Will Sally Survive on 'Bold and the Beautiful'? Courtney Hope Speaks Out on Her Diagnosis

Michael Maloney
Courtney Hope Bold and the Beautiful
Q&A Cliff Lipson/CBS

The Bold and the Beautiful's Sally Spectra (Courtney Hope) is not having a great 2020! She’s been dumped for a second time by Wyatt (Darin Brooks) and is facing challenges at Forrester Creations in her role as a designer. But these issues are nothing compared to the tragic medical diagnosis she received from Dr. Escobar in the February 10 episode. It’s unclear what Sally has — or if this is a final fate — but viewers know one thing for certain, Sally’s a fighter!

Secrets are hard to keep on soaps, but Sally’s doing her darnedest to keep Wyatt from finding out her news. After all, the last thing she wants is his pity. In the meantime, Sally’s leaning on an unexpected ally — Katie (Heather Tom) — as she attempts to process how to play this lousy hand life has dealt her.

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Read on to get insights from Hope, who, off-screen, received some happy news this year when she won Best Acting in a Game at the New York Video Game Awards for her role as Jesse Faden in Control.

What were your thoughts when you learned Sally would receive this diagnosis?

Courtney Hope: As an actor, I thought this is what I live for. I was excited to learn that Sally was going to dig more into who she is and see where that could go. I don’t want anything to happen to Sally because she’s so young and has so many hopes and dreams. I’ve never done a story like this before. I’m excited to see what’s going to transpire.

There was a creative choice on the show’s behalf where Sally heard her diagnosis but the audience did not.

It’s a double-edged sword. I see why [Sally’s specific condition] won’t be named, but I can see both reasons for doing so. Selfishly, I wanted to sink my teeth into something as an artist and to be an advocate for it, but I respect the decision not to do that. You want people to have outlets of hope and positivity. Ultimately, this story is about the fight that Sally is facing. She’s asking herself, "Do you take life by the reins and move on? Or do you just cash in your chips?"

The audience not hearing what Sally actually has leaves things… open.

Absolutely. If you give someone a terminal illness then, by definition, it’s terminal and you can’t come back from that. You’ve already got one foot in the grave.

Katie has been a rock for Sally. How would you describe their relationship prior to this storyline?

They didn’t have much of a relationship before this. We’re both exes of Wyatt’s; that was our dynamic. We’d see each other at holidays or at Forrester, but we never had any major conflicts. Sally knows Katie’s history and Katie knows Sally’s. They are both very strong characters, and I think Katie’s the perfect person to be there for Sally because, medically, she’s been through it all. It’s a blessing that Katie ended up being there when Sally was going through this. I don’t think anyone else could have held her hand the way Katie did.

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Sally, I’m guessing, doesn’t want Wyatt to know because A) she doesn’t want him to feel sad, and B) she doesn’t want his pity.

Pity has a huge thing to do with it. Sally’s so strong. But she’s been let down twice now by Wyatt. The last thing she wants is for him to be with her because [he thinks] she’s dying. The feelings wouldn’t be authentic. She doesn’t want Wyatt if he’s only going to be with her because this would be her dying wish. Also, once someone knows you are diagnosed with something it becomes harder for you to block it out because the other person is then talking about, trying to help you. Sally wants to block it out so she can divert her attention to other things in life. She wants to mask her fear.

There are a lot of directions this can go in depending on who finds out — and when.

Yes. Everyone has a secret at some point in their lives. Different circumstances, death especially, awakens people in different ways.

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Sally wants to keep this as private as possible, but odds are, unless there’s a padlock put on the door to Eric’s (John McCook) office at Forrester, this news will be overheard!   

[Laughs] Everyone [on our show] loves to eavesdrop!

What did you think of Sally recently calling Wyatt "Liam" (Scott Clifton)? You and Scott had something really nice on-screen a while back, but it was cut short.

When I read that I was like, "What’s going on here?" Sally really respects Liam in a lot of ways. She cares for him. He was there for her genuinely at a time she needed a friend. He epitomized what she wanted in a man. She enjoys Liam as a friend. It was an honest slip when Sally called Wyatt by his brother’s name. The fact that she’s not feeling well and her mind is all over the place [contributed to that]. Liam was on her mind. It struck a nerve because of Wyatt’s history with his brother. It was definitely an accident on her part.

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In your mind, have you chosen more specifically what Sally’s illness is, even though it’s not being named?

Yes. I have done that. I want to authentically portray [Sally’s condition] and have it progress. I talked to Brad [Bell, executive producer/head writer] about possible symptoms and what they could be. That’s what’s been in the back of my mind and it’s what I’ve been playing. It gives me something to move towards. I want to be able to track something and look it up. I love researching! That was something I did on my own to have in my back pocket.

Congratulations on your recent award for playing Jesse Faden in the video game Control. Are soap fans and video game show audiences similar?

Thank you. Yes, the fans are equally devoted. Some fans of the game industry actually watch B&B. They’ve said to me, "You’re on my show!" It’s the same with [B&B fans]. Some will say that their husband or son plays Control. They both have such loyal and devoted audiences. When you’re on a soap opera, you’re in people’s homes every day or every week. They’re spending time with you. It’s similar with a video game. A lot of fans can spend hours on a game, depending on sequels. I love both of these worlds and I’d love to see them collide.

Did you ever watch the late great Darlene Conley (ex-Sally), who played your character’s great aunt?

Oh, yes. I did that especially before I first worked on the show. The producers had sent me stuff and I looked online for some of my own research. I wanted to do that because I play her great niece. There are bloodlines there and characteristics and traits in her that I wanted to see. I wanted to draw on those and see how they transformed into what I can create. Sally came on a lot more naïve than she is now. [Darlene’s Sally] was larger than life and [Darlene] seemed like a really wonderful person. I know that she was a great actress.

Bold and the Beautiful, Weekdays, CBS