Jack Abbott on THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS has been a power player in Genoa City for decades. The character was first introduced in 1980 played by the late Terry Lester, and when he left the soap in 1989, Peter Bergman assumed the role and has continued to play it ever since. And despite the many ups and downs in Jack’s life, there’s nothing that can keep him down for long!
Back in the early 80s, Jack began dating Jill Foster after she split up with his father, John Abbott. Naturally this caused all kinds of family tension and so it didn’t last long. Jack married Patty Williams, but soon struck up an affair with Diane Jenkins. After losing Jack’s baby, Patty was further distraught to overhear him admit he’d only married her to get ahead in his career and so she shot him! Later, Jack got involved with Jill again, even though she was now married to his father. His ex, Lindsey Wells, blackmailed him with pictures of the affair, and John divorced Jill and threw Jack out of the house.
Victor Newman took over Jabot Cosmetics and replaced Jack with Brad Carlton, so in response, Jack married his ex, Nikki. But their marriage was a rocky one, with Nikki becoming addicted to painkillers and booze, and when Victor offered Jack back control of his family company if he left her, Jack agreed to the deal. Next, Jack married Luan Volien, who he had known during the Vietnam War. She also had his son, Keemo, with whom they were finally reunited as a family. After Luan died of a terminal illness, Jack became involved with Mari Jo Mason, and then Diane returned to get caught between Jack and Victor. Diane stole Victor’s sperm to have his baby, but it turned out that it was really Jack’s and she gave birth to his son, Kyle Abbott.
Jack and Victor continued to clash in the boardroom, each trying to steal or take over the other’s company, and things got ugly. Jack and his sister, Ashley Abbott, didn’t approve of their father’s new wife, Gloria, especially when John went to jail for murdering her ex-husband, Tom Fisher. John was released early because he was ill but soon died in the hospital.
Jack dated and later married Sharon Newman, and also ran against Nikki for Wisconsin State Senate. Thanks to Sharon and Phyllis Summers’ scheming, he won, but ultimately had to resign when his ethics were called into question. After splitting up with Sharon, Jack romanced Mary Jane Benson, who was later revealed to be his psycho ex, Patty! After she was run out of town, Jack had an affair with Adam’s wife, Skye, and then got engaged to Genevieve Atkinson. But on their wedding day, Patty took her place at the altar and shot Jack!
As he recovered, Jack rekindled his romance with Nikki, but their marriage was extremely short-lived. Following surgery to remove the bullet still inside of him, Jack became dependent on painkillers. He went to rehab and Phyllis supported him as their romance deepened. But she required brain surgery after a fall and slipped into a coma and transferred to a facility in Georgia.
Jack received a kiss from his assistant, Hilary Curtis, but was more interested in Kelly Andrews. He paid a comatose Phyllis a visit to say goodbye, but at Nick and Sharon’s wedding, Phyllis showed up, fully awake! Jack was also stunned when Phyllis forced Sharon to confess that she’d switched the results and that Nick was Summer’s biological father, not Jack. Torn between the two women, who also went to extremes fighting over him, Jack eventually chose Phyllis over Kelly. Unfortunately, Victor arranged for Jack to be kidnapped and replaced by a look-alike named Marco. Eventually, Jack managed to escape Kelly’s clutches and return to Genoa City, but the damage had been done.
Believing he was facing off against Marco, Victor shot him, and was horrified to learn it was actually Jack he’d nearly killed. Jack struggled to put his life back together as well as his family business. When brother Billy Abbott was near death following a car accident, Jack agonized over pulling the plug and was relieved when his brother recovered. Unfortunately, Billy and Phyllis then began having an affair behind Jack’s back and he was gutted when he discovered the truth.
Next, Jack’s world changed forever when his estranged mother, Dina Mergeron, returned to Genoa City. He and the rest of the Abbotts managed to get her away from her male companion, Graham, who was really just trying to steal her fortune. Sadly, Dina was also suffering from Alzheimer’s, and the family closed ranks to support the matriarch as her memories deteriorated. During this time, Jack and Billy also buried the hatchet but Jack was stunned when his mother revealed that Jack Abbott was not his real father! After some soul searching, Jack was relieved to later discover that it a lie and all part of Ashley’s scheme to destroy him and take the Abbott company away from him.
Jack managed to retain the family business, but Ashley retained the patents and left to start her own company. He also lost out on the CEO position to Phyllis, and the Abbotts plotted to overthrow her before she could drive Jabot into the ground. Jack struck up a new romance with new chemist Kerry Johnson, but she was really a plant hired by Ashley to undermine the company from the inside. Ultimately, Jack and Ashley came to a stalemate and decided to compete to see who could make their company more successful. To that end, Jack has focused on business over everything else, though he did join the Abbott family in the heartbreaking decision to send Dina to live in a home when her condition worsened.
Although a brief flirtation with Mallory didn’t go anywhere, Jack was able to repair things with Ashley and they agreed to work together on the business front. But he still felt aimless and took some time away from Genoa City to figure out what he wanted. Jack decided to step down from Jabot, leaving it in Kyle and Billy’s capable hands, while he worked with Traci on a book chronicling the Abbott family history. But when Billy stepped down, Jack once again stepped up to take the reigns of the family legacy.
Stay tuned to see how Jack’s story continues, and for more Y&R news, keep reading the CBS edition of Soaps In Depth magazine!