In March, the soap world was stunned by news that long-time The Young and the Restless star, Jess Walton (Jill Abbott), had walked off the set of the top-rated soap with plans to never again set foot in Genoa City. The actress' departure was brought on by a request from network brass that she take a pay cut. When Walton rejected a lower salary, Y&R executives put out a casting call for an actress to take over Walton's role.
Shortly thereafter, rumors began to surface that Walton's exit was linked to at least one of her co-stars. According to Internet chatter, Walton was unhappy with the work of some of her co-stars -- and their reported salaries. Walton flatly denies the claims as false.
"It had to do with my family and this economy," Walton clarifies in an interview with Tulsa World. "I felt so bad that so many people have lost their jobs, that, all of a sudden, I thought: 'This is really silly. I have a wonderful job and I really think I owe it to myself and my family to continue on.'"
The decision was also compounded by the recent announcement that Guiding Light had been canceled by CBS, an announcement the actress says shocked the entire Y&R cast.
"I was walking down the hall and Eric Braeden (Victor Newman) asked, 'Did you hear? Guiding Light just got canceled.' The first thought that came to mind was gratitude that our show is still going strong, and we have a really nice place to work. We get along so well and we laugh all the time; it's really, really nice working there," Walton adds.
In addition to the financial situation, Walton admits to being intrigued by recent plot twists that show that her character is not, as previously believed, the daughter of Katherine Chancellor. The two long-time rivals will have a "renewed vigor" to their feud, according to Walton.
"I am very excited about the new storyline," Walton beams. "I am always glad when there's a big change."
Walton joined the cast of The Young and the Restless in June 1987. She assumed the role from Brenda Dickson, who originated the role in 1973.