“The Young and the Restless” viewers weren’t exactly thrilled when popular actor Billy Miller announced that he would be exiting the role of Billy Abbott, but the rough waters were mostly calmed when former portrayer David Tom (brother of “The Bold and the Beautiful’s” Heather Tom [Katie Logan]) swooped in to take back the role. It’s been a fairly smooth transition for most viewers, but jumping into the middle of such an intense storyline — the death of Delia and having been outed for cheating on Victoria (Amelia Heinle) —was a bit of an adjustment for the actor!
“It was definitely a little challenging, and I was of course very, very nervous,” he admits about being thrown into such an intense arc right from the get-go. “I mean, Billy Miller did an amazing job with the character, and jumping into his shoes has definitely been a challenge. But I couldn’t have asked for anything more, actually. It’s been great. I’d rather sink my teeth into something right away and really go at it and start swimming immediately than slowly progress at the beginning. I mean, why not? Let’s get going!”
Considering Tom played the role back when Billy was a teenager (from 1999 to 2002), he’s practically jumping into the shoes of a new character. “It’s almost night and day,” he admits. “There are certain aspects of Billy that are the same: his core being, who he is, is the same. But obviously, he’s dealing with a lot more serious issues now. Back then, it was teenybopper ‘Let’s make a good dance at our school,’ and now it’s much, much more serious, dealing with the death of his daughter and how he’s handling that with his wife and Kelly (Cynthia Watros).”
Though a lot about Billy has changed, the Illinois native is impressed with the direction the character has taken in the last decade — and that includes the incarnations portrayed by Ryan Brown from 2002-2003 and Scott Seymour in 2006. “I really love what the writers have done with Billy, at least from what I’ve learned, with his gambling problem, dealing with his alcohol; all the backstory has been really, really great to know,” he shares. “And I think the writers have [done an excellent job], and everybody that’s played the character before has done a great job with the role. I’m just happy to add onto it and put a new chapter on it, my own twist, and continue it.”
As for fitting back into Genoa City, Tom says it’s almost as if he never left. “There’s some chemistry that’s on the show right now that just feels like I fell right back into it, especially with Jess Walton (Jill Abbott) and Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott),” he says. “I think Amelia and I, it’s new chemistry between us, but it feels really, really good. And the chemistry with Jill and Jack just feels like right where I left off… It’s not been a really bumpy ride. It just feels like everything is going really, really well.”
Sans his first day, however, when a mishap landed him in the hospital! “My first day back, first scene, first take, I slipped on one of the sets and hit my head pretty good on a rock,” he reveals. “We were doing the car crash scenes, and they use… fake snow, and the floor of the studio is really, really smooth, and I just slipped and went to grab a tree, and the tree wasn’t anchored, and I kept going.
“The funny thing was, when I got to the hospital, the nurse was like, ‘Oh my God, get him in, get him in! Let’s go, be quick! Hurry it up, go, go, stat!’” he continues, explaining that he had fake car crash injuries on his head for the show. “And I was like, ‘No, it’s fake blood. It’s fake!’ I wasn’t bleeding at all. I hit it on a fake rock, one of those plaster rocks.”
Despite that painful reintroduction, he says the experience of rejoining the show has been spectacular. “It’s been such an easy transition,” he explains. “I feel like I was worried for nothing. It’s just been really, really smooth, and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.”