Eileen began her career as a model in Mexico City and California. She has modeled for commercials and has also been a print model in Europe. Eileen was introduced to acting by her roommate, who advised her to join an acting class. Hence, she enrolled at 'The Staircase,' where she learned the basics of acting.
In 1982, Eileen auditioned for the role of ‘Ashley Abbott’ in the 'CBS' soap opera 'The Young and the Restless.' She competed with more than 100 candidates in the audition. Eileen appeared as ‘Ashley’ in 1984 and continued till 2018, appearing in over 1,500 episodes of the series. Eileen’s name later became synonymous with that of the front-burner character ‘Ashley.’
Eileen had quit the show in December 1988. Since she was immensely popular as ‘Ashley,’ the creators had to replace her with a lookalike actor named Brenda Epperson Doumani. Brenda was chosen based on Eileen’s recommendation. Eileen had scouted her at a charity function.
Eileen rejoined the 'The Young and the Restless’ cast in March 1999. Her second innings on the show earned Eileen her second 'Daytime Emmy’ nomination for ‘Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.’
In December 2006, Eileen revealed that she was dropped from 'The Young and the Restless’ due to lack of a proper storyline. The cast of 'The Young and the Restless’ protested against the unfair firing. On January 11, 2007, Eileen appeared on the show for the last time.
Soon, the character of ‘Ashley’ was moved to 'The Young and the Restless’s sister soap, 'The Bold and the Beautiful.' Eileen continued playing the character on the show for a year and was last seen on 'The Bold and the Beautiful' on July 4, 2008. She moved back to 'The Young and the Restless’ on September 26, 2008.
In May 2012, Eileen announced through a "tweet" that she had been allowed to leave ‘The Young and the Restless.’ Later, it was revealed that 'The Young and the Restless’s producers, 'Sony Pictures Entertainment,' wanted Eileen on the show.
'Sony Pictures Entertainment' is also the producer of the 'NBC' series 'Days of Our Lives' that features Eileen in a regular role. The producers stated that the actor should remain on both the shows, but this was not accepted by the makers of 'The Young and the Restless.’ They did not want to share Eileen with any other show. Thus, 'Sony' terminated her contract with them. Eileen then appeared as ‘Kristen Blake’ on 'Days of Our Lives.' Eileen later gave shape to the character ‘Susan Banks,’ ‘Kristen’s lookalike. Eileen has played three more characters on the show, namely, ‘Sister Mary Moira,’ ‘Thomas,’ and ‘Penelope.’ She quit 'The Young and the Restless’ on August 3, 2012.
Eileen took a year-long break and rejoined 'The Young and the Restless,’ where she continued to play ‘Ashley.’ In February 2013, Eileen’s return to 'The Young and the Restless’ was announced. The announcement mentioned that the actor would return to the show to celebrate its 40th anniversary. In 2013, Eileen’s departure from 'Days of Our Lives' was announced.
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In June 2014, Eileen signed a 2-year contract with 'The Young and the Restless’ to rejoin the cast in a recurring role. She resumed her stint on the show, and the agreement also permitted Eileen to continue acting in 'Days of Our Lives.'
In June 2018, Eileen again announced her departure from 'The Young and the Restless.’ However, in October, 'The Young and the Restless’s head writer, Mal Young, made a statement that said Eileen would return to the show. Eileen “tweeted” to clarify that her exit was permanent. Her last episode on the show aired on October 29, 2018.
Her roles in both 'The Young and the Restless’ and 'Days of Our Lives' have earned Eileen several 'Soap Opera Digest Award' and 'Daytime Emmy Award' nominations in the ‘Lead Actress’ category. She has won two ‘Daytime Emmy’ awards, one in 2014, for 'Days of Our Lives,' and the other in 2018, for 'The Young and the Restless.’ About a week before Eileen was fired from 'The Young and the Restless,’ Ken Corday, the producer of 'Days of Our Lives,' had requested her permission to use her picture in one of the then-upcoming episodes of the show. The episode with Eileen’s picture as ‘Susan’ aired in December 2006.
Eileen bagged a leading role in seven episodes of the 'CBS' police drama 'Broken Badges.' She has also played the role of ‘Kelly Capwell’ in the 'NBC' soap opera 'Santa Barbara,' from November 1991 to January 1993, after which the show was canceled.
Another gem in Eileen’s TV career was the 'Bravo' reality series 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.' She joined the show in its fifth season, on November 18, 2014, and continued till 2018. Eileen did not reveal much about her personal life in her first season on the show. However, the following season, she revealed that she had survived domestic violence. Eileen did not mention anybody’s name in that context. Eileen continued that she had been in two abusive relationships, once when she was a teenager and again when she had reached her 20s. She revealed that her partner had once broken her nose and that she had to inform the police and had eventually decided to come out of that relationship.
Two of Eileen’s notable TV roles are that of ‘Ellie’ in 'The Phoenix' (1982) and the last queen of France, Marie Antoinette, in the comedy TV movie 'The Last Sharknado: It's About Time' (2018).
Family & Personal Life
Eileen has married thrice. She married actor Christopher Mayer in 1985. They divorced in 1986. Her second marriage was to actor Jon Lindstrom, in 1997. The marriage lasted till 2000.
In 2003, Eileen married actor, former tennis professional, and ‘World Poker Tour commentator Vincent Van Patten. The two met for the first time in 2000, when Van was cast in a brief role in ‘The Young and the Restless.’ They were both married to their respective spouses when they first met. According to sources, their relationship led to their respective divorces. They have a son, Jesse. Eileen is also the stepmother to Vincent’s sons from his previous marriage.
In the 1980s, Eileen dated actor Jon Voight, who is actor Angelina Jolie’s father. The couple attended the red carpet at the 'People's Choice Awards' in 1989, and their gestures toward each other revealed their relationship. Eileen and Jon co-starred in the 1990 film 'Eternity.' Despite having a huge age gap of 20 years, the two shared a passionate relationship that began in the late 1980s. However, their age gap later became the reason for their split.
Eileen's sister, Connie, succumbed to cancer on March 21, 2014. The sisters shared a special bond, and Eileen felt guilty for not being able to be with the ailing Connie. To honor her, Eileen took her sister's ashes to Italy. The same year, Eileen lost her niece, too.