The Young and the Restless is continuing its heart-wrenching tribute to the late actor Kristoff St. John (ex-Neil Winters), with Julia Pace Mitchell reprising her role as Sofia Dupre today, April 25, for the emotional episodes.
Mitchell shares with TV Insider that learning of St. John's passing was heartbreaking, and she's grateful that the show asked her to participate in his tribute episodes -- even if it was a difficult conversation.
"I started crying on the phone. I was happy to be involved, but it's such a reality check that he's gone," she says. "I'm not surprised by the turnout and response to Kristoff. He was in everyone's home. It's a loss for all of America. That's how I feel, too."
The tribute episodes show the residents of Genoa City bidding a tearful goodbye to Neil, and Sofia -- who married both Neil and his brother Malcolm (then played by Darius McCrary) when she was on the canvas from 2010 to 2012 -- also comes to town to pay her respects. In order to prepare for the scenes, Mitchell reveals that she watched many of their old episodes and several videos of the late actor being his silly self.
"Something about revisiting him in a different way made me appreciate my time with him more," she says. "I didn't fully realize at the time how lucky I was to have worked with him... I was such a new person in the soap world when I came to it. Kristoff made me feel so incredibly comfortable and welcome. I always felt safe -- like he had my back, no matter what."
As fans may recall, Sofia and Neil share a son together (Moses, played by Dax Randall), whom she took out of town after the couple's relationship fell apart. Y&R has promised that the Winters family will continue on in St. John's absence, meaning it's entirely possible that viewers will see more of Sofia and Moses -- especially because Mitchell, who stepped away from television to become a mom in real life, is open for future appearances.
"Of course, I'd be open for that. The Winters family is part of American history," the actress shares. "There are a lot of women out there who are 'Sofias' -- single moms, who have a business life and a child. That's not always reflected on television. When I got back on set, I said to myself, 'Oh! I went to school for this. I know how to do this.' It felt like coming back into myself. I know Kristoff would tell me not to give up on my dream."
What do you think about the powers that be asking Julia Pace Mitchell to reprise the role of Sofia for Neil's funeral? Would you like to see more visits from Sofia and Moses in the future -- or even see the mother and son return to Genoa City permanently? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.