Young and the Restless star Eileen Davidson joined General Hospital’s Maurice Benard on the latest episode of his video podcast show, State Of Mind. The thespian, who is also a producer, author, television personality, and former model, opened up like never before to the SOM host about growing up the youngest of seven kids in a Catholic family in La Mirada, California.
Eileen Davidson: The Toxins Behind Closed Doors
Benard (Sonny, GH) quickly jumped in and asked Davidson (Ashley on Y&R; most recently, Thomas Banks on Days of our Lives) about her upbringing. “I was raised very Catholic. So much shame,” she revealed. Her stint on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills opened her eyes to the source of those feelings growing up.
She was seeing a therapist at the time, and he spotted the telltale signs. “He would watch the show and say, ‘I am noticing you on camera, and you have so much shame. About everything.’ It was embarrassing to me that I even had the shame. I was like, ‘I don’t know what you mean.’ I was very uncomfortable, but obviously, it makes me think about it.
“It is so interesting because my father was manic/depressive. He wasn’t diagnosed, but his behavior was pretty bizarre. And there was so much shame attached to that,” she admitted. The acclaimed actress swiftly deduced the possible origins from her childhood. “It was hard not to miss it. He would go into his room, and I was like 8 years old, and not talk to me for like six months. He would come in the door, and literally, walk by me like I wasn’t even there.
“At that point, he was arguing with my mother, and I kind of got pushed into that category, of somebody he didn’t want to deal with,” she said, recalling a specific incident. “All of a sudden, his door would be open, that period was supposedly over, and everything was supposed to be normal again. There was a lot of shame attached to the fighting going on, if the neighbors heard it, and kids came over and noticed my home wasn’t normal.
“It was the 60s,” Davidson continued. “My mom would say things like, ‘You know your dad fell off a horse when he was a kid. Maybe that is what is wrong with him.’”
Eileen Davidson: Finding The Heroes Within
She remembered how his manic/depression would play out in their lives. “He would have high highs where he wanted to take us all on vacation. He had me go down to downtown Los Angeles and buy diamond earrings for all of the girls in the family and leather coats for all of the guys, and then he would hide again.”
Her mother had her own trauma to bear. “My mother was an incest survivor, so these were my parents.” The producer and writer explained, “My mother never told anybody until I was in my 20s. She never even told my father. So, you have these two people who were so fragile. So scarred. And they are raising seven children.”
Therapy and her own life experience helped Davidson make peace with their journey. “I realized that they were dealing with this stuff which is so huge and traumatic, and it was heroic. And I have so much respect for them. I love the fact that they were able to raise seven of us and work many, many hours of the day trying to support a family of seven.”
Loss And Her Spiritual Journey
Davidson was an open book in this episode. The actress addressed everything from her childhood, her loud and aggressive siblings, being discovered in a bar in Costa Mesa, her decision to pursue modeling and acting, and landing her first major gig in the cult classic horror flick, The House on Sorority Row.
Fans of The Young and the Restless and Days of our Lives will hear about her early days on the soaps, her long career, and how she found peace with the genre. Learn about her 20-year marriage to Vince Van Patten and being able to be present for all of her son’s milestones thanks to her work on Y&R. She details the many losses in her private life that helped nurture her spiritual journey, an a-ha moment she experienced listening to Marianne Williamson, learning transcendental meditation in her 30s, and how psychic John Edwards helped her make peace with her dad, and leave a positive legacy for her son, Jesse.
And, in a surprising turn, watch the smart and talented veteran turn the tables on Benard while picking his brain on subjects such as his inspiration for starting the show, how it has helped him, and how he is dealing with anxiety today. Watch the full episode here.
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