Beverley Mitchell On Her “Interesting Relationship” With Jessica Biel

Photo: Warner Bros/Photofest.
Beverley Mitchell played Lucy Camden on 7th Heaven for the entire 11-season run of the show. Her character started the show worrying about getting her first period and ended it married, with a family of her own, and working as the assistant pastor at her father’s church. Along the way, Lucy experienced all of the awkwardness that comes with being a teenager. Mitchell experienced it along with her character — and her costars. Mitchell says that she and Jessica Biel, who played her older sister but is actually younger in real life, had a “very interesting relationship." There were times when they weren’t big fans of each other, but, like the siblings they played on TV, they have always been close, and their relationship has evolved into an enduring friendship. Mitchell was on the guest list for Biel and Justin Timberlake's wedding, and Biel was one of Mitchell’s bridesmaids. Refinery 29 spoke to Mitchell over the phone in advance of the 20th anniversary of 7th Heaven’s premiere. She shared her thoughts about why we’re still talking about a family drama on a now-defunct network, where she thinks Lucy Camden would be now, and a little bit about her new show (with Christine Lakin and Jodie Sweetin) that will stir up all of those '90s nostalgia feelings. When we spoke to Barry Watson, he mentioned that you sent out an email trying to get everybody together to have a little mini-20th-anniversary reunion.
“I basically told them that I was feeling nostalgic, and I need to see them all pronto and that we just have to hang out. I’m the one that kind of is the pain in the ass that gets everybody together.”

You’re sort of the historian of the show.

“I definitely have been called the glue that keeps us all together.”
Photo: Warner Bros/Photofest.
Are you surprised that we’re still talking about 7th Heaven all these years later?
“No. I think we were a very special kind of show. We were a show that wasn’t just entertainment, but that became literally a part of people’s families. I think that’s very interesting about us. When I’m out in public, people don’t look at me as a celebrity, they don’t look at me as an actress, they think that I was either their best friend or that I went to high school with them or their daughter or their son or their cousin. "I’m so much a part of their reality that it’s very hard to differentiate that it was just a show. We were something special; we were kind of a one-of-a-kind in that time period. "I think, to be honest, there’s nothing that’s really quite come on that has replaced us in that realm. I think people still hold onto us pretty tight, and then obviously with reruns, you live infinitely forever. So there’s that."

You get to be in high school forever.
“I get to be awkward forever. I get to relive those moments that you [go] through in high school being like, Oh god, okay, so glad no one is ever [going] to remember that. Yes, I get to relive those moments over and over and over again. "You know those amazing moments with your MAC lipstick, I forget what one it was, the Spice lip liner? Those days? I get to relive those. Those were the special days.”

Are there any episodes you’re particularly proud of or moments that really stick out to you?
“There’s one episode that was particularly attached to my life. When I was 16, one of my best friends passed away in a car accident, and we did an episode called 'Nothing Endures But Change' where it is dealing with grief. I was definitely proud of that one, because it was so raw and it was so real. I’m actually kind of grateful for it, because up until that episode, I hadn’t really let myself feel too much about her passing. Then we pretty much got the full breakdown on camera, which was actually somewhat cathartic. I felt very safe. "It’s very strange, but I feel safe and comfortable in front of cameras, so it was a place in which I was able to use my performance, but I was also able to use my life. I don’t typically do that, but in that once experience it was a very healing opportunity for me, and being able to touch other people who had been through similar circumstances and also explain that the grief process is unique for each person. "That episode was really special. We dealt with a lot of issues, some of which were new to me and brought to my attention through the show that I was unaware of. I wasn’t aware of cutting, to be honest. I never had any friends that did it, or not that I was aware of until after the show, and then I realized how big of an epidemic it was and what the issues were. "We dealt with race issues. We dealt with religious issues. We dealt with so many. I felt like the way we did it was always very gently, but it was also to bring forward conversations, which was great because you would actually be able to have conversations with your family. Then you were able to elicit all different kinds of conversations from the introduction, which was pretty special.”
Photo: Warner Bros/Photofest.
Where do you think Lucy would be or where do you think the Camden family would be 20 years later?
“Lucy would have a zoo of kids because that’s what she does. She has a lot of babies. I don’t know. Maybe she’s in the ministry; maybe she followed suit with that. I definitely think that no matter what, they would always be a very tight-knit family.”
Lucy would certainly be organizing everybody.
“Yes! Lucy would definitely be the same person I am, that would be like, 'Okay. I need you all here. Now.' That’s for sure. Even on the show, I tended to be the kooky glue that held everyone together, and I’m definitely that in real life. Obviously, Brenda [Hampton, 7th Heaven’s creator] got to know us all very well. She definitely pulled some things from our quirky characteristics and put them into our characters. I tend to think that I never cried as much as Lucy did, though."
Photo: Warner Bros/Photofest.
Barry said to let you know that he knows that you and Jessie (Jessica Biel) still have a “massive crush” on him.
"I’m like, 'Barry. We had a crush on you for the pilot when you were this hot guy. Then we got to know you, and then you became our brother, and then that became really awkward.' "It’s so wonderful. I love Barry so much. I love all of my cast mates. Jessie is one of my best friends. I would go to the ends of the earth for her. David Gallagher is one of the sweetest, most kind, most gentlest of souls. Mackenzie is crazy. Nutty. My crazy Mac. They’ve truly become so much a part of my family, and I’m so grateful for that. I really am. They’re so special. It’s been an amazing journey with them all and I can’t imagine not having had that opportunity. "7th Heaven changed my life. I was an only child. I didn’t have siblings. Then I inherited quite a few, which is pretty cool.” Read these stories next:
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