Every time things look dire for her, fans wonder, is Nikki leaving THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS? But the iconic character has been through so much in her life and bounced back every time, so there’s no reason to think the trend won’t continue! Nikki was first introduced in 1978, played by Erica Hope. In 1979, the role was recast with Melody Thomas Scott, who has portrayed the beleaguered heroine ever since.
Introduced alongside her sister, Casey, Nikki killed her abusive father, Nick Reed, in self-defense after he drunkenly tried to rape her. During the trial, Nikki dated Paul Williams, but they split after he gave her a sexually transmitted disease. She then dated and married Greg Foster. Nikki was signed to a modeling agency that was really a prostitution ring. She left town and joined the New World Commune, which turned out to be a cult. Nikki eventually returned to Genoa City and became a stripper. She dated Kevin Bancroft, who left her when he believed she’d starred in a porno movie.
While stripping, Nikki had a fling with Victor Newman and got pregnant with his child. After she gave birth to Victoria Newman, Victor left Lorie Brooks and Nikki and Victor were married in 1984. Things were going fine until he had an affair with Ashley Abbott and Nikki found herself drawn to Jack Abbott. Nikki schemed to split the pair up but Victor ended up leaving Ashley himself when he learned she’d aborted his child. Nikki gave birth to another of Victor’s children, Nicholas Newman, but he dumped her believing she’d been involved in writing a tell-all biography about him.
After learning Leanna Love had written the book, Victor tried to win Nikki back but she and Jack married out of spite. But their marriage was troubled and after she miscarried his child in a riding accident, Nikki fell into a depression and became addicted to painkillers. She got pregnant again, but this time the baby was stillborn and Jack and Nikki ended their marriage. She was devastated to believe Victor had died and surprised when he returned to town with Hope Adams on his arm. Nikki had gotten engaged to Brad Carlton in the meantime but when Victor was shot on their wedding day, Nikki left Brad at the altar to be with him.
Victor chose to be with Hope, so Nikki married her doctor, Joshua Landers. But he was killed by his ex-wife, Veronica, who also shot Nikki. Although he’d married Diane Jenkins, Victor divorced her so he could re-marry Nikki on her deathbed. Obviously, Nikki recovered, and they learned their marriage wasn’t valid. Eventually, Victor was able to divorce Diane and remarry Nikki properly.
Following her kidnapping, Nikki suffered PTSD and began an affair with Bobby Marsino. She also ran against Jack for Wisconsin state senate, but her affair with campaign manager David Chow not only cost her the seat but also her marriage. Nikki briefly took over as CEO of Jabot and married David only to find out he wasn’t who he claimed to be. He and Victor’s wife, Sabrina, were killed in a car accident, and Nikki got involved with Paul again. They were nearly married, but she broke things off and left town with Victor after he recovered from the hart transplant he received after being shot by Patty Williams.
Nikki returned engaged to Victor, and Meggie McClaine and Deacon Sharpe schemed to knock her off the wagon. Believing Meggie and Victor were married, Nikki had an affair with Deacon, but she dumped him when she learned he was the reason she’d started drinking again. She wanted to get back with Victor, but he’d returned to Diane so Nikki fell into the bottle and eventually went back to rehab.
Victor was jailed for Diane’s murder, so Nikki came home to help and remembered that she had been the one to kill her. But the full truth was that it had been in self-defense and that Deacon was actually the one who had finished the job. Nikki then found herself back with Jack, and they eventually remarried. That same day, Victor married Sharon Newman and then disappeared. Nikki went searching for him, so Jack realized where her heart truly lay and they divorced. When Victor returned, he and Nikki reunited, but their marriage was delayed when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Finally remarried to Victor, Nikki was shocked to learn that Dylan McAvoy was the long-lost son she’d given birth to during her days with the New World Commune. Although she initially feared cult leader Ian Ward was the babydaddy, it turned out Dylan’s father was actually Paul. Nikki began drinking again, and accidentally hit Christine, causing her to lose her baby. Nikki and Victor’s marriage was strained by various family dramas and Nick was shocked to discover his mother was having an affair with Arturo Rosales, even more so to learn that Nikki and Victor had decided to try having an open marriage!
Eventually, Nikki and Victor decided to commit to each other, but their happiness was short-lived as their daughter, Victoria, was being abused by ex-husband, J.T. Hellstrom. J.T. attacked Victor, landing him in the hospital, and when he tried to hurt Victoria, Nikki hit him over the head with a fireplace poker! Nikki, Victoria, Sharon, and Phyllis tried to cover up their crime and dispose of the body, but evidence was discovered that turned the missing person’s case into a murder investigation.
The pressure of hiding their crime and being blackmailed for it by Tessa Porter pushed Nikki over the edge and she began drinking again. After the Jabot holiday party she stumbled out into the snowstorm and was hit by a car driven by Reed! Thankfully, she pulled through and was overjoyed when Victor returned to care for her. Unfortunately, her husband got arrested for J.T.’s murder and Nikki tried to save him by confessing to the crime herself! She was put on trial alongside Sharon and Victoria (Phyllis struck a deal with Christine to turn over evidence in exchange for safety) and despite Michael’s best efforts, Nikki was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years behind bars!
Stay tuned to see how her story continues, and for more Y&R news, keep reading the CBS edition of Soaps In Depth magazine!