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‘Days of Our Lives’ Star Eric Martsolf Reacts to Daytime Emmy Nomination and Dishes on “Bristen”

Plus, updates on his band and how he's soon to be an empty-nester in real life!


Days of Our Lives’ Brady Black may not be loving Kristen DiMera or her machinations these days, but portrayer Eric Martsolf Emmy nominee is singing a very different tune. The Daytime Emmy-winner who broke into television as Passions’ Ethan Winthrop talks to FIRST for Women about his 2024 Lead Actor nomination, the magic of Days of Our Lives “Bristen,” and being a soap hunk for two decades and counting.

Plus, the Lead Actor Daytime Emmy nominee reveals why it’s extra special be in the running with The Young and the Restless icon Eric Braeden, as well as The Bold and the Beautiful vets Scott Clifton, Thorsten Kaye, and John McCook.

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Daytime Emmy nominee considers his competition for Lead Actor

Lead actor nominnee Eric Marstolf 2014 Daytime Emmy win.webp
Eric Martsolf (2014) Brad Everett Young

Having been the first Days of Our Lives star to take home the Daytime Emmy for Supporting Actor back in 2014, Eric Martsolf Emmy nominee is thrilled to be a 2024 Lead Actor contender alongside The Bold and the Beautiful’s Scott Clifton (Liam), Thorsten Kaye (Ridge), and John McCook (Eric) and The Young and the RestlessEric Braeden (Victor).

“They’re mostly newcomers, so I feel pretty good,” Martsolf cracks of the competition. “There’s not a lot of experience amongst these guys and I’m hoping to prey upon that.”

All joking aside, Martsolf is “honored and excited” to be counted among four legends who have taken home the honor before – and especially the one he grew up watching with his late mother.

“Her favorite character was Victor Newman,” he explains. “So the fact that this Eric and that Eric are going to be up for the same trophy? She would have gotten the biggest kick out of that. And I would have brought her to the Emmys, God rest her soul. I will be thinking of her all night.”

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Days Eric Martsolf turned Brady and Kristen’s dysfunction into a Lead Actor nomination

Woman and man hugging and smiling
Stacy Haiduk and Eric Martsolf (2022)Amy Sussman / Staff / Getty

To land a spot in the coveted Lead Actor category this year, Martsolf knew just what scenes to submit for consideration.

“I submitted the everlasting tumultuous conflict with Brady and Kristen,” he says. “It was the custodial battle for their daughter, Rachel. She’s playing dirty, he’s playing dirty. My reel starts off with the scenes in which I literally pull a gun on her, shove it in her stomach, and say, ‘I’m not playing around anymore. Where’s my kid?’”

While that may sound over the top, Days of Our Lives viewers will tell you that it’s par for the course for these two.

Days Eric Marstolf Eileen Davidson as Brady and Kirsten
Eric Martsolf and Eileen Davidson in “Days of Our Lives” Corday Productions/Sony Pictures Television/NBC/Peacock

“This whole Brady and Kristen thing – from the days of Eileen Davidson being her portrayer – was about the forbidden fruit,” Martsolf reminds. “People were like, ‘There’s no way John’s son would be involved with John’s ex-lover. Ew!’ But here we are, almost 16 years later, and this relationship has endured and still captivates some fans.

“I’m a Bristen fan myself,” he adds proudly, using the couple’s portmanteau. “And I love working with [current portrayer] Stacy Haiduk. She should be awarded any award that I get for this performance, because she’s right there with me in my scenes, playing catch. She loves her job, always comes in with a positive attitude, and if you like to watch the fire, she definitely ignites it!”

MUST READ:  ‘Days of Our Lives’ Star Stacy Haiduk Dishes on Her Characters Kristen and Susan

Why Days of Our Lives Emmy nominee says he’s ‘Team Bristen’

DAYS- Emmy nom-Eric-Martsolf-with star-Stacy-Haiduk-as-Kristen-Brady
Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk in “Days of Our Lives” Corday Productions/Sony Pictures Television/NBC/Peacock

Since Martsolf assumed the role of Brady, his character has found love with other women… but time and again, it’s Kristen who steals his attention.

