Ahead of the season 4 premiere on Sunday, ET sat down with Trace Riley himself, Jesse Metcalfe, who opened up about Trace’s and Abby’s “emotional rollercoaster” and where their love story will lead them next.
“Trace comes back from tour, to Chesapeake Shores. His communication with Abby has become less and less over the last few months on tour and he’s compelled to leave the tour early, come back to Chesapeake Shores and try to salvage that relationship,” the actor, 40, said.
“When he comes back, he finds out that he’s not welcomed necessarily the way he thought he would be. It's difficult but I think he understands that he was basically given an ultimatum by Abby, and he chose his career and he chose the band and he has to respect the fact that she doesn't want to be on the emotional rollercoaster anymore… he quietly accepts her choice and respects her, but at the same time, longs to be with her.”
So just how hard will the musician fight to win back his former flame?
“You know what? Sometimes, fighting for something is knowing when to respect boundaries,” Jesse said. “So I think he has to respect her boundaries and at the same time, try on the idea of living his life without her.”
With Trabby taking some time apart, it leaves the door open for them to explore other romantic interests, which Jesse says will happen this season.
“[Trace is] definitely not looking for that and he realizes he's still very much in love with Abby, but this new very interesting person starts working at The Bridge, and they have a lot in common and things take on a life of their own,” Jesse revealed. “Her name is Emma and she's also a singer… there's chemistry there as well, so sometimes when it’s right and the shoe fits, it’s difficult to resist it.”
With so many passionate #Trabby fans rooting for the couple to reconcile, it may be difficult to watch Trace with a new leading lady -- a concept that Jesse totally understands.
“I think with Chesapeake Shores we're trying to tell a very grounded, real story and I think sometimes the Hallmarkies tend to live in this utopian world and that's just not the story we're telling here,” he explained. “We're telling a story about real life. There's ebbs and flows in real life and things are not always perfect but if something is meant to be, then it will be.”
And if you ask Jesse, he certainly thinks Trabby is in it to win it (eventually!), telling ET, “I think Trace's heart is always gonna be with Abby.”
While Trace and Abby sort out their differences, Jesse says he and his co-star, Meghan Ory, get along perfectly well. The actor praised his scene partner, telling ET, “It's a lot easier [to work together if] you have an admiration for the person you’re working opposite and I definitely admire Meghan. I think she's a great person and a great actor.”
In real life, Jesse says he doesn’t exactly relate to Trace’s struggle of balancing his personal and professional life. Why? He credits his longtime love, actress Cara Santana, and their “rock solid relationship.”
“I love what I do so I'm not struggling with balance. I'm also in a long-term relationship with someone who understands the demands of this business so it's easy for me and for us,” Jesse expressed. “The key is not to go longer than two weeks without seeing each other, if possible, but there are times where sometimes we have to go longer, and we can handle it.”
Jesse popped the question in August 2016, and while they’re very happily engaged, they’ve yet to settle on a wedding date. In fact, Jesse says they’ve set many, but keep postponing due to work obligations.
“I don't know if were like Kurt Russell or Goldie Hawn, but it works for us,” he said, smiling. “She's the best. She's my biggest fan, super supportive. It helps to have someone to come home to and kind of just download on your day and share the trials and tribulations with.”
Chesapeake Shores premieres Sunday, Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Hallmark Channel.
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