Emily O’Brien has taken wicked to new heights as Days of our Lives’ Gwen Rizczech. After trying to sabotage her father Jack’s (Matthew Ashford) relationship with Jennifer (Cady McClain), she went to work on doing the same to her half-sister Abigail’s (Marci Miller) marriage, bedding her husband Chad (Billy Flynn), after encouraging him to drown his sorrows in alcohol. When a surprise pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, Gwen twisted the facts and blamed Abigail, causing even more drama.
Emily O’Brien Dishes On What’s Coming Up For Gwen
What’s the fiendish character’s game plan moving forward? Will it be more turmoil and trauma, or will she finally see the error of her ways and halt her misguided revenge plots? O’Brien dishes on what viewers can expect and –- surprise, they actually may like it – a new nicer, not-so-vile Gwen.
Gwen’s come out of this miscarriage taking aim at Abigail. Why?
She’s just looking for somebody to blame. She’s had misfortune after misfortune, and she’s alone. Jake (Brandon Barash) resented her and cheated on her. Gwen has put everything onto Abigail because she looks at her as the person who gained everything in life that she didn’t. It’s an easy target to put it all on, Abigail.
The situation has put a big strain on Chad and Abigail’s marriage, as Chad sympathizes with Gwen. How does Gwen feel about that?
Chad can see how much pain and stress Gwen is going through, and what she’s experienced with the miscarriage and the fall. He softens a bit [towards her]. All I remember with those scenes is that Gwen was desperate for someone to dote on her, to give her some love. Her reaction is that she felt validated. She needed that, even though she knew it was wrong.
What’s Gwen’s plan moving forward in the weeks ahead?
It’s not to make Abigail pay anymore. That is over for her. She’s realizing that has to stop. Her ultimate motivation and her only core objective after the miscarriage are to strengthen her relationship with the one family member she has who she trusts, and that is her father [Jack]. He’s invited her to live with him. That is a tremendous open door for her. She does not want to sabotage that in any way.
Yet, she’s keeping a big secret from him – the fact that she miscarried before that fall down the stairs.
That secret is looming over her head. She does start to realize that she’s made a mistake because she does want to be able to gain a relationship with her father… She does start to feel some major remorse. She has to carefully and tactfully find a way to reveal [the truth about the miscarriage] without ruining her relationship with Jack.
Does she still have designs on Chad?
No. I don’t think so. That connection has ended. She’s trying her best to be cordial with him and move on. Just knowing that she has some support from him is validation for her.
Has this miscarriage, perhaps, changed Gwen for the better?
It has. It allowed Gwen to open herself up to the possibility of being able to love another human, something she wasn’t able to do before. When you lose something like [a child], you realize that you did have the potential to grow and redeem yourself and be open to love. Gwen didn’t have that before.
Might we eventually see a new nicer, not-so-vile Gwen?
There’s another character who comes into Gwen’s life. She confides in this person and realizes how very alone she was. She starts to question her motives and her actions. This whole thing is a domino effect that in turn makes Gwen realize how many mistakes she made. Ultimately, I do think it’s going to make her more human.
What’s been the fans’ reaction to Gwen?
People hate her. I sometimes will look at things I get tagged in and think, you realize that I am not that person? I’m not a drugging type in real life. Please differentiate the two. Please don’t attack me personally. I would like to hope that audiences can see that everything Gwen is doing has come from a place of deep hurt and resentment. Ultimately, all she wants is love. I’m just playing her truth. That’s all I can do.
Has it been hard experiencing this kind of vitriol on social media?
I don’t engage in that. Some people will write me personally to my inbox and attack me. I think, my goodness, you realize I’m being paid to do this? Initially, it was tough to read that, but I spoke with some of the other female actresses on the show. They kind of said that they’ve gone through it too, and it’s all part of the game.
Who did you talk to?
Marci (Miller, Abigail) and Camila (Banus, Gabi). We had a good long conversation about it. They told me some of their stories, and they were worse than mine. Much worse than mine. They’ve been wonderful. It feels good, too, knowing that I can speak to other women, who have gone through the same thing. It was very comforting knowing they shared similar experiences.
Are you still having fun playing Gwen, despite the negative comments?
Oh, I love it. There’s never a dull moment. I think that’s what’s important and what audiences need to realize is important. You don’t want dull, perfect sunny days. Otherwise, what’s the point in watching? People need problems and solutions, and turmoil and redemption. That’s what keeps [the drama] going. Days of our Lives (DOOL) airs weekdays on NBC. Check your local listings for airtimes.