Kelly Ripa Recalls Landing All My Children Role: 'It Changed the Whole Trajectory of My Life'

The actress was 20 when she was cast as Hayley Vaughan on the iconic ABC soap opera

Thirty years ago, Kelly Ripa's life was flipped upside down.

She was just 20 years old when she was cast as Hayley Vaughan on All My Children, the iconic ABC daytime soap opera. Not only would the role catapult her to fame, but it also introduced her to her future husband, costar Mark Consuelos.

Ripa and Consuelos are two of almost 30 cast members coming together virtually throughout the week as part of Entertainment Weekly's #UnitedAtHome series. The first episode, streaming now, features the couple alongside Eva LaRue and Sydney Penny. In a sneak peek, above, Ripa, 49, shares her first impression of her character.

"Well, you know, it's so funny. Her original name was Hayley Wells and then they said, 'The character sounds too much like Hayley Mills so we're changing her name to Hayley Vaughan,'" she recalls. "I was like, 'I don't know who anybody is you just mentioned, so I'll go with it.'"

<a href="" data-inlink="true">Kelly Ripa</a>
Robert Milazzo/ ABC/Everett

"I wasn't like everybody else on this panel — everybody else had jobs and careers and they were professional actors," she continues. "I truly moved to New York and I was working at the Toy Fair and I auditioned sort of on a whim. I was originally dropping off other people's headshots, because [that was] my side hustle."

She was able to read for the role of Hayley one day, and the rest is history.

"I got like, six callbacks and two screen tests, 'cause they were really sure they wanted me," she cracked. "And I wound up getting the job. But it was really — I mean, talk about happy accidents. It really was a happy accident. It changed my life. It changed my entire life — not just my acting life, but changed the whole trajectory of my life."

Watch episode 1 of EW Cast Reunions: All My Children streaming now on, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite device.

Consuelos, 49, says he was in a "similar boat," nabbing the role of Mateo Santos right after he had moved to New York.

"What drew me to the role was that I had never worked as an actor before, so that was very exciting, to get a job," he says. "It was one of my first auditions. Similarly, I had to re-screen test a few times as well."

"We were that good," Ripa adds with a laugh.

Needless to say, Ripa — who has said it was love at first sight — was eager for Consuelos to be cast.

"You know, Mark was working the whole time and so we bonded with him as a cast," she explains. "So imagine, suddenly, they kept saying, 'Well, there's got to be a better actor out there.' And we're like, 'No, he's our friend now! We love him.'"

<a href="" data-inlink="true">Kelly Ripa</a> and Mark Consuelos
Ann Limongello/Walt Disney Television via Getty

The reunion runs Tuesday through Friday, with new live episodes dropping every day at 10 a.m. ET and two on Friday. Each installment of EW Cast Reunions: All My Children will be available to stream on and

The event is also for a good cause, and the AMC cast has chosen to support Feeding America, which is putting food on the tables of those affected by the coronavirus pandemic across the country. Donations can be made here.

All My Children Reunion

The full list of cast members involved is as follows: Jennifer Bassey, Tamara Braun, Justin Bruening, Rebecca Budig, Mark Consuelos, Josh Duhamel, Bobbie Eakes, Melissa Claire Egan, Ricky Paull Goldin, Alexa Havins, Michael E. Knight, Jill Larson, Eva LaRue, Susan Lucci, Cameron Mathison, Cady McClain, Billy Miller, Alicia Minshew, Sydney Penny, Kelly Ripa, Leven Rambin, Eden Riegel, Chrishell Stause, Walt Willey, Darnell Williams and Jacob Young.

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