Exclusive: Elizabeth Hendrickson Talks About Her Emotional Storyline on ‘The Young and the Restless’

Pictured: Elizabeth Hendrickson; Photo Credit: CBS

The Young and the Restless star Elizabeth Hendrickson discusses the controversial storyline to kill off Chloe’s daughter Delia and a other topics — from whether we’ll see the return of the “old” Chloe to what it’s like working with executive producer Jill Farren Phelps.

Pictured: Elizabeth Hendrickson; Photo Credit: CBS

Pictured: Elizabeth Hendrickson; Photo Credit: CBS

Y&R’s heart breaking decision to kill off Chloe and Billy’s (Billy Miller) daughter Cordelia “Delia” Abbott has been met with a divided, but passionate response from fans. It’s tough when soaps kill beloved characters, especially when it’s a child. That notion isn’t lost on Hendrickson or Y&R’s showrunner, Jill Farren Phelps, who warned the actress the fans would “give her hell” for the storyline.

Outside the purview of controversy, was the opportunity for the veteran actress, who has been with the soap since 2008, to tackle her most challenging material to date. Material that would push her to the limits emotionally and professionally. Hendrickson’s commanding, emotionally devastating performances has many wondering if a Daytime Emmy might be in the actress’ future.

TVSource Magazine spoke with Hendrickson, one of daytime’s most popular and talented stars, exclusively about her reaction to the storylines, process for getting into character and where she sees the character going after the death of her child. Will viewers see the resurgence of Chloe’s self-destructive behavior? Plus, the actress sheds light on what it’s like to work with executive producer Jill Farren Phelps.

TVSource Magazine: What was your reaction when you learned Chloe’s adorable daughter would be killed in a tragic car accident?
Elizabeth Hendrickson: It’s kind of a hard thing because you don’t want to kill a child, but there’s nothing more than wanting an emotional storyline that you can sink your teeth into. I had been wanting [one] for a long time, which I really haven’t had since [Delia] got cancer. So I was just happy to be a part of an emotional storyline that I was really excited to attempt and be challenged by as an actress.

TVSource Magazine: This is the kind of material most actors would give anything to have. Did you have any trepidation going into the filming of the episodes? Were you worried that you might be overwhelmed or were you confident you could handle it?
Hendrickson: Oh I was petrified [Laughs]. I think I was mainly scared because I thought that the cancer storyline was challenging enough when I first had that, but uh… I was just really intimidated because I don’t have a child. I’ve never experienced that unconditional love with someone – for someone. I mean I had a dog for ten years, but that’s not the same. I’m not even a sister. I don’t have a younger sister or brother. I really didn’t have that much to connect to in my own personal life. I think that’s what scared me the most – how I was going to find it within myself to tell a truthful story.

So I was very scared and it just happened to be landing on the week after I was going to be away for five days for my best friend’s wedding. And I didn’t get the script until 3 days before we were shooting it because they were making changes. I never received a script [so late] before. So to receive a script so late and to be at a wedding, I couldn’t work on it. I remember reading it Saturday morning, we shot it on Tuesday morning. I read it Saturday morning in my hotel room and the only thing that kind of gave me the confidence that I’d be okay is, as soon as I started reading it, I started crying. So I knew I was connected to it emotionally somehow, but it was a very, very stressful weekend for me because I just couldn’t give my time to it like I would have liked to. So I didn’t get to work on it until Monday, the day before I shot it [laughs].

TVSource Magazine: You definitely couldn’t tell that from viewing your performance.
Hendrickson: Oh thank you.

TVSource Magazine: What was your process for preparing yourself for the scenes when Chloe found out Delia died and the aftermath? Was there a particular moment in your in life that you tapped into to access those emotions?
Hendrickson: You know – for me what really worked best, thankfully I have a relationship with Sophie [Pollono], so just imagining, you know, her as a child being gone was obviously a given, something that I had.

What I really had to do, I mean I talked about it a lot. And even the night before, sweet Ignacio [Serricchio] came over to my house and we talked about it a lot. Billy Miller came over the day before and we talked about it. And when it really came down to the day of and preparing myself, I locked myself in my dressing room for six hours because they were running kind of late, so I had a lot of time to just sit there and be somber. And that went along with depressing music.

Pictured: Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe); Photo Credit: CBS

Pictured: Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe); Photo Credit: CBS

But the night before, I remembered that I had some photos of people in my life, mainly parents. But my first experience of loss was when I was five years old to a father figure of mine. And it is the one – it’s the first time that I ever experienced losing someone. I hadn’t really realized how much that had affected me until this summer because of, well to be completely honest, because of the therapy that I’m in [Laughs].

