‘The Young and the Restless’: How Christel Khalil Realized It Was Time to Return to the Show Full-Time

Christel Khalil fans are super excited that their favorite character, Lily Winters, is back in Genoa City to stay. The Young and the Restless actress talked about how she knew it was time to return to the show in a recent interview.

Christel Khalil
Christel Khalil | Matthew Simmons/Getty Images

Christel Khalil is back as a main cast member on the soap opera

Khalil was a recurring cast member after she first left the show. But now, she is back and Lily is once again a main cast member on the show. The actress was first moved to recurring in 2018, telling fans on Instagram, “Hello Lovelies! I wanted you to be the first to know that if you see less of me on @youngandrestlesscbs , it’s because I have decided to switch from Y&R full time to recurring status. That means I’m not leaving, just ready (after 16 amazing years playing Lily) to explore new things! I will continue to be a proud member of the Y&R family and look forward to further adventures playing Lily.”

Before returning full-time, Khalil appeared numerous times, including multiple appearances around the death of Kristoff St. John, who played Lily’s on-screen father, Neil Winters. After this storyline wrapped up, the character left town. However, she’s been back in Genoa City now and it is for good. She’s even running a new division at Chancellor Industries with Billy Abbott and it looks like some sparks of romance could be popping off between them.

This is a new side of Lily Winters

Khalil and her family had once moved to Canada for a little bit, but now they are back in Los Angeles. In an interview with Soap Central, the actress talked about coming back to the show as a series regular again. With Lily, it’s different this time. With not having to focus solely on Cane and the kids, the show is focusing on this career-focused version of Lily. It is a version of Lily that Khalil is glad to play now.

“I always wished that Lily could have some sort of career because she never did — she was always just with Cane [Daniel Goddard] or with the kids, dealing with family stuff,” she said. “And that was great, but it’s nice to be able to play a different side to her. So, I’m really excited to be in this new storyline and have Lily be this powerful businesswoman. Working with Jason has been really great, and to have Lily and Amanda [Mishael Morgan] be friends now, when Lily and Hilary hated each other, that’s been really fun. It’s been really fun to play all these new aspects of Lily.”

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She opened up about her decision to return

Khalil also spoke about her decision to move to recurring status with the show before coming back full-time. “It’s always scary when you’re leaving a consistent paycheck,” she said. “And also, Y&R has been my home and is my family, so yes, it was definitely very nerve-wracking to step away from that and take this leap. But you know, I learned a lot, and I also realized how much I love being there and how much it is a part of me, and it feels so good to be back now. I think I have more gratitude for the job and for the show because of it, so I’m very thankful for that.”

But when it was time to return for good, she knew what she needed to do. “You know, I think just through the experience and through the things that I’d been feeling, what I was going through, and I spent a lot of time with myself, which was really nice. I think I just kind of realized that this is something that I want to do as long as it’s there,” she explained. “It makes me happy, it’s a part of me, and I don’t want to miss out on that. So that led to the decision to come back [to the States] and come back to the show.”

The Young and the Restless airs weekdays on CBS.