Phyllis may have had a few different faces on THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS over the years, but she’s still the same spitfire fans have come to love! The character first appeared in October of 1994 with Michelle Stafford originating the role. When she chose to leave the soap in 1997, Sandra Nelson took over for a couple of years. Stafford reclaimed her role in 2000 and stayed this time until 2013. In 2014, Gina Tognoni assumed the role of Phyllis, but in June 2019, she departed and Stafford returned to Y&R once again.
From the moment that Phyllis Summers arrived in Genoa City, she started causing trouble, drugging rock star Danny Romalotti into sleeping with her. And when she got pregnant, she changed the DNA test results to indicate Danny was the father so he would leave his wife, Christine Blair, and marry her. But after she gave birth to Daniel Romalotti, Jr., Phyllis found herself dumped by Danny and for revenge, ran down Christine and Paul Williams with her car! Danny and Phyllis went to therapy to save their marriage, and Phyllis had an affair with her shrink, Tim Reid, taping them having sex to blackmail him into insisting Danny stay married to her. But they eventually divorced, leaving Phyllis to have relationships with Malcolm Winters, Michael Baldwin, and Jack Abbott before leaving town.
Upon her return, Phyllis married Jack and they tried to get custody of his son, Kyle, from his mother, Diane Jenkins. Diane set Phyllis up to be jailed for arson and attempted murder, and ultimately Jack and Phyllis split up. Daniel returned to Genoa City a teenager, and Phyllis bonded with her son, who had been living with Danny.
Phyllis had an affair with Nick Newman while he was mourning the death of his daughter, Cassie. When she got pregnant, Nick divorced Sharon to marry Phyllis, who eventually gave birth to Summer Newman. Phyllis blackmailed Brad Carlton over his affair with Sharon, and while fighting with Sharon and Drucilla Winters atop a cliff, Dru fell to her death. Phyllis was briefly jailed for blackmail, and Nick was presumed dead in a plane crash. After he came home, he, Phyllis, Jack, and Sharon started Restless Style magazine. Despite her best efforts, Phyllis couldn’t keep Nick away from Sharon and eventually filed for divorce.
Nick and Phyllis eventually reconnected, and when she got pregnant again, he proposed. Phyllis lost the baby, but they still tied the knot. But things got tricky when Phyllis faced charges for running over Christine and Paul years earlier. Also, Tim returned to blackmail her and later turned up dead. She turned to Ronan Malloy for help, and after they slept together, Nick divorced her. When Summer’s paternity came into question, Nick took another DNA test, but Sharon tampered with it to make Jack believe he was the girl’s father. This led to a confrontation between Sharon and Phyllis that ended with the redhead falling down the stairs and falling into a coma! Daniel moved her to a facility in Georgia where her loved ones would visit occasionally.
Phyllis woke up in 2014 thanks to Victor arranging for her to receive an experimental drug. She escaped the clinic and hitchhiked back to Genoa City where she crashed Nick and Sharon’s wedding. After catching up on everything she’d missed while she was away, Phyllis eventually forced Sharon to confess to tampering with Summer’s paternity test. She wanted to get back together with Jack, but he’d become involved with Kelly Andrews, who went to extremes to set Phyllis up to keep Jack for herself. Once the rival was ultimately dispatched, Phyllis finally remarried Jack. Unfortunately, the man she’d married was really Marco, a villainous look-alike hired by Victor!
Once Marco was defeated and Jack reclaimed his life, he and Phyllis reunited. However, her business relationship with Billy Abbott soon turned into something much more. And though they tried to resist their feelings for each other, Phyllis and Billy began having an affair behind Jack’s back. Torn between the two brothers, Phyllis tried to choose Jack, but he found out about the affair and filed for divorce. After distracting herself with business for a while, Phyllis eventually found happiness with Billy.
Phyllis was part of the group who covered up J.T. Hellstrom’s murder, and after Billy started gambling again, she found comfort with Nick and they had sex. Summer had returned home and developed a crush on Billy, throwing herself at him constantly. Phyllis and Nick’s indiscretion was exposed at his wedding to Sharon, and Billy took revenge by sleeping with Summer. Phyllis again focused on work, temporarily becoming CEO of Jabot and hiring Kerry Johnson to work there. Unfortunately, Kerry was a corporate spy working for Ashley. Also, when J.T.’s murder was revealed, Phyllis got immunity from Christine in exchange for confessing how he died and she, Nikki, Sharon, and Victoria Newman had covered it up. Nick was furious and dumped her.
On the outs with just about everyone, Phyllis has been plotting revenge, and joined forces with Adam Newman upon his return from the dead. But her plans took an unexpected turn when she was abducted by Kevin! She managed to escape and suspecting Adam was behind it, tracked him down in Vegas. But instead of going after the Newmans, Phyllis set her sights a little lower, blackmailing Chelsea and Abby into signing over part of the Grand Phoenix hotel.
