Y&R's Jess Walton grieves 'best friend of 50 years' after tragic death

Darcy Rafter October 4, 2022
Y&R's Jess Walton grieves 'best friend of 50 years' after tragic death


The Young And The Restless’ Jess Walton is currently grieving her ‘best friend of 50 years’ on the anniversary of Australian-American singer, Helen Reddy’s tragic death.

Walton has played the role of Jill Abbott on Y&R since 1987 and is now considered one of the most iconic soap veterans. It is not often that Abbott pops up in Genoa City but she has been on canvas recently to help out her son Billy Abbott (Jason Thompson), and his girlfriend Lily Winters (Christel Khalil). After all, she was practically their matchmaker after encouraging them to be business partners.

Helen Reddy died on September 29th, 2020, aged 78, to mark the two-year anniversary of her passing, Jess Walton shared a heartfelt tribute.

Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

Y&R’s Jess Walton grieves ‘best friend of 50 years’

Walton took to Instagram to share a heartfelt tribute to her late friend as she wrote in the moving caption: “My friend of 50 years, Helen Reddy. She welcomed me to Los Angeles when I arrived from Canada.” Walton found comfort in having a friend in the neighborhood and the pair instantly formed a connection.

The actress shares that they “went through the Women’s Lib Revolution together.” In fact Reddy’s 1972 No.1 hit ‘I Am Woman’ became a feminist anthem and launched her to international success.

She went on to explain that the duo became best friends as their respective partners had grown up together in the Bronx. Like many friends, they “lost touch over the years” however, they “reconnected a couple of years back.” Walton concluded, “She was a best friend when I needed one and a huge part of my youth.”

In her final message, she wrote “Much love to Traci and Jordan, what a spectacular mom you both had! Rest in peace Helen. I loved you very much and I always will❤️❤️❤️”

Inside Helen Reddy’s beautiful life to tragic death

Reddy’s death was confirmed by her children, in an announcement posted on her official fan page on Facebook. Reddy had ongoing health issues and had lived for decades with Addison’s disease and had dementia since 2015.

Reddy married and divorced three times. In 1961, she married Kenneth Claude Weate, whom she shared a daughter with before divorcing in 1966. In 1968, she married Jeff Wald, and they shared a son before separating in 1981 and divorcing two years later. That same year, she married Milton Ruth, a drummer in her band before divorcing in 1995.

Jess devotes Instagram posts to co-stars

More recently Jess has shared an Instagram devoted to co-stars Jason Thompson and Christel Khalil. She dedicated a post to Thompson, writing, “Working with @myjasonthompson is like butter. Because he reminds me so much of my own son. When I need emotion it’s right there. Tears etc. When I need impatience, it’s there. When I need anger … there. it really is effortless.” 

Another post she shared showed her and Khalil smiling beside each other as she wrote:”@christeladnana has been my Daughter-in-law for many many years. She has been with two different ‘Sons’ of mine: both Cane AND Billy. As a side note, Jill always liked Lily, but Lily never liked Jill until Jill made her CEO of Chancellor!” Despite being married to her “son” for years, making her CEO helped improve their relationship more than ever.”

The good news is, the soap star is returning to canvas soon as she posted an Instagram video of herself in the parking lot of the CBS studios. It’s not only us who is excited to see her back, the show’s official account even commented on the post, “Always happy to see you!”

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Darcy is an experienced journalist passionate about celebrity culture and entertainment. After gaining a degree in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths University she has also become a social media specialist, always keeping informed on the latest trends. With almost five years of experience in media, her expertise is analysing platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. When she's not tracking the latest trending content, she’s watching films and eating lots of chocolate.