When The Young and the Restless introduced the character of conniving Phyllis Summers, she wasn’t supposed to stick around forever. But then Michelle Stafford went and made an impression on the powers that be that was even bigger than her hair back then and… well, the rest is history.
The Other Woman
Not content to buy pop star Danny Romalotti’s albums and pin his picture to her wall, superfan Phyllis conned him into marrying her — and, obviously, divorcing wife Christine Williams — by first drugging the object of her obsession, then lying that he’d impregnated her during a night of passion.
Payback Is a Bitch
Eventually, Phyllis (then Sandra Nelson) learned that some messes were too big for even friend-with-benefits Michael Baldwin to clean up: The scheme queen lost not only Danny but “their” son, Daniel, who it turned out should’ve been named after Brian Hamilton, if anyone.
Back With a Vengeance
After leaving Genoa City to lick her wounds, Phyllis (Stafford again) returned and, when not getting it twisted, tied the knot with Jack Abbott. Chagrined, his babymama, Diane Jenkins, decided to remove her rival from the picture by framing her. For arson and stuff, not like in the image above.
Love On the Rocks
Though Phyllis spent less time behind bars than she did at the beauty parlor or gym, her marriage to Jack couldn’t withstand the damage that Diane had done. Which was kinda-sorta just as well, because Phyllis was about to get the mother of all surprises.
They Grow Up So Fast
Fresh from a bout with Soap-Opera Rapid-Aging Syndrome, Daniel came back to Genoa City, where he and Mom worked through their “complicated” family history and forged a tight connection. In time, she didn’t even worry that he wouldn’t catch her when she fell backwards during trust exercises.
Phyllis had great chemistry with Jabot perfumer Damon Porter. But Daniel wasn’t a fan, and the fragrance finagler was by and large more preoccupied with the past murder of his son than he was with Phyllis. By the time the boy’s killer was killed, the couple’s romance already had one foot in the grave.
‘Why Are Shirts So *Hard*?’
Following the death of Nick and Sharon Newman’s daughter, Cassie, the grieving dad coped with the loss by throwing himself into a secret affair with Phyllis… which, The Young and the Restless being a soap and all, didn’t remain a secret. When the truth came out, into Nick’s marriage a fork was stuck.
Maybe she’d been impressed by Phyllis’ past as a homewrecking hit-and-run driver. But for whatever reason, when Lauren Fenmore’s longtime tormentor, Sheila Carter, decided to embark on a new reign of terror, she did so having had her face plastic-surgery’d to be the mirror image of Phyllis’. In the end, Lauren was forced to guess which lookalike was her friend and which was her enemy, and… well, you know, give it her best shot.
… and Baby Makes Three
When not having wedding after wedding, Phyllis and Nick welcomed into the world their Supergirl, Summer. And OK, maybe the kid looks a wee bit terrified, but she really needn’t have. That was Phyllis, not Sheila. We think. On top of that, it had been years (and years!) since Mommy had tried to make roadkill of nemesis Christine and her fiancé, Paul Williams.
Stop the Presses!
While Phyllis was with Nick, and her ex-husband, Jack, was with Nick’s ex-wife, Sharon, the lot of them somehow got it in their heads that it would be a great idea to run a magazine. Restless Style? Maybe you’ve heard of it? Anyway, it was not a great idea. As you’ll see in 3, 2…
Phyllis and Sharon were about as likely to tolerate one another as Katherine Chancellor and Jill Abbott back in the glory days of their epic feud. And if Nick and Jack’s wives weren’t squabbling over Nick and/or Jack, it was dessert. Though we can’t say as we blame ’em. That [bleep] looks as good as it does messy!
If there was ever anyone with whom Phyllis sparred more fiercely than the women whose husbands she stole, it was Drucilla Winters, who plunged to her “death” during a dustup with the redhead, thinking as she hit the water, “If only this psycho’d been busted for running down Christine and Paul… ”
Speaking of the stab that Phyllis took at vehicular manslaughter back in the 1990s… she was finally charged with the crime in 2012. But, although she was as guilty as sin of trying to squash Paul and the Bug, as she likes to call the erstwhile Cricket, Ms. Hell on Wheels remained a free woman.
