Kyle mashup with Summer and Diane
Credit: Howard Wise/JPI (3)

The show just couldn’t quite get it right… until him.

Fans could be forgiven if they weren’t exactly sure what to make of The Young and the Restless‘ announcement back in 2018 that Kyle would be returning to Genoa City. Jack’s son had been in and out of town for the past eight years, rapidly growing from kid to teen to young adult. By the time Michael Mealor first appeared on our screens on March 29, 2018, they’d been through three adult Kyles, none of them lasting much more than a year.

Even more perplexing was that this time, Kyle returned with a chip on his shoulder the size of Mt. Rushmore, and a vendetta against Jack that saw him teaming up with Victor to not just ruin his father but sell out his family business! It was a shift that we never saw coming, but we’ll be darned if Mealor didn’t rise to the challenge and pull it off. He got smacked down by Jack, of course, but even as blindsided as we felt by this butting of heads, it was still a fun battle to watch.

kyle jack Michael Mealor, Peter Bergman"The Young and the Restless" Set CBS television CityLos Angeles04/24/18© Howard Wise/jpistudios.com310-657-9661Episode # 11439U.S. Airdate 05/28/18

And when they began teasing us with Kyle’s on-again/off-again love, Summer, it was pure electricity. We found ourselves cheering for this couple like we never had before — even as the show refused to give them to us! Then Mealor and the show surprised us again when they made us switch gears and start rooting for Kyle and Lola’s love-from-opposite-sides-of-the-tracks.

The curveballs kept coming over the years, as our allegiances switched back and forth and Kyle dealt with the machinations of the likes of vindictive long-lost cousin Theo Vanderway, scheming Bold & Beautiful transplant Sally Spectra and grasping babymama Tara Locke. Kyle and Lola split, he and Summer reunited, he found out he was a father (and was nearly squashed like a bug by Ashland in the process) and kept us riveted to our seats the whole time.

Really, Mealor tells, finding out about Harrison was a changing point for his character.

“Kyle was a spoiled kid for a long time,” he notes. “Now, he’s a husband and a father. He’s much more responsible now than he was when I first stepped into the part. He was not always the bests version of himself, especially where some of the situations with Lola and Summer were concerned. In some ways, finding out about Harrison made him take a hard look at his life and say, ‘It’s time to step up.'”

Summer Kyle Diane Y&R

And that kind of growth was very much needed when Diane returned from the dead after being gone most of her son’s life and decided she wanted to be a part of it again. Kyle, though, isn’t the only one who’s done some growing over the last five years.

When asked how Mealor has changed in the years since joining the show, the actor muses that, “As Kyle evolves, so has Michael in a way. You get a little older and it’s time to choose to be the man in the room. I have a great relationship with my dad, and so does Kyle with Jack.”

Of course if Jack and Diane end up not working out once again, that relationship may be in for one heck of a test. We’ll just have to cross our fingers and hope for the best.

The long and the short of is that whatever they throw his way, we’re sure Mealor will nail it. So, here’s to his anniversary, and the hope that we’ll get another five years of his Kyle — and then five more after that!

Check out the gallery below of Kyle’s life through the years.