‘The Young And The Restless’ Star Eric Braeden Speaks Out On Gina Tognoni And Michelle Stafford As Phyllis

Eric Braeden arrives at THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS table read and panel discussion.
Sonja Flemming / CBS

Fans of The Young and the Restless got quite a shock last month when news hit that actress Michelle Stafford would resume the role of Phyllis Summers on the No.1-rated CBS daytime drama. When Stafford left the show several years ago, many viewers felt they wouldn’t be able to accept anybody else as Phyllis in Genoa City. However, actress Gina Tognoni stepped in and made the role her own, and fans quickly warmed up to her take on the fiery redhead who will stop at nothing to win.

The Inquisitr recently reported that the cast of Y&R said its goodbyes to Tognoni when she wrapped up filming earlier this month, and soon, Stafford will begin filming since she’s finished as Nina on General Hospital. Throughout this past year, Victor Newman actor Eric Braeden has been outspoken about the soap on social media, and he’s had things to say about this switch as well.

“I’d like to make something very clear because I hate misunderstandings! I have nothing but the greatest respect for Gina Tognoni, she’s a consummate professional! And, as with all colleagues who leave for one reason or another, it reminds us how fleeting this business is, sadly!” the soap vet tweeted recently.

Before that tweet, Braeden had also sent a tweet to the actress with words of encouragement. However, he also wanted to welcome back Stafford, whom he’d worked with for several years on the sudser.

In another tweet, Braeden wrote, “Having said that, I couldn’t be happier that Michelle Stafford is back!

“When she left Y&R I was very upset because she defined the character of Phyllis, it was her creation! I’m very glad she’s back where she belongs &look forward to working with her!”

As for viewers, they’re somewhat divided on the change. Many are thrilled to have Stafford back in the role, but others have grown so used to Tognoni’s portrayal that they would prefer the show kept her.

It’s undoubtedly a tough line to walk for the cast of Y&R, and Braeden is doing a good job honoring the work that Tognoni did as Phyllis for the last five years, which earned her a Daytime Emmy Award. He has also properly welcomed Stafford back as a member of the cast. While there’s no official description of precisely what happened, Tognoni’s departure seemed sudden, and she never said that she chose to leave the show, which left a bit of a bad taste in some long-time viewers’ mouths.