Diane Jenkins on THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS was first introduced in 1982 but ultimately met a tragic fate in 2011. Originally played by Alex Donnelly, the role was then taken over by Susan Walters in 2001 and she remained with the soap until 2004. But it was Maura West who had been portraying Diane for just under a year when the character was murdered in 2011. However, when Diane resurfaced alive and well in March 2022, it was Walters who was back in the role. If you’re not sure who she was, or just need a refresher on her dramatic history on Y&R, we’ve got you covered!
Diane Jenkins hoped that sleeping with Jack Abbott would help her become a top model at Jabot, and since they continued their affair even after he’d married Patty Williams, she was able to blackmail her way into the job. Although Patty miscarried Jack’s baby after finding him having sex with Diane, she decided to stay married to the guy out of spite.
Finally giving up on Jack, Diane began dating detective Andy Richards and they even married in 1983. But she grew bored with him and struck up her affair with Jack again. When she assumed he was going to propose she divorced Andy in preparation, but was disappointed when Jack couldn’t commit. She left for Europe in 1984, but returned in 1986 hoping to rekindle things with Andy. Unfortunately, he was happy with Farren Connor, so she left again.
In 1996, Diane returned to Genoa City working as an architect and began spending time with Jack once more. Old feelings returned, and they were engaged. Out for revenge against Jack, Victor Newman stole her away and he and Diane were married in 1997. She was bitterly disappointed to learn that Victor had a vasectomy and couldn’t give her a baby, but then he divorced her anyway to remarry Nikki on her deathbed.
Snagging a board seat at Newman Enterprises in her divorce settlement wasn’t enough for Diane, who plotted to steal Victor’s sperm from the lab and have his baby anyway. After giving birth to Christian Victor Newman, Diane was shocked when a DNA test proved he wasn’t Victor’s child! Later, Diane renamed her son Kyle and learned that Jack was his real father. He fought for custody but lost after Phyllis blew her testimony at the hearing. Determined to get Jack back, she moved into the Abbott pool house and sparred with his wife, Phyllis Summers. After the pool house burned down and Diane barely survived, Phyllis was the prime suspect, but it turned out Diane had set it all up. This helped Jack and Phyllis get custody of Kyle, but he eventually returned the boy to her, and Diane left Genoa City with her son.
Diane returned again in 2010 hoping that Jack could get to know his son. She slept with Tucker McCall and then began a short-lived fling with Nick Newman. Victor put a stop to it and married Diane himself, but that also came to an abrupt end when he once again returned to Nikki. Diane teamed up with Adam Newman to take down Victor, but when that failed, she turned back to Jack but he wanted nothing romantic to do with her.
Desperate to get out of town, Diane sent Kyle ahead to Switzerland under an alias then tried extorting Victor for money. When that failed, she tried Ashley, who just slapped her down. After sending a mass text message to everyone who had wronged her, Diane was found murdered in the park. After a long investigation, Nikki Newman confessed to killing her in self-defense, but later her then-husband, Deacon Sharpe, admitted he’d hit her additional times before dumping the body and disposing of evidence.
Shockingly, in March 2022, Diane reappeared very much alive and well, approaching Allie about buying the house that had belonged to her late father, Keemo! She was also the one who had been texting Jack and bringing him and Allie together in Los Angeles. Jack was stunned to see her alive again and refused to believe Diane’s claims that she was only trying to help. She explained that with everyone in Genoa City hating her, she felt the only way to escape was to fake her own death. With Deacon’s help, she used a corpse from the morgue and paid off the right people to get away. But leaving Kyle behind broke her heart, and she begged Jack to help her reach out to their son now.
Diane then ignored Jack and traveled to Genoa City to check into the Grand Phoenix under an assumed name. Kyle was stunned to learn his mother was really alive, and along with Jack was one of the only ones willing to believe Diane’s claims she’d reformed. Nikki refused to give her another chance, and Phyllis clashed with Diane so much that Jack dumped her! Deciding to settle down near her family again, Diane convinced Kyle to give her a job in PR at Marchetti so they could work together. Unfortunately, Phyllis did the same with Summer, and the two women continued to clash in the office, nearly getting fired for it!
After an investigative journalist published a story exposing her past crimes, Diane was relieved to get a text from someone saying that they’d squashed the rest of the series of articles. However, she panicked when she later got another text from them saying that they were in Genoa City! This turned out to be Tucker McCall, who pressured Diane to come through on their deal and spied on Ashley for him. As the walls closed in on her, Diane finally confessed to Jack that Tucker was blackmailing her, threatening to expose her connection to a man named Jeremy Stark. She had met Stark in LA and fell for him, only to find out he was using her as a courier to launder money. She just hoped that the truth wouldn’t be too much for Jack and Kyle to forgive.
Kyle struggled to forgive his mom for her lies, but eventually did. Phyllis tried to force Diane to leave town, threatening to contact Jeremy Stark, but she refused to abandon her son again. Diane joining the Abbotts for Thanksgiving dinner caused some tension as she and Jack continued to grow closer. Diane freaked out when Stark showed up in Genoa City, especially when he refused Jack’s offer to pay what Diane had stolen from him. Jack and Kyle helped Diane hide out at the Abbott cabin in the hopes of making everyone think she’d skipped town, but it didn’t fool anyone.
Jack and Diane then plotted to trick Stark by having her cozy back up to him to make him think she’d switched sides. To prove her loyalty, Stark insisted she steal something valuable for him. With Jack’s help, she obtained an expensive necklace of Nikki’s and then set Stark up to be caught with it and arrested again. This whole scheme also brought Jack and Diane back together again and they solidified their relationship. In fact, Jack eventually proposed!
Stark’s return set Diane and Jack on edge and she grew even more concerned when she discovered Phyllis was plotting with the villain against her! And at the Genoa City bicentennial ball, Phyllis lured Diane to a suite where she baited her rival into a physical fight and everyone walked in on Diane throttling Phyllis and threatening to kill her! Later, after Jack and Diane announced their engagement to a very mixed reaction, Phyllis lit into them and suddenly collapsed! After the ambulance crashed and Phyllis was killed in the explosion, Diane was stunned to find herself blamed for her rival’s murder!
Diane languished in prison until Michael finally got her bail and she was released under house arrest. She was later stunned to learn that Phyllis had faked her death and framed her for the crime! After the charges against her were dropped, Diane tried to bring Kyle and Summer back together again, but to no avail. After being promoted to a higher position at Jabot, Diane offered to step down if it would help stop Ashley’s vendetta, but Jack wouldn’t let her. Jack and Diane then decided to marry immediately and exchanged vows at the courthouse on July 28, 2023. She also signed a post-nuptial agreement to prove she wasn’t after the Abbott money.
After Diane saved her from choking to death, Ashley reluctantly agreed to give her a chance. She was also excited when Jack declared his intentions to throw a lavish party to celebrate their marriage.
Keep watching to find out what happens next!