‘Ready for Bed?’
After her blackmailing ex-shrink, Tim Reid, kicked the bucket in her apartment — the nerve! — Phyllis did what any sensible gal would do and called in the sexiest back-up she could: in this case, Ronan Malloy. And she might’ve gotten away with it, too, had she not insisted on, ahem, tucking him in, a no-no that cost her her marriage to Nick.
Phyllis tried to take it in stride when kid sis Avery Clark got not just mixed up with but engaged to Nick. But “in stride” has never really been the way that Phyllis tends to take things, now has it? When the dust settled, Avery gravitated back toward her lost love — Nick’s surprise half brother, Dylan McAvoy — and Phyllis climbed right back on the marry-go-’round with her ex.
If Looks Could Kill…
Determined to keep Nick from learning from Phyllis that she’d tampered with Summer’s paternity test, Sharon sent her longtime rival tumbling down a flight of stairs and right into a coma… from which she emerged looking like Gina Tognoni (formerly Kelly on One Life to Live and Dinah on Guiding Light).
In-Laws and Outlaws
Though Phyllis and Jack picked up pretty much where they left off pre-coma, going so far as to remarry, she eventually found herself so livid that he let slide Victor Newman’s replacement of him with a doppelgänger — including in! her! bed! — that she embarked on a torrid affair with brother-in-law Billy.
Even after Phyllis moved on with Billy, she couldn’t resist that magnetic pull that she’d always felt toward Nick. As you can see, the feeling was so mutual that he cheated on Sharon right before they were to remarry. Side note: Um, does Nick — or anyone — really eat that many apples?
‘But… But Cheating Is *My* Thing!’
When Billy learned that Phyllis had two-timed him, he turned right around and one-shtupped her — by sleeping with her and Nick’s daughter. Everyone involved knew, of course, that Billy was a playboy cut from the same cloth as Jack, but neither Phyllis nor Summer realized that Billy was that brash and that sassy.
Once More, With Feeling
Oh, don’t look so shocked, you two. Everybody and their mother expected Phyllis (Stafford once more) to get back together with Nick at some point. And then break up with him again and then reunite again. By now, it’s pretty much their brand. Their hot, hot brand.
Seems Like Old Times
Complicating matters for “Phick” in 2021 was Jack’s revelation that he considered “Red” the one that got away — and the one that he most wished he hadn’t let get away. Could the exes keep their distance as well as they were in this image? TBD.
Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Alive!
Although Diane hoped that Genoa City might roll out the welcome wagon upon discovering that she wasn’t actually dead, Phyllis and Jack instead united to fight over which of them would get to drive the bus they wanted to throw her under. In doing so, the exes began inching their way back toward one another.
Once More, With Feeling
Having come so far and experienced so much, would Jack and Phyllis finally be able to learn from the mistakes of the past to carve out a future with one another? Only time would tell…
Time Said No
Although Jack elected to give Diane a chance to prove that she’d turned over a new leaf, Phyllis couldn’t. Despite how many of her sins had been forgiven and forgotten, she just couldn’t. So every time she aimed a finger at Diane, it was as if she was pointing Jack toward the nearest exit.
‘Lemme Tell Ya About Diane… ’
Phyllis briefly distracted herself from her feud by meddling in Daniel’s love life. Didn’t go well.
One (Catfight) for the Road
Bested by Diane, Phyllis hatched a cockamamie scheme to marry her rival’s former partner in crime Jeremy Stark, fake her death and frame Jack’s newly minted fiancée for attempted murder. What could possibly go wrong?
After Phyllis crashed her memorial service to compete in an odd “Who wore it best?” contest, Jeremy decided that he couldn’t trust her to stay dead. Go figure. But attempting to remove the air quotes from around her “demise” only wound up putting him an early grave. So, to put all that in terms a Clue enthusiast would understand… it was Miss Scarlet in the hotel room with the scissors.
‘Psst! Over Here!’
Despite what it would do to husband Kyle Abbott, Summer was eagerly anticipating watching his mother rot in prison for her mother’s “murder” when who should she bump into but… her mother! And, while Summer was quick to write off her grief as bygones, Daniel was a whole lot less forgiving of Phyllis.