The experienced and beautiful actress currently stars as "Christine Williams" on CBS's soap opera "The Young And The Restless". Lauralee Bell was honored as Favorite Soap Opera Actress by Teen Magazine's national poll in 1989 for her portrayal of Christine Blair on The Young and the Restless. She was nominated for a Soap Opera Digest Award as "Outstanding Younger Lead Actress" in 1996, and in 1997 she received a Soap Opera Update nomination as "Outstanding Younger Lead Actress." In 1999, she received a Soap Opera Digest Award in the category of "Outstanding Supporting Actress." Bell, who is the daughter of Y&R creators William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell, began her daytime career with the series in 1977 at the age of nine as an extra in a non-speaking part and continued to make several more such appearances over the next five years. At 13, she was rewarded with a brief scene and a few lines in a role that slowly became a recurring one. Following her family's gradual move from Chicago to Los Angeles, Bell became a full-time cast member while completing her senior year in high school in 1986. In addition to acting, Bell is an accomplished model and has appeared in many national publications. She also co-owns an upscale ladies clothing boutique called On Sunset, which is located in the Sunset Plaza in West Hollywood, California. The boutique carries such labels as Roberto Cavalli, Jean Paul Gaultier and Blumarine. Bell is married to photographer Scott Martin. They have two children, Christian and Samantha. She has blonde hair, blue eyes and stands 5' 6" tall. Bell was born on December 22, 1968, in Chicago, Illinois. During her spare time, Lauralee enjoys tennis and needlepoint. This driven woman has focused her attention on building her role on "The Young and the Restless," as well as creating a line of fashion designs and a happy personal life for herself.In her words: "I have so much in me that's itching to get out."
Five Things You Must Know About Lauralee Bell
In 1996, Lauralee Bell and her co-star Doug Davidson launched an ill-fated daytime talk show.
In 1999, she raced a car in the Toyota Grand Prix charity event.
Off the track, Bell drives a black Porsche.
She has also appeared on "The Bold and the Beautiful."
Bell was voted favorite Soap Actress by Teen magazine in 1989.
"We would have our dinners [on] tray tables every night and watch television. It was just a huge part of our life," says Lauralee Bell.
Lauralee Bell: Young But Not Restless
Lauralee Bell was literally born into the soap opera world. Her father was a head writer for "Days of Our Lives" and her mother was the creator of "The Young and the Restless." As a child, Bell used to feign illness to stay home and watch her father write scripts. When she was in junior high, Bell began getting small parts on "The Young and the Restless." Her sweet character, Cricket Blair, struck a chord with audiences, and the fledgling performer soon became a regular on the soap, flying from Chicago to Los Angeles for taping sessions during school breaks.
In 1987, Bell's family relocated to California and the young woman became a full-time cast member on "Y&R." Just 17 years old, Bell was blindsided by accusations of nepotism from co-workers and journalists, but the plucky actress thrived in spite of the criticism. Over the past two decades, Bell's character matured into a savvy lawyer who is now known as Christine. She has tackled challenging plots on social issues such as date rape and drug abuse. Bell herself has also blossomed — offscreen — entering into a secret romance with "Y&R" co-star Michael Damian, followed by a short-term pairing with actor Scott Baio. In 1996, when injured Dallas Cowboy Troy Aikman couldn't accompany her to the Soap Opera Awards, Bell invited her old school friend Scott Martin. Four days later, the twosome got matching tattoos. Six months later, in October 1997, the reunited couple got hitched.
In 1999, Bell decided to prove her talents once again, this time by designing her own fashion line. She opened an upscale store in Los Angeles, where her clients include Cher and Paula Abdul. On the home front, she and Martin became the proud parents of son Christian in January 2001. The new mom took an 18-month maternity leave before returning to soaps. Happy to balance family and work, she and Martin are expecting their second child in November 2002.
Lauralee Bell is January's Mom of the Month
Each month, iParenting.com spotlights a mother who inspires and moves us, who embodies the qualities that we all admire in a person, a woman and a mother. Above all, the Mom of the Month is dedicated to her children. Rich or poor, famous or not, she shines as an example of what mothering is all about.
Meet January’s Mom of the Month, actress and mother Lauralee Bell, who works hard to balance motherhood and fame. Bell is a dedicated wife, mother of two and actress on CBS’ The Young and the Restless.
Actress Lauralee Bell is no stranger to television. She's been around it her entire life. Her father, William Bell, helped write or create many of today's most successful daytime dramas including Days of Our Lives, Another World, Guiding Light and As the World Turns. With her mother, Lee Phillip Bell, he also created The Bold and the Beautifuland CBS' The Young and the Restless.
Married to Scott Martin since 4 October 1997, they share a son (Christian James, 17 January 2001) and a daughter (Samantha Lee, 28 October 2002).
Lauralee Bell puts family first
Bell grew up in Chicago, though The Young and the Restless – for which her dad is executive producer – was filmed in Hollywood. So the family made frequent trips back and forth on vacations and holidays. At 9, Bell asked to be an extra on the show, and it snowballed from there. At only 17, she became a regular, playing Cricket, a shy junior fashion model, after her family moved to the West coast.
On the show, her character, Cricket, has developed into the confident, passionate international corporate attorney Christine Williams, who often places career before marriage and family. In real life, Bell has blossomed into an equally confident woman and mother, but one who definitely puts family first.
After marrying photographer Scott Martin in 1997, the pair welcomed their first child, Christian, in January 2001. Last fall, Bell and Martin added a daughter to their family. Samantha Lee arrived healthy on October 28, 2002, weighing 7 pounds, 6 ounces, though the doctor didn't make it in time for the birth. At the time of this interview, Bell was 7 months pregnant with Samantha.
