By Dennis J. Freeman
Actor Aaron D. Spears is in a good space today. He has a hot gig as one of the stars on the CBS daytime soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful.” He’s happily settled in his personal life as a husband and the father of five children. His smoldering good looks have vaulted him into the Hollywood’s hottest hunks category.
A former athletic star in high school and in college, Spears’ acting career is in an upward trajectory towards superstardom. He has landed primetime roles on hit television series such as Boston Legal, Criminal Minds, Lincoln Heights and Bones. His roll of film hits includes Babel and Blue Hill Avenue.
One can make the argument that Spears has it all: a great job, family, status and fame.
But to think about that all of the success Spears have obtained could have easily been negated by the hustle and flow lifestyle he lived as a teenager is enough to send chills down the backs of his most avid fans.
Spears, who grew up in Washington, D.C., was a good kid at home. He did all the right things. He followed his parent’s instructions. He did his share of chores around the house. Hitting the books was not an issue. But when he got around his friends, Spears took on a different persona, a persona that seamlessly identified with the streets.
He was the perfect example of a person living a dual life. Eventually, that duality lifestyle caught up with him. It became interchangeable for Spears when nine of the 15 people in his crew were killed in the spate of two years. One of his partners was taken out at a movie theater. Another friend was murdered, execution-style.
“Stuff just kept happening,” Spears said in an interview with news4usonline.com. “I guess that of all of the negative things we did kind of caught up to us. Luckily, I was always pertinent about doing my studies and taking care of my studies. During those times of activities-when things went wrong, I was never around.”
Spears found himself being forced to make a choice between continuing to hang out with his boys or move his life towards a more positive direction.
He received his clarification notice after receiving a late night phone call that one of his closest friends had been gunned down. The two had just spoken a couple of hours earlier about putting their street life behind them. His friend’s murder hit him in the gut. Spears knew immediately he was finished with the streets. It was time to move on.
“I told myself that I was done with all of this,” said Spears. “That affected me a lot. We had just talked about what we were not going to continue to do and how we were changing our lives around. We had football careers. The next thing I knew…he was dead and I was carrying his casket. I didn’t recover too well from that.”
Fortunately, Spears managed to get back on track. His saving grace was not getting fully caught up in the streets, he said.
“I wasn’t about to get caught doing anything,” said Spears. “My parents would have been kicking my butt. I did what I had to do to make any and everybody believe I was the son or the kid that you wouldn’t mind your daughter bringing home to meet. That was my reputation in the whole neighborhood, in terms of the adults. But when it came to people on my level, they knew what was up.”
What was up was crafting a squeaky-clean, kid-next-door facade, an image that made it difficult for anyone to question him, Spears said.
“It kind of left the door open to for people to think that it’s no way possible that Aaron is doing this, because he is always in the house, he’s always studying, he’s always get good grades,” Spears said. “But at the same time, I am in the streets. And you’ve got to understand that I was in (Washington) D.C. Washington D.C. is no joke.
“I spent a whole lot of time in Washington D.C., doing a whole bunch of things I probably shouldn’t have been doing. But my parents never had the cops call them late at night, saying I was in jail, I was in trouble. Never, did they get that call.”
Soap fans are probably ecstatic that Spears didn’t follow through on the phone call he received from the New York Jets to come play for them. On sheer athletic prowess alone (4.2 seconds in 40-yard time), it’s a good bet that Spears would have made the team. He went to camp.
But after checking out the landscape of former players suffering from both physical and mental injuries from the sport, Spears decided he would be be better off pursuing an acting career opposed to being busted up and not being able to enjoy life in his later years.
“I walked away from it after looking at it and analyzing the whole situation and seeing cats in their twenties and thirties, walking around like they were in their forties,” Spears said. “Childhood dream…It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made. I cried for about a week. Nonetheless, I made the decision.”
“The Bold and the Beautiful” fan base have to be happy that Spears made that decision. Spears, who was recently nominated for an NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series” for his role as Justin Barber, have no doubt left an embedded impression on the soap’s radar.
His smoldering good looks have made him a heartthrob on the show.
That doesn’t faze Spears. He accepts it. He knows that part of the job comes with the territory. However, at the end of the day, Spears comes home to his beautiful wife, Estella. All those steamy love scenes fans see him in on “The Bold and the Beautiful” is work. When he heads home, he knows he’s coming home to the real deal.
“Sex sells,” Spears said. “If you’re going to be in the industry, you know you’re going to be involved in love scenes, especially in soaps. You know you’re going to be exposed. You know you’re going to have your shirt off. You have to know what they’re going to ask of you. You have to prepare yourself.
“My wife is absolutely amazing. You have to know what you want in life and determine what’s important. My wife is like, ‘If you’re to be in a love scene, and if you’re going to be kissing, don’t make me look bad. Do your best and handle your business, but when it is cut…it’s cut.’ It’s a trust issue. I don’t cross any boundaries. I keep it where it is for what it is.”