
Tom: The wonderful thing about daytime is that each show has a rich history and that's such a valuable asset. To forget about it or not utilize it would be such a loss. Even though most viewers don't notice it, I always make sure I wear a [prosthetic] chest scar whenever Katie's in something low-cut to remind people of that transplant story. I put that sucker on every time!

TV Guide Magazine: So where do Katie and Bill go from here?
Tom: We haven't shot any of that yet but I hope this doesn't break them up right away. I want them to try to be okay. Maybe they can, maybe they can't, but it's always more interesting to see a couple try to fight to stay together rather than just giving up. Hopefully we can mine it for all it's worth.

TV Guide Magazine: What if Bill feels he now needs to stay with Katie out of guilt or fear that she'll have another heart attack? Who wants a husband like that?
Tom: I love that Katie is not being written as the pathetic victim here — her confrontation with Bill is very raw, physical and ugly. She does not want him staying with her out of obligation or guilt over this heart attack. She says, "If this is who you are, then I don't want you!" [Laughs] It's really pretty great. It's some of the best material I've ever had.

TV Guide Magazine: It seems like only yesterday that you showed up as a 15-year-old on The Young and the Restless. Now you're losing your man to a younger woman!
Tom: I know! Jackie Woods has really been hitting it out of the park and not playing Steffy like some evil temptress. She plays her scenes with so much pain underneath that it makes her human, and that makes the situation with Bill and Katie even more complicated. Likewise, Katie isn't written like some goody two shoes to make her the antithesis of Steffy. It's funny because Bill and Katie's relationship has sort of been on the show's backburner, but the silver lining here is that they've had time to really solidly as a team. That makes what's happening to them now really mean something. So there's definitely an upside to being in the background on B&B! [Laughs] The stakes are much higher for Bill and Katie because they're suddenly like this old married couple!

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