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The Young & The Restless

Y&R’s Michelle Stafford Sets the Record Straight


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When Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress, she gave The Young & The Restless headwriter and executive producer Josh Griffith a shout-out during her speech and thanked him for letting her cry in his office. However, after the ceremony, it seems that fans were making assumptions about exactly what those tears were all about, so she took to her Instagram to clear the air once and for all.

“Need to kill this weird narrative that seems to be catching fire regarding the thing that I said to Josh Griffith on stage,” Stafford said. “I usually wouldn’t give a [crap]. But I think actually sharing the story with you might be helpful to anyone who is experiencing grief.

“I lost a parent recently,” she continued. It was devastating. But you must carry on with your life. You go to work. You take care of your kids… and life does, in fact, move on. About 10 days or so after his death I already had a meeting planned with Josh about some questions I had in my story. We were discussing a couple things and every time I talked about my character’s relationship with her children and aspects of how it would play out… this surge of emotion came over me”

Michelle Stafford on stage at the Emmys
Stafford delivered a heartfelt acceptance speech.Getty

As anyone who has experienced grief knows, it can sneak up on you at any time. And with the death of her stepfather, Ed Lee, still fresh in her mind just over a week later, the emotions just came pouring out. “The more you try to stop it the worse it gets,” Stafford explained. “Oh man, it’s horrible. That’s what happened. I found myself weeping in Josh’s office. Like an idiot. Something about talking about Phyllis’ relationship with her kids just did it.

“I was so embarrassed,” she added. “I apologized profusely. He did the most human thing. I won’t get into what he said and did but it was quite human. Yes, it’s a workplace, our set. For sure. We’ve all been working together for a long time. It’s a professional environment, but we all really care about each other. Sometimes that’s hard for people to understand if they don’t have that kind of work life. Maybe folks out there who are trying to spread a rumor that I ‘cry to get a storyline’ maybe they have a bad work situation. Or a boss who doesn’t even care to listen to them. I don’t know…

“All I know is that I’m very honored to work with people I also care about and who I believe care about me,” Stafford concluded. “What a gift. What I said on stage was a spontaneous comment to my boss who did something very kind for me. Very human for me. My wish for others is that one day they actually experience a working environment that’s similar.”

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