There’s are two kinds of super couples in the soap world — ones who you’re told are super couples and those who are super couples. Days of our Lives‘ Stephen Nichols and Mary Beth Evans fall in that latter category. Even so, their mega-popular characters — merchant marine turned ISA agent/private investigator Steve “Patch” Johnson and chief of staff super doc Kayla Brady — are iconic in their own right and doubly together.
Steve and Kayla’s romance harkens back to the “Golden Era” of the 80s DAYS, when big budget location shoots and epic montages were a major staple on the long-running NBC drama. Their historic love saw tremendous ups and downs on the journey to happiness, but along the way the fans never lose hope these two would once again reunite.
We had the pleasure of speaking with these two soap legends earlier today ahead of Steve and Kayla’s third wedding, airing February 15-16, 2017.
What is it about Steve and Kayla that resonates so positively with the fans? Why do you think they work?
Mary Beth Evans: I just think maybe that we’re so connected. I remember once I was auditioning a character for something and I was noticing in the audition with these different guys that I didn’t feel like they were giving me anything. They were doing their shtick over on the thing over there. That’s what Stephen and I have. We give with each other, it’s not about just ourselves. It’s how we connect and our connection that makes it work. And I think that’s why the fans love it too because they feel it. They feel it with us, we feel it. I think that’s what’s different. What do you think, Stephen?
Stephen Nichols: I agree 100 percent with what Mary Beth just said. It’s about our chemistry.
Evans: It is, really.
Nichols: People talk about chemistry and all that, I think it has so much to do with the fact that we are just a great fit together. We always have been from the moment we started working together. We knew we had this thing, this connection with each other. We had focus. And over the year our friendship has grown so much and that just feeds into the Patch and Kayla relationship.
Evans: Plus, we really care, we care a lot about these characters. We don’t take it lightly. We really try to give it our all.
Just how important is Steve and Kayla’s history to you? Did either of you get to have input on their latest nuptials?
Evans: It’s huge! I think it’s huge. And to be true to that – sometimes we have no say and it’s just written and we can’t get around some story points or something we think wouldn’t happen but –
Nichols: The wedding is a good example of that. Because we knew this was coming up, we were going to be married, we’re ready for the scripts. We get the scripts and we’re thinking. “We gotta make this really, really special.”
Evans: It didn’t say enough!
Nichols: We needed this to be. After all this time, after all these years – Steve being away and then coming back and then being away again [laughs]. We needed to say the things that –
Evans: Were real.
Nichols: Were real and that meant so much to us.
Evans: And the writers were nice that they let us kind of have our own way with it. We tweaked them to say what we wanted to say. We didn’t just want to be surface. We wanted to really talk about our feelings and our connection.
Nichols: So yeah, we’re really invested in these characters and our history.
What was it like not just having Stephanie (Shelley Hennig) back for the wedding, but a grown up Joey (James Lastovic) too? Fans love Patch and Kayla’s children.
Evans: It was great. And to have them [Shelley and James] be together was really wonderful. We love our Johnson family. We love Shelley. They got to do scenes together and they had instant chemistry as brother and sister, it was a really, really, special time.
Nichols: It worked out so well, even better than we expected.
Evans: I wish she could have stayed.
How would you describe this latest go around for Steve and Kayla?
Nichols: On again, off again?
Evans: We never know what’s coming! It’s a journey.
Nichols: [Laughs] Journey is a good word. Listen to my wife.
What did you enjoy the most about filming this wedding?
Nichols: Standing across from Mary Beth and saying those words. That was my most favorite part of it was just the vows. It was being able to speak from the heart and tell her how why she meant so much to me and why I can’t live without her.
Evans: He choked up just talking about it.
What do you remember about the first day you met?
Evans: I had a screen test and Stephen always jokes that I said I was terrible after it, which I’m sure I did. I remember the pink dress I had on. I remember everything about it. Even when I see clips now I think it took years for me not to sound airy and ridiculous.
Nichols: Oh, stop it.
Evans: Oh, yeah [laughs]. Luckily, the joy of daytime is you get another day, another try, more growing time as an actor.
Nichols: I remember that first day like it was yesterday.
Evans: I do remember when he was going to read with me in the producer’s office and he comes in, he was already in his full costume with his patch and his scar –
Nichols: [Laughs] I was working that day!
Evans: I know! But I had never seen the show. So I was sitting kind of like, “Wow, okay.”
Nichols: Where is he going with that? [Laughs]
Evans: [Laughs] Yeah, what’s this?
Will this be a Salem wedding that goes off without a hitch for a change?
Evans: I think so.
Nichols: I guess so. There are a couple of surprises, happy surprises during the proceedings.
Evans: I mean, I don’t know what goes around the rest of the show because I didn’t read the rest of it, but our part went off without a hitch.
Nichols: Sure did. It was beautiful. Our fans are going to be very happy.
Evans: Yeah, I think so to. It was very sweet.
How did you feel about the Kayla’s wedding dress, Mary Beth?
Evans: Loved it.
Nichols: [groans jokingly]
Evans: I want dye it a different color.
Nichols: [Laughs] No one ever asks me about my dress!
I was going to ask you about your suit, too! I promise.
Evans: He had the most beautiful suit!
Nichols: She was gorgeous!
Evans: Oh, that’s very sweet.
Nichols: No, the dress was just perfect for her.
Evans: It was nice.
Nichols: It was so Kayla, it was so beautiful. She just looked, oh my god.
Evans: [Laughs] Thank you.
On the day of filming did it take longer than usual or was it normal?
Evans: It was a normal filming. But they had some interesting shots and different angles and ways to shoot it that they told us was going on but we were so fixated on each other that I don’t think that I noticed where the cameras were and what they were doing. But I think they shot it in a way that was nice.
Who was the director for the episode?
Nichols: Scott McKinsey.
Evans: Who’ve we’ve known for a really long time. He was on General Hospital with us.
Nichols: He still works there too! He was our director and he told us ahead of time he said, ‘I’m going to do this a little differently. People are going to be surrounding you. I may not come back and get reverses on anybody else you know on the characters that are facing with their backs downstage. It was really a beautiful way to do it because we felt like we were surrounded by all these people who really loved us and we could feel that.
What happens with Steve and Kayla after the wedding? Can you give us a little preview? Is there a honeymoon?
Nichols: They go right back to their normal lives.
Evans: But we have some love moments. We take advantage of that part. But you know, I’m a chief of staff so I didn’t have time to take my honeymoon right this second. But we’re like five months ahead shooting and we’re still happy so that’s a good sign.
Nichols: Yeah, we’re still supporting each other through all of our trials.
Evans: We’re busy but we come back for love all the time. [Sings] Love in the afternoon.
All photos courtesy Days of our Lives publicity; Credit: JPI Studios