Speculation continues swirling as to whether Eric Braeden, 74, will be leaving The Young and the Restless. With a 36-plus year run as the program’s main antagonist, fans are now witnessing something extremely rare; Victor Newman on the verge of hitting rock-bottom. Although Victor’s flight or plight is still fuzzy, Braeden has stated that leaving the program — or retiring for that matter — would be like death.
Heres what you need to know about him:
1. He Was Born & Raised in Germany
Eric Braeden — pictured above with longtime love Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) — was born as Hans-Jörg Gudegast; on April 3, 1941 in Bredenbek, Germany. His father — was died when he was 12-years-old — was a mayor and a minor Nazi politician. The family grew up in poverty.
According to TV Banter, “Sports were his saving grace and he excelled in athletics.” He also participated in soccer and handball. During the frigid winters in Germany, Braeden liked playing hockey on frozen ponds. Due to a series of brain concussions, he was forced to give up contact sports.
In 1959, he immigrated to the US. to find himself and study politics and economics. After briefly staying in New York, Braeden moved to Galveston, Texas where his cousin lived and assisted him in finding a job. Thereafter, he made the trek to Montana and worked as a cowhand on a ranch.
While attending college, he and a friend created a film called The Riverbusters, which revolved around the first men taking a boat from the Salmon River bank and back. Braeden went to Los Angeles seeking distribution for the movie. While there, he realized that his well-defined looks and German accent gave him acting opportunities.
2. He Attended the University of Montana & UCLA
While in Los Angeles, he learned that he was too late to qualify for a track and field scholarship to UCLA. Instead, he decided to play soccer, ultimately helping his team win the 1972-1972 US National Soccer Championships.
As indicated above, Braeden likes to play tennis on his spare time. On May 25, 2008, Braeden spoke to USTA about what he thought attributed to his successful transition from track and field to soccer.
“When you play soccer, you can easily play other sports because as far as coordination is concerned, it’s the most difficult sport there is.”
3. He Has an Estimated Net Worth of $25 Million
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Braeden has an estimated net worth of $25 million. While the actor gets paid handsomely for his work on Y&R, he hasn’t always had the best relationship with it’s upper-brass. After being asked to take a pay-cut in 2009, Braeden walked off set and became embroiled in a feud with Sony, which runs Y&R. The company decided to exercise a draconian clause in his contract.
On October 7, 2009, Braeden aired out his frustrations with Entertainment Weekly.
“There’s no appreciation of the fact that I’ve been an important part of the show for nearly 30 years that has been no. 1 in the ratings. That’s extraordinary. So to be dealt with in a perfunctory matter as if you had just known these people for a few months is what is most offensive.”
Fortunately, the situation was ultimately resolved. In 2009 — after long negotiations — Braeden signed a multi-year deal with Sony. Although the terms of the deal were undisclosed, he did put out a statement on the contract.
“Very glad we got the negotiations successfully behind us.”
On July 30, 2015, Braeden signed another deal. He took to Twitter — as shown below — to let concerned fans know that he’s not leaving Y&R anytime soon, stating that he signed another deal.
“For all my friends on Twitter. I AM NOT LEAVING THE SHOW!! I JUST SIGNED AN EXTENSION, SO KINDLY DON’T ASK ME THAT QUESTION AGAIN! THANKS”
4. His Son’s a Successful Screenwriter
Braeden’s son, Christian Gudegast, also works in the entertainment industry as a screenwriter. Gudegast — who graduated from UCLA Film School in 1992 — was raised and lives in Los Angeles. In 1992, he won the Best Student Film award for his thesis movie, Shadow Box. Gudegast started his career as a rap music video producer until selling his first script, Black Ocean. Notable flicks he’s creatively involved with include Vin Diesel‘s A Man Apart and Gerard Butler‘s London Has Fallen, amongst several others. Gudegast has two young girls of his own, pictured above.
5. He’s Been Married to His Wife for 50 Years
Braeden has been happily married to his wife — Dale Russell Gudegast — for 50 years. The actor tied the knot to Russell — his college sweetheart — in 1964.
The couple shares a 3,500 square foot Santa Monica mountain home. Braeden credits his wife for it’s fancy decor, according to Closer Weekly on August 15, 2014.
“She’s always done the decorating, I just write the check.”
Braeden continued on, saying how happy he was for their beautiful home together.
“I’m very fortunate. It really does feel like home.”
*Stay tuned for updates*