While many might think of Kelly Ripa solely as a bubbly morning show host, fans of the soap opera All My Children will always remember her as Hayley Vaughan. For those who didn’t regularly rush home from school to catch a glimpse of the punk-rock runaway tune into the daytime classic, Ripa joined the cast in late 1990 when she was just 20 years old and stayed on for 12 years. And while a gig like that would be considered life-changing for just about anybody, Ripa recently opened up about just how much of an impact the show really had on her.
“It changed my life. It changed my entire life—not just my acting life, but changed the whole trajectory of my life,” Ripa gushed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly as part of its #UnitedAtHome series. “I wasn't like everybody else [in the cast]—everybody else had jobs and careers and they were professional actors. 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.” Working at a toy store and dropping off headshots? Yes, even stars like Ripa had to start somewhere.
Despite Ripa’s inexperience, Vaughan quickly became one of the most popular characters on the show—no small feat given the fact that mysterious children, professional rivals and ex-lovers were constantly reemerging or disappearing over the course of just a few episodes. The role didn’t alter only her career path, however, it’s also how she met her husband Mark Consuelos with whom she just celebrated her 24th wedding anniversary. And considering the fact that Vaughan spent much of her time on All My Children employed as a talk-show host, we’re pretty sure her real-life transition to co-host of Live! with Regis and Kelly wasn’t just a coincidence.
Of course, Ripa and Consuelos aren’t the only household names to come from All My Children’s 41-year run. Susan Lucci, Josh Duhamel, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Amanda Seyfried, Christian Slater and Darnell Williams all had starring roles on the soap over the years. Michelle Trachtenberg and Mischa Barton both played Lily Montgomery at different times, and even Jesse McCartney made an appearance in 1998 as Adam “JR” Chandler, Jr.
Only a handful of those All My Children alumni will make appearances on Entertainment Weekly’s reunion series, but fans can catch the mini group interviews every morning this week with new episodes dropping at 10 a.m. EST. However, if it’s specifically more Ripa you want, you can always tune in to Live with Kelly and Ryan to watch her cut her son’s hair with kitchen shears.