Are They Finally Kaput? Melody Thomas Scott Dishes on Victor, Nikki and Their 38-Year 'Young and the Restless' Romance

Michael Logan
Exclusive JPI

Do you have your tickets to the charity concert from hell? On CBS’s The Young and the Restless, multiple sclerosis survivor Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott) has been pushed by her control-freak megamogul hubby Victor (Eric Braeden) into performing a classical piano recital for Genoa City high society (July 13-14). Nikki’s stress level is off the charts. So are her MS flare-ups. Why on earth would she go ahead with this? Thomas Scott explains.

Nikki pretty much hates Victor’s guts at this point. Why doesn’t she just bail on him?

It even pisses me off. The gall of that guy! If somebody did this to me in real life I’d be so mad I’d be doing everything possible to get out of it. But Nikki can’t because she’s the pillar of the community and what would people say? Also, she knows this concert is an opportunity to raise a lot of money for MS research. The tickets are sold. It’s too late. She can’t back out now. [Laughs] And she is being such a bitch about it.

So what’s really at stake here? Could Nikki collapse during her performance?

It’s certainly possible. Her son, Nicholas [Joshua Morrow], knows she’s been having flare-ups and he’s furious that Victor has pushed her into this. They’re ready to kill each other.

The Victor-Nikki romance has gone on for 38 freakin’ years. Is this thing finally getting close to being done?

I believe this is now the longest-running love affair in soap history—and that’s either due to Nikki’s generosity of heart or her stupidity. Behind closed doors, she and Victor are yelling and growling but they’re still smiling in public and carrying on this great charade. They want everyone to think they’re happy campers. [Laughs] We all know what that’s like! But, yeah, she’s disgusted with herself for putting up with him for so long and letting him get away with murder. In her mind, this is the end.

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Can you see her moving on to another guy?

Yes I can and I hope that she does. She needs to start seeing other men and not just to get Victor’s goat, though it certainly would do that! Of course, for the sake of her sanity, she should be with absolutely no one right now. She needs to learn to live by herself and be happy. But when did Nikki ever make the right choice?

What about Victor? He’s so psycho-obsessed with controlling Nikki that it’s hard to imagine him with anyone else at this point.

Oh, I can see him moving on to another woman but it would be out of spite. Absolutely! He would do it strictly to make Nikki mad. And how lucky to be the next one in his lineup!

But who would be foolish enough to have him?

Any woman in Genoa City! Trust me on that. It’s the money. It’s always about the money. And, boy, he would really lay on the jewels and the cruises around the world. That woman would get everything, just because Victor knows it would bother Nikki. There really aren’t that many good-hearted women who honestly don’t care about money. They may say they don’t, but when they have the opportunity to choose between a really good looking, wonderful guy with a great sense of humor and no money and a billionaire who is mean and vicious to everyone, they will pick the billionaire. Sad, but true.

Let’s talk about the bigger problem here—namely Victor getting Adam out of prison illegally which then led to Adam’s death. Since Nikki and the kids haven’t blown the whistle on Victor, doesn’t this make them obstructers of justice? Couldn’t the whole clan go to the slammer?

I don’t know the true, legal answer to that but I suppose it could happen. Wouldn’t that be interesting? And who would be left to bail them out? The knowledge of all this is certainly festering in Nikki’s mind. She’s saved Victor’s ass in so many different situations and here she is again.

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For anyone too young and out of the loop, it should be noted that you aren’t faking this classical piano stuff for the cameras. You’re the real deal.  

A million years ago, I used to play the piano a lot on the show and it’s always put pressure on me. It’s why I got out of my piano major when I was in college. I used to have panic attacks at 17 because everyone in my life—my family, my professors—all decided I was going to be a concert pianist. That’s what everybody desired except me. But now I’m very grateful I know how to play. I enjoy playing at home for the family or by myself. But I would never give a concert. Too much stress.

Despite Nikki’s protests, it does seem like she enjoys being back in the spotlight—like when she was playing with Tessa at Noah’s club. She was diggin’ it!

They’re trying to play that up, to try to tie it in with the excitement she felt on stage when she was an exotic dancer.

