Nearly two weeks ago, Ronn Moss shocked the soap world when EW exclusively reported that the star would leave The Bold and the Beautiful in September. There were rumblings of salary issues, but since the news broke, Moss has kept quiet about exactly why he’s leaving the show he’s called home since its inception, for the past 25 years.
But now EW has yet another exclusive, as Moss sat down with us to chat about exactly his reasoning behind leaving the drama. Was it money? Partially. New opportunities? That factored in, too. Truly, there are many reasons, many of which Moss went into during our interview with him below.
Throughout this transition, however, Moss has been mostly concerned with his fans — those dedicated, rabid soap fans out there — and how they’re reacting to the news, which is why he wanted to talk exclusively to EW, to explain to viewers why he made this choice and what his future will hold. “I just want all of these people — and it sounds altruistic and whatever, but I really, strongly feel it — to be okay with this,” Moss told EW as he sat down for an hour-long chat at the Los Angeles Four Seasons on Aug. 21. “It’s a massive transition for them. They consider me family, and I feel an obligation to be a part of their family.”
Warning: Moss is a talker, so the interview is long, but here’s the (mostly) uncensored version of what he had to say about why he left — and what’s next:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s start simply: How are you feeling right now?
RONN MOSS: I want to make sure that everybody knows how appreciative I am of what I’ve been doing the last 25 years. I am not shunning the 25 years, but I’m embracing it. I’m embracing it and being grateful for it and being grateful for them.
You’re talking about your very dedicated fans?
Yes. I wouldn’t be doing it without them. I couldn’t do it without the fans. I have to stress that because it’s not just the paycheck. It’s not just the paycheck that is a part of living, but it’s about these people that have come on this journey with us and this family that we’ve grown with. All of the people I work with! I have loved and still love and will always love the people I’ve worked with for 25 years! That’s longer than any relationship in my life. It seems like I’m just walking away from that for some people, when actually it’s like being reborn. I’m having a rebirth here, which is one major thing I wanted to get into because I feel like I’m finally listening to signs.
What do you mean by signs?
You get signs in your life of things that happen that are knocking you on the shoulder, knocking you on the head, and if you don’t listen to them, you’re being silly. We very often go through life and say, “Why didn’t I see the sign? Why didn’t I listen to that? Why didn’t I listen to that instinct? Why didn’t I listen to that thing that happened?” If you start looking at them and realize the different ways that you are being affected, it all adds up to an awareness of a direction you need to go.
So that’s what happened to you? What was the sign you saw?
There are so many that it would take probably too long for you to write it all out, to document each one. But I will tell you two that happened that symbolize the rest of them. One was a car accident that my wife and I just got into. I’ve never been in an accident in my entire life. I was stopped, completely stopped, in rush hour traffic, and somebody hit us so hard that it spun us around, took out a light post, took out everything around us, destroyed the brand-new truck that we had just gotten, which probably saved our lives. We had just come from a wonderful meeting of new beginnings. A wonderful meeting! And this told me: You’re not going this direction, you’re going this direction. You’re going the opposite direction now, Ronn, and if you don’t get it this time, if you don’t see what we’re trying to tell you here. That was one thing. We’re still kind of recouping from that one. It was enough of a knock to knock us both for a loop. That said, the last one is kind of the clincher for me. I’m in my dressing room the last day of work [on The Bold and the Beautiful], last Tuesday. I’m getting dressed and ready to go on stage for the last time. I look up, I have about 10 minutes, and I hear the stage manager say, “Ten minutes before camera.” I look up at the clock and it says 9:42 in the morning. 9:42, wait? It’s 10 minutes of 11. The clock stopped! The clock stopped! It stopped at the exact moment that I was born.
You were born at 9:42 a.m.?
I was born 9:42 a.m. on a Tuesday. I’d been thinking this whole time, this is a rebirth for me, this is the moment I’m being born into a new aspect of my life. I’ve been obsessed with thinking about that — I don’t express that — but I’m thinking, I feel like I’m just being reborn. I feel alive, like I’m just starting a new life. For that little symbolism, it was not lost. It can’t be lost! I have to pay attention to it. You can call it whatever you want — ethereal, a bunch of esoteric hoopla, whatever you want — but I know the signs and the pattern that they have set up and what to be aware of. If I don’t listen to it, where do I go? So that said, it gives me the strength to go, Okay, I’m getting it. I get it! You smacked me really hard in the accident. You’re smacking me in so many ways, I get it!
