Almost five decades after its premiere, “The Young and The Restless” still holds the title of America’s number one soap drama. With plotlines such as the unending rivalries between the Abbotts and the Newmans or Jill and Kay, millions of people have grown up enamored by the always-present drama in Genoa City.
Although the show has countless memorable characters to be proud of, the troublemaker Diane Jenkins has become quite unforgettable to the audience, despite the character’s on and off run with the series in the last two decades.
So what did happen to Diane from “The Young And The Restless”? Why is her character absent from the show ,and when will she ever appear in it again? Keep with us to know all about one of America’s soap opera villainesses.
What’s Up With Diane?
If you’ve been following “The Young and The Restless” for enough time, you surely remember the troublesome Diane Jenkins, once girlfriend of Jack Abbott and mother of his son Kyle.
While viewers were already used to not seeing Diane in the show anymore, she’s surprisingly back in 2022, much to the dismay of her rivals in Genoa City. Her comeback was understandably a big shock, considering that the last time we saw her she was supposedly dead, but upon her return, she not only admitted to having faked her demise, but also to be the mysterious sender of the text messages Jack had been receiving prior. That being said, this means that Diane somehow knew about the death of Jack’s son Keemo, who was recently revealed to have passed away, after being absent from the show for many years.
The Abbotts demand answers from Diane today on Y&R.
Diane is also responsible for bringing together Jack and his long lost grand-daughter Allie, also revealing her sole purpose was to reconcile with Kyle. However, as expected from Diane, it’s highly improbable that she’s merely looking for a peaceful welcome back in town.
Looking For Trouble
In true villainess fashion, it didn’t take long for Diane to cause trouble following her return to Genoa City. Although she’s shown nothing but seemingly good intentions since her comeback, her old acquaintances have good reasons to mistrust her, despite her apparent innocence, even taking Diane to an intervention in the Abbott’s household in an effort to shake off her charade, which didn’t turn out the way they expected, given that she didn’t even lose her cool.
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However, things aren’t looking easy for Diane anyway. Besides facing the enduring task of relinking with her son and gaining his trust, the backlash she’s faced from Phyllis was somehow expected, given their decades-long rivalry which hasn’t ended yet. Going as far as to kicking her out of Mariah and Tessa’s wedding, and setting up a romantic encounter with Jack when Diane was in the vicinity, just to goad their relationship in front of her, it’s very clear that Phyllis is not playing when it comes to Diane gaining any friends in Genoa City.
Whether Diane has intentions of regainin Jack’s affections is unknown, but Phyllis’ insecurities at possibly losing her romantic partner to her biggest rival aren’t baseless.
Unsurprisingly, Phyllis isn’t the only one wary of Diane – Nikki Newman also has enough reasons to not buy Diane’s good girl charade, given that their feud is long-standing.
Back in the late 1990s, Diane’s then-husband Victor Newman divorced her in order to marry a then-recently shot Nikki on her deathbed, but the fact she miraculously survived and Victor didn’t divorce her was enough to start a never-ending rivalry, peaking a decade ago when Nikki was accused of killing Diane.
Needless to say, Nikki wasn’t pleased to see Diane again, especially knowing her past stunt almost ruined her life: ‘In the moment, all Nikki can think of is all of the pain and suffering she experienced, thanks to Diane faking her own death’, as the show’s screenwriter Josh Griffith stated regarding the pair’s first impromptu encounter in over a decade.
It didn’t take Nikki to express many concerns regarding Diane, accusing her of wanting Kyle’s money, and other financial benefits from Jabot, causing Diane to lose her cool for the first time by slapping her, receiving the same treatment in return from her arch enemy.
No one can fault Nikki for her reaction, but how exactly her concerns might affect Diane’s plans are yet to be known.
Where Does Diane Stand With Her Son Now?
Considering their troubled past, it would be an understatement to say Diane and Kyle stand on shaky ground. Diane’s shocking return to Genoa City was met with skepticism by her son, who couldn’t believe his biological mother was alive and in front of him.
Growing up thinking his biological mother was dead wasn’t the only enduring situation Kyle faced while growing up, as prior to that the little kid was in the middle of a custody battle between his parents.
Though his mother eventually won his custody, Kyle ended up living with his father Jack, and despite their casual disagreements, both men have grown to trust each other. However, that stable and healthy father and son bond is believed to be in danger following the return of Diane, of whose evil nature Jack has continuously warned his son about.
Nonetheless, Kyle is close to rebuilding his relationship with his mother, and even asked her to stay in Genoa City, much to the joy of Diane and the chagrin of many others.
Whether Kyle’s generous heart would be broken again by his mother is solely up to Diane.
Who Is Diane?
Despite having an on and off run with “The Young and The Restless”, Diane Jenkins is truly one the show’s most unforgettable characters, despite all the questionable reasons which earned her that title. From her introduction in 1982, Diane did her best to enter Genoa City’s high society, even going as far as to seduce a young Jack Abbott, to secure a top spot as a model in the Jabot company.
— Young and Restless (@YandR_CBS) June 24, 2022
While many of Diane’s schemes didn’t turn out well, she consistently caused trouble for Jack and other characters throughout the series until 1986, when she had a prolonged stay in Europe, only to return 10 years later as a fully-fledged architect. Now an empowered woman, Diane’s evilness had evidently grown as well, and gained the animosity of characters such as Nikki Newman before leaving for Chicago in 2004, with the then-very young Kyle.
