‘Y&R’s Lauralee Bell Previews Danny & Cricket’s Reunion: ‘Is the Hurt Too Strong?’

Michael Damian and Lauralee Bell in 'The Young and the Restless'

Christmas is over but The Young and the Restless still has a gift to share with the show’s longtime fans. Don’t miss today’s episode when Christine Williams (Lauralee Bell) has some flashbacks to her past life as “Cricket” Blair when she was paired with Michael Damian’s rockstar character Danny Romalotti.

As most soap fans know, flashbacks including a character not on the canvas are almost always a prelude to an on-screen reunion so stay tuned for when Chris and Danny come face to face shortly after the New Year. “When I heard about Michael coming back, I was so excited,” Bell tells TV Insider. “Chris and [her husband] Paul [Williams, played by Doug Davidson] are super-strong in terms of their relationship but there’s nothing like a first love.”

The flashbacks will serve as a reminder just how strong Danny and Chris (he still calls her “Cricket”) once were — and may still be. The couple was rock solid until Danny, in a case of art imitating life, went off to perform the title character in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on Broadway. The writers broke Chris and Danny up when he sent her an overnight letter (today, it’d be a text) ending their marriage. The reason? Danny was led to believe he’d impregnated groupie Phyllis Summers (Michelle Stafford), pregnant by another man, who told Danny he was the dad.

The storyline climaxed years later when Phyllis’s lies were exposed in court and her son Daniel (now, Michael Graziadei) was taken away from her. It turned out that Danny hadn’t been unfaithful to Chris. Viewers expected them to get back together; however, Chris, by this point, had moved on and married Paul.

“She lived that rollercoaster and reached a point where she asked herself, is it time to move on or is this fixable?” Bell says. “The trust was broken regardless. It just was.” Still, she says that it’s hard to deny your first love and how strong it once was. “[Danny and Chris] could be like a Ridge and Brooke thing [from The Bold and the Beautiful] where you can’t deny that something’s still there,” Bell suggests.

Christine could always be counted on as a character who took the moral highroad. That’s certainly not as fun for actors as it is to play the villain, but Bell notes that serials need to have good characters. “Fans will say a character [like Chris] is sweet and that they might remind them of their cousin or someone else in their lives,” the actress says. “The good characters counterbalance the evil ones. I think it’s more challenging to play the good character.”

Bell’s late parents — William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell — co-created Y&R (as well as sister soap B&B). How might they feel about the show hitting its 50th Golden Anniversary in March? “I don’t think my dad would be surprised,” Bell muses. “He always knew the show was special. He set a great foundation.”

The actress feels the show’s loyal fanbase has played a tremendous role in helping Y&R reach this big milestone. Might viewers see additional important people from Chris’ life pop up again — such as husband Paul and BFF Nina Webster (Tricia Cast)?

“I wish this every day,” Bell says about Davidson popping up on the show again. “He and I talk often. I’m more hopeful than ever, but I don’t know. It’d be incredible and it’s always great working with Doug. I just look at him and we’re in the moment. The fans love him. It’d be great if Chris and Paul were back on-air together again.”

Bell is also hopeful we see Nina again especially as her son Chance (Conner Floyd) is on the canvas. “Everybody’s talking about the importance of having originals on,” she says. “It only makes sense to have them back.”

For now, viewers will be content seeing the Danny/Cricket reunion. “You’ll be able to tell by the flashbacks that Chris has that [she’s not sure] if she even wants to see him again,” Bell says, “or is the hurt too strong?”

The Young and the Restless, Weekdays, CBS