There’s no place like home. It’s a sentiment that Kelly Kruger expresses every time she returns to THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS to slip into the down-to-earth shoes of her alter ego, Mac. “Even though there are so many more people that weren’t on the show when I was there originally, it’s just like instant family,” she told Soaps In Depth with a smile. “Especially with Amelia [Heinle, Victoria]. We clicked right away. Obviously, we had a lot of scenes together because of the J.T. storyline. And when I first came back, I worked with Thad [Luckinbill, ex-J.T.], which was so fun, because we were so close when I was on the show [from 2002-’03]. Even though I’m not on Y&R all the time — I’m basically a guest-star — everyone there makes you feel like you are part of the family regardless. I’ve been on other sets, but there is something special about returning to Y&R!”
While Kruger herself may have a lot of fun when she steps back on set, her alter ego is usually involved in super-charged emotional scenes — such as when she tearfully confessed that she’d been abused by J.T. or identifying her ex-hubby’s wristwatch, which catapulted the sleuth’s disappearance from a missing persons case into a murder investigation. “I’ve been so blessed with what they write for me when I come in,” expressed Kruger. “The only thing that can be difficult is the flow of a soap. They are so fast, so I need to already be at that emotional place when I come in. There’s no time for a second take to find the emotion!
“I usually have about a week to prepare — I would never be like, ‘Oh yeah, I looked at the scripts last night!’” she added with a laugh. “If you are working on a soap all the time, you are in the flow and can look at the script the night before. But because I’m not on all the time, I’m not in that flow. I dive into the scripts and make sure I’m so prepared that when I show up on set, it’s there. And to be honest with you, the exciting part to me is having that emotional stuff, the heavy stuff. I love it!”
Delving into meaty storylines may require a bit of preparation, but Kruger said that getting into Mac’s headspace is nearly instantaneous. “When I go into wardrobe and put Mac’s clothes on, that’s when I become Mac, she smiled. “But it’s not that hard to get into her skin. Mac was the first real character that I lived in for an extended part of time. I was so young, and it was such a big part of my life... She is such a special part of me in a way that I don’t feel like I really need to do anything — she is just there.”
Since leaving Y&R, Kruger has been busy. She’s appeared occasionally as Eva on THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL, landed a slew of guest-starring roles on primetime series and most recently wrapped several TV movies — BFF Bride, No Place Like Home and Girls’ Night Out. But an added incentive to returning to Y&R is that her real-life hubby, Darin Brooks, just happens to be across the hall, where he plays Wyatt on B&B.
“Their call time is usually around 8 or 9 a.m., whereas Y&R’s morning call time starts at 6 or 6:30. If I have the morning call time, Darin is not going to be getting up to go in with me!” she revealed with a laugh. “But if I have an afternoon call time, I’ll sometimes go in early with him. So it depends. But we always have lunch together. Like I said, with Y&R and B&B, it’s like a big family, and I love having the opportunity to see everyone. And then for Darin and I to hang out at work, go over to The Grove... we love it!”
For more on your favorite Y&R stars, keep reading the CBS edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.