There were reports that your departure had to do with salary issues. Is that true?
It had to do with everything involved with it, everything combined.
So, to be clear, money was a piece of the puzzle?
Yes, a piece of the whole thing, and it all showed me I need to move forward, not backwards, and I’ve been doing this for 25 years. How many shows — how many jobs — last that long? I felt that I needed to go in this new direction to give myself the chance to do all the creative things that I haven’t had a chance to do in 25 years, because I’ve dedicated so much of my life to this. That’s what I want the fans to hear, how dedicated I am to them. I wouldn’t have done it all this time if I wasn’t dedicated. It’s not just a job! I could do lots of other jobs. I had music, I had lots of other acting things.
Why did you choose to stay on the soap that long then?
Because I loved this family that we have. This show is owned by one family. That in itself is very unique, and I loved and love [deceased B&B creator] Bill Bell and [his wife] Lee Bell, who looked at me 25 years ago and said, “This is that thing that we want.” They believed in me, and I have never stopped thanking Bill and Lee, and I will never stop thanking them for giving me that opportunity. So it was that family thing, it was the steadiness, it was the growing and being able to cultivate it, to build it myself. I had such a big hand in cultivating that character. I wasn’t filling somebody else’s spot. That made it uniquely mine. I was able to grow, and it was like living two different lives. I lived Ronn Moss, and I lived Ridge simultaneously, just going along. What an amazing, odd thing to do. What a journey!
What has the reaction been like around the news of you leaving?
People were shocked because it came rather quickly because of the time we’re in. The producers come and say: “Your contract is coming up for renewal and you have to make some decisions.” Well, I’ve been through this many times on the show. How many times have we done this? It always keeps going because you give and take — it’s a give and take. Well, I got to a point where I couldn’t give anymore. I couldn’t give anymore. I’ve got to move to a place where my world is able to open up, and I needed that. I was sad to leave. It was really sad to leave, but I had to because of all the things that are going on, everything. I can’t pinpoint one specific thing because that would be unfair, that would diminish everything else.
As a veteran of the soap business, do you think it’s a viable business going forward?
I think dramatic series are always going to be viable.
How was that last day on set?
That last day was very strange. It was strange with everybody because most everybody was in, and everybody was trying to hold it together. I was desperately trying to hold it together. We’re all on that stage, and we’re all raw, and we’re all right on that edge of stuff — because of the job we do. Katherine Kelly Lang, most of all, that’s who I was probably most concerned with because she’s the love of my life in more ways that just the show. She’s been with me through thick and thin — we’ve been with each other for so long that that’s the longest-running relationship that I’ve ever had. We literally had to stand in front of each other and just pretend that we weren’t there. We couldn’t look each other in the eye. We were trying to be professional, but it was hard to be professional. She starts rehearsal on the first scene and falls apart. Then I see another girl fall apart. It’s everything we can do to keep it together. It was one of the most emotional days we’ve ever had.
How did you feel about Ridge’s send-off on the show?
There wasn’t really a send-off. It was left up in the air, which one side of me goes, That’s very unresolved. And the other side goes, I love that it was unresolved. I love that we just go off.
Ridge and Brooke head off to the honeymoon, right?
A wedding seems like a nice ending kind of, right?
It would be nice to have it that way, but it’s [executive producer] Brad [Bell]’s show, and he can do what he wants. I wish him luck, and I want all good things to come to everybody who’s there. I want the show to thrive and prosper and go on to new heights. I hope they do. I hope everything works out. But I cannot dictate how things are going to be. I just don’t know. It’s one of those unknown things.
Are are you totally opposed to ever returning?
No. But I need time. I need time. And I want to dedicate myself to this rebirth, this new life.
Will you be upset if they recast Ridge?
I don’t know if I really want to say because it’s not up to me. If it was up to me, I would say, “Let me have that as the legacy. Let me make that 25 years worth what I thought it was.” But it’s out of my hands.
What will your relationship be like with Katherine Kelly Lang going forward?
This is the cool part: I completely see Kelly and I working together in another capacity.
Do you have any visions of what that would be?
