Credit: Bjoern Kommerell

“It’s just a kind of creative suicide.”

Characters don’t come a whole lot more outrageous than The Young and the Restless‘ Phyllis. Over the years, she’s crashed weddings, committed crimes and broken hearts. The one thing she hasn’t done, however, is jump into the body of portrayer Michelle Stafford like something out of a science-fiction movie (or, if we’re being honest, a bad soap plot).

While most people are fully aware of the fact that the two are separate entities, some viewers occasionally forget that distinction and decide to blame one for the actions of the other. Which is why Stafford thought it might be helpful to… well, clear things up.

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“I would like to introduce myself to some of you folks,” she said to Twitter followers. “My name is Michelle Stafford. It is not Phyllis Summers. That is a character I play. I am not responsible for that character’s actions. So you can throw your hate somewhere else… God bless!”

While this didn’t come as a surprise to more savvy fans, at least one of her fellow professionals found Stafford’s announcement led to a bit of tongue-in-cheek soul searching. “Wait,” mused Bold & Beautiful‘s Krista Allen. “You’re not really Phyllis? OMG… that means… I’m not really Taylor?1? I better tell Ridge… “

During a recent chat with Stafford, she explained why it’s never a good idea to try and take control of — let alone responsibility for — the actions of a character. “You have to just go with what’s written,” she said. “If you’re trying to enforce your viewpoint on the words, it’s going to be awkward, and the performance is going to suffer.”

Diane Jack Phyllis hotel Y&R

“Hi, I’m Phyllis, and I’m awesome. But enough about me. What do you think of me?”

Credit: CBS screenshot

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Essentially, she believes everyone needs to stick to doing the job they’re paid to do. “Anytime an actor pushes against something, it’s always just a kind of creative suicide,” she believes.

There is, however, one thing that Stafford does find a bit tougher to swallow when it comes to the alter ego she knows so well. “When then write Phyllis saying things like, ‘I’m my own worst enemy,’ I admit I sort of struggle with that,” she reflects. “Because I don’t think she feels that way about herself. She thinks she’s the s–t! She doesn’t see her own flaws. She knows things don’t always go her way, but I don’t think she really gets why.”

As Phyllis’ relationship with Jack hits the skids, take a look back on their long and often tumultuous history