What Happened To Drucilla On The Young And The Restless?

"The Young and the Restless" fans still long for a way for the soap to bring Drucilla Winters back to life. After all, this is a soap opera and bringing characters back to life, no matter how impossible it sounds, is de rigueur. "Y&R" character Diane Jenkins just returned to the soap alive and well after fans had seen a body (via TV Insider). With Drucilla, no body was ever found, so it makes it all the more easy to resurrect a character that brought so much life to the show for nearly two decades.

Drucilla still has a legacy in Genoa City with her daughter, Lily Winters, and adopted son, Devon Hamilton, as well as their children, per Soap Central. Her best friend, Sharon Collins Rosales (Sharon Case), is still there giving motherly advice to Lily. And Sharon can really use her bestie sometimes, a character she hasn't seen since 2007 when she fell to her death.

What happened to take Drucilla's life and what behind-the-scenes drama has kept the show from bringing her back?

Who was Drucilla Winters?

Drucilla Barber arrived on "The Young and the Restless" scene in 1990 as the street-tough niece of Mamie Johnson (played by Veronica Redd) and the sister of Dr. Olivia Barber (Tonya Williams). Thanks to a modeling job at Jabot Cosmetics, Dru was able to clean up her act, and even fell for young Jabot executive Neil Winters (Kristoff St. John), according to Soaps In Depth. The two married in 1993 in a wedding that re-aired in 2020 when "Y&R" and other soaps aired reruns for the first time due to production shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic (via Soap Hub).

Dru eventually gave Neil a daughter they named Lily, but years later the truth came out: Dru slept with Neil's brother, Malcolm Winters (Shemar Moore), while she was taking a strong cold medication and Malcolm was Lily's biological dad. Still, the family recovered and Lily thought of Neil as her father until his 2019 death. However, it was Dru's death in 2007 that changed things for Winters family in the most profound way.

How did Drucilla Winters die on the show?

A typical soap fight over revealing a woman's affair resulted in Drucilla Winters being presumed dead. Drucilla was just trying to be a loyal BFF to Sharon when she told her that Phyllis Summers (played by Michelle Stafford) had photos on her phone of Sharon's affair with Brad Carlton (Don Diamont).

Sharon was all set to marry Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman), so she wanted those photos gone, with Phyllis and Sharon struggling for the phone on the edge of a cliff. When Dru got in on the action, both she and Sharon fell off the cliff and plunged into the waters below. While Sharon was found with injuries, Dru was never found, but was declared dead anyway (via Soap Central).

As actor Victoria Rowell told Soaps.com in 2020, Dru is still alive. When the outlet asked her in 2020 whether she'd like to resurrect Dru, she put it quite simply. "She never died," Rowell claimed. "The character['s fate] was left nebulous and open-ended."

Victoria Rowell sues Sony and later makes brief Y&R return

In 2015, Victoria Rowell sued Sony Pictures Television, Bell-Phillip Television Productions, and CBS with the claim that her advocacy to hire more Black actors stopped the companies from re-hiring her when she wanted to return to "The Young and the Restless" (via ABC News). "The retaliation is deep and broad, I have lived with it for many, many years," Rowell said. "I'm not afraid, I am empowered. I am seeking justice."

In 2017, Rowell dropped the case and by 2019, she was back on the soap she called home for 17 years, but only as herself for a brief guest appearance. The actor appeared after Kristoff St. John, who played Neil Winters opposite her Drucilla Winters, suddenly died in February of that year, according to The New York Times. When the soap did a tribute episode to the character and St. John, Rowell was on hand to remember her longtime co-star, per Deadline.