Lauralee Bell Lauralee Bell

That much-missed fan fave Lauralee Bell returns to The Young and the Restless November 9 but it's no happy occasion. In fact, her character, Washington D.C., lawyer Christine Blair, is back in town to relive a nightmare. Longtime fans of the CBS soap will remember when nutcase Isabella Braña — played by a pre-Desperate Housewives Eva Longoria — got knocked up by Chris' husband Paul (Doug Davidson), then faked her death and made it look like Chris was the killer. Since then, Isabella has been safely stashed in a mental institution but now her son Ricky (Peter Porte) is suddenly all grown up and working in Genoa City as a legal intern. And that's real cause for concern — not to mention some cool Longoria flashbacks! Bell gave TV Guide Magazine the scoop.

TV Guide Magazine: Cricket's back in town! We always love that!
Bell: It's been so crazy. Doug Davidson, Tricia Cast [Nina] and I walked down to the commissary at CBS together and we had like 20 people stop us and say, "Oh, it's like the good old days!" or "Gosh, you guys never change!" or "Hey, look, it's the Three Musketeers!" And it's true. I sit down in the makeup chair at Y&R and it feels like no time has passed since the '80s. It's such a great, secure feeling. [Laughs] But then I ran into Don Diamont [formerly Y&R's Brad, now Bill on The Bold and the Beautiful] and we were having a conversation about old age. We used to be the younger set on Y&R. Now we're comparing aches and pains.

TV Guide Magazine: Let's talk about these Isabella memories that are being dredged up. Can this Ricky kid be trusted?
Bell: That whole Isabella thing was a very scary time for Chris and Paul and now they wonder if there's something off about Ricky. At first, no one knew Isabella was crazy. He could be a whack job like his mother. Time will tell. But seeing Ricky for the first time as a man is really startling for Chris. And for me, too.

TV Guide Magazine: He shouldn't be any older than eight or nine. Now he's twentysomething.
Bell: And he's taller than Paul! Chris can't help but look at this kid and think, "Because of your existence, my life changed forever." As much as she'd like to say, "Wow, you're Paul's son! That's so cool!" she'd really like to say, "You totally f'ed up my life!" Paul's feeling bad about the whole situation because he has a son he doesn't know at all. He's missed so many years with Ricky. Still, there's that suspicion. Ricky has that blood connection with Isabella and that can be a dangerous thing.

TV Guide Magazine: Word is, Y&R will replay the scene where Isabella came back from the "dead" and tried to kill Chris in the bathtub.
Bell: [Laughs] It's my most embarrassing moment! They showed it when Eva went on The Late Show With David Letterman. She looks gorgeous — as always — and I look like a drowned rat! But it certainly is memorable.

TV Guide Magazine: Looking back, did you ever imagine Longoria would graduate from this batcrap crazy drama stuff to a big career in comedy?
Bell: Oh, she was always very light and funny backstage at Y&R. I can still remember her cackle. When I run into her now I always remind her she wouldn't have a career without me. [Laughs] Back then I was having babies and they needed a reason to write Chris off the show — so they brought in Isabella. But I'm teasing, of course. Eva couldn't be nicer and when I see her we always talk about family. She so wants one of her own. I think she could be really happy moving back to Texas and raising kids and having a real life. I love that about her.

TV Guide Magazine: What else is Chris up to this visit?
Bell: Well, she really reams Ronan [Jeff Branson] because he asks to be transferred out of Genoa City instead of staying in town to be near his mother. Obviously, he's a very mixed-up young man and Chris talks to him in a way no one else does. We also do a whole Veterans Day thing, where Chance [John Driscoll] and Murphy [Michael Fairman] are in full military attire and there's a good old-fashioned Chancellor hangout. Then, just as Chris is leaving town, Chance gets his papers and is assigned to the Pentagon, so we end up taking a flight home together for Thanksgiving. In his own life, John is moving back to Virginia and joining the National Guard. He'll commute back to Y&R whenever he's needed. So TV and real life are colliding.

TV Guide Magazine: And what about Chris and Paul? Does rehashing the Isabella years bond them again? Or does it open up old wounds?
Bell: It reminds them how much they've been through together. But there's no more anger about what happened between Paul and Isabella. None whatsoever. In fact, Chris flirts with Paul as much as she can get away with, even though he's with Nina now, which I love. Whatever's going on in D.C. with Chris is certainly changing her as a person. [Laughs] She is not the tight ass she used to be!

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