While Bell had an easy pregnancy with 18-month-old son, Christian, her second experience has been a little more difficult – and busy. "It’s so different this time around," says the 33-year-old mom.
With her first pregnancy, she found that she always knew how far along she was to the week and spent lots of time needle-pointing all sorts of creations for the baby on the way. But things are a lot more hectic now keeping up with a toddler. "There were days I would forget I was pregnant," she says.
Now Bell can tell you how far along she is only by month and never mind needle-pointing, she says. She's started a few things, but has nothing completed yet for baby No. 2. "You just don’t take time to sit by yourself," says Bell. "It’s just a lot more stress."
And exercise? Forget it. She says keeping up with her son is enough right now. "He's so active," she says. But Bell does hope to revive her weightlifting routine once her daughter is born.
This pregnancy has been harder for Bell physically as well. Not only was she more sick and tired at the beginning, but she also spent a night in the hospital after a pain in her rib cage and a high fever, both of which went away and caused no further problems.
Hopes for Delivery
While the pregnancy has been more trying, Bell is hopeful that the delivery will go as well as her son's. Though she suffered a few minor setbacks during the birth, overall, she felt it was a good experience.
At 10 days overdue with Christian, her doctor discovered her amniotic fluid was low and induced labor. It then took more than 24 hours for her to deliver. "The wait was a little long," says Bell.
Her cervix stalled at 3 centimeters dilation and didn't seem to want to progress. At that point, her doctor had decided to perform a Cesarean section, but Bell asked him to give her just a little more time. After an hour of praying and doing visual imagery of circles opening, she dilated to 7 centimeters.
Once she was complete, the actual delivery was smooth sailing. "When it came to pushing and having him out, it was a breeze," she says. It was healing that was the worst for Bell. Despite avoiding an episiotomy, she says, "I was very swollen."
She's hoping with her daughter that she'll go into labor naturally. "I really hope that I can experience water breaking or going into labor at the house," says Bell.
Big on Breastfeeding
One thing she knows for sure is that she will breastfeed her daughter. She breastfed Christian until he was 11 months, though she'd hoped to do it for a year, as she's planning with this baby. She stopped a little early because the holidays were rolling around, and she says, "I really missed my wine. One or two glasses is all I really ever need." Plus, she says, "He was really kind of getting done with it."
Bell recommends that all new moms give breastfeeding a try. "If you are able and you have the time, the pros so outweigh the cons," she says. "I strongly urge people to give it a shot." She believes breastfeeding has contributed to her son walking and talking early and to his robust health.
As far as becoming the mother of two, Bell says she'll just have to wait and see how it goes. "I'm certainly going into it with a very positive frame of mind," she says.
She describes herself as a very relaxed mom and expects her daughter to easily fit into the routine she and her son have developed. But sometimes she wonders how she's going to manage it all and has visions of trying to get down the stairs carrying a newborn, holding her unsteady son's hand and getting tripped by the dog.
But she hopes having been through it once before will make things go more smoothly. "I hope it will be a breeze since I learned so much the first time around," says Bell.
Since everything was new with her first baby, she took a year off of the show to spend with him. With her daughter, she's planning on at least two months off. She hopes to get back as soon as she can, but only if the baby has no problems.
The show allows her a very flexible schedule, working two to three days a week for four to five hours a day, and she plans to keep that up when she returns. She has help in the form of a husband-and-wife team who look after Christian and do some things around the house while she's at work. But as soon as she gets home, she sends them on their way. "I've really tried to do this as much on my own as I can," she says.
Bell also plans to have a live-in baby nurse for a few weeks after the baby is born. This baby nurse spent six weeks with Bell after her son's birth. "She's like reassurance," she says. "She really takes care of the mother."
Life After Baby
As for the future, Bell has lots of plans, but not until she feels the time is right. Besides supervising her L.A. clothing boutique On Beverly Blvd., which has dressed such stars as Jennifer Lopez and Minnie Driver, she has lots of ideas for sitcoms. "I really have a strong passion about shows I want to sell," she says
She also plans to further her acting career. "When I feel the time is right, I'll audition for a few things here and there," says Bell. "It's all about the right thing at the right time."
And she thinks there will definitely be at least one more addition to their family, maybe after the first two are in preschool.
But for now, she and her husband want to enjoy their children. "The best advice you can give is to just be there as much as you can," says Bell. "There are things that happen every single day. It is a struggle; it is a tough day; it is exhausting. I am wiped out, but still I wouldn't want to miss anything."
Lauralee Bell Has No Time to Read
Because she's so busy these days, Bell doesn't find much time to refresh her memory with pregnancy books or baby books. What she does enjoy using, however, is a week-by-week pregnancy calendar.
When she's short on time, she says, she can quickly glance up at the calendar and read a little bit about the baby's stage of development.
The Bell Tolls... For a While
It's been quite a while since viewers of The Young and the Restless last saw Lauralee Bell (Christine). In fact, it's been over seven months!
The actress, who began her maternity leave from the show back in December of last year, will make a return to Y&R this week.
The show reportedly phoned Bell and told her that they needed her back on-screen for a few episodes and Bell was said to be more than happy to make the brief return. The actress makes her on-sreen return on Tuesday, July 24th and Wednesday, July 25th.
Bell gave birth to a son, Christian, on January 17th. Some viewers have questioned the unusually long nature of her maternity leave, with some asserting that her father, Y&R creator Bill Bell, is extending special privileges to Bell.
Bell remains on maternity leave from the show and it is unclear when she will return to the canvas full-time.