With fans as diverse as Aretha Franklin and the prime minister of Israel, Eric Braeden has transformed Victor Newman — his character on CBS’ The Young and the Restless (weekdays, 12:30 p.m. EST) — into a global phenom. So why in the world can’t Victor choose between long-suffering wife Nikki and hopelessly devoted paramour Ashley? Don’t ask Braeden, 63, who’s celebrating his 25th anniversary on daytime’s most watched sudser. He hopes that the lovers’ triangle will never straighten out: ”It lends itself to so much conflict. For an actor, that’s incredible.” And how! EW, with the help of Braeden, picks some of Victor’s finest moments.
March 1981 Victor locks Michael, wife Julla’s lover, in the basement of his ranch house, then feeds him baked rats.
February 1984 Girlfriend Nikki’s armed kidnapper, Rick, uses a speargun to shoot Victor. In the crotch.
April 1984 The self-made millionaire marries a second time — on this occasion to trailer-trash stripper Nikki.
October 1993 After faking his death in a car crash (the body burned beyond recognition!), Victor confronts corporate nemesis Jack.
January 2003 True to his I’ll do whatever the heck I want persona, Victor enjoys a lingering kiss with 20ish daughter-in-law Sharon.