We've Watched The Young And The Restless' Melody Thomas Scott Transform On Y&R

When Melody Thomas Scott joined the cast of "The Young and the Restless" in 1979, she was already an accomplished 23-year-old actress. She'd worked alongside cinema giants, including the legendary Alfred Hitchcock. Yet, the role of Nikki Reed Newman was unlike anything she'd done before. Many of the current happenings in Genoa are connected to Nikki Newman's many husbands on "Y&R," but there is much more to this character. 

Scott has played many roles as Nikki and has taken us on a journey from a lost young woman needing guidance to the matriarch she is now. Her story began as a 17-year-old Nicole Reed, who was promiscuous and full of life. Like many young women her age, she wasn't exactly sure what she wanted from life. She shared a close bond with her more sensible sister, Casey Reed (Roberta Leighton), who constantly worried about Nikki's free-spirited ways. 

Casey was perhaps the only person who genuinely cared for Nikki, shielding her from the dark truth of their sinister father. Sadly, Casey's efforts were in vain, as Nikki ended up fending off her father's assault and killing him in self-defense. This sent her further down a troubled path, where she met with her first "Y&R" character, Paul Williams (Doug Davidson). They started a relationship and found solace in each other, but Nikki managed to give him an STD before they parted ways. However, her journey with Paul was far from over.

Melody Thomas Scott plays the unsatisfied wife

Nikki's quest for love led her to marry Greg Foster (Wings Hauser), but soon, the monotony of married life drove her towards a modeling agency. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a front for a prostitution ring, damaging her relationship with Greg. Nikki reconnected with Paul, and together, they joined a spiritual group, hoping to find some guidance. However, just like with the prostitution ring, the "spiritual group" wasn't what it seemed. It was a hidden cult led by Ian Ward (Ray Wise). Their lives hung in the balance, and they would have died if Paul's father hadn't swooped in to save them both.

A slightly traumatized Nikki made the rash decision to strip at the Bayou. It was there that she caught the eyes of Victor Newman (Eric Braeden), changing her life forever. Soon, the former aimless Nikki aimed to make Victor Newman hers. Unfortunately, this turned out harder than she would have liked, as Victor was determined to have no romantic connections with her. Despite investing his wealth and effort into refining Nikki, he introduced her to another man, but only after they shared an intimate night.

Predictably, her subsequent marriage was short-lived, mainly because Nikki found she was carrying Victor's child. Melody Thomas Scott's role was challenging — portraying a young woman resolute in winning the heart of an older man. Yet, as the story unfolded, Nikki evolved from a self-centered young woman into a compassionate individual who won Victor by dedicating herself to finding his lost family. 

Melody Thomas Scott plays the alcoholic

Melody Thomas Scott's next significant character arc stemmed from the breakdown of her marriage to Victor due to his infidelity with Ashley Abbott (Eileen Davidson). Instead of maturely walking away or seeking reconciliation, a vengeful Nikki succumbed to an affair with Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman). Despite this, her heart yearned for Victor, but the damage was done. Nikki and Jack became a couple, and Nikki soon became pregnant with Jack's child. Sadly, due to a horse riding accident, Nikki miscarried and the accident introduced her to a world of addiction.

Nikki tried on multiple occasions to quit but was adamant about not attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Her drinking led to numerous confrontations with Victor and Jack, further deteriorating her mental well-being. It was riveting to watch Melody Thomas Scott depict a condition that so many face, and it wasn't just the audience that appreciated her realistic portrayal. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Scott shared, "I love Nikki drinking! I like it as an actor. It's much more fun, and everybody seems to prefer a drunk Nikki." Her stellar performance won her the Telegatto Award for Best Actress in 1991, her first for "The Young and the Restless." Nikki's history with alcohol is why she reacted so strongly when her granddaughter Faith almost followed in Cassie's footsteps.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Melody Thomas Scott plays the desperado

Nikki might have been street savvy, but she was definitely not smart in love. After the breakdown of her marriage with Jack, she decided to wait for Victor to want her. Victor, who was going through somewhat of a midlife crisis, had no intention of returning to Nikki. Consequently, she spent the next few years desperately trying to get him to love her. When that didn't work, she went wild, trying to make him jealous by matching his promiscuity.

It started with Brad Carlton (Don Diamont), whom she let wine and dine her. Nikki and Brad were almost married, but she dumped him when Victor showed the slightest interest. When she saw Victor wasn't genuinely interested, she entertained Dr. Joshua Landers (Heath Kizzier). This time, they made it to the altar and were married just as his presumed-dead wife, Veronica Landers (Candice Daly), showed up. Dr. Landers' reaction wasn't what Veronica wanted, so she shot him and Nikki.

Sadly, Landers didn't survive, and Nikki was close to death. Victor left his current flavor of the month to marry Nikki on her deathbed, but their marriage was null and void when it was revealed his last divorce wasn't valid. When the two tried again, they eventually broke up because she wanted a baby and he didn't. Nikki momentarily returned to Brad but ultimately decided she was tired of focusing only on men. At this point, fans were gifted a new side of Melody, as she played a ruthless businesswoman.

Melody Thomas Scott plays the business mogul

Taking the reins of her life, Nikki confidently stepped into the corporate world, investing $35 million to secure a board seat at Jabot Cosmetics. Victor's disapproval was clear, but Nikki remained undeterred. As their relationship crumbled, Nikki's professional stature rose. Although Nikki and Victor later reconciled, her passion for business never waned. 

Embracing her past, she also became the consultant and master of ceremonies at the Bayou, where she had once stripped. Over at Jabot, Nikki and Phyllis Summers (Michelle Stafford) brainstormed a promising business idea, but Jack's indifference could have derailed them. However, Victor, having learned from past mistakes, recognized its potential. Watching Nikki command the boardroom and assert her presence was a sheer delight.

In addition, her spats with fellow businesswomen only highlighted her prowess in the corporate arena and solidified her financial independence from Victor. Melody Thomas Scott's portrayal of the multifaceted Nikki garnered acclaim, earning her nominations for the Soap Opera Digest Award in 1995 and the Daytime Emmy Awards in 1999, amongst many others. The joint venture with Phyllis and Victor, aptly named "NVP" for their initials, is a testament to Nikki's business acumen and Scott's remarkable acting skills.

Melody Thomas Scott plays the politician

In her never-ending quest for new challenges, Nikki set her sights on the Wisconsin State Senate, running head-to-head with Jack. However, politics can be a treacherous game. Jack employed the dubious David Chow (Vince Irizarry) to unearth skeletons from Nikki's closet, leading to the discovery of an old porn film featuring her. Horrified by David's underhanded tactics, Jack dismissed him, but Nikki seized the opportunity and hired David to retaliate against Jack.

However, Nikki and David's professional relationship unexpectedly evolved into a personal entanglement, and leaked photos of their private moments erased any chances Nikki had of winning. Although Jack secured the seat, a subsequent inheritance fraud scandal led to his resignation. As it turned out, David had a dark history as a wife-killer, necessitating Victor's dramatic rescue of Nikki. While it took time, Victor and Nikki eventually found their way back to romantic stability.

The world of politics provided Nikki with valuable insights, prompting her to intensify her focus on business. She ascended the corporate ladder, securing several prominent positions at Newman Enterprises. Observing Melody Thomas Scott's portrayal of Nikki's evolution — from a dancer with aspirations to a compassionate mother and sharp business magnate — has been nothing short of enthralling. This character arc, depicting Nikki's journey from impulsivity to maturity, deeply resonated with fans, cementing her status as one of the most cherished characters on "The Young and the Restless."