Jill Abbott doesn’t appear as often on THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS as she once did, so some newer viewers might not be aware of her epic history in Genoa City. And even some longtime fans might enjoy a quick refresher! The character was originally played by Brenda Dickson when the soap premiered in 1973. After she left in 1980, it was played by Deborah Adair for three years until Dickson returned in 1983. In 1987, the role was recast with Jess Walton, who has portrayed Jill ever since. (Well, aside from a brief absence where Judith Chapman took over for her in 1994 before later joining Y&R as Gloria Bardwell!)
Working as a manicurist to support her family, Jill took a job as Katherine Chancellor’s personal assistant and ended up having an affair with Kay’s husband, Phillip Chancellor II! Jill wound up pregnant, and after Phillip divorced Kay, he died after his ex-wife drove their car off a cliff. Jill turned down Katherine’s offer of $1 million for her child, and gave birth to Phillip Chancellor III. She later romanced David Mallory, Derek Thurston, and Stuart Brooks. Jill managed to get Stuart to marry her, but he dumped her after she faked a pregnancy and miscarriage.
Jill eventually found herself working for Jabot, and began dating the cosmetics company’s owner, John Abbott. After she cheated on him with his son, Jack Abbott, John dumped her and she sued Jack for sexual harassment. Jill finally reunited with John and they married, but she was still fooling around with Jack, and when Katherine showed John evidence of the affair, he had a stroke. Jill divorced John and got 20% of Jabot in the settlement. When Jill was shot, the main suspects were John, Jack, and Katherine, but it turned out to be Sven, a masseur who Jill had rejected.
Jill and Katherine tried to get Phillip to give up drinking, but he was later killed while driving under the influence. Jill hired con man Rex Sterling to seduce Kay, but then decided she wanted the guy for herself. She had an affair with Victor Newman, but realizing he was never going to marry her, returned to John and they tied the knot again. When he felt he was too old to have another child, Jill quickly got pregnant before he had his vasectomy, eventually giving birth to Billy Abbott. John and Jill divorced after she had an affair with Jed Sanders.
After discovering she owned the Chancellor Estate, Jill evicted Katherine, but a legal loophole allowed her to stay. Jill then had affairs with Sean Bridges and Larry Warton. In 2003, Jill was shocked to learn she was adopted, and that she was actually Katherine’s daughter. Then Jill was led to believe that Phillip was not her son, and her actual child was really Cane Ashby. Jill briefly dated William Bardwell, and then Ji Min Kim, whose murder left her devastated.
In 2008, the truth finally came out that Jill is not really Katherine’s daughter, and it was all just a revenge scheme cooked up by Charlotte Ramsey. She also learned that Cane wasn’t really her son, and that Phillip had only faked his death because he was gay. Then in 2010, Jill learned that her real father was Neil Fenmore, making Lauren Fenmore her sister! The two women clashed, but ultimately found common ground. It was a tumultuous time for Jill!
Jill got involved with Colin Atkinson, not knowing at first he was Cane’s real father and the head of a crime syndicate in Australia. Following Katherine’s death, Jill was puzzled by the cryptic messages she left behind. Jill inherited the Chancellor Estate but couldn’t afford the upkeep. She later discovered expensive jewelry hidden in a chandelier left to her by Katherine worth a fortune. However, the music box Kay left her remained a mystery for ages until they found a key in a secret compartment that opened a safety deposit box containing a letter from Katherine and a ring from Phillip.
During this time, Jill suffered a heart attack and after reconciling with Colin, they left Genoa City to travel together. However, she has returned on her own on a few occasions to deal with Chancellor business. In 2018, she returned to be briefly wrapped up in the search for Jack Abbott’s biological father, who was at that time suspected to be Phillip Chancellor. Then she returned again to help Billy with his gambling problem.
The next time she came home, Jill revealed that she and Colin were “on a break” and she very quickly began dispensing advice to both Cane and Billy, as well as getting updates on all the Genoa City gossip. And when Katherine’s will was contested by Chance Chancellor, Jill helped track down Colin to find out that he was behind it.
Stay tuned to find out what happens next, and for more Y&R news, keep reading the CBS edition of Soaps In Depth magazine!