‘Scandal’ Star Teases Fitz & Olivia’s Relationship: The Mistress Is ‘Under a Microscope’

Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) finally came clean on last week’s “Scandal,” admitting to the press that she is indeed President Fitz’s (Tony Goldwyn) mistress.

Now that their longtime secret has been made public, can the couple finally make it work?

“That’s tricky. The pressures of being a couple in the public eye and how the media and how public opinion can really attack and dissect and put a relationship under a microscope, I think that’s immense pressure for them,” Darby Stanchfield, who plays White House press secretary Abby Whelan, tells Variety. “They’ve only been in a private space. Will they navigate it? Will they be able to work? You know, their love seems to sort of conquer all so there might be hope.”

Here, Stanchfield tells Variety more about Olivia and Fitz’s tricky relationship, plus Abby’s tough position as Fitz’s employee and Olivia’s betrayed best friend.

Why do you think Olivia finally admitted to the world that she’s President Fitz’s mistress?
Olivia Pope has her rules, and one of her major rules is always tell the truth. I think perhaps she’s following her own advice that she always gives clients. She’s always reprimanding clients when they lie to her because the truth is always the best way to get through a scandal. I think she may just be following her own advice.

Will Olivia regret coming clean to the world?
She might. Olivia seems to be quite foggy in terms of her personal life and being able to handle her own personal problems. She has a very strong gut professionally, but when it comes to her own scandal, her own sense of how to go in these situations has been foggy and is something she’s really battled in past seasons. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is hard for her. My guess is that becomes more complicated for her.

How will Abby handle the media storm coming into the White House?
When [Olivia] does declare to the world that she is in fact the president’s mistress, it puts Abby in a really interesting situation because immediately, there’s a media storm surrounding the White House, and as press secretary, Abby has to do major damage control and figure out how she’s going to spin it, and what she’s going to say because she’s been up there deflecting and pretty much denying [the affair].

And on a personal level, this has got to be a low blow to Abby. How will she react to Olivia blatantly lying to her about the affair?
On a personal note, she was just lied to by her best friend so it really hurts Abby. Abby has a real strong moral compass. She’s fiercely loyal to Olivia. She’s more loyal to Olivia than anyone else and even her job. So it puts Abby in a really interesting situation this episode doing both damage control at the White House for the press, and then just being enormously hurt and angry with her friend Olivia and how she navigates that personally.

“Scandal” airs 9/8c on Thursdays on ABC.

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