‘The Young and the Restless’: Adam Newman’s Same-Sex Relationship, Explained

If you are a new fan of The Young and the Restless who hasn’t done your research on the soap opera, you may not know that Adam Newman once had a sexual relationship with a man. There were a lot of controversial aspects about it, including an actor who left, claims of queerbaiting, and much more.

Michael Muhney in 2013
Michael Muhney in 2013 | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

The actors who have played Adam Newman

Adam is the son of Victor and his ex-wife, Hope Newman. Born in 1995, the character returned to the canvas as an adult almost 15 years later in 2008.

Chris Engen was the first adult actor in the role. He portrayed the character for about a year, up until 2009. The role was recast with Michael Muhney in 2009. He portrayed the character from 2009-2014.

After Muhney was let go, Justin Hartly, who would go on to star in This Is Us, portrayed the character from 2014-2016. The character was brought back to the show in 2018 when Mark Grossman was cast in the role.

The Rafe storyline

Around 2008 when Muhney stepped into the role, Adam’s storyline involved him being in a sexual relationship with a man, Rafe Torres, so that he would be distracted and not look into his misdeeds.

This storyline and year for the character was probably the most villainous that Adam has ever been. He had started gaslighting his stepmother, Ashley Abbott, making her believe she was losing her mind and seeing the ghost of Victor’s late wife, Sabrina Costelana Newman. Adam framed the Newmans’ maid and Rafe’s aunt, Estella Munoz, for the gaslighting.

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As Rafe started to get close to finding out the truth, Adam began to seduce him. At the time, Adam was dating Heather Stevens. He would later break things off with Rafe and Rafe then began two but things together and realize that Adam never wanted to be with him and was just using him.

Here’s why it was controversial

Adam’s seduction of Rafe was controversial, and not just because of Adam using Rafe, but also due to the fact that many fans thought it was queerbaiting since the relationship was never shown on-screen. A kiss between the two was never even shown. It was only depicted with their faces out of view and Nikki Newman reacting to it.

The storyline was never revisited this and neither was Adam’s sexuality, Fans of the show were just left to believe that Adam was sleeping with Rafe for his own personal benefit, not because he is non-straight. For all intents and purposes, Adam has been presented on the show as a straight man who used a gay man so he would not end up in jail.

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Many speculated that Engen left the role to objections to the upcoming storyline but later he later said that he wasn’t satisfied with the character’s direction before this part of the story was written. Soon after Engen left, the story pushed full steam ahead with Muhney.

For years Adam and Rafe was the closest LGBTQ storyline that the show had. Now, fortunately enough, Mariah Copeland, sister of legacy character Cassie Newman, is LGBTQ and is in a lesbian relationship on the show that has been depicted on-screen.

The Young and the Restless airs weekdays on CBS.