“I would like to personally confirm to the fans that yes, I have decided to leave The Young and the Restless,” said the actress. “It has been a glorious 16 years and one of the greatest rides of my life. The constant support and love from the fans is not lost on me. I think I’ll miss you the most.”
The two-time Emmy winner will reportedly wrap up work on Y&R in mid-June. SOD will have a full interview with Stafford in an upcoming issue of Soap Opera Digest.
My Take: I can’t say I’m surprised by this news. Rather than get into the rumors surrounding why Michelle Stafford chose to leave, I’ll just say I can’t wait until she gives her exit interview. Stafford is not one to hold her tongue and if she has something to say, she will. As far as where Y&R goes from here — the next move is to recast Phyllis. The character has become ingrained into the fabric of the show, and though airtime in recent months would contradict this statement, without Phyllis there will be a gaping hole in the canvas.
Anyone who is tapped as a recast will face an uphill battle. If it was an adjustment for fans to familiarize themselves with the last recast, this one will be even tougher. We’ll publish a casting chair feature with our suggestions for a Phyllis recast at a later date.
I wish Stafford the best and hopes she winds up on another soap or in primetime very soon. She’s a dynamic powerhouse and would be a tremendous addition to any cast. Hopefully someone sees that sooner than later.