How Soap Star Arianne Zucker Landed In A Scandal With Donald Trump

Leading up to the 2016 presidential election, old audio of Donald Trump making lewd comments about women leaked and nearly derailed his campaign. The now-infamous tape was a conversation recorded between Trump and former "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush on the set of "Days of Our Lives" in 2005. In the audio, Trump spoke about being attracted to "Days" star Arianne Zucker. " I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her," he said, per BBC. "Just kiss. I don't even wait ... And when you're a star they let you do it." The audio also featured the future U.S. president saying, "Grab them by the p***y."

An apology of sorts was issued by Trump after the audio leaked in October 2016. "This was locker room banter ... I apologize if anyone was offended," he said, per CBS. Following backlash, there was speculation that Trump may withdraw from the presidential race, but he would not be deterred. "I'd never withdraw," he told the Washington Post.

In addition to discussing Zucker, the tape also featured Trump and Bush making rude comments about Entertainment Tonight host Nancy O'Dell. "Politics aside, I'm saddened that these comments still exist in our society at all," she said in a statement released on October 8, 2016, per Entertainment Tonight. Originally, Zucker declined to comment on the tape and simply told CBS, "It's not about me." However, not long after, the soap star let her feelings known about not only the scandal but Trump as an individual.

Why the tape did not shock Arianne Zucker

A day after Nancy O'Dell released her statement about the lewd Donald Trump and Billy Bush audio tape, Arianne Zucker took time to weigh in. "How we treat one another, whether behind closed doors, locker rooms, or face to face, should be done with kindness, dignity, and respect," she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, on October 9, 2016. 

The "Days of Our Lives" actor declined to outright name Trump and took the high road. "In understanding the magnitude of this situation, I choose to stand tall with self-respect and use my voice to enrich, inspire, and elevate the best of who we are as people," she added in the self-published statement.

Days later, Zucker gave an interview where she discussed the scandalous audio leak. It did not come as a shock to the daytime TV vet to hear Trump speak about her in such a crude fashion. "Not with that type of personality, I wasn't shocked, which is probably why it doesn't mean a lot to me," Zucker said appearing on "Today" on October 13, 2016. 

According to the "Days" star, Bush did not present himself as he sounded on the tape. "Because when he came off the bus along with Mr. Trump, I had no feeling but professional, that's it," she added. To Zucker, the audio was not just about her and O'Dell. "They are offensive comments for women, period," she said. 

A year later, Zucker gave another interview about the tape as the scandal continued.

Donald Trumps claimed the tape is a fake

In November 2017 — just over a year after the "locker room talk" tape surfaced — a report by The New York Times claimed that Donald Trump told an advisor that he did not believe the leaked audio from his 2005 conversation with Billy Bush was authentic. The audio had been recorded by "Access Hollywood" as Bush was a correspondent for the show at the time. 

Once "Access Hollywood" heard that the authenticity of the recording was questioned by Trump, they decided to address the matter on-air. "Let us make this perfectly clear: The tape is very real," Natalie Morales said on an episode of the show in November 2017 (via The Hill).

After hearing that Trump said the tape was a fake, Arianne Zucker addressed the matter herself. "I don't know how else that could be fake unless someone's planting words in your mouth," she said while appearing on "Anderson Cooper 360" in November 2017. Zucker believed that Trump himself had previously admitted it was him on the tape. "How do you apologize for something and renege on it? It's puzzling to me," the "Days of Our Lives" actor added.

The leaked audio was not the first time Trump's 2005 cameo on "Days" caught the public's attention. When the episode originally aired, it was parodied on "Saturday Night Live." "I was so excited. I could totally retire now, I've been spoofed on 'SNL,'" Zucker said on a 2005 episode of "Soap Talk" (via Entertainment Weekly).