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‘Days of Our Lives’ Star Mary Beth Evans Talks Steve, Kayla, Ava and the Daytime Emmys!

Daytime Emmy-winner reflects on her career, romancing Stephen Nichols and her newest role


After all Days of Our Lives’ Kayla Brady has been through to get to her happily ever after with Steve “Patch” Johnson, Salem’s top doc would love to finally sit back and enjoy it. Unfortunately, Ava’s pulling him into her drama, yet again. With Kayla set to lay down the law this week, FIRST for Women caught up with her portrayer, Mary Beth Evans.

The Daytime Emmy-winner reflects on being part of Days of Our Lives supercouple Steve and Kayla and having her career tied so closely to Stephen Nichols. Plus, Evans talks about the indie series The Bay, her new gig playing grandma, and her Taco Bell days.

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Days star Mary Beth Evans talks 36 years with Stephen Nichols

Days of Our LIves Patch and Kayla wedding 1988 mary beth evans stephen nichols
“Days of Our Lives” (1988) NBC Universal

In Hollywood, some marriages don’t last a day – and on soap operas, longevity is even harder to come by, but that has not been the case for Days of our Lives Mary Beth Evans and her leading men.

“It’s like a world record because Stephen Nichols has been married to his wife for probably for 39 years and I’ve been married to my husband for 38 years – and we, as a partnership, have been married 36 years!” marvels the actress. “It’s so crazy.”

Evan’s and Nichols’ fates have been tied since supercouple Patch and Kayla was born back in 1986. Having popped in and out of Salem over the decades, the actors were even an onscreen couple during their runs on General Hospital – where they played two very different characters, Katherine Bell and Stefan Cassadine.

We were paired from the very first audition at Days, and we’ve been great friends all this time,” Evans shares. “We’re very lucky. I know couples who have been supercouples who are not friends. It doesn’t look fun.”

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‘Days of Our Lives’ star reflects on her start

Days star Mary Beth Evans Kayla.jpg
Mary Beth Evans (2020) Chris Haston/NBC

Before Evans joined Days of Our Lives back in 1986, she was on the short-lived soap Rituals and had made appearances on primetime hits like Knight Rider and Remington Steele. Though she did have a fun little pie business for a while, she’s never really considered another career – perhaps because when she was only five, an astrologist told her mother she’d be an actress.

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“I don’t know if that planted a seed or if it just was, but it’s all I ever wanted to do,” she shares. “I was a very precocious, busy kid, always dressed up in costumes. And at school, I’d do anything to put on a production instead of writing a paper.”

Then, at 14, Evans started working toward her dream – literally.

“I had a single mom, so if you wanted to do anything, you had to earn your own money,” Evans explains. “So I got a job at Taco Bell back when you could just say that you were older. I would make money to pay my sister to drive me and then pay for acting classes. Then when I was 18, I went to a conservatory and started doing plays.

“My grandma used to say, ‘I will pay you to take typing lessons,’” Evans adds. “But I wanted to be an actor, and I didn’t want any distraction or possibility of a backup plan.”

Mary Beth Evans talks Daytime Emmys and her future with The Bay

Mary Beth Evans Kayla
Mary Beth Evans (2018)Chris Haston/NBC

Evan’s perseverance certainly paid off. Not only is she a beloved Daytime TV heroine, but in 2015, she earned her first Daytime Emmy for producing the indie digital soap, The Bay, which was just nominated for a 2024 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series.

The following year, she took home three awards – including Lead Actress in a Daytime Drama for Days of Our Lives and Actress in a Digital Daytime Drama for The Bay.

“When I won the first Emmy, I was standing there thinking, ‘For this show that we were doing in my living room, this is crazy,’” recalls Evans, who’s played sexy matriarch Sara Garrett on the series since 2010 and won another set of awards for it in 2017.

“But the Emmy I won for Days of Our Lives, it really does mean the most to me,” she says. “Because that is kind of like my life’s work.”

While Evans has loved working on The Bay, the leading lady – who was wrangling one of her four grandchildren while we were talking to her – reveals she’s taking a break from the series.

“Maybe I’ll come back, but it is too much right now because my grandkids live in the neighborhood and I try to be active with them,” she explains. “I just feel so blessed! I’m also an avid gardener and always have a lot of projects going on.”

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Days star reflects on Kayla without Patch

Days supercouple Steve Kayla Nichols Evans insta.jpg
Mary Beth Evans and Steve Nichols @marybeth.evans on Instagram

Evans also has responsibilities in Salem, where there’s plenty of drama to play with the Days of Our Lives castmates she’s literally grown up with – including her leading man, Nichols.

To be fair, the pair have gone their separate ways a couple times. Evans got to spread her wings when she moved to New York in 2000 to join As the World Turns for a five-year run as Sierra, and from 2010-2013, Nichols had some fun playing Tucker on The Young and the Restless.

But without Patch, Kayla was… well, lonely.

“I was back on Days, but I still couldn’t date anybody or do anything,” Evans recalls. “I kept joking, ‘Why don’t we just say Steve’s moved to Genoa City, he’s in love with some girl named Ashley, and let Kayla move on!’”

Instead, Nichols came back home to Salem, and their onscreen story love story continued.

“Patch is such an interesting character, especially back in the ‘80s, because he was tough, but with a marshmallow heart,” Evans says. “That coupledom just worked so well, and it still does.”

‘Days of Our Lives’ star Mary Beth Evans talks Kayla

Days star Mary Beth Evans dr. Kayla.jpg
Mary Beth Evans @marybeth.evans on Instagram

As Patch and Kayla have grown into Steve and Kayla, Evans’ character has come into her own in Salem.

“She’s just grown more competent,” Evans says. “When we were off the show, she went to medical school and became a doctor and now, she has a big position at the hospital. She’s more mature and self-assured and stands up for herself.

“She’s also extremely devoted to Steve and wants there to be no more hiccups where they don’t remember each other or whatever,” she adds with a laugh.

That seems like a big want for Salem – especially with Ava hanging around town.

“She’s been sort of my nemesis for a long time and for different reasons,” Evans says. “In real life too, we all probably have people who keep circling back to drive us crazy – and that’s Ava!

“You know, Kayla is a pretty mature gal, so she would have accepted Ava because she’s the mother of (Steve’s son) Tripp,” she adds. “But it’s all the shenanigans she’s always involved in that makes it problematic.”

Days of Our Lives star dishes on sparring with Tamara Braun’s Ava

days of our lives-Kayla-Steve-Ava flashback Evans
“Days of Our Lives” NBC

The problem with Ava this time? Steve’s getting pulled into the madness involving Clyde, and on today’s episode of Days of Our Lives, Kayla has had it. In fact, we hear Roman has to break the ladies up!

“I give her a whole big ultimatum to leave my husband alone… or else,” Evans teases.

While Kayla wants Ava to just get lost, that’s definitely not how Evans feels. Not only does Ava create drama for Steve and Kayla, but Evans is always thrilled to spar with Ava’s portrayer, Tamara Braun – who happens to be a 2024 Daytime Emmy nominee for Outstanding Lead Actress.

“I love Tamara Braun,” Evans gushes. “She’s an amazing actress, and I worked with her on General Hospital too. She’s so fun and so talented, so we always have a great time.”

Plus, Steve and Kayla have already survived death, kidnapping, memory loss, and countless other adventures as a supercouple. They can certainly handle Ava’s wake of destruction.

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