Chris Carmack, Aubrey Peeples
Relationships rarely experience smooth sailing on ABC's Nashville, but Layla (Aubrey Peeples) and Will (Chris Carmack) are in for an especially rocky ride.
"They are struggling," Peeples tells TVGuide.com about the couple's arc in the next few episodes. "I don't think that it would be realistic for everything to work out [with them]. ... Layla is upset a lot in the last half of the season."
What started out as a mutually beneficial publicity stunt — Layla gets a beau, Will gets a beard, everybody wins! — has unfortunately turned into real feelings for the young starlet. "She does love him," Peeples says. "I think from the beginning, Layla was like, 'Oh, this is a great career opportunity, and he's cute and this would work. I think that him being good for her career was a huge factor in why they got together. But at this point ... she's totally head over heels for him, because she's 19. There will always be that aspect of her career that drives her, and that's what comes first. But she's a hormonal teenager. She's in love with him now."
Nashville's Clare Bowen: Scarlett is "coming to the end of her tether"
As Will continues to wrestle with his sexuality, Layla has no idea what's really going on with him and starts to blame herself for issues with their relationship. "Layla at this point doesn't know that he is gay, but there's always a little something off," Peeples says. "I think [her finding out] would be devastating."
Things get a little "spicy" as Layla tries to salvage the relationship, Peeples teases. "At this point, [Layla's] living with Will and he's like her anchor," she says. "She's only 19 and she hasn't had a lot of experience in that realm, in that part of her life. So, how she handles it will be interesting."
But it's not just her love life that's causing insecurity for Layla. Having been thrown into the music industry after being the runner-up on a reality show, the young singer is having a hard time adjusting to being a small fish in a big pond. She already had a near-breakdown earlier this season while attempting to write a song with Gunnar (Sam Palladio). And making enemies of superstars like Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) and Rayna James (Connie Britton) probably isn't the wisest career move.
The best 14 performances on Nashville
"She's challenging because there are two dynamics to her," Peeples says. "She's really a vulnerable, lost little girl, which you're going to see more of coming up this back half of the season. But she covers it with this tough girl act, and she's defensive. So I think that's the challenge, that both of those are existing at the same time. And also, because she's so young and she has all of those emotions going on ... she hasn't developed a filter or a way to control herself."
Adds Peeples: "[Layla's] background in music is solely based on a competition, basically. ...I think that says a lot about her experience and a lot about what she's coming to the music industry with."
While it's unlikely that Layla will have a character transformation on the same level as, say, Avery (Jonathan Jackson), Peeples says viewers will see a more sympathetic side of Layla in upcoming episodes.
"It's been revealed that Layla comes from a very strict household, but it hasn't been delved into too much yet," Peeples says. "She realized [in the scene with Gunnar] that she's just sort of been following the path that her parents have set out. ... Fans are going to be very surprised."
Nashville airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on ABC.