‘Y&R’s Melissa Ordway & Justin Gaston on Playing a Couple on & Off-Screen

Melissa Ordway and Justin Gaston
Photo: Erik Voake/CBS ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

The Young and the Restless had a challenge: Find a replacement for Danny Boaz, who plays Chance, following the actor’s announcement that he’d tested positive for the coronavirus. Chance, the son of Nina Webster and Phillip Chancellor III, is now engaged to Melissa Ordway‘s Abby, and their wedding storyline is the focus of a momentous occasion: the show’s 12,000th episode on Dec. 1.

So, an ingenious solution was devised: The role temporarily would go to Ordway’s real-life husband, Justin Gaston (ex-Ben on Days of Our Lives). The actor/musician, who debuted earlier in November on the CBS soap opera, and Ordway will be exchanging “I do’s” again — this time in front of millions of fans.

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We speak to the star about the early days, the wedding of her soap son, Chance, and whether she'll be back for more.

TV Insider chats with the couple about life imitating art, what conflicts might ahead for Abby and Chance, and more.

What were your initial thoughts when Y&R reached out to Justin to play Chance?

Justin Gaston: I was really, really excited to work with Melissa. At first, we were like, “Is this going to be weird?” But it wasn’t at all. I’ve known everyone in the cast for a while I was happy to step in.

The Young and the Restless 12,000th episode

Erik Voake/CBS ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

Melissa Ordway: Initially, I just wanted Justin to think I was a good actress! I still have such a big crush on him even though we’ve been together for a while.

At first, we didn’t know what to expect. But this was the most fun two weeks I’d ever had at work. Justin and Melissa don’t speak to each other nearly as eloquently as the writers write for us!

Gaston: The first few shows, we were dipping our toes into the waters, but like Melissa says, it was fun. We had a good time. And we got to get married again. In real life, we didn’t write our vows as Chance and Abby do.

How did your real-life wedding differ from Abby and Chance’s?

Ordway: Well, ours wasn’t in a living room. [The pair wed in the Chancellor living room, the show’s longest-standing set.] We had a much bigger wedding. But we only had one camera on us at our real wedding.

Gaston: I remember thinking, “Abby doesn’t have as many friends at her wedding as Melissa did at ours.”

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Did you get some new wedding photos out of this venture?

Ordway: I think so. I was looking through my phone and I actually didn’t take as many pictures of us working together as I should have. I think that’s because we were working so much, but I wish I’d documented this adventure.

Gaston: [Wryly] I mentioned something about that…

Ordway: [Laughs] You’re always right!

Abby’s been married before and has had a few love interests. Why is Chance the one?

Ordway: These are two characters that have so much in common, starting with their families. He’s a Chancellor and can relate to Abby being a Newman and an Abbott. These are some of the most well-known families in Genoa City. Hopefully, this [relationship] sticks for Abby. We’ll have to wait and see.

What was it like working with Tricia Cast, Chance’s mom Nina?

Gaston: She’s a sweetheart.

Ordway: I was so excited because I’d grown up watching Cricket [Lauralee Bell] and Nina.

Nina had a mother-in-law from hell experience with Phillip’s [Thom Bierdz] mother Jill [Jess Walton]. How’s the dynamic between Nina and Abby?

Ordway: They have a good relationship. The coolest part about this wedding is it’s the joining of families.

Are there going to be flashbacks shown in honor of the 12,000th episode?

Ordway: Yes. It was so lovely to watch scenes I wasn’t even in. You have all these characters, heads of families including Victor [Eric Braeden], Ashley [Eileen Davidson], Jack [Peter Bergman]. It’s like a beautiful holiday gift for the viewers.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

Justin, did your run as Ben on Days help you handle the workload?

Gaston: Yeah. It was super helpful. I will say that there was so much dialog — I’d never had even close to that on Days. Melissa helped me run lines.

Ordway: Justin had more dialog than what I normally have. He knocked it out of the park. There was never a take where he didn’t completely know his lines. Even Eric [Braeden] said, “Can we just give Justin a round of applause?”

Justin, you have some other projects coming out.

Gaston: [One is] a Christmas movie on ION, The Christmas Sitters. It’s about parents who are stranded in Europe so, [my character’s] brother steps in and watches their kids for the holidays.

Sounds like a fantasy holiday flick for parents! Speaking of kids, do your daughters, Olivia, 4, and Sophie Jolie, who turns 3 next month, watch Y&R? Will you show them your TV wedding?

Ordway: I don’t really show them the show, but I do let them see some of the stuff I think they’d like. We watched Summer [Hunter King] dumping water on Abby’s head. In fact, we kept rewinding it. They loved that. We’re going to show this to them — Mommy and Daddy getting married.

The Young and the Restless, Weekdays, Check Local Listings for daytime/syndicated shows, CBS