Melody Thomas Scott and Eric Braeden posing on an ottoman

Melody Thomas Scott and Eric Braeden

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Love them? Love to hate them? Daytime actors weigh in on the larger-than-life people they play.

Watch spoke to cast members of The Young and the Restless past and present on what they think of their characters. Whether heroic or villainous, the residents of Genoa City are undeniably compelling—and complex. That's what makes actors (and fans) adore them. Robert Newman politely describes his own character Ashland Locke as “ethically challenged.” You could say that about a lot of Y&R characters!

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Melody Thomas Scott on Nikki Newman

Melody Thomas Scott in a yellow dress standing by a pool

Melody Thomas Scott in a dress by Alexander McQueen, short necklace and rings by Missoma, long necklace by Miranda Frye, and earrings by Simon G.

Photography by Andrew Eccles | Styled by Christina Pacelli

“She can be cunning. She can be so much worse than that. She can step up to the plate and be whoever she needs to be at that moment. She’s not anybody I would want to be friends with. I wouldn’t trust her for anything. She grew up in a very rough, abusive environment. Yes, of course, Victor [Eric Braeden] has taught her a lot. She’s catapulted into this whole other class of life and married well, but you still see the tough Nikki come through. I don’t think she’ll ever lose that.”

Robert Newman on Ashland Locke

Robert Newman sitting at a desk in a suit with his hand on his leg

Robert Newman as Ashland in business attire

Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS

“I don’t want to characterize Ashland exclusively as a bad guy. I don’t really believe in that idea. I always talked to the writers at Guiding Light [Newman’s previous Daytime role] about not putting Josh in the box of a good guy because it’s not interesting, and it’s not real life. With Ashland, I think he’s more ethically challenged than Josh ever was, but I think he’s a good businessman who is very driven to get the result he wants.”

Richard Burgi on Ashland Locke

Richard Burgi in a white button down shirt with his arms folded

Richard Burgi in his Y&R days

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Richard Burgi

Before Robert Newman took over playing the character of Ashland Locke, Richard Burgi played the character. Here's what he had to say about Ashland:

“He’s cagey. He’s worked hard. He’s gone through some tribulations and trials in his life, and I think he’s arrived at a place where he’s enjoying the fruits of his labors and the little quiver of arrows that he can throw at people insofar as psychological manipulations in his world of big business.

“He’s a terrific, personable, charming, intelligent, kind person … who, like many characters that have been labeled as nefarious, is just misguided. I think Victor Newman was castigated as a bad guy for a while. He’s just misunderstood!”

Jason Thompson on Billy Abbott

Jason Thompson in a gray suit and maroon polo shirt

Jason Thompson suits up for The Young and the Restless.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

“Billy is a pretty reckless dude. He’s kind of all over the place all the time, which is super fun to play. I’m excited to go to work every day. My character has had a big couple of years. He has a gambling addiction, then fell off the wagon, and had to get his life back!”

“He lives on the edge and is reckless at times with his heart, but I don’t think he wants to be a bad guy.”

Courtney Hope as Sally Spectra

Courtney Hope as Sally Spectra in a leopard coat posing in front of a Spectra sign

Courtney Hope as Sally Spectra, circa January 2017

Photo Credit: John Paschal/JPI Studios.

“Sally is very feisty, very determined, and very artistic. But given her last name, people have a tendency to not expect a lot from her. She and her family have quite a patchy reputation of being tricksters and causing a little bit of … what’s the word? Nonsense! So people don’t totally take Sally seriously, which makes for fun, but also makes her want to try harder to prove herself and get people to like her.”

Joshua Morrow on Nick Newman

Joshua Morrow in swim trunks

Joshua Morrow shows off his physique.

Photo credit: Ed McGowan/CBS

“Nick has always had a real eye for the ladies and a real lack of judgment.”

Brytni Sarpy on Elena Dawson and Devon Hamilton

Brytni Sarpy smiling over her shoulder at the camera in a white dress

Brytni Sarpy flashes a megawatt smile.

Photo Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS.

“Elena met Devon when he was going through so much tragedy. Everyone was rooting for him to finally have something positive. Elena’s character represented that. Still, I didn’t think people would fall that hard for them, because I saw what a strong fanship there was for Devon and [his late wife] Hilary.

“In a way, Elena could have been just another distraction before Devon ended up with [Hilary’s doppelganger] Amanda. But there’s an honesty and a true connection there. There was so much drama surrounding Devon and Hilary, which was great. But it was a lot! With Elena, it feels like a seamless love story.”

Melody Thomas Scott on Nikki and Victor Newman

Melody Thomas Scott and Eric Braeden posing on an ottoman

Melody Thomas Scott and Eric Braeden

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

“[Nikki and Victor] did indeed have … something. That very rare spark that, for the lack of a better term, entices our souls into dancing together.”

"Together, our souls become one. May the two of us always be one."

Watch The Young and the Restless weekdays on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.

SUBSCRIBE NOW: Enjoy 4 Digital Plus 2 Print/Digital Issues Of Watch Per Year — For Free!

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