Monday’s episode of The Young & The Restless was bittersweet affair. Fans of the long running CBS soap opera bid farewell to one of its most beloved actors, Kristoff St. John, who died back in February at the age of 52.
Also on the agenda for the one-hour tribute episode, was the return of Victoria Rowell, who played another beloved character, Drucilla Barber Winters, from 1990 to 2007.
A walk down memory lane, Monday’s episode included a candid conversation from actors, including Rowell, Bryton James, Christel Khalil, Mishael Morgan, and Daniel Goddard.
“We [broke] the fourth wall and just talk[ed] about our experiences with Kristoff,” she told Entertainment Weekly.
Though Rowell and St. John portrayed young lovers, a married couple, bitter exes and comforting co-parents, the actress said he was more like a brother to her in real life.
“Kristoff was like my brother,” she shared. “We had a fantastic brother-sister relationship. He was like a big kid. He made me laugh and he made me really think about things. He was a thinker. He was honest. When he smiled, he had a smile from his childhood. That he was able to do it and be in so much pain, will remain an anomaly. He was a rare person.”
Being back on the Y&R soundstage had to be a lot for Rowell, who made a controversial departure from the series in 2007 after alleging a lack of diversity in its production ranks. In 2015, she then filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the network and the production company for Y&R.
“It was a lot to wrap my mind around and why I was there…out of a tragedy,” she said of her return. “I was there for a purpose, for my friend Kristoff. It was the best possible send off. I saw my castmates. If there were swords, they were laid down. It was love. It was sadness. It was a lot of sharing and a lot of tears. “
Fans have been steadily hoping for a return of her character Drucilla, who—in true soap opera fashion—disappeared after falling off a cliff during a fight at a photo shoot.
When asked about her character coming back to the series, Rowell said it was premature to discuss the possibility, but did note how social media has been vital in its attempts to bring her back.
“Social media is amazing that way. It is not beyond the realm of possibility. Sony has the final word,” she explained. “They know I would love to return. Kristoff tried.”