5 Young And The Restless Villains You Can't Help But Love

When someone thinks about soap operas, one of the first things that comes to mind are the villains that run rampant on the citizens of whatever town it's set in. Villains are often the lifeblood of the series because without someone driving conflict, the series would be relegated to meaningless dialogue. "The Young and the Restless" has featured a slew of great villains over the years, but the crop of villains in the 2020s might soar above all. Combining merciless power grabs with comedic chops and natural charisma, it's sometimes difficult to hate these individuals. Beyond that, it's easy to fall in love with them because of their unapologetic approach to their wrongdoings. 

"Y&R" is in a unique position because there are a plethora of villainous citizens lurking in the shadows of Genoa City. Each of the bad guys of this sudser comes with their own brand of lovable traits that make it nearly impossible to permanently write them off. Natural charm goes a long way, and even though some of these names have resorted to the darkest depths of evil in many instances, their aura of authenticity about who they are wins in the end. 

Don't get it twisted — these people can be some of the worst offenders against humanity if they want to be, but at the same time, they're magnetic. 

1. Victor Newman

Victor Newman (Eric Braeden) is the quintessential soap opera villain, and the actor's many decades at "The Young and the Restless" are a testament to that. Since Braeden started appearing on "The Young and The Restless," viewers have seen Victor tear through Genoa City with pure ruthlessness, usually under the guise of it being "just business." When he isn't destroying smaller companies in the corporate world, he is meddling in the personal (and professional) lives of his adult children, namely Nick Newman (Joshua Morrow), Victoria Newman (Amelia Heinle), and Adam Newman (Mark Grossman). 

Even though Victor is content with pitting his children against each other like pawns in a parental game of chess, there's something effortless and charming about him. It's easy to melt into a puddle as his tender side emerges when he's with his beloved wife, Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott). There's something about their love story that humanizes an otherwise miserable human being. The contrast between Victor's interactions with everyone else and the ones with Nikki makes him polarizing and fascinating. For a little while, Victor seemed to be mellowing out and letting his villain title fall to the wayside, but in 2023, it returned in full gear. 

Victor ripped the rug out from underneath all of his children, putting himself back into the position of top power at Newman Enterprises. It's moves like that which make someone want to loathe him, but Victor always being one step ahead of everyone else makes it difficult to root against him. 

2. Adam Newman

Adam Newman (Mark Grossman) has always been the black sheep of his family. He's never been able to successfully live up to the lofty standards put forth by his father, the great Victor Newman. Adam's inability to maintain good relations with his siblings Nick Newman and Victoria Newman plays a huge factor in his status as an outcast. However, Adam is often his own undoing, and his self-serving tendencies wreak havoc on the lives of others. Much like his father, Adam strives to be at the top of the corporate world and is willing to use nefarious means such as blackmail and espionage to obtain that power. 

Adam, though, also has an innate ability to show an incredibly vulnerable side, making it difficult not to find a place of love. Adam is self-aware enough to know (and own) all of his faults, and although he repeats mistakes often, his monologues professing change tug at the heartstrings. Adam may never be accepted by his siblings into the Newman family ever again, but regardless, how he chooses to proceed with every rejection is always fascinating. 

Adam's softer side also extends to his son, Connor Newman, with Adam hoping to be a better father than Victor ever was to him. Despite being wrapped up in the business drama on a regular basis, Adam is quick to drop everything whenever his son is in need, endearing him to viewers. 

3. Phyllis Summers

Phyllis Summers (Michelle Stafford) has been on "The Young and the Restless" for decades — making bad, often illegal choices from the start. Whether it's running over Christine Williams (Lauralee Bell) with her car, framing Diane Jenkins (Susan Walters) for murder, or hacking into Billy Abbott's (Jason Thompson) bank account, Phyllis is more than willing to skirt the law. Her actions almost always have a catastrophic chain reaction resulting in the imploded lives of those closest to her. In 2023, Phyllis' plot to fake her murder and send Diane to prison — the two are in one of the most famous feuds on "The Young & The Restless" – resulted in her daughter Summer Newman's (Alison Lanier) marriage to Kyle Abbott (Michael Mealor) crumbling.

However, almost no other villain delivers their lines with as much sass and humor as Phyllis. The way she plays dumb every time she's confronted about her dirtiest deeds on "The Young and the Restless" makes it nearly impossible to dislike her. No matter what she's done to cause chaos in Genoa City, she's hilarious and loveable, and definitely someone exciting with whom we'd love to hang out.

With several decades of destruction in her wake, Phyllis has more than earned her status as a beloved bad guy. One viewer tweeted, "If you know me then you should know that Phyllis is my favorite character on YR !! I just love her so much and I love Michelle so much !! Phyllis has been my favorite since I started watching YR!! I'm team Phyllis forever!!"

4. Tucker McCall

When Tucker McCall (Trevor St. John) returned to "The Young and the Restless" in 2022, he had his sights set on infiltrating nearly every major company in Genoa City. Like many others on the list, Tucker has no qualms about stabbing his family members in the back, proving that with his attempts to overthrow Chancellor-Winters and Jabot Cosmetics. The former is partially owned by his son, Devon Hamilton (Bryton James), and the latter is the family company of his long-time love interest, Ashley Abbott (Eileen Davidson). When Tucker feels wronged, he tends to lash out at the world, and there's nobody spared from his destruction. 

At the same time, Tucker is quite charming, is quick to make a joke that will completely throw someone off their game, and oozes sex appeal. There's a lot to hate about Tucker, but there's also a great deal to love. When interacting with Tucker, everyone knows that he's acting like a snake in the grass, waiting for the right time to strike, but nobody can resist playing in his game. 

Based on social media reactions regarding Tucker, it appears that viewers love him as well, despite his evil deeds. One viewer said, "I hope they're not writing Tucker into a corner. Trevor St. John has been a delight; you don't let that go. Tucker was truly in love with Ashley and has shown vulnerability. No reason he can't be the kind of morally gray character David Hayward was for years on AMC."

5. Audra Charles

Audra Charles (Zuleyka Silver) is an enigma, and while there's still a lot to explore with her story, she's shown that she's just as ruthless in business as everyone else. In a show like "The Young and the Restless," it's the titans of industry that rise to the top of the power chain, and Audra's definitely proven herself to be in contention. She came onto the scene as the mysterious ex-girlfriend of Noah Newman (Rory Gibson), but she has since managed to worm her way into the crosshairs of every power player in town. Aligned with Tucker McCall, she entered into an affair with Kyle Abbott and worked as the CEO/COO of Newman Media. 

Audra's proven countless times that she's not afraid to turn on the sex appeal and get Tucker or Kyle wrapped around her finger. The way she effortlessly plays everyone in town for fools in her own climb to the top of the ladder makes it easy to root for her. Audra wasn't born into generational wealth like much of the town's elite, so every rung she's climbed in the corporate world is a direct result of her own master class in manipulation. 

The adoration for Audra's conniving ways extends to viewers as well. Audra's behind-the-scenes tactics and ability to get what she wants at the drop of the hat piques one viewer's interest, with one fan of the scene-stealer tweeting, "Audra Charles is one of the best characters to come along in a while. I love her sneaky streak. #YR."