Warning: Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you have not watched Thursday’s spring finale of Nashville. If you have, read our full recap, then come on back.
Well, that’s certainly going to change things.
Nashville wrapped up the first half of its fifth season with an unexpected bombshell at the end of Thursday’s spring finale: Scarlett (Clare Bowen) is with child!
The singer-songwriter broke the baby news moments after reluctantly agreeing to go on tour with her on-again/off-again beau Gunnar (Sam Palladio), telling him that she’s going on the road with him, with one not-so-tiny caveat. “One thing you need to know… I’m pregnant,” Scarlett revealed to Gunnar (and the audience), who had a stunned expression on his face.
The kicker? She’s not sure who the father is: Gunnar or Damien (Christian Coulson), the Brit who directed The Exes’ music video and immediately took a liking to Scarlett. And so the long wait to the resolution of that cliffhanger begins!
Luckily, ET caught up with Bowen via email about what Scarlett’s impending motherhood means for her future — and whether it makes a difference who the father is.
ET: Scarlett’s pregnancy bombshell was quite a shock! What was your first reaction when you read that in the script?
Clare Bowen: In the words of Terry Pratchett: “Oh, drama.”
How do you think she’d handle motherhood?
Scarlett’s done a lot of growing up over the last couple of seasons. She’s developed a sense of self-preservation, as opposed to just trying to keep everyone else happy all the time. I think her having become protective of herself, her own wants and needs is a good start in self-love, just in time for this journey. Having said that, we all know she’s great at taking care of others, but having had an abusive, unwell mother herself, she has no training in “mothering.” Not to mention, she’s a 26 year old with a career, experiencing a surprise pregnancy just when she thought she was getting a foothold on life. But she’s resourceful and instinctive with the patience of a brick. So she’s just going to bloody well handle it.
While this normally would be happy news, it seems Scarlett is torn — especially when she admits she doesn’t know who the father is. How does Scarlett navigate this new uncharted territory?
“Normal” is a setting on a dryer. Scarlett has had fears that she might suddenly turn into her mother upon becoming one. She also entertains the fear that this is her punishment for doing something that actually felt good, instead of just submitting to Gunnar’s wishes. But in her heart of hearts, she knows that’s simply not true. She knows everything happens for a reason and chooses to keep her baby, because to her as an individual, no matter who this baby came from, he or she is a part of her, and that is enough for Scarlett.
How will the identity of the father change things for Scarlett? If it’s Gunnar’s baby, will she have a different reaction than if it was Damien’s? Is it important to her who it is?
Honestly she doesn’t want, or need, to know at this moment. She is the one carrying this child. She doesn’t want to hurt Gunnar, and thusly can’t fake having feelings for him right now. Also she has no idea what Damien’s reaction will be. At this point, it’s all about her baby. That’s just the way she is.
She’s also about to go on tour with Gunnar. Could this new baby thaw things between them?
I don’t have children but I’ve been told they’re not instruments to fixing broken relationships. Scarlett was incredibly honest with Gunnar, and well within her rights when she said she didn’t know what it would take for her to trust him again.
It was lovely seeing Rayna — via footage, interviews — throughout this episode, as everyone started to pick up the pieces and move on with their lives. Were you satisfied with the way Rayna’s story closed with the recording of the unfinished duet?
Upon witnessing Deacon’s strength in singing with the love of his life one last time, knowing he’ll never hold her again, there came about a feeling of “He will survive this” for Scarlett. Her family is a patched-together thing. Deacon is not just her uncle — he’s her best friend in the whole world, and she’d do anything to protect him. Seeing him put one toe on the path to healing made her heart soar.
Lastly, what three words would you use to describe Nashville’s return?
Honesty, family, bravery.
Nashville returns this summer on CMT.
She remembers being really cold.
Clare Bowen, 4 years old, couldn’t move her legs. Her parents rushed her to the hospital in Sydney. It was the first time the little Australian girl had ever been in air conditioning.
In that chilly hospital, the girl overheard grim doctors say “end-stage nephroblastoma,” words she didn’t know. But Bowen understood when they told her parents she was dying.
The blonde-haired little girl calmly asked her mother: “Are there heaters in heaven?”
As a child, Bowen remembers that her dad was a flight attendant for first class on Qantas airline. Her mom owned a clothing shop and baked wedding cakes. And she took care of the little girl, who spent more time with animals than other children.