I realized that I did have something to go to on. My mother had just by chance given me this poem that he had written to me before he died. And it was about him being in heaven and always watching down on me. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read and kind of eerie in a way that he had written this before he passed. Anytime I ever think about him, see a picture of him, read something that he wrote, I automatically get emotional. And even though I was five, I remember that love so clearly. So he was with me all day, and by that I mean I had pictures of him everywhere, I had the poem in my back pocket – I just knew that not only was he watching me, but I knew that if I ever struggled at a point where I was having a hard time connecting, that I could just walk off stage, take that poem out of my back pocket and read it and get there. But I think that all the preparation that I had done before, all those hours before, I didn’t need it. I was just so filled up to like my eyeballs with all of this stuff that I was just sitting with for all of those hours that by the time we got to it, I mean they had to pull me back because it was too much.

I remember Jill, [in] the scene with Kevin and Chloe where she’s talking about not being able to hear her voice or see her, we had to do that a couple of times because Jill just came out and said, “I can’t have this. The viewers won’t be able to watch anymore.” [Laughs] To me I just thought “well she just lost her child! I’m going to the very depths of my soul and reaching everywhere I possibly could.” [Laughs] But watching the show in its entirety, I do understand what she was saying. For me, at that moment, it really wasn’t an option because I still felt like I wasn’t even completely fully out of my mind. I felt like I still could have gone further. But we don’t really have time to try things over and over again. So that was the only scene in that entire show that I did more than once. But yeah, so that’s a long explanation for how and why I got there, but that was kind of my process.

TVSource Magazine: Wow. That’s intense and draining. I really hope fans, after reading this interview, develop an appreciation for everything that went into getting that performance out. Your fans have especially been complimentary about your performance, and your co-stars too.
Yeah, it’s so great [to see]. They’ve been really [kind].

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Ryan White-Nobles
Ryan White-Nobles is Editor-in-Chief of TV Source Magazine. He's began covering entertainment and soap operas in 2005. In 2009 he co-launched Soap Opera Source, and led the TV Source rebrand in 2012. He's a natural #Heel who loves a spirited debate and probably watches too much TV. Follow him on Twitter at @SourceRyan to discuss all things TV, soaps, sports, wrestling and pop culture.

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  4. So seriously sick of this past year of incredibly boring stories with Chelsea and her over fertile womb and Avery and her Betty Crocker oven and cooking. The Rose story was insanely stupid. What a waste for a wonderful character Neil. So tired of Summer and her wishing she could have sex with her brother not brother maybe brother creepy Kyle! Im fast forwarding or just not watching Y&R because of this horrific death of a child story but Can’t wait for it to come out Sharon and Dylan are half siblings with the same father Im looking forward how they are going to have Sharons real dad come to GC in January. It said in the magazine and it said it will effect Nikki and Dylan and Doris. We all knew Sharon and Dylan have the same father. Nikki and Doris must of been attacked by the same man years agoFAITH LOVED DYLAN LIKE HE WAS HER UNCLE WHEN THEY BROUGHT HIM ON AND SHARON AND DYLAN HAD MATCHING ST CHRISTOPHER PENDENTS ON IN MARCH . AWESOME CAN’T WAIT

  5. I love Chilly!!! I want a Chloe and Billy reunion. After all these years, this is the perfect time because they have experienced the profound and significant loss of their child and it would be natural to reach out and bond at this time. I have always loved the chemistry between Billy and Liz. They can do it all, comedy, drama, angst…they really are so enjoyable and entertaining to watch no matter what Chilly are doing. I really would love to see the show go in this direction. I think it was where they should have gone from the beginning but it’s never too late on Soaps. I want Chilly back together, a Chilly love story. In my opinion, Chloe has always known Billy…good, bad and the same with Billy. I think there is something magnetic about the two of them. They put their cards on the table and they aren’t fools, it’s HOT. I think the show should pull these two back together through their loss and take us on a wild Chilly ride. Daytime needs more magnetic, captivating couples like Chilly on screen.

  6. […] Young and the Restless Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe) opened up to Ryan White-Nobles of TV Source in an interview surrounding her sentiments on the controversial death of Delia storyline that has many Y&R fans […]

  7. Wow, I didn’t know that they had to reign her in because it was too much? But I would have loved to see those more raw emotions! You have done and killed Delia why not go all out?! She said the same as to why her scene in the morgue with delia was cut out. Can we have like an extended or director’s cut of that though? lol!
    Killing Delia was unnecessary and wasted a lot of potential for future storylines! I mean come on! The kid is Trouble royalty with a capital T having Chloe and Billy as her parents. The Abbotts are being sacrificed for the Newmans though so what can you do?
    I just hope that Y&R will give Elizabeth more material to work with though and not just leave her second fiddle or supporting just because she’s not an Abbott or a Newman. The girl can bring it!