Later in 2010, Diane made her most controversial appearance in “The Young and The Restless”, when she returned to Genoa City with many plans in mind, starting with seducing Jack and Tucker McCall, marrying Victor Newman, blackmailing several people, and last but not least, faking her own death. All in all, Diane’s evilness might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but she’s undoubtedly a villainess worth remembering.
Diane’s romantic involvement with Jack Abbott is one important plot point in her character’s story, but she’s definitely had her fair share of love stories besides him. During her first appearances starting in 1986, Diane’s prolonged affair with him took a dark turn when his wife Patty Williams miscarried upon discovering the infidelity, and eventually shot Jack in revenge.
While all that took place, Diane fell in love with Andy Richards, but their initially-blissful marriage ended, as a result of her cheating with Jack, who ended up breaking her heart even after she divorced Andy, who later also rejects her for another woman.
Disappearing for ten years wasn’t enough for Diane to leave her old habits behind, so in 1996 she returned to Genoa City, and promptly started a serious relationship with Jack once again. Unluckily, their engagement is cut short by Victor Newsman’s schemes, though he also ended up leaving Diane to marry Nikki.
In the following years, Diane was linked to several partners, including her former husband Andy, Tucker McCall, Nicholas Newman and Victor. That being said, her prolonged and unstable romantic involvement with Jack keeps defining her every return to the series.
The way Kyle was conceived isn’t the most conventional one, even for someone as drama prone as Diane. It all goes back to the late 1990s, when Victor Newman divorced Diane in a rush to marry his ex- Nikki, who was on her deathbed.
Despite hoping to go back with Victor once Nikki died, the woman survived, and the pair stayed together, awakening Diane’s revengeful instincts despite the heartbreak. She schemed to steal Victor’s frozen sperm, but was discovered by Nikki, who changed the sample and unknowingly exchanged it for Jack’s.
Thinking her artificial insemination had gone smoothly, Diane ultimately gave birth to Christian Victor, telling her ex-husband it was his son. However, a later DNA test proved Victor wasn’t the father, leaving a defeated Diane with no option than to leave town.
Upon discovering Diane’s son was Jack’s, Nikki kept the secret for a while, but her arch enemy discovered the truth anyway after coming back to Genoa City with her now renamed child Kyle. Eventually, Jack gained Kyle’s custody, but returned it to Diane, who retained it until her fake death took place.
The Fake Death Plotline
Diane’s fake death scheme is probably the most mischievous and evil move coming from her. It all goes back to 2010, when upon her return to Genoa City with the young Kyle, Diane faced many issues such as not getting a job at Restless Style Magazine due to Phyllis’ interference, and her tumultuous short-lived relationship with Nicholas Newman.
Though Diane briefly found peace by reuniting with Victor, he eventually annulled their marriage, and abandoned her for Nikki. Seething with rage at being played by Victor for the second time, Diane quickly planned to put another pregnancy stunt on him for money, though her plans were ruined by Victor himself.
Seeing her options reduced, Diane failed to seduce Jack, and resorted to sending Kyle to Europe under a false name while she tried to extort money from Victor and Ashley, once again failing to achieve her evil goals. By teaming up with Nikki’s then-husband Deacon Sharpe, Diane stole a corpse and passed it off as herself, successfully escaping Genoa City while authorities tried to find her supposed killer, pointing fingers at Nikki but ultimately blaming Deacon.
Of course, neither viewers nor other characters knew about Diane’s fake death until her comeback in 2022, which made it all the more shocking.
Who Are Diane’s Actresses?
As with many other characters in “The Young and The Restless”, Diane Jenkins’ character has been played by more than one actress. The first to take the role was Alex Donnelley, who had initially attracted the show producers’ attention through a brief appearance in the crime drama series “Simon & Simon”. Although she was initially cast to play Diane as a short-lived character, her performance and the character’s evil and interesting nature were enough to gain Alex a long-lasting spot in the series.
Alex’s appearances in the show extended from 1986 to 2001, when the character was suddenly taken off-screen, which awakened rumors of a strong disagreement between writer Kay Alden and producer Edward Scott regarding the direction of Diane’s role. The character was eventually recast with actress Susan Walters taking it over from 2001 to 2004, returning in 2010 for a short while before being replaced with Maura West, who played it for less than a year before the infamous fake assassination plot line took place.
Diane’s character while Maura played the role was heavily criticized, something the actress herself admitted displeased her too: ‘It was very clear to me, even by week two, that this was not a character anyone was particularly invested in’, she said during an interview with Michael Fairman.
Who’s Playing The Role Now?
While very few fans expected Diane’s character to be brought back from the dead, it was almost just as surprising to know that Susan Walters would be the one to take over the role.
Although during her past run with the show she admitted that her future playing Diane wasn’t secured, her 2022’s return in “The Young and The Restless” saw Susan quite excited at retaking the role, despite all the character’s plot issues: ‘I said, ‘Sounds good.’ He said, ‘You do know that she’s dead.’ I said, ‘Yeah. Wasn’t me who died’, she admitted to TV Insider, recalling the ‘phone call she received from the show’s executive producer Tony Morina.
All in all, it’s unknown how long Diane’s latest reprise will last, but it’s for sure that her character will either become involved with drama, if not actually creating it herself. Either way, whatever Diane Jenkins does, it’ll surely cement her status as one of the most memorable characters to appear in the beloved “The Young and The Restless” series, now stretching over almost 50 years.