They had a pet white mouse named Albert, and a canary named Aloicious. A stray Russian blue cat, Butch, would wander by the house now and again, and when Mom put out a bowl of food for the cat, she sometimes put a bowl of milk down for her daughter, who would drink it right next to the stray.
The little girl ran to meet Butch every time the cat came by. But the day before her legs stopped working, Bowen, not feeling well, ignored her feline friend.
“I remember not caring he was there,” Bowen said softly.
The tumor was the size of a football, crushing virtually everything inside the little girl’s body.
Doctors said she had about two weeks to live, but there was this experimental treatment – one that might kill her outright.
“They asked my parents to sign a release. They had to sign a release to basically poison me,” Bowen said.
Doctors wanted to shrink the tumor to the size of a grapefruit before they went after it to remove it.
The surgery lasted 10 hours. Surgeons rolled the girl onto her left side, cut near her waistline around half her body, and pulled out the tumor – and one of her kidneys and part of her diaphragm and some of her guts that had been damaged by the tumor.
Bowen stayed in the hospital for a year, maybe longer, and staff and relatives tried to make it as comfortable and even as fun as possible. The little girl’s name was painted on her door.
Her mother snuck her canary and her mouse into her room, and a family friend brought a Labrador to the hospital gardens to play with the sick little girl. Nurses did arts and crafts with Bowen and the other children.
Sometimes, Bowen felt awful, and nurses and doctors would rush her into various treatments.
‘We were all bald’
The most jarring day came when a child died in the recovery room they shared.
“I woke up, alarm bells going off. We didn’t know each other’s names, and I didn’t know if he was a boy or a girl. We were all bald,” she said.
“I looked to my left and saw the little one’s mother holding the child, and the child had gone completely limp.
“This woman was just screaming like something had been torn out of her,” Bowen said, pausing. “It’s not normal, but it happened all the time.”
The worst day was when her best cancer buddy, Jackie, died the same week doctors started letting Bowen sleep at home.
Bowen, crushed, couldn’t shake the feeling – Why did her friend die and she lived?
“I had survivor’s guilt and I didn’t even know it,” Bowen said. “I never really cared what happened to me but I wanted to take care of others, even as a girl.”
Bowen, sleeping at the family home, still went to the hospital each day for treatment and monitoring.
Sometimes, the girl woke up vomiting, and couldn’t stop, so the family would rush her to the hospital.
Through all of it, extended family showed up regularly. Bowen smiled when she remembered having about 20 relatives in her room one day, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, sitting on the floor with them eating chicken nuggets, talking and laughing.
Bowen had a tough time returning to school because other kids’ parents feared the sickly, gaunt girl, mistaking her as a victim of the AIDS epidemic sweeping the hospital at the time.
“Other mothers used to pull their children away from me,” she said. “They didn’t want their children traumatized by my impending death.”
A year or so later, Bowen enrolled in Catholic school with supportive, loving teachers and administrators. She slowly integrated back into being a little girl again.
But lingering health issues and survivor’s guilt left Bowen feeling off: “I didn’t have a good sense of self-esteem and I was constantly sick with side effects from chemo.”
Panic attacks racked her as a teenager, and she had them often enough that she started to be able to manage them.
“Even if I’m worried and horrible panic attack feelings kick in, I’m rational enough to say, ‘Keep going, breath in some energy.’”
With time and therapy, Bowen, now 32, has begun feeling a sense of self-worth.
“I learned to love myself,” she said.
Bowen was able to stand with her brother, Timothy, as he fought and beat cancer recently.
And Bowen – an actress who plays singer/songwriter Scarlett on CMT series “Nashville” – has begun to speak publicly about the disease and her battle with it.
She famously cut off her long hair in fall 2015 to show support for a little girl who said she couldn’t be a princess anymore because she didn’t have long hair.
“I wanted her, and others like her to know that’s not what makes a princess, or a warrior, or a superhero. It’s not what makes you beautiful either,” Bowen posted on Facebook.
“It’s your insides that count… even if you happen to be missing half of them.”
Bowen also served as a keynote speaker last year for a Country Cares seminar for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and she has visited children with cancer and other chronic illnesses in Nashville and elsewhere dozens of times.