Oh, I absolutely do. I want us to do other projects, movies. I don’t know if you knew, but I started this little mom-and-pop web series called Ronn’s Garage. It’s an interview show, it’s a profile show. I’ll interview artists, musicians, scientists, anybody that I feel is making a positive difference in the show. And Kelly is coming up pretty soon to have a profile of her, which everybody seems like they would love to see. Beyond that, I see us doing other projects, just because we have worked together so well and there’s no reason we can’t take that to another genre.
Do you have a favorite Ridge memory when you look back?
I don’t! I have so many, it would take too long to say. It’d be like describing my favorite song or my favorite rock and roll group. There are so many I have derived my influence from.
What do you remember about that first day on set in 1987?
I remember being terrified, I remember being so amped up and excited that I could barely contain myself.
Did you see the news about Susan Flannery also leaving the show? What do you think about that?
I had already known that, and the reason that my leaving got broadcast out was because Susan had blurted out on stage that we were both leaving last week. I knew that, and I knew that she was considering doing this. I think she’s doing it sooner than she even was thinking, but I think that says something. I’ll leave it there because I have to. I can’t really comment on that because her path is there now, too.
Let’s look forward now. What’s going on with the new music coming from your rock band Player?
Player is in such a great position now. I’m estatic that we have come this far, from starting back in 1977, with my music partner Peter Beckett. It’s the new version of Player. People remember “Baby Come Back,” even though we’ve had a lot in between there, they still go back to that first hit because that’s the one that everybody remembers. But we’ve had so many other great songs and styles and all of this. This thing now, this collection now will be our best, and I hope people give it a chance. And we’re planning a European tour and hopefully arrange to come back here to the U.S. to do the same.
You’ll keep doing Ronn’s Garage?
Ronn’s Garage will be an on-going part of this creative avenue, all of these different creative tangents that I want to do. The show comes from my bizarre desire to be Ed Sullivan and/or Merv Griffin. I grew up with these guys who presented new talent. I love that aspect. I’ve always loved it. Since I was a kid, I wanted to be Ed Sullivan or Merv Griffin.
Acting-wise, what are you thinking there?
I believe in positive thought. I believe in the law of attraction very much. I believe that if I put out there what I want to do, I have seen it happen so many times. For instance, I would love to work with Clint Eastwood. I’ve always wanted to work with him. He’s one of those people who I’ve admired all my life. To do a project with him, in whatever capacity. I’ve wanted to work with Quentin Tarantino. I pick people that I want to work with and envision what I want to do. I just think there’s a lot of creative stuff available. I’m still working on it. It doesn’t hurt to put it out there and just go, This is what I would love to do. I still have dreams.
Anything else coming up for you now that you’re a little bit more available?
I’m doing everything but relaxing these days. It’s like, my own firestorm of things I’ve wanted to do for years is coming to a head. It’s now bursting open for me! I don’t want to seem so cliché and all, but all these things are bursting open, and I’m so excited about it. I’m more excited than I have been in so many years. The music, the film possibilities are coming up. I’ll give you one example: a western. I’ve visualized a western all of my life, I wanted to make my Silverado. I know westerns. I’ve been writing and visualizing my western. Out of the blue comes an opportunity, recently, one of those things of visualizing and the law of attraction.
Did you think when you started The Bold and the Beautiful, did you think it would grow to this?
Nobody thought that it would achieve the success that it did. I think a lot of that was timing, a lot of that was timing, a lot of that was the characters and the type of relationships that The Bold and the Beautiful provided. People got enamored of these particular characters for a reason. I can’t put a label on it because everybody has asked me this over the years. It’s probably the number one question: What’s the secret of it? What’s the reason B&B has been so successful? And I always answer in the way that I can answer: I can’t answer that because it’s intangible. And I like it that way. I want to keep it that way. I don’t want to define it. Very often when you define something, it goes away. Let’s leave the mystique and leave that thing that you feel — that x-factor that you cannot describe, but it’s there.
Anything you want to add?
I’m feeling so positive in my life, and so motivated and so blessed with everything that’s happened. My relationship with everyone at B&B has led me to feel that way about this now. I wish them so much luck and so much success and I want everybody to be successful, as they should be. They’ve earned it and it continues on. I guess I’m just feeling in a really great place in my heart.
Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky