Kelly Ripa Recalls How Landing ‘All My Children’ Role Changed Her Life

Thirty years ago, Kelly Ripa’s life was completely changed.

At just 20 years old, the actress was cast as Hayley Vaughan on the iconic ABC daytime soap opera All My Children. Not only did the role launch her to stardom, but it also introduced her to her future husband, costar Mark Consuelos.

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Ripa and Consuelos are two of almost 30 cast members who are coming together virtually throughout the week as part of Entertainment Weekly‘s #UnitedAtHome series. In the first episode, which is streaming now, the couple were featured alongside Eva LaRue and Sydney Penny. In the sneak peak, Ripa shared her first impressions of her All My Children character.

“Well, you know, it’s so funny. Her original name was Hayley Wells and then they said, ‘The character sounds too much like Hayley Mills so we’re changing her name to Hayley Vaughan,'” The 49-year-old actress recalled. “I was like, ‘I don’t know who anybody is you just mentioned, so I’ll go with it.'”

“I wasn’t like everybody else on this panel — everybody else had jobs and careers and they were professional actors,” she continued. “I truly moved to New York and I was working at the Toy Fair and I auditioned sort of on a whim. I was originally dropping off other people’s headshots, because [that was] my side hustle.”

Ripa was able to read for the role of Hayley one day, and then the rest was history.

“I got like, six callbacks and two screen tests, ’cause they were really sure they wanted me,” she cracked. “And I wound up getting the job. But it was really — I mean, talk about happy accidents. It really was a happy accident. It changed my life. It changed my entire life — not just my acting life, but changed the whole trajectory of my life.”

Consuelos said he was in a “similar boat,” snatching the role of Mateo Santos right after he had moved to New York.

“What drew me to the role was that I had never worked as an actor before, so that was very exciting, to get a job,” he said. “It was one of my first auditions. Similarly, I had to re-screen test a few times as well.”

“We were that good,” Ripa added, laughing.

Ripa was also hoping for Consuelos to be cast on the show.

“You know, Mark was working the whole time and so we bonded with him as a cast,” she explained. “So imagine, suddenly, they kept saying, ‘Well, there’s got to be a better actor out there.’ And we’re like, ‘No, he’s our friend now! We love him.'”

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