Exclusive: “Without Drama or Distractions,” An Interview with The Young and the Restless Star Hunter King The two-time Emmy winner talks about her character's evolution, romances, rivalries and developing tough skin.

The cast of the CBS series The Young and the Restless, scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

When she came roaring back into the The Young and the Restless fictional metropolis Genoa City in a stolen car almost three years ago, Summer Newman returned determined to take over the world and break a few hearts in her mission to prove that she was no longer Daddy’s Little Girl, but a force of nature–much like the Newman and Summers blood that courses through her veins. In the time that has passed, Summer has gotten married, divorced, and then reconciled with the love of her life, made amends with her mother after sleeping with her boyfriend, and moved forward professionally after being promoted to  head up the Jabot Collective. Summer Newman portrayer, and two-time Daytime Emmy Winner, Hunter King is taking Summer’s ups and downs in stride. She took the time to answer some burning questions her fans have been asking over social media. 

 “Summer has matured a lot. She’s had quite a bit of life experience now,” said the 27-year-old star. “She’s been heartbroken and has broken hearts and has made a name for herself. Career-wise, she has definitely matured and is more grounded.”

Although King can’t remember exactly if she was ever told the rationale for why Summer had such a chip on her shoulder and set out to destroy Phyllis’ relationship with Billy when she returned (“So much happens in a day in Genoa City, let alone a couple of years”), she notes that the loving, if at times emotionally volatile, dynamic that occurs between Phyllis and Summer is interesting to her because they’re so similar. “Summer–like many other children–doesn’t like to necessarily admit that they are just like their parents. There’s a lot of Phyllis that Summer sees in herself, and maybe she didn’t like that, so at the time she was an angsty young adult who had it out for her mother for reasons that don’t always make a lot of sense.” She chucks it up to their similarities and muses that Phyllis saw those similarities in Summer and wanted to steer Summer in a different direction  than the one she took and Summer didn’t appreciate that. “Summer wanted to make mistakes on her own without being told what to do.”

King laughed when asked another one of those The Young and the Restless’ unsolved mysteries: why do Summer and Kyle live at the Grand Phoenix when Summer had a cute condo before she left and even after she returned to Genoa City? “These are the questions that Michael (Mealor, Kyle Abbott) and I ask ourselves constantly. Everyone, I feel,  lives at the hotel.” No reason was ever given for why the condo set hasn’t been seen since the days when Nick and Phyllis had their tryst on island in Summer’s kitchen, but King likes to think that, since Phyllis took over the condo when Summer left, in her my mind, Phyllis sold it, Summer banked the money in savings, andis  just living the hotel life at the Grand Phoenix. 

Talk of real estate turned to the Dream House that Summer and Kyle were building on the land that Nick gifted to them (remember the plot of land he and Chelsea were going to build a house on during their failed engagement?) after Skyle’s brief marriage. When asked were we ever going to see the often discussed but never shown closets, she admitted she often wonders the same thing. Much like Skyle fans, she is eagerly awaiting the day the house is shown and wants those closets to be the only set. “Just a master closet and that’s all we see: just Summer and Kyle’s closet and all their scenes in the house go down there. This is like the Ultimate Barbie Dream House– that is just a vision in our minds–we may or may not see it, but just like you, I want to know that there’s a chandelier in the closet, cheetah carpets, shoe walls (her hands start moving showing how massive these walls need to be)–the whole thing for Summer.”

A random comment from me about how the only sets needed for the newly engaged couple are the Dream House and the GCAC (“I miss the GCAC!”) due to my vision of Kyle and Summer getting married on the rooftop near the pool, conversation turned to where would be her ideal location for a Skyle Wedding. She mentions that they already got married in the GCAC lobby (remember the wedding before Livergate?). “Then Kyle and Lola got married at Chancellor Park in the most stunning wedding, so I can’t say there. Knowing them, they’ll probably just get married at the Grand Phoenix or at Society and it’ll just be super weird.” 

