Credit: Francois Durand/Getty Images, Brian Lowe/JPI, Aaron Montgomery/JPI, John Paschal/JPI, Howard Wise/JPI

They had it all. They just couldn’t keep it.

You never forget your first love — or, apparently, your character’s. The Young and the Restless’ Sharon Case still reflects fondly on her alter ego’s tragic love story with former husband Nick. The Emmy winner even called her on-screen first mate the one that got away in a recent interview with Soap Opera Digest.

“They met as childhood sweethearts, they had a wonderful 10-year marriage without interruption and beautiful children,” she said, “but that blew up and evaporated even though their dream was to be that perfect couple and married forever.

“That ultimately didn’t work out,” she added, “and they got away from each other.”

Which may have been for the best, considering that their “wonderful” union included Nick cheating on Sharon (with so-called BFF Grace), Sharon springing a surprise kid on her spouse (hey, Cassie!), and Nick being so ticked about Sharon’s pregnancy that he wanted her to abort Noah. See? It wasn’t all make-out sessions in front of the fireplace!

Nonetheless, Sharon and Nick have found a new way forward as friends. “I love the progression of their relationship,” Case said. Yes, it’s sad that the lovers couldn’t get the stars to uncross. But what they lost may not actually have been what they believe that they did. “What I think got away was the dream more than the man.”

Relive “Shick’s” whole tumultuous love story in the below photo gallery.