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‘Young and the Restless’: Who is Diane Jenkins Really & Does She Deserve This Torment?


Now on Young and the Restless, Diane Jenkins is in jail but do you remember who exactly she is and why all this payback is raining down on her now? Does Diane really deserve all this torment on the CBS soap opera?

This is a transcript of our Y&R video all about the naughty girl who’s stolen the heart of Jack Abbott! Check out all our soap spoilers podcasts here and be sure to follow us on YouTube as well.

Who Is Diane Jenkins & Why Does Phyllis Summers Despise Her?

Hey CBS Soap Opera fans. In light of what is happening right now in Genoa City with Diane Jenkins, we wanted to visit, in case you are a newer Y&R watcher, exactly who is Diane Jenkins? Why is she back?

And more importantly, why does Phyllis Summers hate her and what has led to what we’re seeing right now on the CBS Soap Opera? Now, let’s dig into this. Off the top, real quick, let’s talk about who played the role.

She came to the Soap in 1982, and for many years was portrayed by Alex Donnelley. Then in 2001, Susan Walters took over the role. And that’s who we’re seeing in the part now on Young and the Restless.

But for the period where she pulled off this scheme, where she faked her death, it was Maura West in the role who of course is beloved for playing Ava Jerome over on General Hospital.

Maura West played the role from 2010 to 2011, except when she left, Diane was really supposed to be dead. And of course, she’s not so dead now. So let’s just take a quick look at Diane Jenkins’ messy history. Did we say messy? Yes.

Diane’s Messy Backstory on Young and the Restless

It was a huge shock to longtime CBS Soap watchers when this woman returned from the dead. Because everybody thought Diane Jenkins had been dead since 2011. Of course, we know on soap operas, death isn’t always dead or a permanent condition.

And in Diane’s case, they did a huge retcon. Now, if you don’t know that term, a RETCON is where they go back and they rewrite history to make the current storyline plausible.

So in that case, from the jump, we get this whole story about how she contrived her death. When it was at the time intended to be a true and permanent death on Young and the Restless.

So, Jack Abbott had been getting these mysterious texts about his granddaughter and about his son Keemo, and he got lured out to San Francisco by these messages.

And Phyllis Summers went along for the ride. And he was expecting to see a realtor named Taylor Jensen. But then when Jack and Phyllis go to the house, where they’re going, their jaws drop because it is clearly Diane Jenkins. And they thought she was dead.

She was a beauty back in the day, and she was a rival for Jack’s heart, and she and Phyllis Summers were constant rivals and they battled over Jack’s love.

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First Marriage Tanked — Then Ms Jenkins Married Victor Newman & Had a Baby

Diane Jenkins was with Jack. But she married and left for Europe with her husband Andy Richards. They split and she came back to town and she actually married Victor Newman at one point, if you didn’t know that about her Young and the Restless past.

And she decided she wanted a kid by Victor and was going to have herself artificially inseminated. Victor had sperm and storage. But, so did Jack Abbott.

And so Nikki Newman found out that Diane was going to try and have Victor’s kid. Even though Nikki wasn’t with Victor at the time, she was not having any of it.

So, she swapped out the sperm samples. And when the baby was born, Diane Jenkins initially thought she had Victor’s kid, but no, she had Jack’s kid. That kid is Kyle Abbott, played by Michael Mealor currently.

And so she took little Kyle and she left town for a while. But then she eventually came back and when she did come back with Kyle, Jack and Phyllis were together and they sued her for custody of the kid.

Jack won on Young and the Restless, but he eventually gave Kyle back to his mother. So there was some back and forth and Nikki and Diane had this big history. And so did she and Phyllis. And people were not big fans of hers back in the day.

Diane Jenkins’ Awful Death by Bludgeoning on Young and Restless

And so back in 2011, Diane turned up dead. She had been bludgeoned in the head and died of this head wound. And Nikki Newman was initially arrested for the murder, and then it showed that she was acting in self-defense.

And it was her husband who did the killing. Back then, her hubby was Deacon Sharpe, played by Sean Kanan, who’s now over on Bold. But the thing is… that when they did the RETCON, they redid all of that.

So at the time, what had happened is that Nikki actually killed Diane. She hit her in the head and killed her. Then, Deacon went behind her and did more damage, so it looked like that his blow had been the killing blow. And Ms. Jenkins was well and truly dead back then.

There was a corpse, there were scenes in the morgue — and Diane was dead, dead, dead on Young and the Restless. But of course, they had to redo it. And so instead of Deacon being her attacker, they inexplicably made Deacon to be her co-conspirator.

Which is crazy because he adored Nikki. And if he had actually been co-conspiring with Diane, it would’ve caused problems for Nikki, and that’s just not something he would’ve done.

But they did this RETCON and viewers don’t have a choice. And so the CBS writers are like, “Oh, well, they have to live with it.” And we are living with it because it is our new reality. Even though it’s terrible.