Seeing as The Young and the Restless is filmed in Los Angeles, naturally my first thought was they should either elope or do a destination wedding to the beach so we could get a location shoot AND be able to have guests at the wedding since it’s outdoors. King laughed and said she would pitch it, “Beach wedding, here we come!” Since we were already on the subject of weddings (and honeymoons!) it only felt right to ask about possible physical intimacy and/or a possible upcoming love scene. We saw Devon and Amanda (Bryton James and Mishael Morgan) kissing onscreen, as well as Billy and Lilly (Jason Thompson and Christel Khalil) engaging in YR’s first onscreen love scene since Covid restrictions went into place, so it seemed natural to wonder if Kyle and Summer might be among the next round of couples to get physical. “Just you wait,” Hunter singsonged and she started cracking up at the wording of my next question: Are we going to see Summer and Kyle practicing baby making?

“I always feel so bad for Michael because he’s always taking off his shirt and I always find excuses [not to] like “Oh, the buttons are too hard,” or “Oh, I can’t get out of this dress quick enough,” so they’re like “Okay, fine. Just Michael.” and he’s like, “Really? Just me?” So, the poor guy is always having to take off his shirt, but I do it for the fans; I do it for you guys.” 

Speaking of making babies, when asked if she was ever going to don the pregnancy belly that Camryn Grimes is soon to be rocking due to her character being pregnant, King had strong feelings about a possible Abbott-Newman baby. “I am SO mad because for 9 years I have told the writers, ‘I want Summer to be pregnant because all I want to do is wear that pregnant belly,’ and it has not happened for me yet. The clock is ticking. I’m waiting. I think you guys have to write in or tweet a bunch of times if you want Summer to be pregnant because that’s the only way it’s going to happen, apparently.”

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Having been duly informed of all the hashtags (#SkyleBaby, #SkyleBaby2020, #SkyleBaby 2021) manifesting the ultimate Newman-Abbott merger, King was intrigued, “I cannot wait to check them out and send them to Michael,” before talk turned to the onscreen potential love rival, Tara Locke (Elizabeth Leiner). “I don’t think Summer wants to admit it, because Summer likes to think of herself as a confident young woman, but I do think there is a little bit of insecurity when it comes to Tara,” King said, letting us take a peek into Summer’s psyche when asked if Summer feels threatened by Tara. “She sees the connection that Kyle and Tara had and still have. Maybe in her mind she sees something that isn’t there or maybe it is there, so I definitely think there are some insecurities there that she doesn’t necessarily want to own up to.”

The definite threat looming on the horizon for Kyle is definitely the vengeful Ashland Locke (Richard Burgi). He’s already taken aim at Jabot; will he also attack Kyle’s personal life and come at Summer? “Fans definitely need to keep watching to see what happens between the four of them. Things just keep on getting more interesting as time goes on. Just when you think ‘Okay, this is what we know is going on’ something else happens.” King definitely hopes to have more scenes between Ashland and Summer.  “I feel like the dynamic is interesting and he (Burgi) adds so much to the show. He created such a great character (in Locke).” King loves working with Burgi and says he’s awesome in scenes. “He is very good at being bad.”

Onscreen, viewers are seeing Kyle worrying about what will happen with his son, Harrison, if the truth ever comes out about his affair with Tara so the question was posed to King about how Summer really feels about Kyle having a son. “It’s hard because sometimes I think ‘Damn, Summer. You have to have some kind of feelings about this!’ I think Summer loves Kyle unconditionally and accepts him as he is and, if that means, Kyle has a child, then Summer accepts that and will roll with the punches, but I think it definitely stems back to Tara and the insecurities of what it means that Kyle and this woman from his past now share a child and if that’s going to affect their future in some way.”

When queried about kids, King was like the rest of us in thinking that, if Kyle ever had children, his first one would be with Summer. “If Summer ever had a baby, the dad would always be Kyle.  Except for maybe that brief stint with Luca where I was like, ‘Is this going to be the time, maybe?’ but wasn’t. I’m still holding out, but Kyle gets a kid before Summer gets a kid? What’s up with that?”  It just means that Kyle was out there being an Abbott like his father and “sowing his seed places.”

Dee Flintakis
Red carpet maven, social media influencer, the girl with the look that's got you hooked. In 2020, Dee "TMZ DeeDee" Flintakis joined the TV Source team as a staff writer, focused primarily on soap operas, primetime dramas, and is currently willing a spinoff of 'Josie and the Pussycats' into existence. When Dee isn’t teaching the kiddies, she is addicted to traveling, reading, attending soap events, nuanced storytelling, and making dramatic proclamations on that bird app.

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