You can’t get any more super, than soap opera super couple Patch and Kayla. For decades on Days of our Lives, ardent and passionate fans have followed the perils, the ups and the downs, and the love story of these two characters. In affairs of the heart you often hear the term, “opposites attract”, and for these two Salemites that certainly holds true.
But behind the on-screen magic that makes Stayla one of the most beloved TV couples of all-time, are the performances of their iconic performers; Stephen Nichols (Patch) and Mary Beth Evans (Kayla). Their collaboration is one for the ages, and one that has stood the test of time. It is often said that the respect and love these two have for each other always shines through in their performances.
This Valentine’s week, DAYS is giving their fans the wedding they have been waiting for when Patch and Kayla say their vows in front of their family and friends in episodes airing February 15th and 16th. And just who returns for the big day? None other than Patch and Kayla’s daughter, played by the beautiful and talented Shelley Hennig who last appeared on the long-running daytime drama series in 2011.
On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Stephen and Mary Beth for a preview of the big day, and how they make their on-screen love story one of the best in the biz. Here’s what they shared.
When the two of you finally got to this long-awaited moment for Patch and Kayla, and they were really going to tie-the-knot for real this time, what were your feelings as you were going through once you hit the soundstage and began the vows?
MARY BETH: They gave us some freedom on our vows, and Stephen and I said things we really wanted to say to each other. We know these characters so well, and are big fans of Patch and Kayla, and their love story, and we try to stay true to it. It was so wonderful to have it all come together, and to have our family there including: our sweet Stephanie with Shelley Hennig coming back. It was really lovely.
Shelley Hennig returned for the wedding as Patch and Kayla’s daughter, Stephanie. What did it mean for the both of you to have her there as part of the on-screen nuptials?
STEPHEN: Oh, just a joy! During the vows she was on the side that Mary Beth was on, so I could actually see her a lot of the time – not that I would be looking at her, because I was so focused on Mary Beth. But I have to say, Shelley was so in it the entire time. In fact, the director, Scott McKinsey said to me how wonderful Shelley was to work with. Shelley was there for us the minute she came on to the set.
MARY BETH: Shelly said, “I’m just so nervous, because I didn’t want to let you guys down.” I went, “Oh, my God!” She is so amazing. Shelley is the love bug of the century. We love her.
STEPHEN: We didn’t know what to expect! Neither of us had seen Shelley in several years. She came back as if she had never left. Shelley has matured so much. I loved seeing how she has grown up.
The wedding of Patch and Kayla is a big moment for the show, and for the couple’s enduring fans. Did you feel enormous pressure when performing the scenes that it has to be damn good, and that you did not want to disappoint the audience?
STEPHEN: If I am thinking about those things, it throws me off. I don’t ever allow those kinds of pressures to get to me. The way I fight it is to get so focused on what I am doing and what my intentions are, and what I am saying to Mary Beth. That is how we approached it this time … it was very simple. It was about what we said to each other. It wasn’t about anything else. We worked on it for several days just trying to get those scenes and the words right.
Mary Beth, when you watch Stephen portraying Patch (as you are playing Kayla), what is it like being on the other side of what Stephen is giving? As fans know, he can turn on those emotional tears like no one else, and he allows himself to be vulnerable, all for the love of this woman.
MARY BETH: You know, it’s all such a swirl. We get here to the studio, and we are trying to learn our lines, and in the meantime you are trying to find your subtext in the scenes. In the wedding, in particular, everything has to stop. We have to let all that go and pay attention to each other. That is what works so well for us. When we connect it’s just right on. That is when things go great. As I said before, Stephen and I really love each other, the characters, and our story, and so to just let go and fall into it, and to be part of the now of the moment, that is what happened to us during those scenes. To have our family all around us and to feel the love, you believe it, and you play it. As to your question about if there is pressure, I didn’t feel pressure. I was just excited that we had that day.
STEPHEN: What happened on stage that day was that we could feel that everybody was with us including the actors, the crew, and you could hear a pin drop. And if nothing else brings your energy up that will. It was just so sweet.
MARY BETH: Nobody was bored. Nobody was irritated. Everybody was excited!
What do you think fans will take away from the nuptials? Will they get the wedding they want to see for Stayla?
MARY BETH: I think so. It’s not flashy. It’s not on a boat. We have done that already. This is a very intimate, heartfelt, mature moment of a couple who have weathered the storm. There is something so beautiful about coming out on the other side of the storm.
Mary Beth, why was Kayla so hard on this guy? Patch truly showed how much he loved her, yet she would put up a wall, and previously, would not let it get to the point their relationship is at on-screen today.
MARY BETH: Part of it was she was so afraid. Kayla loved this guy, hook, line and sinker. When they got divorced it was very difficult for her, and then fast forward ten years, she forged a life that she controlled, and in which she could control her environment. Kayla raised a son, and supported herself and him. Steve brought chaos into that control. I’m not that kind of person in real life, but I think for people who are like that, it’s a very scary thing to be vulnerable again, and to let your guard down. I think every time she did over the last couple of years shenanigans would happen and then she would be say to herself, “Yes, I was right to keep him at bay.” Finally, Kayla and Dena Higley (former DAYS co-head writer) decided to stop that, and so that’s what happened and got us here to Patch and Kayla’s wedding day.
I heard that DAYS costume designer, Richard Bloore, found the perfect wedding dress for Kayla!
MARY BETH: It was perfect. Richard Bloore does all the shopping for the show and he knows our bodies, and our flaws, and plusses. The wedding dress I wore is the only one I tried on, and I loved it. I would love to dye it another color, and actually wear it another time for something.
STEPHEN: Richard got me the most beautiful tuxedo and it fit me like a glove!
James Lastovic plays your on-screen son Joey, and Joey wanted so badly, for so long, his parents to remarry and be a family again. That must have also been special to play.
MARY BETH: The scenes that James had, and all of us had with Shelley, as the Johnson family were so great. It was a great couple of days to shoot. It really, really was.
What is in the future for Patch and Kayla post-wedding? Will things simmer down now … or, will Kayla, Patch, or Joey be kidnapped again, etc? (Laughs)
MARY BETH: We are taping new episodes a few months from the wedding, and we are still happy … so that’s good.
STEPHEN: However, there are a few things going on. There has got to be a story. We can’t just be coming in to each scene kissing and a hugging.
MARY BETH: Sure we can! What do you mean? (Laughs)
So, are you excited for the wedding of Patch and Kayla? What do you think about Shelley Hennig coming back to DAYS to be at her on-screen parents nuptials? What do you think will happen to the happy couple once they make it official? Do you hope they have months of marital bliss, or do you want to see Patch and Kayla in the middle of heavy drama and adventure? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!