Young and the Restless: Diane Jenkins dead (Maura West)
Diane Jenkins dead | CBS

Phyllis Hated Diane for Decades on The Young and the Restless

So Diane’s primary rival on Young and the Restless, all these years, has been Phyllis. Then, Red and Jack were married and the other woman caused trouble for them. But also to be fair, when Jack was with Diane, jealous Phyllis definitely caused trouble for them.

Diane really wanted Jack and she was willing to do anything to have him in her life. At one point, she set the Abbott guest house on fire while she was living there. And she framed Phyllis for it to make her look really bad.

And then, Diane also slept with Nick Newman back in the day. That would be weird given the two actors in the roles — Susan Walters and much younger Joshua Morrow.

But back then he and Maura West were a lot closer in age. She played Diane at the time of her murder. And she also had made friends back in the day with Adam Newman. They conspired to set up Victor — back in the Michael Muhney days as the youngest Newman son.

After this back and forth on Young and the Restless, Diane sent text messages saying sorry to all the people she had wronged. And then she showed up dead in the water and that was the whole thing. And Kyle, lived without his mom all these years.

So it was a huge shock for Jack to come to the door of that house in San Francisco and see it’s not Taylor Jensen realtor but his ex whom he assumed was dead. And of course, it’s a worst nightmare for Phyllis too.

Kyle was the Reason for Y&R Return

Now, in the interim, since Diane Jenkins has been back and Susan Walters was back in the role, her whole raison d’etre was to have Kyle in her life. But she also still loves Jack and she wants to be with him.

But she really focused on repairing and rebuilding her relationship with Kyle. And Jack’s attitude was, “You should make up everything to your son, and I’m just gonna give you the chance, but I don’t want you around me.”

Since then, he’s warmed up and warmed up and warmed up. And of course, he’s in love with her and he has proposed to her again. And that is the rage that is driving Phyllis now on Young and the Restless.

Now, mind you, Jack had broken things off with Phyllis, many, many months before Diane came to town. So, the reason that Jack is not with Phyllis is because of Red’s bad behavior. Not his new fiance.

You almost have to draw a line between this history — “pre-death Diane” — to the Diane now. And that’s why Jack fell for her. He saw how genuine she is. He saw that she is not the woman she once was and fell for her and proposed.

And Phyllis cannot stand this. She cannot stand the fact that this woman is back, that she’s alive, that she has genuinely won Jack’s heart. And that people have been giving her a chance.

Young and the Restless: Diane Jenkins - Kyle Abbott - Summer Newman
Diane arrested – Summer & Kyle witness it | CBS

Diane Jenkins Gets Second Chance but does she Deserve it?

Not everyone’s giving Diane a second chance on Young and the Restless, though. Recall, Phyllis was conspiring with Ashley and with Nikki about ways to get rid of the interloper.

But for the most part, Diane is getting a second chance and really there’s nobody in Genoa City with clean hands. Everybody there has gotten second, third, 10th chances, right?

And a lot of them did much worse things than Diane has done, not excusing what she did in the past. But there’s not really anybody in Genoa City with clean hands at this point.

So right now what we have this week is Diane in jail — arrested for Phyllis’s murder. Phyllis is not dead. She thinks it’s karmic to fake her death the way that Diane supposedly faked hers.

And this week we see that the ruse has worked and Diane is arrested and hauled away by Chance Chancellor and the GCPD. Phyllis is conspiring with Jeremy Stark, who had done Ms. Jenkins dirty and wound up in jail for his bad deeds.

And they both want revenge on Young and the Restless. They want Diane to have nothing and no one and no love, and they just want her life ruined. Because they both blame her for what has happened to their lives.

Instead, it was entirely Phyllis and Jeremy’s fault what happened to them. Let’s be clear about that. I think everybody can agree on that — even if you don’t like Diane Jenkins.

Does Diane Deserve this Frame Job & Arrest on The Young and the Restless?

Right now, Phyllis and Jeremy set up Diane. They set it up to look like she bought the bottle of strychnine. And the cops found incriminating-looking paperwork at the Abbott mansion.

That’s what Phyllis left the day she crept into the house and was busted and thrown out by Diane. She was planting something that day. It wasn’t the poison, but it was the paperwork that makes her look guilty.

Now, Diane’s arrested on Young and the Restless. And Phyllis is pleased, but her children are devastated. And Red’s supposed to leave town to start this new life. In fact, what she’s done is made herself into the very worst aspects of her rival.

She’s become the woman she hated and has done the same thing her rival did. So it’s pretty horrible. And the thing is, Diane really, really seems to have changed.

People suspected she might have been working with Stark, they suspected she was after Jack for his money, just this and this and this and that. None of it was true. She is truly reformed. And so as much as people do deserve second chances, she has earned hers.

And what’s happening to her now is pretty terrible. So we’ll have to see how it plays out. But inevitably, we personally, in the writer’s room over here at Soap Dirt talked about how this could play out.

And we feel that Phyllis will inevitably be busted and it’s all gonna come out and it’s gonna blow up in her face, of course. And she might be the one who needs to do a little time. We’ll see. Now that you looked back at who is Diane Jenkins, do you think she deserves this?

Be sure to check Soap Dirt often for The Young and the Restless spoilers and news.

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