Ripa, Consuelos to return to All My Children

December 29, 2009 3:35:12 PM PST
Kelly Ripa got a chance to say thanks for the memories when she and her husband, Mark Consuelos, returned to All My Children after an absence of seven years. Fans of the soap opera know it's set in a fictional town somewhere near Philadelphia, but in fact "Pine Valley" has long been located on West 66th street in Manhattan:

"Just walking in it was so sort of significant for me. I got the chills just walking in the door because I thought 'Oh my gosh! I never knew that I would meet my husband here,'" Ripa said.

They met in a rehearsal room. Their romance flourished on the sets.

"We had a lot of firsts here, you know. Our first child was born while we were working here. Our second as well. We were married while we were working here. I mean, we experienced a lot here," Consuelos said.

"All My Children" brought them together and gave their careers a big boost

"I walked in this door when I was 19 years old and had really no experience at all and they really took a huge gamble on me," Ripa said.

Just as producers had rolled the dice a generation earlier with another young actress.

"I was scared to death. It was my first job, and I was just out of school. I was playing a 15 year old high school Erica Kane, and I knew I was on probation," Susan Lucci said.

What began as a brief trial has lasted 40 years.

"First of all it's such a big number, and it's a scary number to say out loud, but it's a meaningful number in that yes, here we still are, and the audience is so with us," Lucci said.

All My Children will officially turn 40 on January 4, 2010, next Monday. Hayley and Mateo -- Kelly and Mark's characters -- return to Pine Valley with much fanfare. They're there to produce and host a documentary for her television show The Wave, as she interviews her family members, friends and citizens.

Several other All My Children veterans, including La Rue, Julia Barr, Laurence Lau, Taylor Miller, James Mitchell, Leven Rambin and Eden Riegel will be part of the anniversary episodes.

January 4 also marks the long-running soap's first day of production in Los Angeles after four decades in New York.