“Kristen is essentially Brady’s cocaine,” Martsolf maintains. “The man is an addict and even though he’s on the wagon now, she is that substance he can’t get enough of. No matter what she does, what she says, or what trick she plays, he’s got to have some.”

While that’s not exactly a healthy relationship, it sure makes for good soap.

“Should everyone aspire to be a John and Marlena?” Martsolf considers. “Sure, they are the epitome of what it’s all about. But I think you also need to see two extremely flawed people find love and try to raise a kid and do the best they can and stumble along the way. That’s messy, and that’s what I want to watch on TV.”

Eric Martsolf talks daddy drama

Eric Martsolf with family Lisa Chase and Mason
Eric Martsolf and family via @officiallisamartsolf on instagram

These days, Brady’s got plenty of mess to watch! In addition to fighting for the daughter he shares with Kristen, he’s concerned about his son Tate – who almost went down for Holly’s drug overdose, earlier this year.

Days has been pinning this father storyline on me for a while now and I gladly accepted it because in my actual life, I’m dealing with 18-year-old twin boys,” Martsolf says. “So when I go to work, it ain’t a stretch! I’m finally, finally dealing with material that I can totally relate to – and that’s the angst of father.”

With his sons Chase and Mason now looking at colleges, however, Martsolf may soon find himself with an empty nest.

“My wife and I have been complaining about the noise for 18 years, and now I’m scared to death of the silence that may be upon me,” he admits. “I’m going to have to take up crochet or racquetball or something.”

Better yet, Martsolf may just have to schedule more concert dates with his band.

Daytime Emmy nominee talks The Day Players band

The Day Players Eric Martsolf Carson Boatman Wally Kurth Brandon Barash
Eric Martsolf, Carson Boatman, Wally Kurth and Brandon Barash courtesy of

Having come to Daytime TV after traveling with the musical Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Martsolf is now traveling with The Day Players – a cover band that also features Days of Our Lives Wally Kurth, Brandon Barash, and Carson Boatman, who play Justin, Stefan, and Johnny, respectively.

“We have such a good time,” Martsolf says. “The show is about the music, but it’s also about the banter between the songs. We talk about Days, make fun of each other, and just laugh all weekend. We’re selling tickets like hotcakes now, and we’re not slowing down.”

Kurth – who is up for Supporting Actor and has been rocking since his General Hospital character Ned played at being Eddie Maine in the ‘90s – may actually be ready to slow down. But Martsolf enjoys the lifestyle, mini-van and all.

“If you could see it – there’s five of us, with all of our equipment, just shoved into one minivan, driving around Michigan, Illinois, or wherever,” he says. “It’s kind of like the Partridge Family, but with a bunch of soap actors instead!”

Eric Martsolf reflects on his decades as a soap hunk

Two men and woman smiling; Eric martsolf Emmy
Eric Martsolf, Justin Hartley, and Lindsay Hartley got their start together on Passions. Stephen Shugerman / Stringer / Getty

As Days of Our Lives Eric Martsolf rocks out with his Day Players pals and celebrates his first Lead Actor nomination, the Daytime Emmy-winner who broke into TV as Ethan Winthrop in 2002 can’t quite believe he’s been on soap operas for over 20 years. 

“I loved daytime from the very first day I started on Passions,” Martsolf tells FIRST for Women. “It excited me, and I didn’t want to be an actor who was flying to Bulgaria to do Lord of the Rings. I wanted to be a presence in my kids’ lives, and the soap genre has allowed me to do that.

“I put all my eggs into this basket, that’s for sure,” the Daytime Emmy nominee continues. “But I still feel like the luckiest dude on the planet. And with all the liberties that Daytime has given me, I’d like to believe that I’ve put in the work and given to it as well because I truly love it and appreciate it.”

Days of Our Lives streams weekdays on Peacock. The 51st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards will air Friday, June 7, on CBS, 8:00-10:00 PM, ET/delayed PT. 

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