Tonya Lee Williams Opens Up About Whether She’ll Return to The Young and the Restless

Tonya Williams made her last appearance as Dr. Olivia Winters on The Young and the Restless on February 15, 2012. Since then, questions about her return have persisted. So, what’s her answer? Unfortunately for fans, it seems unlikely.

Speaking to Soaps.com, Williams said, The show is fantastic. By the way, I left on great terms. I absolutely love the show. She added that her decision to leave had nothing to do with the show. Instead, she was searching for something new in her life. Reflecting on her departure, she explained, I try to explain it like this: Have you ever dated someone for a long time? And then you don’t want to date them anymore and you have broken up with them; adding light-heartedly, And like, 10-15 years have passed. And people are [still] saying, ‘Would you go back with that guy?’ No, You’re a different person now.

Tonya Lee Williams’ Journey After Leaving The Young and the Restless

After leaving The Young and the Restless, Williams didn’t idle. Instead, she made significant contributions to the Canadian film industry by founding the Reelworld Screen Institute in 2000, even while she was still on the soap opera.  The organization has grown over the years into a film festival and charitable group that spotlights diverse talents and advocates for equity in the Canadian screen industries. Her notable contributions will be honored with the 2024 Changemaker Award from The Canadian Academy on May 30—a well-deserved recognition!

Despite attempts by the show’s producers to lure her back for milestones like the 50th anniversary in March 2023, Williams explained why she declined. Honestly, it would have been lovely to do. But I could not imagine doing the role, she confessed. Elaborating further, she said, I go through a lot of process into who that character is, and that character was someone from 20 years ago… I really feel I left Olivia on a high note, and everyone has a great memory.

Tonya Lee Williams Opens Up About Whether She’ll Return to The Young and the Restless

Will She Ever Return to the Show? Tonya Williams Has an Answer

The idea of returning is more stressful than exciting due to her many commitments. When asked if there was any potential return at all, she firmly stated that while it would be a cherished opportunity, she feels neither ready nor eager to step back into Olivia’s shoes. Stating candidly:

I would need to mentally prepare for this character… And I just don’t feel I have the chops for it anymore or the desire really.

While Williams hasn’t rejected the idea completely, the resolve likely means Dr. Olivia Winters’ story may remain a fond memory with fans — at least as long as Williams is concerned.

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No, thank you. I do not want.
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