Weeks after announcing his departure from The Young and the Restless, Eric Braeden is back and — as he puts it — "ready to kick ass" as Victor Newman.
Braeden, 68, may come off a bit strong, but his fighting spirit seems only fitting considering what he's recently been through. "I come from the world of sports and it's very simple ... I put out my hand to people but if you don't return your hand or if you come at me, I come back at you twice as hard."
Eric Braeden returning to Young and the Restless
In September, Braeden and the rest of the show's cast and crew were asked to take pay cuts. Unfortunately, talks between Braeden and the show went sour soon after. The actor then told Entertainment Weekly he had "pulled the plug" on further negotiations and would make his last appearance in Genoa City on Nov. 2.
"It's an emotional rollercoaster because you react in anger, you have regrets, you want to get even," Braeden says of the negotiations. "It's all these things you feel in so many relationships that are difficult."
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Luckily, Braeden had more than just strong negotiation skills. He had the fans on his side. "The most important thing I've learned in all this, and what has been very supportive and heart-warming, was the support of the public and the fans," Braeden says. "That played a role in my not turning my back on the whole thing."
After fan outrage grew too loud to ignore, Braeden returned to the negotiating table and signed a new three-year deal Oct. 23. "In the end, you realize only in moments like this how what you do as actor or an artist affects people and that is a wonderful thing to know."
Eric Braeden to leave Young and the Restless
Besides his concern for disappointed fans, Braeden wanted to return because he wasn't sure he was ready to leave his day job of 29 years. "You're taken out of a routine. You learn in retrospect how much you enjoy working with certain actors and people in the crew you miss and it's the creative community that you miss."
Because of his overwhelming online support, Braeden is even mulling a jump to Twitter and Facebook. "This whole thing has made me have a change of mind about that," he says. "The way the fans are loyal and will stand by you, it's amazing."
Above everything, Braeden is just excited to get back to the job he loves. "I want to put this behind me and get back to doing what I do best and enjoy the most. There's so much story to tell. Victor is going to come back ready to fight."