Two months ago, she has released her first solo single, “Love Steps In,” a tribute to her brother’s cancer battle written by her fiancé, Brandon Robert Young, and songwriter Justin Halpin.
“This song accomplished more than I could ever imagined. It has been nice to make lots of people smile and feel things.”
Bowen hit the Opry stage Jan. 13 to sing the song, which led to thousands of people sharing cancer and chronic illness stories with each other since on social media.
That in turn has helped Bowen with her healing.
“All of my insecurities and all my feelings of shortcoming have been linked to not doing enough to make the world better,” she said.
“When you’re able to give people a vehicle to express something they’ve had locked up, that’s the greatest privilege as an artist.”
Mid-season finale for ‘Nashville’
CMT airs the mid-season finale of “Nashville” at 8 p.m. Thursday (March 9).
In the episode, titled “Fire and Rain,” there will be a big twist for Scarlett, played by actress Clare Bowen, network publicists say. No word on what that twist will be.
Also in the episode, CMT posted on its website, “Juliette helps Maddie navigate the wave of attention she receives after her performance at the CMT Music Awards. Zach demands the masters from Rayna and Deacon’s unfinished album.”
CMT plans to start airing new episodes again this summer, but no date has been set yet.
Reach Brad Schmitt at email@example.com or 615-259-8384 or on Twitter @bradschmitt.
I’ve added missing screencaps and stills from the last 3 episodes of Nashville. Sorry for the delay in adding these.
• Nashville 508: Stand Beside Me – Screencaps
• Nashville 508: Stand Beside Me – Stills
• Nashville 509: If Tomorrow Never Comes – Screencaps
• Nashville 509: If Tomorrow Never Comes – Stills
• Nashville 510: I’ll Fly Away – Screencaps
• Nashville 510: I’ll Fly Away – Stills
I’ve returned from vacation and have added a bunch of missing Nashville-related photos to the site. I hope you enjoy them. Big thanks to my friends Mouza and Angela for the promotional images. Clare looks stunning in them and I’m so thrilled with Scarlett this season. How about you?
• Nashville Season 4 Promotional Images: Solo
• Nashville 504: Let’s Put It Back Together Again – Screencaps
• Nashville 504: Let’s Put It Back Together Again – Stills
• Nashville 505: Leap of Faith – Screencaps
• Nashville 505: Leap of Faith – Stills
• Nashville 506: Love Hurts – Screencaps
• Nashville 507: Hurricane – Screencaps
• Nashville 507: Hurricane – Stills
I’ve added missing screencaps from the last 3 episodes of Nashville. I apologize for the delay. Enjoy.
Clare made an appearance at the 2017 Winter TCA Tour – Hulu TCA Winter Press Tour Day a couple days ago. I have added photos of her from the red carpet as well as photos from her performance panel and portraits! She performed with fiancee Brandon and she looked just beautiful and together as a couple they just looked so loving. Big thanks to my friends AliKat and Kaci so a big chunk of these. Enjoy Nashies.
Debuts Immediately Following The Two-Hour Premiere of “Nashville” on Thursday, January 5 at 11pm ET on CMT’s Facebook Page With Chris Carmack As First Guest
Nashville, January 4, 2017 – CMT today announced “NASHCHAT” the first-ever social interactive fan hangout and conversation companion to the hit series “Nashville,” across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat including a Facebook Live chat that will debut immediately following the two-hour premiere of “Nashville” with star Chris Carmack (Will Lexington) set as the first guest on January 5 at 11pm ET on CMT’s Facebook page. “Nashville” is produced by Lionsgate, ABC Studios and Opry Entertainment.
“Fans saved ‘Nashville.’ Now we’re inviting fans into our living room to celebrate the characters, stories and music they love,” said Brian Philips, President of CMT. “With ‘NASHCHAT’, we’ll create a home across all social media culminating with a Facebook Live interactive recap and fan chat immediately following new episodes.”
Hosted by “Nashville” superfan and radio personality, Amy Brown (@RadioAmy) each episode of “NASHCHAT,” coming live from a living room in Nashville, features cast and crew interviews, original music, “Nashville” insiders and of course the fans recapping each new episode just after the show ends.
Between episodes, CMT will continue the conversation across all social media. CMT Instagram and Instagram Live will host “NASHCHAT” behind the scenes, CMT Snapchat will feature “Nashville” cast content, fan community content, games and contests. CMT Twitter will drive the daily conversation with the fans including unveiling new memes and clips, as well as quizzes, photos, recaps and episodic promos.
