Is Eric Dying on ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’? Ashley Jones on Returning for Her TV Dad’s Possible Swan Song

Ashley Jones in 'The Bold and the Beautiful'
Bill Inoshita/CBS

Absent soap characters come back to the canvas all the time for weddings and funerals. No one’s getting hitched right now on The Bold and the Beautiful, but Forrester family patriarch Eric (John McCook) is hovering between life and death right now as he’s suffering from a mysterious sickness.

His daughter Bridget (played by Ashley Jones) is working alongside Eric’s grandson-in-law Finn (Tanner Novlan) to furiously save Eric’s life via an experimental procedure as Eric’s family fears the worst and hopes for the best in the waiting room.

TV Insider chatted with Jones about reprising Bridget, jumping into super-emotional scenes, and taking on the role of director, and she reveals how a soap opera visionary knew she was the right actress to take on this B&B legacy character nearly 20 years ago!

Eric’s current story wouldn’t be the same without Bridget on the canvas — especially as he could be going to that great soap opera in the sky

Ashley Jones: Thank you. There isn’t anything I love more than coming back to Bold and the Beautiful.

Other characters have processed Eric possibly dying for a while. But Bridget and Thorne (Winsor Harmon) have been away and were thrown into the deep end. What was it like taking Bridget from zero to 60 on an emotional level?

One of the interesting things about being a part of the B&B family is that I see these people outside of work or when I drop by the studio to visit when I’m not on the show. Kelly [AKA Katherine Kelly Lang, Brooke] and I are close in real-life. This isn’t like I’m coming onto a project playing somebody new. I’ve known Bridget for almost 20 years. The relationship she has with her father is one that has never been tainted. She cares deeply for him. All I have to do is listen and react to Kelly in our scenes and the emotions are there.

Sure, there is some anger [because Bridget wasn’t told right away about Eric]. She’s thinking, “Why did [her family] not use her as a doctor?” Bridget realized Eric’s party happened so quickly [because of his illness]. But she felt cheated out of not having more time with her dad.

Tanner Novlan, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, Katherine Kelly Lang, and Ashley Jones — 'The Bold and the Beautiful'

Bill Inoshita/CBS

There’s been conflict with Ridge (Thorsten Kaye) having medical power of attorney over Eric.

Yes. Ridge has felt very strongly that he wants to follow through with Eric’s wishes, which are to be not stuck on a ventilator. Eric wants to go peacefully. The family has gotten a bit divided. It may not rip the family apart but with Ridge having the power and Bridget and Thorne not wanting to lose their dad, [it’s been dramatic]. Bridget has gotten angry with Ridge.

Might Bridget have felt differently had she been brought into the situation earlier?

Yes. She’s having the most human response. On top of it, Bridget [had] to go see her dad and act like she didn’t know. Bridget wanted to know all the steps. What doctors had Eric already seen? The beauty is that Finn has allowed her to scrub in on the procedure.

This could end with John leaving the show. How do you feel about him?

I was around 25 years old when I first joined the show. Kelly and John were the first people I met there. I hadn’t done Young and the Restless [where I played Megan] in a bit. I had tested at Days of our Lives for Lisa Rinna’s role [Billie, but didn’t get it]. I hadn’t cried on cue in a while. When I came to B&B, Kelly just looked at me and said, “Just stay connected to me and it’ll work.” It’s the same way with John.

Ask anyone who’s been on our show and [they’ll tell you that] John is the “father” of our show. We gather in his dressing room. I know his real-life kids. I call him “Dad” when I see him in the hallway or the parking lot. Recently, he took me aside and gave me some really great advice. That’s just John. That’s who he is.

Have you watched John in this story?

Yes. I knew that Eric was getting sick. I was wondering if Bridget would have come back earlier for the fashion showdown between Eric and Ridge.

I’m pretty sure that Bridget is the only doctor/fashion designer in soaps!  

[Laughs] I think so, too! Honestly, though, I think Bridget’s been brought back at just the right time. This is a half-hour show with a decent sized cast. When Brad [Bell, executive producer/head writer] has a story he wants to write a certain way, you have to trust him. This is a much better time for Bridget to come back. I always have the show on when I’m home. I keep up with people and I read recaps online to fill in any blanks if I miss an episode. I have to give it to Brad and the other writers. This is a beautiful storyline that has unfolded and has both brought family members together also divided some of them.

Ashley Jones and John McCook — 'The Bold and the Beautiful'

Sonja Flemming/CBS

Bridget has a son – Logan – with Owen Knight (Brandon Beemer). How old is Logan now? The character was born in 2010.

I would think [in soap years] that he’s around 18, maybe?

Someday, he has to come on for no other reason than he has one of the coolest soap opera character names ever – Logan Knight!

[Laughs] It rivals “Thorne Forrester” [Winsor Harmon]. I think “Logan” is a special name as it’s Ridge’s nickname for Brooke. They have new blood on the show with Joshua [Hoffman, RJ] and Lisa [Yamada, Luna], which is fantastic. I love interacting with my [TV] brother RJ.

How has Bridget been reconciling her roles as Eric’s daughter and a doctor who can help her dad?

There have been moments where you see there’s a fine line. Bridget’s instincts as a doctor have taken over. Luckily, she and Finn are on the same page about wanting no stone being unturned. She’s extremely professional, but there are [emotional] moments, too. This is, after all, her father.

You recently stepped behind the lens to direct the Lifetime Movie Network thriller The Perfect In-Laws. What was that like?

It was a whirlwind labor of love. I think Lifetime was pleased. It was much like doing a soap opera in that you do so much in a day. I can’t wait to do it again. It was exhilarating. I wanted to shadow other directors and soak up as much as I can. I’ll never give up acting, but directing, I think, makes me a better actor.

You’re coming up on 20 years of playing Bridget on and off. What was it like taking over the role that had been played by three-time Daytime Emmy-winner Jennifer Finnigan (Tyrant, Salvation)?

Michael Bruno, the daytime talent manager, was convinced that I could be Bridget. My contract with him wasn’t “I’ll be your manager” or “I’ll represent you for daytime” — it said if you get the role of Bridget, then I will be your manager. I thought, this is crazy! I was like, “Okay. I’ll sign this.” Michael told me he’d watched a lot of my work and which scenes of mine I should send to the show. After I did that, the offer [from B&B to play Bridget] came in the next day. Michael has a great eye — especially for daytime.

The Bold and the Beautiful, Weekdays, CBS