'All My Children's' Susan Lucci: Erica and Ryan aren't 'long-term'

susan-lucci-tca-2010-320.jpg "All My Children" star Susan Lucci knows the path of love is never smooth, especially when you're on long-running soap opera.

The Emmy-winning (yes!) actress appeared on the "All My Children 40th Anniversary" panel Tuesday (Jan. 12) for the TCA Press Tour in which she performed a scene from her first season on the soap, alongside its creator, Agnes Nixon.

The scene, about a teenage Erica Kane chasing after unavailable guys, shows just how far the character has come in 40 years, especially in the love department. Currently, Erica is in a controversial relationship with the character Ryan Lavery, played by Cameron Mathison.

"I think in the beginning, the press thought it was a cougar storyline," Lucci tells reporters. "I didn't know what to expect. I don't think the audience believes in it as a long-term relationship, but I don't think the characters necessarily do either, but it's a genuine feeling for each other. So it is different from the expected."

Her co-star agrees.

cameron-mathison-tca-320.jpg"I had a story meeting, and the first thing they said was 'It's not a cougar story,'" Mathison tells Zap2it. "We've been mutually going at this. She's not taking advantage of me. I love it. I'm crazy about it. I think it's different. It's often a slightly older man and a younger woman in the relationship. In this particular situation it's reversed and it's also shocking. I mean, why not? I think there should be a sense of equanimity like that."

But it's not the age difference between the characters that are at issue among the fans, but rather Erica and Ryan's tangled history. Basically, Erica used to be Ryan's mother-in-law and is still the grandmother to the son he had with Kendall ( Alicia Minshew), her daughter. So, they're not blood-related, but still ... it's a little too close for comfort.

Neither star addresses this aspect, but Mathison points out that he's heard mixed reactions.

"I have some people who are absolutely crazy about it. They see how much sense it makes. They love the two of them together. I hear that a lot. And then there are fans that cannot see Ryan with anyone other than Greenlee, and then you know, Erica maybe with Jack."

Earlier in the day, Lucci said she believed that Greenlee ( Rebecca Budig) is Ryan's great love.

"I think that's probably the case," Mathison agrees. "I think Erica and Ryan are extremely connected deeply in many ways, but as far as a true love for each other? I can't imagine that Erica would say the same about Ryan. I think Greenlee is Ryan's true love, yeah."

But if Greenlee, the true love, is back for Ryan, then is Erica just setting herself up for heartbreak? Lucci isn't too worried.

"I can't tip too much, but Erica is a fighter and is at a place where she is reclaiming herself," says Lucci. "Going to Ryan required a lot of vulnerability for her, and Ryan going to Erica required a lot of vulnerability for him.

"Erica's cleaning house. I think Erica is divesting and investing ... It began with the breakup of Erica and Jack. I think it started there. I think Africa opened her eyes tremendously to many things and one of them being to remember who she is and to grab life by the horns and go for it. I think we're going to see the Erica that the audience loves. Erica's always been very active and not reactive, so you watch."

What do you think about the Erica-Ryan relationship?


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Related:

'10 Things' returns in March;'Secret Life,' 'Make It or Break It' renewed
'Modern Family,' 'Cougar Town,' 'The Middle' picked up
Zap2it's Press Tour coverage

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