She's been held hostage in a cage, imprisoned in an abandoned zoo and even buried alive. Now The Young and the Restless' Lauren Fenmore — played by Emmy winner Tracey E. Bregman — has been kidnapped by her crazed ex-lover Carmine (Marco Dapper), who has her stashed away in a mountain cabin. Look for a violent clash between Carmine and Lauren's hubby Michael (Christian LeBlanc) on Monday, July 29 — with a twisty conclusion! TV Guide Magazine spoke with Bregman about her character's latest brush with mortality, her cool new lifestyle blog and why she's looking so damn good at 50!
TV Guide Magazine: What is it with you and psycho stalkers?
Bregman: [Laughs] Honey, what's with me and duct tape? Every Y&R writer finds a way to somehow bind me in duct tape. But this one I never saw coming. Obviously Carmine was obsessed with Lauren. But he started out such a sweet, gentle soul. She never imagined he'd become psychotic and physically dangerous. Neither did I!
TV Guide Magazine: Seriously? After all your experience with nutjobs?
Bregman: I'm serious! And I truly believe Lauren did not see this coming, that she did not see the depths of Carmine's feelings for her. She thought she was just having a fun fling during the worst time of her life. He was her escape.
TV Guide Magazine: A little something happens in the July 29 episode that suggests the Y&R writers may be turning Carmine into another Sheila.
Bregman: The Sheila fans are certainly hoping there's a connection!
TV Guide Magazine: Meaning what, that they think he secretly is Sheila?
Bregman: Hey, it's happened! This is Y&R! [Laughs] Everybody else has played her! You know, it's funny about the fans. They liked the flirting between Lauren and Carmine but the second it crossed the line into an actual affair, it was really hard for them to take. They had such an emotional investment in Michael and Lauren being the only happy couple in Genoa City...but when our characters were the happiest, we were mostly off-screen.
TV Guide Magazine: The objectification of women and, particularly, violence against women isn't okay — no big spoiler there — yet over the years there's been so much of it on Y&R where Lauren is concerned. Do you ever take issue with that?
Bregman: It's a very serious issue, which is why I am thrilled to see that they have Lauren fighting back. Our show has tackled a lot of socially relevant subjects and done it very well. We try to keep the stories emotional. I would hate to think we were playing any of the physical violence for entertainment. For Lauren, this is a story of survival, and that she has the strength to fight back even when the odds are against her and she's physically outmatched. We're asking questions like, how far would you go to protect your family? It got very hairy for a couple of episodes, nothing I'd ever want to repeat in a storyline, but you do see the fighter in Lauren. She's been pushed to that brink. There's another huge twist coming I can't wait for you to see.
TV Guide Magazine: How the heck did you turn 50? I remember watching you when you were 14 on Days of Our Lives! This can't be possible!
Bregman: I can't believe it myself! I'm, like, how on earth did this happen? But it's better than the alternative, right? I wake up every morning grateful for the opportunity to see another day. I tell all the young girls on Y&R, "Aging isn't for sissies — and it's even harder when you're in HD!" People are always asking how I remain so dedicated to staying in shape. [Laughs] Trust me, it's no big mystery. When your ass is in HD, you have dedication. I tell people all the time that I'm 50, and why not? If I don't, the Internet will get me anyway. It's not like I'm hiding anything but it is weird. I still feel there's an 18-year-old dancing inside of me.
TV Guide Magazine: Is that why you created your health and lifestyle blog, Conscious Living by Tracey Bregman?
Bregman: It is! I wrote a piece on fear a while back that is probably the most personal thing I've written. I'm not a real writer — I'm probably a grammatical nightmare — but the content is all me. People ask me for tips, and I'm happy to give them. I don't want to see some 20-year-old on TV trying to sell me eye cream. I want to see Isabella Rossellini selling it — that's the kind of woman I want to hear from! So I'm talking openly and honestly about how it feels to get to be this age. Why hide it? That said, I was very supportive of that actress who sued IMDB.com to stop them from revealing our ages. That site is costing us jobs! When you're on the other side of 35, you're in trouble. It used to be that the best actress got the part. Now they check your age online and they won't even consider you. So many times my manager has been told, "We won't bring Tracey in for the role because of her age." Yet, if I go in for something "age-appropriate" they're, like, "You can't play 50! No way!" It's a double-edged sword, but I couldn't be happier and more grateful to be where I am — personally and professionally — which is why I wanted to share my thoughts and advice and philosophy in a blog. I've always shared the best things in my life with my friends, so this is my way to be best friends with a lot of people.
TV Guide Magazine: Your followers really seem to love it.
Bregman: What really blows me away are the people who have been affected by it in a life-changing way. I get emails saying, "I've been gluten-free for two weeks now and I have never felt better!" It makes me so incredibly happy I can't even describe it! I love seeing people who are willing to try something different and accept new ways of thinking. You get old when you cease to learn.
TV Guide Magazine: Well, now that you're a divorcee, you're also staying young by doing the cougar thing. Isn't your new guy, Aaron Cameron, like 12-years-old?
Bregman: He's not 12 years old! But he's younger than me.
TV Guide Magazine: Oh, I kid! You're probably the envy of women everywhere.
Bregman: I didn't mean to do it. It just happened. [Laughs] I'm like Jessica Rabbit. I didn't mean to. I'm just drawn that way!
TV Guide Magazine: Well, I'm very happy for you, except for one thing. By divorcing your husband, Ron Recht, you had to give up the best stripper name ever — Tracey E. Recht!
Bregman: [Laughs] Lemme tell ya, it was really hard to give up that name! That was a rough one. But somehow I pulled through. Somehow I managed.
TV Guide Magazine: Because, like Lauren Fenmore, you're a survivor?
Bregman: Actually, I don't consider myself a survivor at all. I think of myself as a thriver. [Laughs] And there's a big, big difference!