The Young And The Restless Famous Feuds: Phyllis And Diane

The globally popular soap opera, "The Young and the Restless," will celebrate its 50th anniversary in March 2023. The show has hoovered up hundreds of awards over the decades while exploring issues like social class, sexual politics, and above all, family tensions. 

Like any great soap, "Y&R" has had a few legendary feuds in its time. One famous conflict they've explored is between Diane Jenkins and Phyllis Summers. Diane's character was first introduced to the show in 1982 and has been played by three different actors, Alex Donnelley, Maura West, and Susan Walters. On the other hand, Phyllis was first introduced to the show in 1994 and has been played by Michelle Stafford, Sandra Nelson, and Gina Tognoni.

For decades, these two characters have been at each other's throats. From shared love interests to being workplace competitors — and even attempted murder — there is no shortage of flashpoints between Diane and Phyllis. Let's look back at the dramatic encounters these two rivals have had and why there is no love lost between them.

Diane, Phyllis, and Jack's love triangle

Diane Jenkins and Phyllis Summer's tempestuous feud began many years ago over their shared desire to be with business mogul Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman). Diane had inadvertently artificially inseminated herself with Jack's sperm, believing it belonged to her ex-husband Victor Newman (Eric Braeden). As a result, Diane and Jack's biological son Kyle Abbott was born. After a torrid custody battle, Diane and Jack reached an agreement in which the boy and his mother would live in Jack's poolhouse while he and Phyllis — who were now married — resided in the main house. As part of this arrangement, Diane was barred from visiting the main house or engaging with Jack or Phyllis.

In a dramatic turn of events, Jack's home was burnt down with Diane caught inside, and she barely survived. Phyllis was the prime suspect in the arson investigation but successfully proved that Diane had set the whole thing up to frame her. As a consequence, Jack and Phyllis won full custody of Kyle, but Jack opted to return the boy to Diane. After this turbulent time, Diane sought a clean break and left Genoa City with Kyle.

Defamation, conspiracy, and death

Diane Jenkins returned to "The Young and the Restless" in 2010, where she was offered a job by businessman Tucker McCall (Stephen Nichols). However, this contract was later terminated after Phyllis Summers wrote a defamatory article about Diane's checkered past.

In a later encounter between these two fiery characters, Diane confronted Phyllis about the latter's hatchet piece on her. A heated exchange quickly escalated into physical violence as Diane lunged at Phyllis, and Jack Abbott and his bodyguards had to separate the pair. This action culminated with Phyllis obtaining a restraining order against Diane.

For once, Diane turned her attention and grievances away from Phyllis and Jack as she went after her ex-husband, Victor Newman. Her vendetta led to a dramatic ending when Diane faked her own death, triggering an investigation with a long list of suspects, including Victor, Jack, Phyllis, Nikki Newman, Victoria Newman, Adam Newman, Abby Newman, Nick Newman, Ashley Abbott, and Deacon Sharpe.

Old habits die hard

In a shocking moment for "The Young and the Restless," Diane Jenkins returned to the show in March 2022 after she was thought to be deceased for over a decade. It didn't take long for old hostilities to be renewed with her nemesis Phyllis. One point of contention was that Diane's son Kyle Abbott (Michael Mealor) had married Summer Newman (Allison Lanier), Phyllis' daughter. Phyllis and Summer were naturally suspicious of Diane's intentions and sought to have her removed from their lives by informing Kyle of his mother's ulterior motives.

Susan Walters, who returned to play Diane Jenkins, recounted to TV Insider at the time that she was taken aback by what had taken place on the show since she was last cast in 2010. "I'm reading the scripts, and people are talking about how much they hate Diane and how much damage she's done," she said. However, it doesn't seem like Diane will be changing anyone's opinions of her anytime soon. The latest development in the show sees Phyllis colluding with Jeremy Stark (James Hyde) to plot Diane's imminent downfall. We eagerly await the next chapter in the eternal conflict between two iconic characters.