Days of our Lives star Wally Kurth is keeping things steamy in Salem as the character Justin Kiriakis. The longtime soap star, 55, is teaming up with some of his cast mates in the new book, Days of our Lives Better Living: Cast Secrets for a Healthier Balanced Life. The book that Doctor Oz calls, “… not only helpful, but entertaining…” is filled with cast secrets on how they achieve balance while inspiring readers to do the same.
Wally opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about his three kids – Meghann, 27, Rosie, 17 and Brogan, 8 – who are all “very close and always look forward to spending time with each other.” He goes on to talk about keeping “everything in moderation,” and his upcoming holiday plans.
CBS: You’ve been involved with the new book Days of Our Lives: Better Living and the multi-city tour that accompanied it. Tell us about that.
WK: “It was great to be back in Nashville, one of my favorite cites in America, and it was exciting to see such a great response at the book signing. It reminded me of the ’80s again, when soaps were at the height of their popularity. It’s always fun to see fans of the show, and hear how much they appreciate what we do for a living.”
CBS: The purpose of Better Living focuses on balance and health. How do you find balance in your busy life?
WK: “Everything in moderation — and that includes moderation. I love that phrase. Because there is a time to let loose and let your hair down, so to speak. But it has to be balanced. I think I have always had a pretty good regulator in my head and heart, so I keep my feet on the ground. I never allow myself to go too far overboard. And being an actor and on a TV show, one can definitely lose their footing if they’re not careful.”
CBS: Besides being an actor, you’re also a musician. Do you still perform with your band Kurth and Taylor? Do you feel a stronger pull towards acting or music?
WK: “I love them both. They are really one and the same. A song is just a monologue, recited over music and sung to a melody. They are both performing for an audience, taking them on a trip that they’re hopefully going to enjoy.
I don’t play with the band as much as I’d like. We all live in different parts of the country and have young families to support, so we don’t get together too much. Maybe once a year to perform, if we’re lucky.”
CBS: How did a kid from Billings, Montana get to L.A. as an actor? Did you always know you wanted to be an actor and musician?
WK: “I was the youngest of five kids. I’ve always heard that the youngest in the birth order often gets into the arts. I think it’s because it’s the one area where they have an equal footing. They obviously aren’t going to be ‘smarter’ than their siblings, but they can gain footing around the house if they are louder. I was always singing songs — and loudly. So my mother encouraged me to follow that passion. I remember she forced me to take choir in high school, even though it wasn’t very cool to do so. We had a great music department and I learned invaluable lessons. I’m glad she did!”
CBS: Can you tell us about your kids? What are their names and ages? What is everyone into? Are you a close family?
WK: “I have an unusual family in some regards. I have 3 children, ages 27, 17 and 8. One born every decade, just like I planned [laughs].
My oldest daughter, Meghann, is getting a graduate degree in film in Iowa. My middle daughter, Rosie, is a senior in high school, preparing to go to college next year as an art major. And my wife Debra and I spend our days and nights following our very active 8-year-old son named Brogan around the house. We are all very close and always look forward to spending time with each other.”
CBS: How would you describe yourself as a dad? What’s your parenting style?
WK: “I think I’ve learned a few things over the years. My first daughter definitely didn’t get a father who was as seasoned as I am now. I was definitely ‘learning on the job’ with her. Rosie got more of a knowing parent, but not an overbearing one.
I would say my parenting style is about giving the child a long leash, let them find their way when it’s possible. I had a father and a mother, who possibly because I was the last kid, gave me lots of room to make mistakes and chart my own path. I also had siblings I could model.
I would say I am a father who gives his kids the love and support they need and only gets in their way when they seem lost.”
CBS: What are some things your family enjoys doing together? Are your kids interested in acting or music like their father? Would you encourage them to pursue either?
WK: “We live at the beach, so my son is a real ocean boy. When my girls are here, we all go to the beach and make a nice day out of it. I encourage my kids to pursue their passion, whatever that may be.
My daughters are both terrific visual artists. They didn’t get that from me. My drawings begin and end with stick figures. Brogan seems to also have a passion for drawing and the visual arts.
Of course, if my kids were interested in music and acting, I would support that. My oldest daughter is a wonderful actress and is now studying filmmaking.”
CBS: What does your family do for the holidays? Do you spend them in L.A.?
WK: “This holiday we are all going to be in Montana to celebrate with my family. Other years, we go to Pittsburgh and celebrate with my wife’s family. We will be up in the mountains at a ski resort, so I’m really looking forward to that.”
CBS: Any new projects you’d like to tell us about?
WK: “I produced a very successful documentary a few years ago. I would like to produce more movies. I am currently trying to get an original comedy up and going.”View Slideshow »»