Wasn’t it Tessa—and we will get to her in a moment—who brought that up in a rather pointed way?

And that did give me a moment of panic. The mere mention in the script of Nikki’s stripping days made me flash back to when I was 48 and [then head writer] Jack Smith was trying to talk me into revisiting that. He said, “Hey Mel, I have this great idea. You wouldn’t mind stripping again, would you?” And everyone in the room saw my reaction and they all shut up. I said, “Jack, I am 48 years old. My stripping days are over. And there is nothing you can do to make me change my mind. I love and adore you, but it’s just not going to happen.” [Laughs] And I am now 61 so there’s definitely no way it will happen these days! But I did get scared there for a moment.

Great trashy memories, though.

That was such a long time ago. I talk to fans now and they refer back to those early days and how Nikki was “on the pole.” I’m like, “Back then, there was no such thing. The pole hadn’t been invented yet.” [Laughs] That’s when stripping took real talent. You had to do it without a pole!

Okay, back to Tessa. What the hell?

Yeah, what’s up with that? I’m telling you, there’s something creepy about this situation. Tessa shows up out of the blue and suddenly she’s living with Nikki. I think there’s trouble afoot.

More to the point, what’s up with Nikki? Didn’t she learn her lesson when she nearly got shot to death by that nutcase maid she let into her home?

To quote Nikki herself: “I am a very good judge of character.” [Laughs] She actually says that! And I think she really believes it. But that’s part of her charm. That’s why we all love her. She thinks with her heart not her head. If Nikki is taken with someone, they can do no wrong. “What, you’re a homeless stranger? Oh, please come live with me! Let me offer you the moon!” And now Nikki wants her grandson, Noah, to be Tessa’s boyfriend, which I think is a little weird. Are you kidding me? That’s all the poor kid needs is his grandmother to be his pimp and set him up with a girl who lives in her car. [Laughs] What could possibly go wrong?

Where the hell is that memoir you claimed to be writing the last five or six times we’ve done an interview?

Don’t worry. It’s done.

It is?

Yes, and thankfully so many [publishing houses] are interested in it that we’re in the…what do they call it? Not an auction. A bidding war! This is all very new to me but, according to my literary agent, that’s where we are right now. We’ll see who the winner is.

This is not the answer I was expecting.

No?

It seemed like you’d hit a real roadblock and that the book might not ever happen. I know you were intending to write about the horrible abuse you experienced as a child. Did you stick to the plan?

Yes, but I let my daughters read the book before it went anywhere. I said, “Okay guys, before I submit anything I will let you—and only you—read it. If there’s stuff in there that bothers you, now’s your chance to let me know.” They did not nix anything but ever since they have treated me so differently.

How so?

I mean, they’ve always treated me beautifully. I’m so lucky. They are very loving daughters. But they were in such shock that I was able to live through everything I reveal in the book. They’re in awe now. They’re like, “Oh, Mom, I am so sorry you went through all this!” I have never discussed any of it with them, so they were really stunned. There is new respect for me in their eyes…respect that I am alive. Reliving it all was the worst part, and that’s what made me put the skids on the book early on. It was going well at first and then suddenly I was, like, “I can’t. I am not ready to do this.” So there were delays, but then I also thought, “God, I better get on this! What if I drop dead before this thing is finished?” That got me over the hump and it was fine after that. Odd things motivate me.

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Last question: At the risk of sounding completely shallow, why are you looking so damn hot these days?

Why, thank you! The only difference in my life—and I started this two years ago—is that I do extensive yoga three times a week. I have an instructor who comes to the house and beats my ass and, for the longest time, you didn’t see a difference. It has taken my body all this time to remold itself. Of course, I watch what I eat and go very low on carbs. But it’s all about the yoga, baby. I’m telling you, it is sensational! I never thought I’d be one of those Hollywood woo-woo type people who’d get into such a thing. [Laughs] But finally, after all this time, I am indeed a woo-woo!

The Young and the Restless, Weekdays, CBS

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This article also appeared in the July 10–23 issue of TV Guide Magazine

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