The writing has been on the wall for several weeks, but Hunter King has finally discussed her exit from The Young and the Restless (Y&R) in the pages of Soap Opera Digest.
While Mealor has revealed the stressful decision-making involved in his exit from the CBS soap, and even co-star Michelle Stafford has confirmed King’s departure, the actress behind Summer Newman hadn’t shared her side of the story — until now.
“I want to start off by saying that I loved playing Summer,” King said. “She’s been a big part of me for the last, I mean, almost a decade. There are a variety of things that happened, but I hope to always have Summer in my life in some capacity. What the role will continue to look like, I’m not sure yet, but I know that I hold her very near and dear to my heart.”
As previously reported, Mealor and King were both involved in protracted contract negotiations. It wasn’t until Mealor opened up to King about the typically private process that they realized they were both going through it.
“Michael did wind up telling me everything that was going on with his contract negotiations,” King confirms. “I wanted to tell him everything that was going on with mine, but yeah, it’s such an odd process when you’re doing that but also feeling that you’re family… so it’s definitely weird.”
“I’m just kind of taking it day by day and figuring things out, but who knows what will happen?” King added. “Nine years is a long time being on one show and I loved every second of it.”
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In the interview, King claims that she knew Summer’s rapport with Kyle Abbott had changed “instantly” when Michael Mealor was recast in the role. And forever a Skyle fan herself, she was pleased that one of her last scenes saw the couple reunite.
“Even though I kind of already know what happens, I was so excited to read it, as a fan of the show,” King said, recalling the episode script in which Kyle flew to Milan. “Kyle says, ‘I’m here to take you home’. They kiss and I was so excited because it was such a big moment for the two of them. It was nice to have that.”
Now that both actors have finished taping (for episodes which are slated to air in October), King also reflected on her emotional last scenes.
“I was holding back tears the entire last day,” she admitted. “I’m so happy that the scenes were so sweet and such a happy ending. It wasn’t some tumultuous breakup and left on bad terms. So, it was sweet to have my sidekick by my side and going through that together. I like how it ended.”
Much like Mealor, King appears to be open to returning to Y&R in the future — but she’s non-committal about how long such a stint would last. At least Skyle fans have a few more scenes to look forward to, and for now, at least, a happy ending.
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