In November 2015, Burgess Jenkins left The Young and the Restless with a sweet note to his fans and an air of gratitude for the executives who had hired him. He blamed his exit on the tough commute from the East Coast, but the abrupt departure left many TV viewers scratching their heads.
Hey gang, thanks for all the love, It's been a terrific ride and I'll miss GC greatly!— Burgess Jenkins (@BurgessJenkins) November 2, 2015
Fast-forward to 2016 and a new Q & A interview with the former daytime actor in the Winston-Salem Journal has answered a lot of those questions regarding his mysterious departure. The truth to his exit as Billy Abbott makes a lot of sense and reveals the actor’s priorities in life.
A fan wrote to the paper’s “Ask SAM” column, “I noticed on The Young and the Restless they have changed Billy Abbott to someone else. The other Billy Abbott was from North Carolina. Why did they change him?”
The response, for many fans, was quite a surprise. Jenkins shared that his wife, Ashlee Jenkins, was undergoing a health crisis.
“I departed the show because my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer back in November, and continuing to travel back and forth from the East Coast to the West Coast every week would have made it impossible for me to take care of her,” he told the newspaper.
The family kept her diagnosis private, since they were unsure of her long-term prognosis last fall. The good news is that his wife is winning her battle against cancer.
“At this point, however, we know that she is going to be OK,” he explained, “[We are] just in for a long and grueling battle with chemotherapy and radiation. Which stinks, but it’s a real blessing just knowing when we wake up in the morning that she’s not fighting for her life.. It’s great to see her back to normal.”
Despite his family’s recent challenges, he still thinks about his former cast mates from Y&R and that scoundrel he was fortunate to play for a little over a year on the CBS daytime show.
He is also grateful for the support he has received from soap fans, many of whom still interact with him on social media.
“The fans have been tremendous, a great outpouring of folks either asking me to stay or wishing me well, which is appreciated,” he said. “It’s nice to know that you’ve told a good story and left an indelible mark.”
For TV viewers who want to continue to follow the actor, he is teaching young students the craft of acting in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at the Actors Group. It’s a job he finds tremendously rewarding.
“It’s a studio I’ve had going for nine years and something that I love dearly, so it is good to be back in the saddle with my other instructors and students,” he shared. “Frankly, nothing is more thrilling than watching the students grow and succeed and book work.”
We won’t see Jenkins back on our TV screens just yet, because he wants to take care of his wife and her needs first.
“Family comes first,” he summed up. “I’ll be directing a movie in June and jumping back into a couple other projects, assuming that my wife is back on track.”
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