‘The Young and the Restless’ Then & Now: How Eric Braeden’s Has Changed Over the Years?

The Young and the Restless actor Eric Braeden is an icon in the soap opera world. The actor and his character Victor Newman have become synonymous with the CBS series. Braeden’s look has evolved with over 40 years of portraying Genoa City’s favorite businessman. Take a stroll down memory lane and look at Braeden’s career as Victor.

'The Young and the Restless' actor Eric Braeden in a 1980 promotional photo for his debut as Victor Newman.
Eric Braeden, ca.1980 I Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Eric Braeden debuted as Victor Newman in 1980 on ‘The Young and the Restless’

On February 8, 1980, Braeden joined the cast of The Young and the Restless as Victor. Braeden was 39 when he was cast in the role that would make him famous. Before his daytime television career, Braeden worked in primetime, including the series The Rat Patrol. But his career was about to change thanks to soap opera pioneer William J. Bell.

Initially, the role was to be short-term, lasting twelve weeks, with the storyline ending with Victor’s wife Julia Newman (Meg Bennett) killing him. However, Bell was impressed with Braeden’s performance; he decided to make Victor a permanent character. While Victor was a despicable man when first introduced, Bell redeemed him into one of Genoa City’s most respectable residents.

RELATED: ‘The Young and the Restless’: Why Stars Like Eric Braeden and Peter Bergman May Not Return From Hiatus

Victor’s switched from a villain to a good guy throughout the years. Whether fans love or hate him, he’s the most compelling character on the show. His marriage to Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott) made them one of daytime’s famous super couples.

Victor’s a ruthless man when it comes to business and protecting his family. Anyone who dares go up against The Moustache often comes out on the losing end. Although Victor does crazy things for the good of his family, it often leads to inner turmoil with the Newmans.

‘The Young and the Restless’ star Eric Braeden as Victor Newman now

'The Young and the Restless' actor Eric Braeden celebrates 40 years of playing Victor Newman.
Eric Braeden I Ella Hovsepian/Getty Images

For 42 years, Braeden has become a main staple of The Young and the Restless. The actor’s hair is greyer, but he still has the same mustache that’s become part of Victor’s iconic look. Victor remains a vital part of the show, and the Newman patriarch is back to stirring up drama.

Currently, Victor’s in a feud with his former son-in-law Ashland Locke (Robert Newman). After learning Ashland lied about his illness, Victor is determined to remove him from Victoria Newman’s (Amelia Heinle). As viewers expect, Victor has some tricks up his sleeves when dealing with his enemies.

While Victor’s focused on ruining Ashland, another Newman family feud is brewing unbeknownst to him. His youngest son Adam Newman (Mark Grossman), is upset his father didn’t choose him to run Newman Enterprises. With Adam tired of being the outcast in the family, he might be secretly planning to take down his dad.

The actor has no plans of leaving the show

Many The Young and the Restless fans credit Victor with the show’s success. It’s hard to imagine the soap opera without the iconic character; however, in 2009, Braeden almost walked away. The actor and the producers failed to negotiate a new contract in which Braeden would have a salary reduction. However, an agreement was later reached, and Braeden signed a new deal.

At 81 years old, Braeden is still going strong as the villain fans love to hate. As for whether Braeden plans to retire anytime soon, the actor’s made it known he isn’t slowing down. In a March 2021 interview with People, Braeden explained why he’s sticking around.

“I feel very loyal to The Young and the Restless, very beholden to Victor, and very beholden to the audience who has supported us for all those years. I intend to stay as long as I can.”

With the writers still churning out huge storylines for Victor, viewers can expect to see more of Braeden.

RELATED: ‘The Young and the Restless’ Star Eric Braeden Reveals If He Plans to Exit the Role of Victor Soon