“It feels very surreal to be in it,” Days of Our Lives star Arianne Zucker told Today‘s Janet Shamlian of the controversy in a segment aired on Thursday. “I’m not quite sure if I believe it yet.”
Just before meeting Zucker on the set of the NBC soap opera to film a cameo back in 2005, the GOP nominee told then-Access Hollywood host Billy Bush, “I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” referring to Zucker, noting, “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women] — I just start kissing them.”
Zucker also said that she wasn’t surprised when she heard Trump’s lewd comments once the tape was published by The Washington Post last week.
“Not with that type of personality, I wasn’t shocked, which is probably why it doesn’t mean a lot to me,” the mom of one said of the tape.
Zucker briefly addressed the release of the tape on Twitter Sunday, explaining in part that “I have grown to learn that the words of others cannot effect the value of my self worth or define the content of my character. How we treat one another, whether behind closed doors, locker rooms or face to face, should be done with kindness, dignity and respect.”
Trump has come under fire since the emergence of the tape, which reveals the now-70-year-old making lewd comments about groping and trying to have sex with women. Trump dismissed his comments as “locker room talk” and released a video-taped apology, although he has denied that he has ever made any unwanted sexual advances toward women. Zucker called his video apology “interesting.”
“I never said I’m a perfect person nor pretended to be someone that I’m not,” he said in the video. “I’ve said and done things I regret and the words released today on the more than decade-old video are one of them.”
Along with Trump, Bush commented on Zucker’s appearance in the video, calling her “hot as s—.” In the aftermath of the tape’s release, Bush has been suspended from the Today show.
“Who knows how he was feeling when he walked off the bus or what he needed to do in the relationship,” Zucker told Shamlian of Bush. “Because when he came off the bus along with Mr. Trump I had no feeling but professional.”
In the wake of the tape’s release, Trump has faced assault accusations from several women claiming the presidential nominee touched them inappropriately without their permission. The New York Times reported two of the claims, and Trump has since called for the publication to retract the report. A former PEOPLE reporter has also shared her story of being physically attacked by Trump, an allegation Trump has also vehemently denied.
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As the situation continues to unfold, Zucker said she hasn’t been able to turn on the television without seeing the controversial video. But she said she plans to use the controversy for good.
“I’m ready to use it in a proper way,” Zucker said about the attention over the tape. “I’m ready to use it for positivity. I’m ready to use it for women to step forward and to do good things in my life and for other people.”
Zucker added that she is focused on moving forward, and hopes the situation will prove as a learning experience for her 6-year-old daughter.
“I want to teach my daughter that if she ever gets put in a situation like Mommy is right now that she will hold her head high,” she said. “And if she’s learned anything from it, (it’s) how can she share this with other women or young girls or whoever is around her, young boys even.”