The Young and the Restless is gearing up for a special tribute episode to Melody Thomas Scott and all things Nikki Newman. Tomorrow, the actress celebrates four decades on the No. 1 rated CBS Daytime drama. Currently, she’s Y&R‘s longest-serving cast member, an honor that belonged to Doug Davidson until he was let go last year.
At the age of 23, Scott walked into the role of a lifetime. Several years ago, when she reflected on Y&R‘s 40th anniversary, she noted that her life would be entirely different if she hadn’t gotten the job. Scott also recently told Soaps In Depth that she had a choice of the soap or a sitcom, and she ended up choosing Y&R. This choice turned out nicely for her, considering the sitcom in question never even got picked up.
Throughout the decades, Nikki survived a multitude of hardships. She joined a cult, New World Commune, and ultimately escaped. She became a stripper, which Scott revealed was initially supposed to be a mud wrestling angle, and she struggled with addiction.
As a stripper, Nikki caught the eye of Genoa City’s most prominent businessman, Victor Newman (Eric Braeden). The character experienced a bit of a My Fair Lady love story — with Victor buying her fabulous clothing and introducing her to an upper-class lifestyle. Nikki and Victor wed for the first time in 1984, and they quickly became a soap opera super couple. Throughout the years they broke up and married others, but in the end, Victor and Nikki always get back together as “Niktor.” In addition to Victor, Nikki’s other notable relationships were with Paul Williams (Doug Davidson), Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman), and Brad Carlton (Don Diamont).
During her time in Genoa City, Nikki struggled with alcoholism and prescription pill addiction — as well as breast cancer and multiple sclerosis. All of her diseases have caused her hardships throughout the years.
Nikki is the mother to Victoria (Amelia Heinle) and Nicholas Newman (Joshua Morrow), whom she shares with Victor. She also has a son, Dylan McAvoy (then Steve Burton) whom she had during her cult days. Paul Williams (Doug Davidson) is Dylan’s father.
At first, Nikki lived with her sister, Casey (Roberta Leighton) — and she eventually killed their father, Nick Reed (Quinn Redeker), when he tried to rape her in a drunken stupor.
In the video above, which appears to be Scott’s first — or among her first — appearances in Genoa City, an incredibly young Nikki knocks on a door and opens it, saying hello to her sister, Casey. Nikki invited herself in, and Casey asked her to shut the door. Nikki hoped their dad might be at the apartment, but he wasn’t. Casey told Nikki she wanted to talk to her alone, and Nikki thought her sister would be surprised to see their dad again after all of these years.
Clearly something was wrong, and at the time, Nikki didn’t quite know what.