Acting Adds Drama to His Relationships
Soap Opera Digest, January 1982
by Robyn Flans
Article Provided By Wanda
Justin Deas, Tom Hughes on As The World Turns, ex-Bucky, Ryan's Hope, might never have become an actor had it not been for a ripped chest muscle, which put an end to his high school wrestling career and triggered his attraction to the opposite sex.
"When the muscle in my chest ripped, I couldn't do anything. One day I noticed all the cute girls necking with boys in a certain room. I asked what the room was. When I learned it was the drama club greenroom, I auditioned for a play and got the part."
Although acting first lead him to women, there was a price to pay. As a result of his career choice, Justin has never had an easy time in relationships. Married at the age of 20 for ten years, he and his wife separated three years ago. They finally divorced in 1980 after an attempted reconciliation that lasted only a month.
"The divorce was traumatic. It's hardest on a man, because he's not only breaking up with his wife, he's losing a family. He loses the dogs, the kids, the good food - everything. I like to cook but I'm terrible at it. My eggs look like buckshot," Justin laughs. "I'm sick of restaurants, too."
But perhaps what Justin misses more about marriage is the apple of his eye, his 13-year-old daughter Yvie.
"She's wonderful," he says, eyes sparkling. "We have a great time together. It was hard right after the divorce, it's always hard for children, but I think as long as you keep showing them you love them, things work their way out."
He spends every spare moment with his daughter and last year took her to Greece for a week as a Christmas present. "It could have been a disaster, but I didn't realize that until afterwards. Seven days alone with your 13 year-old-daughter in Greece could be awful. Arguments could happen, because she's a strong little girl, but it isn't like that at all. It was wonderful, absolutely beautiful, a dream. Instead of giving her $1000 worth of Sasson jeans, I asked myself, 'What am I doing to my kid?' This time I got her some credit over at the stables so she can ride anytime she wants and the trip to Greece so I could give her some kind of experience. It's a terrible temptation to give kids what they want when they ask for it. You think, 'Oh, let me make you feel good; let me make you happy.' In a divorce, it's particularly hard and Daddy often turns into Santa Claus. In my situation, it was extremely difficult because I think I was the one who disciplined her most before we separated. I think it became very hard on my ex-wife."
"I do worry about Yvie and boys, but you've just got to grit your teeth. I don't want her dragging in anybody who looks like her old man. I want her to find a lawyer or a doctor - no actors!"
"As an actor I think it's difficult being married. My ex-wife is an actress, too, so it was a matter of who had a job and who didn't. It was hard because I had to travel and I would be away for six months out of the year. That's a hard thing to ask anybody to put up with."
"I want someone who has a career, because I like very strong, independent women, and I don't want to fail for two people. I wouldn't date another actress, though. They bore me. I wouldn't marry an actor if I were a woman either, to tell you the truth. They're always talking about what the next job is, whether they're employed, unemployed, or have won five Academy Awards. I don't like an insular type of relationship. I prefer it when people bring different things to the relationship all the time. That's fascinating, which is why I like relationships that involve people who are in two different kinds of work and have different kinds of friends. I now have a girlfriend who is a photographer and that's nice."
"Dating was a pain. Going out with a different woman every night was like doing eight performances a week. That's really hard. It was an absolute shock when I first started dating again. I didn't really date for a couple of years after I separated, and it was like being in a time capsule and then suddenly being let out in another century. Dating was a whole lot different when I was younger. There wasn't this attitude of 'Well, this will last about two weeks.' But then again I went to William and Mary College, which wasn't exactly the Sodom and Gomorrah of the United States. I don't take well to popping in and out of people's bedrooms. I find that a tremendous strain."
"I don't know what I want out of a relationship, however. Love, affection, comfort. I guess I want somebody who can make me laugh and smile, and someone spirited. I'm attracted to spirit in people not just in women, but in anybody, and I guess also to kindness, vulnerability and to someone who is strong, but gentle. But really, I don't know what I want from a relationship. I'm pretty happy by myself I think, and I wonder about that. I was alone a lot when I was a child, which I think makes you secure."
"I doubt that I'll want to get married again because I don't think I'm really a good person to be married to. I was a good father, but not a terrific husband. I have a very hard time thinking of two things at once. This creates difficulty, because if you're totally immersed in one thing for a couple of months and then all of a sudden think of your wife for the first time saying, 'Hi honey,' she's going to respond with, 'You jerk.' It's hard being creative and a spouse, but there are people who can do it."
Justin's tunnel vision mainly stems from his acting career. His background includes studying at William and Mary College and Juliard, although he was forced to leave Juliard because of financial considerations. He then taught at Florida State University for a while until he was offered a job with a repertory theater company and obtained his equity card, later working at various theaters throughout the country.
As one of the original players on Ryan's Hope, Justin created the part of Bucky, and again returned to soap operas when he took over the role of Tom Hughes, a part he says he enjoys playing more than the RH character.
Although theatre is his first and true love, Justin is enjoying the security of a steady job these days and right now is concentrating on the pleasure of a new-found stability.
"We traveled a lot when I was young because of my father's business and lived in Mexico City and Tehran, Iran. It was interesting, but hard because I was never in one place for more than a year or two. It's hard to establish relationships when three years is the longest stretch of time living somewhere. The longest I've ever lived in any one place is New York City and that's been off and on for nine years now, so I'm enjoying the consistency for a change."
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