Working as head of security, Phyllis had secret cameras installed and spied on the entire place and constantly clashed with Abby… especially when she flirted with Abby’s new beau, Chance Chancellor! In the end, Phyllis manipulated Abby into signing over the rest of the Grand Phoenix to her but was annoyed that the blonde bought the property across the street and planned to open up a competing hotel. Phyllis also started rekindling old feelings for Nick, and although the pair initially decided they were better off as friends, they quickly gave in and resumed their relationship! Phyllis managed to buy out Abby’s share of the hotel only to run into financial difficulties and have Victoria buy up controlling interest. Eventually, she accepted money from Nick to buy out Victoria and run the Grand Phoenix herself.
Returning to her scheming ways, Phyllis suspected Sally Spectra of being up to no good and worried Jack was falling for the redhead. When Summer decided to leave Genoa City for a job in Italy, Phyllis was convinced Sally was behind it and didn’t rest until she proved that she and Tara Locke had worked together to drive Summer away. Unfortunately, she was heartbroken when even after the truth was exposed, Summer chose to remain in Europe. After she and Jack leaned on each other for support, Phyllis was stunned when he confessed he was still in love with her!
Phyllis kept Jack in the friend zone, but continued to lean on him as she and Nick found themselves increasingly at odds. After she and Nick agreed to break up, Phyllis had a dream that inspired her to try and reconnect with Jack, but he was afraid of ruining their friendship. Phyllis continued to feel adrift in Genoa City, and was surprised when Summer called with a job offer at Marchetti.
Phyllis decided to travel to Italy to see about the offer, and was disappointed when Jack didn’t try to talk her out of it. Though ultimately she turned Summer down and decided to remain in Genoa City. She even helped Jack solve the mystery of his anonymous text messages and went with him to Los Angeles where he met Allie, the daughter of his late son, Keemo. However, she was horrified to learn that the meeting had been set up by a very-much-alive Diane!
Jack and Phyllis reconnected and made love but he realized that she was just staking a claim on him to rub it in Diane’s face, so he dumped her again. Unapologetic, Phyllis remained determined to drive Diane out of town, even teaming up with Nikki and Ashley to make it happen! She persuaded Summer and Kyle to give her a job working at Marchetti where they’d recently hired Diane, and sold the Grand Phoenix to Chancellor-Winters. She also told investigative journalist Talia Morgan all about Diane’s shady past, but the series of articles was mysteriously canceled after just one was published.
Phyllis pushed Summer to give her a job at Marchetti, but despite being warned not to cause trouble, immediately began clashing repeatedly with Diane. When threatening to tell Jeremy Stark her whereabouts didn’t get Diane to give up, Phyllis went ahead and told the ex-con where to find her! That was the last straw and Jack told Summer to fire her mother. Phyllis was happy to see Daniel again, but sorry to hear his relationship with Heather was on the skids. She agreed to work with her son on his new videogame but he was furious when she tried shopping it to Newman after he already had a deal with Chancellor-Winters. Things got even worse when she went to Portugal to talk to Heather for him and Daniel cut ties with his mother. Summer, too, wanted nothing to do with her mother and her constant meddling.
Heartbroken, Phyllis drowned her sorrows and later found herself agreeing to team up with Stark to help bring Diane down. They set their plan into motion at the Genoa City bicentennial gala where Phyllis lured Diane up to a suite at the GCAC where she goaded her into a catfight that others burst in to witness. After Jeremy stole the engagement ring out of Jack’s pocket, Jack and Diane still went ahead with announcing their engagement publicly at the party, and Phyllis interrupted their big moment to rant at the couple.
But during her tirade, Phyllis suddenly collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. Everyone wondered what could be wrong with her, and Diane was immediately blamed. Then, things got even more complicated when the ambulance crashed and Chance reported that Phyllis didn’t survive! As everyone grieved and started looking for someone to blame, Phyllis was actually hiding out in a motel, very much alive! However, after secretly attending her own memorial service, she began having second thoughts about putting her family and friends through this, and Stark didn’t appreciate her going back on their plan. But when he threatened to make her death a whole lot more real, she wound up killing him in self-defense and disposing of his body!
Phyllis then reached out to Summer to reveal that she was alive, adding that she couldn’t come back because she would be arrested for Stark’s murder. Summer promised her mother they would wait until they could figure out a way for her to come home safely. Phyllis was desperate to find evidence to prove she killed Stark in self-defense and hired Michael to find the ambulance driver to testify that he was a witness. Tucker McCall revealed he’d tracked Carson down and offered him to Phyllis in exchange for her helping take down Diane. With Michael out of town, Heather Stevens took over the case and Phyllis turned herself in. When Adam offered her a job, Phyllis only agreed to take it on the condition he helped dig up some dirt on Tucker, which he did. Phyllis pleaded guilty so that Christine wouldn’t bring charges against Summer for aiding and abetting and was relieved when the judge sentenced her to probation and community service.
Finally free, Phyllis was eager to try and repair her fractured relationships with her kids but attempting to repair Summer and Kyle’s marriage as well as reunite Daniel and Heather wasn’t the best way to do it!
Stay tuned to see what happens next!