After a Saturday soccer game, Sundays are normally reserved for a player to unwind and relax a bit.
That might not be the case this weekend for New England Revolution forward Teal Bunbury, who will be unable to sit still as he waits in anticipation for the premiere of the three-night Spike mini-series "Tut."
It's not that he's an Ancient Egypt aficionado. It's because one of the stars of the extravagant six-part event just so happens to be his favorite actress and the first friend he ever had: his sister Kylie.
“Me and the rest of my family couldn’t be more proud of her,” said Teal. “Even if she wasn’t having this show come out, just the way she’s turned out, how she treats me as her younger brother and also my two other younger brothers, how she treats them, she’s just a great role model for us.”
Being only 13 months apart in age, the bond runs very deep between the two.
They’ve gone through it all together for a quarter century, and through the good times and the bad they know they have each other to fall back on – a critical component of their relationship, given the high-profile professions that both have chosen.
“We love each other so much,” Kylie told MLSsoccer.com. “He’s one of my best friends. I’m his biggest cheerleader. I look up to him so much.”
“I’m always there to have her back and she’s always there to have my back,” said Teal. “We’ve just been growing since birth.”
A magical foundation
That level of mutual support was borne of the typical growing pains of a sibling relationship, both good and bad.
While Teal remains ever protective of his sister, he also still gets a kick out of recalling her running style during her soccer days and the nickname “sausage fingers” that he and his brother bestowed upon her, something that has given Kylie a hand complex to this day.
“My brothers have called me sausage fingers since I can remember,” said Kylie, who was quick to turn the tide. “I don’t think people get to see how goofy Teal really is. He’s very serious, which I totally commend him for, he’s such a role model. But let me tell you, this dude is a jokester. Growing up, he wanted to be a magician. Every Christmas we had to get him some sort of magic box thing and he’d be like, ‘Pull a card, Kylie. Let me guess your card, Kylie.’”
She describes him as everything from a hyper Will Smith to a Macaulay Culkin "Home Alone"-type trap setter who always wanted to clown around when her friends came by.
Both laugh with great reverence at those times growing up in the same household, longing for those moments while living on opposite sides of the country.
The two siblings both started their careers around the same time, with Teal being drafted by Sporting Kansas City and Kylie moving from Minnesota to Los Angeles after being discovered by a talent agent while working as a model in 2010.
While Teal was getting settled in Kansas City, his sister was going through the rigors of Hollywood life, but managed to land her first role that year in an episode of "Days of Our Lives."
Kylie’s next gig was a role in the Disney motion picture "Prom," which provided Teal with the first opportunity to see her in a completely different light.
“When we went in there and I saw her, I just had the biggest smile on my face,” said Teal, who took along his then-Sporting teammate Michael Harrington. “I was just geeking out. I pulled out my phone and was recording. I probably shouldn’t have done that, but I recorded a little video and sent it to her and laughed, telling her how proud of her I was. That’s when I was like, ‘Dang, this is crazy.’”
While Kylie was lighting up the big screen, Teal was lighting up the scoreboard for Sporting, scoring a career-best nine goals that season.
“He is so inspiring to watch,” said Kylie. “He’s like a dancer on the field. It’s so beautiful to watch him play. You can see his passion, you can see how hard he works.”
Teal continues to shine on the pitch, now with New England, while Kylie has continued to land roles that allow her family to “geek out” on a continuous basis, starring alongside Jonah Hill in "The Sitter" and a recurring part in the CBS series "Under the Dome."
A dream role
In the upcoming "Tut," set in Ancient Egypt, she players her most prominent role to date as Suhad, the beautiful, passionate commoner whom King Tutankhamun falls for, but cannot have because she is not a pure-blooded Egyptian.
“The entire show is riveting and enchanting,” said Kylie. “To play Suhad was a dream come true. It’s such a dream and I just feel so blessed. I’ve worked very hard, but it’s truly a dream come true for me.”
The series, which stars Academy Award-winning legend Sir Ben Kingsley, was filmed on location in Morocco and provides a glimpse into the short reign of the teenage Egyptian pharaoh King Tut.
Although married to his own sister Ankhe, he finds comfort in Suhad, a villager who helps nurse him back to health.
While Kylie initially went in to read for Suhad at her audition, the casting director wanted her to come back in and read for the role of Queen Ankhe, but her mind was set on who she wanted to be.
“I’m not going to lie, I was scared to make that move,” said Kylie, who turned down the offer because she felt so strongly about Suhad. “I think that was the first time in my career that I understood the whole concept of when you really feel something for a character, you got to go for it. That was all I was concerned about.”
That staunch desire to go after what she wants is an aspect of her personality that Teal has been familiar with since day one, dubbing her “a strong- willed woman.”
Even though a continent separates them, the Bunbury siblings remain in touch as often as possible and constantly do what they can to make the other laugh.
Thankful for every moment they have ever shared and continue to create, the duo are even more grateful for what they have learned from each other to help them get to where they are today.
“When I first started acting I was doing it basically instinctually,” said Kylie. “Something that Teal taught me is that natural ability can only take you so far. He didn’t all the sudden become pro and stop training all day. He became pro and then continued to practice every day of his life. So Teal taught me to really get into my classes and really start working on my classes. I’m a better actress because of watching him.”
“No matter what she’s gone through, she’s always had a huge smile on her face,” said Teal. “She’s always put other people before her...she’s such a caring person and I emulate that.”
The effects of that support will almost certainly be seen and felt again this weekend – Kylie will get a chance to watch her brother play from afar when the Revolution host New York City FC on Saturday evening (7:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE), before it becomes Teal's turn to plant himself in front of the TV at 9 pm ET on Sunday to admire his sister's latest work.