Burgess Jenkins' time on The Young and the Restless was complicated, to say the least. The actor was tapped to play the role of Billy Abbott after former portrayer Billy Miller decided to vacate the role and the show's original recast, David Tom (who'd played the character back in his youth), didn't work out. Longtime viewers weren't exactly wowed with Jenkins in the role, either -- but after several months, he finally started to make the fan-favorite character his own. Then suddenly, at the end of 2015, the North Carolina native announced he would be vacating the role due to the exhausting cross-country commute. Jenkins last aired in the role, now played by Jason Thompson (ex-Patrick Drake, General Hospital), in December. But it turns out, there's more to his exit story than what was previously revealed.
In a new interview with Winston-Salem Journal, the actor admits that a serious family issue is what prompted him to throw in the towel at Y&R. "I departed the show because my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer back in November, and continuing to travel back and forth from the East Coast to the West Coast would have made it impossible for me to take care of her," he reveals, adding that he and his wife, Ashley Jenkins, chose not to make any public announcements until they had a better understanding of her prognosis.
"At this point... we know she's going to be okay," he shares. "Just in for a long and grueling battle with chemotherapy and radiation. Which stinks, but it's a real blessing just knowing when we wake up in the morning that she's not fighting for her life... It's great to see her back to normal."
As for Y&R, Jenkins appreciates the support fans have shown both before and since his daytime departure. "The fans have been tremendous, a great outpouring of folks either asking me to stay or wishing me well, which is appreciated. It's nice to know that you've told a good story and left an indelible mark."
Jenkins has landed a post-Y&R role opposite Oscar winner Louis Gossett, Jr., and for more from the actor on departing Genoa City and his future acting plans, check out the Winston-Salem Journal article here.
What do you think about Jenkins exiting Y&R so he can take care of his ailing wife? Do you hope he'll some day come back to Genoa City? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.