'Days of Our Lives' Star Eric Martsolf Reveals Big Lesson He Learned From Jennifer Aniston's Dad (Exclusive)

The Emmy-winning actor opened up to ET about his time on the hit soap series and reflects on his career.

Time to move on up! Days of Our Lives star Eric Martsolf is ready to compete for one of the top categories at the Daytime Emmy Awards, and he's looking back at his accomplished soap opera career, and some of the best advice he's ever gotten.

After snagging the trophy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 2014, and getting another Supporting Actor nom in 2019, Martsolf is nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series at this year's big show, and he's excited about the opportunity.

"I had to jump into the Lead Actor swimming pool sooner or later," Martsolf shared with ET's Matt Cohen during a recent sit-down with star, who has played Brady Black on Days of Our Lives since 2008, in over 1,800 episodes.

"I was fortunate enough to get a supporting Emmy in 2014... and it wasn't until my kids came up to me one day and said, 'How old do you have to be, to be in the lead category?'" he recalled with a laugh. "I have 16-year-old twins...  I looked them dead in the eye and I went, 'I can be in the lead category if I want to!' So I did"

However, being on a popular soap opera comes with its fair share of challenges -- including long hours and a sometimes grueling production schedule. However, Martsolf says he got some of the best advice ever from his co-star, John Aniston -- father of Jennifer Aniston.

"John Aniston is my grandfather on Days of Our Lives. He's receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award [at this year's Daytime Emmys]. He said the coolest thing to me," Martsolf remembered. "I had one of those days where I was bitching about the amount of time that we were on set. I was just having one of those days, like, 'Oh, we have a lot to do today, John.' And he's like, 'Beats working for a living.' And I was like, 'Yeah, you're right!'"

"He's never viewed what he does over there at that studio as work," Martsolf continued. "It's play, and if you can get a check while playing for a living, you run out of reasons to leave that environment... I thought I would do soaps for a year, but I genuinely ran out of reasons to leave."

Looking back over his 20-year-long career, Martsolf reflected on his first big break -- playing Ethan Winthrop in 788 episodes of the soap opera Passions.

"What I do remember is that I was working at Universal Studios right before [I got the job in 2002.] And I was in the Spider-Man stunt show over there. I was the Green Goblin and I was on this speeder, throwing these tennis balls at Spider-Man. Spider-Man! And all of a sudden, I get a call on my Motorola flip phone," Martsolf shared. "And my agent was like, 'You're the new Ethan on Passions!'"

"I took off my Green Goblin mask and production was like, 'What's going on?' I'm like, 'I got to be on set tomorrow morning. I'm going to be on television!'" he added.

Ultimately, Martsolf says that whether or not he walks away with the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, he's proud of the work he's doing and the series he's a part of.

"These are legacy shows we're talking about. Days of Our Lives, it's one of the longest-running television shows in history. I don't take that lightly," he shared. "Every day, when I come into that parking lot, I have to uphold what people before me have done for this show."

Days of our Lives airs weekdays at 1 p.m. on NBC.

The 49th annual Daytime Emmy Awards will be broadcast live from the Pasadena Civic Center on Friday, June 24, from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. ET, delayed PT, on CBS, and will also be available to stream live and on-demand on Paramount+.



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