‘The Young and the Restless’: Why Did Heather Tom Leave?

Heather Tom’s illustrious soap opera career began on The Young and the Restless. Long before she was Katie Logan on The Bold and the Beautiful, Tom portrayed everyone’s favorite heiress Victoria Newman. After years as the Genoa City businesswoman, Tom left in 2003. So what was the reason for her departure?

'The Young and the Restless' star Eric Braeden in a suit and Heather Tom in a black dress, pose together for a photo.
The Young and the Restless stars Eric Braeden and Heather Tom I Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Heather Tom joined ‘The Young and the Restless’ in 1990

At fifteen years old, Tom was cast as Victoria on The Young and the Restless. The actor made her debut on December 12, 1990. Victor and Nikki Newman’s (Eric Braeden and Melody Thomas Scott) teenage daughter returns home after spending years in boarding school. Throughout the next 13 years, fans watched as Victoria matured from a rebellious teenager to a mature career woman.

RELATED: ‘The Young and the Restless’ Speculation: Is Victoria Newman Leaving?

Her romances with Ryan McNeil (Scott Reeves) and Cole Howard (J. Eddie Peck) were some of her biggest storylines. When Victoria wasn’t dealing with her personal life, she was inserted into family and business drama. Tom’s portrayal of the troubled Newman heiress earned her critical acclaim and two Younger Actress Daytime Emmys.

Tom asserted herself as one of daytime’s rising young stars. However, after 13 years as Victoria, Tom made the shocking decision to leave.

Heather Tom left the show in 2003 because of creative differences

On December 17, 2003, Tom made her final appearance on The Young and the Restless. The writers had Victoria leave Genoa City after becoming overwhelmed by her family’s drama. Tom’s exit was shocking because fans believed she was the show’s next leading lady. According to Soap Central, Tom later cited creative differences and a pay cut for her decision to leave.

After leaving The Young and the Restless, Tom joined One Life to Live as Kelly Cramer. Tom was on the ABC soap opera from December 2003 to December 2006. Eight months later, Tom debuted as Katie on The Bold and the Beautiful, a role she’s played for fifteen years and earned her four Daytime Emmys.

Amelia Heinle now plays Victoria Newman on ‘The Young and the Restless’

After Tom’s exit, The Young and the Restless producers started a search for their next Victoria. They found the perfect recast with former All My Children star Amelia Heinle. She had big shoes to fill, taking over for Tom, but has won the audience over.

Since her debut in March 2005, Heinle has become one of the show’s leading ladies and earned two Daytime Emmys for her work. Although Victoria was often viewed as a heroine, Heinle turned the character into a ruthless business mogul.

While some fans prefer Tom as Victoria, Heinle’s here to stay as Genoa City’s favorite heiress. Meanwhile, Tom remains busy with her directorial work and her role as Katie on The Bold and the Beautiful. Although if the opportunity ever arises, fans would love to see Tom back on the sister soap in some capacity.

RELATED: ‘The Young and the Restless’: Fans Don’t Want Victoria and Billy to Reunite