It’s been a harrowing six months for Judi Evans (ex-Adrienne/Bonnie, Days of our Lives). After suffering the loss of her only son, Austin, last December, Evans had a horseback riding accident in May that landed her in the hospital with a broken collarbone, broken ribs, chipped vertebrae, and a bruised lung.
Judi Evans On A Road To Recovery
While there, she was diagnosed with a blot clot in her lungs, contracted COVID-19, and developed blood clots in her legs and nearly had them amputated. Miraculously, Evans survived and is now finally recovering at home.
The actress reflects on her healing process and the family and friends who have helped her through it, as well as her return to Days of our Lives, this week, as Bonnie.
You’ve gone through such a horrible time. Where do things stand now — mentally and physically?
It’s been a crazy ride. I just want to get better. I have some testing I have to go through the next few months, just to make sure my lungs are 100 percent; not just from the COVID, but from the blunt force impact from the accident and the bruising of the lungs. Just to make sure that it’s all good.
Also, I’m following up, because I’m on blood thinners. [My doctor] wants to make sure everything is working right, so, hopefully, I don’t have to remain on blood thinners for the rest of my life. I’m only on them to keep the clotting down.
Are you at the point where you’re pain-free, yet?
No, no. It’s still painful. Sometimes I can get into a position in bed where it doesn’t hurt for a while, but then I eventually have to move. My collarbone, ribs, and shoulder area… that’s what still hurts. I am feeling better, but I’m still recovering. When I think back to 30 days ago… I mean, it was so excruciating. I couldn’t walk. Now I can actually almost roll out of bed by myself.
Before, unless I had something to pull up on or somebody to help me, there was no way. My doctor was surprised that I was so far along, for the damages I sustained, when I went to see him. I was in a lot of pain but I walked in on my own. He was like, “I’m surprised you’re walking?” I said, “Yeah, four or five blocks.” Back in the day, I used to run for five miles.
You must be happy to be home.
I’m so happy. My poor husband [Michael Luciano] was alone for 25 days. I felt worse for him. At least they had me on painkillers, and there were people who came to visit me. The poor man was by himself, fretting 24/7; wondering if we’d ever be together again. He was terrified. I’m glad to be home and with him. He’s a great nurse. He cooks me whatever I want.
Maybe I’m milking it a little bit, just because he treats me so well. He’s got my medications all timed out. He’s wonderful. He’s been taking such great care of me. I couldn’t ask for better. It’s 10 million times better than the hospital, although the nurses were amazing… most of them.
I always have respect for doctors and nurses, especially during this COVID thing. They put their lives in danger all day, every day. I had some amazing nurses, who if they hadn’t been who they were, I probably would not be here today. There are things they stopped the doctors from doing or alerted the doctors to. There were a couple of times I lost the will to come back, but they pull you out of the pit. I’m very grateful to the nurses.
Judi Evans: Coronavirus Perspective
Having been through all of this, what advice would you give to people regarding the coronavirus?
Honestly, wear a mask. You don’t want to be affected, and you don’t want to affect somebody you care about. At one point some were saying, “Oh, the mask only protects other people.” I never believed that. It protects you, and it protects everybody else. Listen to people who have letters after their names; people who have letters went to school and know what they’re talking about it. Granted, they may change what they’re saying, but they know better than everybody else.
This is new, and we’re learning new things every day. Also, stay home as much as you can. I know you can’t 24/7. I know you’ve got to work but do your best to put distance between you and other people, and be constantly aware. Be cautious.
I remember reading on Facebook when this just started, how our relatives suffered during WWI and WWII, and we’re complaining about staying home and wearing a mask. We have all the comforts in our own homes than we could ever ask for – food, TV, Netflix.
You received tremendous support from fans and co-stars. What has that meant to you?
So much. The cast has been amazing. All the people that I’ve worked with at Days of our Lives have been amazing these past few months. You know you love people and that you have a relationship with them, but sometimes you take it for granted… you don’t realize how deep it is. I’m so grateful for the love Michael and I have both gotten from the DAYS family and from the fan community.
Oh my gosh, the outpouring. And from people that I’ve worked with in the past. I’ve heard from Vincent [Irizarry, ex-Lujack Guiding Light; ex-Deimos, DAYS] all the time. Deidre Hall [Marlena] has been an incredible rock for me from day one. We’re such good friends. I can’t even explain how amazingly wonderful she has been. She has held my hand and stood by me every day since last December, and even before that. Wally [Kurth, Justin] and Bryan [Dattilo, Lucas]….
Wally texts me almost every day, ‘How’s my girl doing, today?’ Janet [Spellman-Drucker, Senior Coordinating Producer] and I FaceTime often. Everybody has been there – Kristian [Alfonso, Hope], Lauren [Koslow, Kate]… I don’t want to single one person out, because it’s been everybody.
You mentioned Vincent Irizarry. Have you heard from other people that you’ve worked with before?
Yes. Many of my Guiding Light family have reached out and my Another World family. Linda Dano [ex-Felicia, AW] called me back in February. We had a wonderful conversation because she had lost [her husband] Frank. We talked a lot.
I’m just so blessed to have so many wonderful friends… It was a nice revelation to know that I’m not a loner, that I’m part of a really big family. I’ve heard from so many people from all over the world. They’ve all offered their love and support. It brings it all around to what’s going on today. We all belong to each other, and we need to be there for each other.
A Days of our Lives Return
Meanwhile, you’re just about to return to DAYS as Bonnie. (Evans’ scenes were taped numerous months ago.) How thrilled were you to get the call to come back to the show?
I was so happy. It was devastating when Adrienne died. I cannot tell a lie. I had come back to shoot some flashbacks. But it had been about six months – the longest six months [since I worked on DAYS].
Of course, I had played Bonnie before, but you never know if the budget or the story will allow for your return. I’d missed my DAYS family so much. No matter what else I do in my life, I’m an actress. I love acting and I love soaps. In my opinion, there’s not much that’s more fun.
Your first scenes are with Wally Kurth (Justin). How special was that?
I missed Wally so so much. I’m so grateful that he had such a wonderful story after Adrienne died. I was so happy to see him. We’ve been friends for over 30 years. He’s a gem of a person and a gem of a scene partner. Just seeing him brought tears to my eyes.
What was it like working with him again?
It was just joyous to be in a scene together. Even though I played Bonnie before with him, it was a different version of what was happening. You’ll see the way the story plays out. She can’t really be her authentic self, yet.
I’ve been so grateful to DAYS throughout the years, but certainly throughout the last year. The challenges that they have given me blow my mind. And every time I shake in my boots. I hope I can rise to the occasion. They always keep me on my toes for sure.
Rumor has it you’ll be working with Bryan Dattilo (Lucas), too.
Oh my God! How lucky can a girl get, seriously? Two of the nicest guys ever and the nicest guys in the industry. I’m really truly the luckiest person when it comes to guys to work with for sure. Days of our Lives (DOOL) airs weekdays on NBC. Check your local listings for airtimes.