“Nashville” is set against the backdrop of the city’s music scene and follows Rayna Jaymes and Juliette Barnes. Both women face personal and professional challenges as they navigate their paths as artists and individuals. Surrounding them and often complicating their lives are their family, friends and, in some cases, lovers, as well as the up-and-coming performers and songwriters trying to get ahead in the business. Music City can mean so many things to different people. In “Nashville,” musicians and songwriters are at the heart of the storm driven by their own ambitions. Some are fueled by their creativity and passion for fame. Others struggle to cope with the pressures of success and are doing everything in their power to stay on top.
“Nashville” stars Connie Britton as Rayna Jaymes, Hayden Panettiere as Juliette Barnes, Clare Bowen as Scarlett O’Connor, Chris Carmack as Will Lexington, Charles Esten as Deacon Claybourne, Jonathan Jackson as Avery Barkley, Sam Palladio as Gunnar Scott, Maisy Stella as Daphne Conrad and Lennon Stella as Maddie Conrad. In addition, the upcoming season will feature Joseph David-Jones as Clay, Rhiannon Giddens as Hallie Jordan, Jen Richards as Allyson Del Lago, and Cameron Scoggins as Zach Welles in recurring roles.
Produced by Lionsgate, ABC Studios and Opry Entertainment, production is currently underway in Nashville. The series is executive produced by Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick (the creators of “Thirtysomething”), Steve Buchanan and Callie Khouri.
The series airs in 225 territories worldwide. Since its debut, the show has inspired 10 soundtracks, including a Christmas album, which have collectively sold more than one million album units and over 5 million single-track downloads to date. It has also been nominated for multiple Emmy, Golden Globe and Critics Choice awards.
I’ve added a ton of missing photos to the gallery of Clare from the new season of Nashville. I’ve also added screencaps from her appearance on the Today Show. Enjoy!
• 2016: 12/07 The Today Show Interview
• Nashville Season 5, Episode 1: The Wayfaring Stranger – Stills
• Nashville Season 5: Promotional Images: Solo
• Nashville Season 5: Promotional Images: Cast
• Nashville Season 5: Promotional Screencaps #1
• Nashville Season 5: Promotional Screencaps #1 – Behind the Scenes
• Nashville Season 5: Promotional Screencaps #2
• Nashville Season 5: Featurette #1
• Nashville Season 5: Featurette #2
• Nashville Season 5: On The Set – Screencaps
• Save The Children
On a segment of Wednesday morning’s (Dec. 7) Today show, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb packed up their interview cards (and their wine glasses) and hightailed it down south to shadow our Nashville cast as they shot an episode for the upcoming fifth season.
The charming co-hosts started their day with another unstoppable duo, Lennon & Maisy, the real-life sisters who play Maddie and Daphne Conrad on the series.
The group met on the set of the Bluebird Café, where they convinced the sisters to play a little something in honor of the location. Lennon & Maisy threw it back to Nashville‘s first season by covering The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey,” a Conrad sisters classic.
Making their way around the gorgeous Nashville sets, Kathie Lee and Hoda met up with the show’s leading man Charles Esten, who plays Rayna Jaymes’ husband Deacon Claybourne. Dishing on his on-screen wife, Esten told the pair that he was a fan of Britton before he ever met her.
The Office vet also pointed out that while his character Deacon is fairly reserved, when you “put him behind a guitar he will tell you anything.”
The co-anchors then moved into Rayna’s living room for a sit-down with the other half of “Deyna,” Britton. Unlike many of her cast mates, singing was not at the top of the Friday Night Lights alum’s resume, but she loves a challenge. And I think we can all agree, she crushes it!
The hilarious duo ended their rounds on the set of Scarlett and Gunnar’s old house with Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio, whose characters make up the band called The Exes on the show. The group talked strategy for the scene they were filming later that day, where the band would make an appearance on Today.
“By the 20th take, Scarlett won’t seem so weird,” Bowen jokingly promised.
Keep an eye out for Gifford and Kotb’s cameo on the new season of Nashville, which premieres on Thursday, Jan. 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Get all of the latest Nashville news, videos and behind-the-scenes action on the Nashville Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram and join the conversation using #NashvilleCMT.