  8. Thanks for the interview!

    It’s always amazing to get into the mindset of the actors and actresses of the shows and see how they view it from their perspective. I especially liked the way the interview felt like it was lighthearted despite the serious nature of what sort of ‘prompted’ this interview. It’s always nice when there is a balance between the two and when you feel the interviewer and interviewee have formed some sort of relationship to where you feel this, even without hearing or seeing it with your own ears or eyes.

    I just had mostly comments about Elizabeth and some things that she talked about to comment on or ‘critique’, although it’s really not. Just sort of my comment/perspective about the situation and how I feel about things.

    I definitely agree that this material is meant to grip at the heart strings and suck us in because the actors/actresses are so good at what they do and pulling in the emotions when it comes to this material. As much as we feel for the characters and the circumstances taking place, they have to come to that job and work it every single day and they don’t get to automatically turn things off when it doesn’t suit them and their tastes. They always have to play these characters with everything that they have to do for the rest of their time at the show. This will stick with them and I love that she was able to say this, too.

    I definitely don’t agree with them having to kill off Delia. It’s not even so much about the fact that it’s a child. It’s about the fact that it’s unnecessary and trite. It’s a bait and switch for Emmy material and to give Conner a transplant when there are other alternatives to doing so. Why do soaps necessarily always have to go to the town residents that we know to do this type of transplant? Why can’t there be this emotionally driven storyline where someone unknown in the town dies and they get the transplant? Or they get a transplant from someone else in the nation/world and dealing with that? For some reason, soaps always want to tie the characters together in a way like this (which is usually children) and it’s not a good story, for me. It’s a cop-out.

    I also didn’t necessarily agree with her statement and comparison of comparing soaps to primetime. They are two completely different things and two very different mediums, IMO. Killing someone off in primetime is just the name of the game. Killing someone off in daytime usually involves implications across the board. By killing off Delia, they have killed off several connections (familial connections, at that) that if 10-15 years from now (or if they SORAS’d her) would come into play. It’s not just because there are so many days in which we watch soaps versus the weekly usually 12-24 arc with primetime that fans feel that way.

    Overall, this interview was very great and I love reading things of this nature, especially when the material might be all doom and gloom. :)

  9. Thank you so much for this interview. Though I may hate that they went “there” with killing off Delia, Elizabeth Hendrickson has been stellar in her portrayal as a grieving mother. And Elizabeth Hendrickson is finally given a storyline where she is given a chance to show just how amazing she is as an actress. Because Y&R has been neglecting her for awhile now. Though this interview mentions Kevin I am interested in seeing how her relationship with Billy will be altered. They are now forever connected by tragedy. I have always loved the dynamic between Billy and Chloe (obviously) and it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.

  10. Great interview! Loved reading about how Liz prepared for this story line. Her reaction feels so real and heartbreaking. I have been blown away by her performance on Y&R. I agree with the comments below that Liz has really proven herself as a leading lady, it’s about time Y&R gave her more meaty material to work with! She is a joy to watch on this show. Now that she’s lost her daughter I really wouldn’t mind seeing Chloe go back to her old feisty scheming ways either. Bottom line we need more CHLOE! Thanks :)

  11. wow. thanks so much for doing this interview. I was hoping Liz would be doing an interview about the current storyline, it was nice to hear what she thought about it. And i think it’s really cute that IS and BM came over to her house to talk about the upcoming SL.

  12. Thank you so much for this interview! I’ve always believed Liz to be one of the best daytime actresses in her age group, yet she always seems to be underutilized and unappreciated. Though that might remain, as a fan of hers, I did not mind the killing of Delia for the same reason she gave: finally gave her something to showcase her amazing talent. Really loved hearing her perspective and thought process on this storyline! Oh, and I thought it was so cute that IS and BM

  13. Thank you for doing this interview! I really wanted to hear from Liz Hendrickson about this storyline. In my opinion, Liz has proven herself as a leading actress with this storyline. I do hope we see a lot more from Chloe, but most of all, see a lot more of Liz in years to come!

  14. I love Liz! She’s been so amazing the last two weeks. They need to give her more heavy material because she can deliver. I hope they bring the old Chloe back too lol

  15. i dig her a lot. Chloe should be sassy and fiesty again plz!

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