The Abbott family has been a major part of THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS for years, and Ashley Abbott has been a character that proved so popular, she even journeyed over to sister soap THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL for a while. Eileen Davidson originated the role in June of 1982 and when she left in December of 1988, Brenda Epperson (1988-95) and Shari Shattuck (1995-99) both took over for a while before Davidson returned in 1999. Unfortunately, this era came to an end with the actress announcing her decision to leave Y&R again at the end of 2018. But thankfully, that wasn’t the last viewers saw of Ashley as she has continued to pop in for brief appearances here and there.
In 1982, John Abbott and Dina Mergeron’s daughter, Ashley, came home to Genoa City as an adult to work as a chemist at Jabot Cosmetics. She didn’t have much luck in love, though — her first beau, Eric Garrison, slept with her mom and Marc Mergeron turned out to be her former stepbrother! Then Ashley learned that her real father was Brent Davis, and the trauma caused her to flee Genoa City with amnesia. Victor Newman found her and brought her home where they had an affair while he was married to Nikki. Ashley got pregnant but Victor left her for Nikki Reed, who was diagnosed with cancer. Ashley secretly had an abortion and suffered a mental breakdown, later marrying her shrink, Steven Lassiter.
After Steven was shot and killed by an unstable patient, Ashley had a brief affair with Brad Carlton before finally becoming Mrs. Victor Newman. After their marriage fell apart, she fell for Jabot photographer Blade Bladeson, but their union suffered when his evil twin, Rick, tormented them. Ashley next married Cole Howard, who was on the rebound from Victoria, so naturally, that one didn’t last long, either.
When Diane Jenkins attempted to steal Victor’s sperm in 2000, Ashley switched it with Jack’s sample and used Victor’s sperm to get herself pregnant. She then married Brad and gave birth to her daughter, Abby. But when Ashley was diagnosed with breast cancer, she confessed the truth about Abby’s paternity. The couple split, but were drawn back together when Ashley learned she was pregnant with Brad’s baby. Sadly, she lost the child in a car accident, and their marriage ultimately collapsed.
When John shot and killed his wife, Gloria’s, dangerous ex, Tom Fisher, Ashley tried to protect her father by confessing, but John was sentenced to prison. After Gloria tampered with Ashley’s new line of beauty cream leading to a woman’s death and John passed away after suffering a heart attack, Ashley left town to escape all the drama.
But Ashley found plenty more drama when she had an affair with Rick Forrester while overseas on business, and then went to Los Angeles to work for Forrester Creations. She started a relationship with Ridge Forrester and they became engaged, but he was clearly still in love with Brooke Logan. She then had a fling with Ridge’s brother, Thorne, and when Forrester ended the fragrance line, Ashley moved to Europe with Abby.
Ashley reunited with Victor in France and they returned to Genoa City as a couple. They married and she became pregnant, but Adam Newman gaslighted her and caused her to fall down the stairs and miscarry. However, he convinced her that was all a dream and Ashley suffered a hysterical pregnancy, “giving birth” to a baby that Adam had stolen from Sharon Newman. The truth eventually came out and Ashley returned Faith to Sharon.
Her next relationship, with businessman Tucker McCall, also ended in divorce, and Ashley was forced out as CEO of Jabot by Jack. She moved to New York City to live with sister Traci Abbott, and returned to visit for events like Victor and Nikki’s wedding, Delia Abbott’s funeral, and Abby and Tyler’s engagement party.
In 2014, Ashley returned to Genoa City and got mixed up in a love triangle with her daughter’s boyfriend, Dr. Ben “Stitch” Rayburn. Moving on, she fell for doctor Simon Neville, who found a cure for her brain tumor, but they split when he left town. An unlikely romance started between Ashley and Ravi Shapur, but nothing ever really came of it.
The return of Ashley’s mother, Dina, threw the Abbotts into chaos as they learned she was suffering from Alzheimer’s and tried to get her away from the scheming Graham Bloodworth. Ashley quit Jabot and Victor invited her to come work at Newman Enterprises. But working with the Newmans was a constant struggle, and she approached Billy Abbott about returning to Jabot as COO. He agreed, but she then began to realize that Billy was stealing from the company to fund his gambling habit so she and Kyle worked together to oust him as CEO. She also briefly sparked opposite Neil Winters, but opted to focus on business instead of pleasure.
After Ashley wrangled herself into the CEO position at Jabot she revealed to Jack that John Abbott was always his father and she had faked the DNA tests in order to take revenge on her brother! Jack was furious, and the Abbott family quickly rallied to remove Ashley as the head of the company. Then Kyle and Jack discovered that Dina had drafted a contract giving Ashley ownership over the patents she created while at Jabot and tried to shred it. But Traci learned the truth and forced them to come clean about it to Ashley. Feeling betrayed and hurt, Ashley decided to take the patents and move to Paris to start her own company called “My Beauty,” which is what John used to call her.
Ashley still comes home occasionally for visits, like when Phyllis was ousted as Jabot CEO. Ashley offered to make Jabot a subsidiary of her company but Jack declined. Instead, the siblings made a bet to see whose company would succeed and whose would go bankrupt! But when the Abbott family needed her, Ashley would be there for them, such as when Dina’s condition worsened and she remained in Genoa City to support Jack and Traci during this difficult time.
Following Dina’s passing, Ashley returned to Genoa City again in 2021 for Abby and Chance’s wedding and was there again when her daughter decided on surrogacy to have a child. She also weighed in with her opinion when Devon later started a custody battle for Baby Dominic. Ashley went with Victor to Spain to search for Abby after she skipped town to go after a presumed-dead Chance, and like everyone else, was thrilled to discover that the guy actually was still alive.
Ashley was wary when Jack discovered he had a granddaughter, but eventually welcomed Allie Nguyen into the Abbott family. She was decidedly less happy when Diane returned from the dead and agreed to help Phyllis and Nikki try to drive her back out of town. And she was seriously irritated when Tucker showed up in Genoa City again and wanted to know what he was after. But she agreed to cozy up to the guy in the hopes of getting him to reveal his true motives and was surprised to learn of his connection to Diane.
Keep watching Y&R to see what happens next!