“Let’s just put it this way… ”
Ashland’s death may have come as a shock to many Young & Restless viewers, but the same can’t be said for portrayer Robert Newman. Having stepped in as a recast when Richard Burgi wound up having to exit, Newman wasn’t looking for another decades-long run like the one he’d had as Guiding Light leading man Josh Lewis.
During a revealing chat with The Locher Room host Alan Locher, the actor opened up about a wide variety of topics, speaking honestly about his time on both shows… even admitting that he’d considered exiting Guiding Light before that iconic show’s final episode. About halfway through his relatively short stint in Genoa City, Newman says he got a very familiar feeling. “I started getting that sense of, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve done this. I did this for 28 years.’”
Back then, it was wife Britt Helfer who convinced him to stick it out. “I was deciding whether or not to resign or to just let it all go, because I had a pretty good idea the show was going to go off the air,” he reflected. “And actually, Britt said to me, ‘You know honey, I kinda feel like you put so many years of your life into the show, I think you should be on the last episode of Guiding Light.”
As fans know, he ultimately decided to stay and, in fact, was featured in the final scene as Josh and Reva (Kim Zimmer) were seen driving away from Springfield and the town’s iconic lighthouse as the words “The End” appeared on screen.
“About halfway through my run with Young & Restless, let’s just put it this way: I was glad that I didn’t signed on for a longer period of time,” he reflects. “I definitely made the right decision by keeping it [short].” It didn’t help that he was away from family and living in Los Angeles, a place he “had no interest” in living.
The interview — which can be viewed in its entirety below — goes on to hit upon numerous topics, including one that has been hotly debated among fans: Did Ashland ever truly love Victoria? “The two things that [headwriter Joss Griffith] gave me were that he was completely blindsided by the revelation about his son not being his biological son, and that changed the way he looks at the world. And then the other thing that was really important was that his love for Victoria was real.”
Newman says he pushed hard on that last question. “I kept on riding him on that. Is this still part of the con? ‘Is there any part of him that’s still sort of playing the game with her?’ And he was like, ‘Nope, everything with her is real. It’s unexpected. He didn’t plan it that way, he didn’t start it that way, but he genuinely fell in love with her and cares about her and wants to be with her. And that was his driving force from Day 1.”