Warning: What you are about to read is not, repeat, not to be taken seriously: the following frivolity surfaced during a sun-drenched afternoon on the patio of photographer Jonathan Exley's home studio. Susan Walters and Linden Ashby, who met on LOVING (she was Lorna, he was Curtis) and wed in 1986, have an outrageous sense of humor. Susan was in the makeup chair when Digest arrived; Linden was going to be late. "He's in bed with Sharon Case [Sharon, YOUNG AND RESTLESS]," shrugged Walters. "It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it," countered Ashby upon his arrival.
Susan Walters: We were joking because he got the pages and he was worried about having to hit Sharon. My emphasis, of course, wasn't on him beating her up. My emphasis was, "You're going to be in bed with her!" He was all concerned and I'm going, "Yeah, yeah, so you slap her in scene five, but in scene one, you're kissing her. In scene two, you're making love to her. Scene three, you're cuddling." That's what I was thinking.
Digest: How do you feel about having to watch your husband kiss another woman?
Walters: I've done this long enough to know better, and I'm happy it's Sharon. This is like a gift. You get to go off to work and make out with this gorgeous young woman with this amazing body. And she's so professional. He did a movie [in 1999] based on a Norman Mailer short called Time Of Her Time and it was just sex, sex, sex. I got to the point where he'd come home and I'd be in a Target housedress with my glasses on. I was like, "Forget it. How do you compete with that [laughs]?"
Digest: Linden, what's it like to play such a repellant character?
Linden Ashby: I did this scene today....
Walters: Oh? Did you work today?
Walters: For the next week, I'm going to hear, "When I was kissing Sharon, we did it like this." [She makes a smooching motion.]
Ashby: Sharon doesn't do it like that.
Walters (imitating Linden): "Funny I can put my hands all the way around her waist [laughs]."
Ashby: Sharon does it like this. [He counters the smooching motion, she mock-hits his arm.]
Walters (imitating Linden): "You know honey, maybe you can get some diet tips from Sharon [laughs]." Yeah, well, I birthed two childen, dammit.
Ashby: What I was trying to say before I was so rudely interrupted was, clearly this is a guy who thinks he's above the law. It makes me sick just thinking about hitting a woman. Like today, when Cameron was beating Sharon, it bothered me. When I beat Susan, it really doesn't bother me.
[Walters laughs. Ashby picks up the tape recorder and speaks into it.]
Ashby: Yes, he is kidding.
Walters: When I think of us on LOVING together, I don't think of us working together. I think of him doing all those scenes rolling around on the bed with Ava [Roya Megnot] and going, "I don't want him to be doing this." Now it's like, "You got a job? Good!"
Digest: With two actors in the family, did you ever experience the A Star is Born syndrome?
Ashby: God willing, one of us is working.
Digest: You're both attractive with glamorous jobs. What's it like to be a hot couple in Hollywood?
Walters: I'll turn that response over to you, Linden Ashby.
Ashby: We're so hot.
Walters: So hot. [laughs]. A hot couple in Hollywood is a phrase I'd never use to describe us.
Ashby: Yeah, that would be Jennifer Aniston ...
Walters: ... and Brad Pitt. Looking at the moms at the PTA where our kids go to school, I'm a bit of a plain Jane.
Ashby: Yeah, every time I look at you, I think, "Poor, plain Sue."
Walters: Actually, when we first moved into our neighborhood, people were like, "Is that the guy on MELROSE PLACE [ex-Coop]?" I forget sometimes, women do check him out.
MELROSEmania: The duo both appeared on MP in 1998, but they rarely shared scenes together. Pictured (from l): Rob Estes (ex-Kyle), Heather Locklear (ex-Amanda), Walters (ex-Christine/Tiffany), Ashby (ex-Coop) and Jamie Luner (ex-Lexi)
Ashby: All the guys check you out. It's something that you just live with. [He signs] It's a burden.
Walters: Uh, oh. He's hot and he made out with Sharon Case? That might be a problem.
Ashby: I've known about my innate heat for some time. I'm incediary.
Walters: I wish I were more hot. I might be working more if I was hot [laughs].
Ashby: You're hot enough. Any hotter and you'd catch on fire.
Walters: We have fun
Ashby: And we're hot.
Digest: What's the secret to your successful marriage?
Ashby: We swing quite a bit, which probably keeps it fresh.
Walters: That's what you don't know about our PTA. We're the cornballs.
Ashby: If you can swing with Brad and Jennifer....
Walters: I don't want to "swing" with anybody! You'd better keep your mouth shut.
Ashby: Are you kidding me? I'm trading my Ferrari for the Pinto? I don't think so.
Walters: I think there's a compliment in there somewhere.
Ashby: Not that there's anything wrong with the wife-swapping thing.
Walters: That's why we're actors. To pretend.
Digest: So basically, nearly 18 years of marriage destroyed in one interview?
Walters:That's right. You have that power.
Ashby:Yep, we're so hot, we just spontaneously combusted.
Linden Ashby and Susan Walters reveal their strategies for beating the Hollywood couple curse.