When Thad Luckinbill returned to THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS in December of 2017, some newer viewers wondered: “Who is J.T. Hellstrom?” And even the fans who remembered the character from his previous stint wondered what happened to make him so dark and violent that time around. And although J.T. was presumed dead for a time, he soon came back for revenge… and a surprising twist to the entire storyline!
The character of J.T. was introduced back in 1999 when Luckinbill joined Y&R as the high school friend of Billy Abbott, Raul Guittierez, Mackenzie Browning, and Brittany Hodges. He lived up to his reputation as a ladies’ man by dating Rianna but cheating on her with Brittany. He nearly settled down with Colleen Carlton, but then he slept with her mom, Anita!
J.T. developed real feelings for Brittany, but then she got married so he started seeing Mac. (Though he did briefly pretend to be the father of Brittany’s baby to help protect it from her husband’s enemies!) Colleen wanted another chance with him, but he stuck by Mac. Unfortunately, Mac didn’t tell him she got pregnant with his baby until after she’d miscarried, and he got so upset that he cheated on her with Victoria Newman! Devastated, Mac left town, and J.T. got back with Colleen for a while.
Later, J.T. became engaged to Victoria Newman, who was carrying a baby that could be either his or Brad Carlton’s. After Victoria was injured in the Clear Springs explosion, doctors had to do an emergency C-section, but luckily both mother and child survived. And as a bonus, the child turned out to be J.T.’s, and they named him Reed. When Victoria emerged from her coma, she married J.T. and their family was complete.
Victor hired J.T. to be head of security at Newman Enterprises, but when he later ordered J.T. to investigate Colleen to get her off the Newman board, the young man quit and began working with Paul. Tragically, Colleen drowned in 2009 and J.T. admitted to her that he loved her before she was taken off life support.
Unfortunately, that was the end of J.T. and Victoria’s marriage, and he sued for full custody of Reed to keep the boy away from Victor’s influence. He then reconnected with Mac and later learned that she was pregnant with his baby. She turned down his marriage proposal, but after J.T. was nearly killed in a terrible storm, Mac accepted and they moved to Washington, D.C. with Reed.
J.T. and Mac had a baby boy that they named Dylan, and Reed returned to Genoa City by himself because he didn’t want to move to Poland, with his father. But J.T. followed him and returned home eager to make things work again with Victoria. He explained that he and Mac had split, and he wanted to bring their family together again. Unfortunately, it turns out that J.T. had developed a bit of a dark side, and became emotionally and physically abusive to Victoria! When Mac returned to town for a visit, she revealed that the reason they had split up was because he had treated her exactly the same. J.T. was also secretly working with Paul to dig up dirt on Victor Newman, and when The Mustache revealed that he’d been onto him from the start, their argument turned physical and J.T. pushed Victor down the stairs, nearly killing him!
Still determined to win back Victoria, J.T. pulled out all the stops, even agreeing to seek counseling, but he became more and more controlling and violent. And when he attacked Victoria during a girl’s night party, Nikki protected her daughter by slamming J.T. in the back of the head with a fireplace poker and immediately feared she’d killed him! Together with Sharon and Phyllis, the women scrambled to cover up their crime, but while they thought they’d gotten away with it, certain incidents indicated J.T. might not be as dead as they thought!
In the end, it was revealed that the man they thought was J.T. terrorizing them was actually just Nick in an elaborate mask attempting to take revenge on Victor. However, when surveillance equipment was later discovered in the Newman Ranch, Billy and Nick were determined to prove that J.T. was still alive. Especially because the women were going to prison for his murder! They set a trap and J.T. fell right into it. He nearly killed the women with a gas leak, but collapsed himself and was rushed to the hospital where a brain tumor was removed from his head. Although the tumor was blamed for J.T.’s recent violent streak, he still accepted responsibility for his actions, specifically attempting to kill Victor.
Stay tuned to see how the storyline develops, and for more Y&R news, keep reading the CBS edition of Soaps In Depth magazine!