Sharon Case as Sharon Newman
|The Young and the Restless character|
|First appearance||March 24, 1994|
|Introduced by||William J. Bell|
Sharon Newman (née Collins; previously Abbott) is a fictional character from the American CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless, portrayed by Sharon Case. Created by William J. Bell as a love interest for Nicholas "Nick" Newman, the character made her debut on March 24, 1994. Before Case took over the role in September 1994, the character was portrayed briefly by Monica Potter and then Heidi Mark. When first introduced, Sharon was a young girl from the poor side of town. Nick and Sharon married, had a son named Noah, and later won custody of Cassie, the baby Sharon had as a teenager and gave up for adoption. Their marriage faced a number of problems, including infidelity on both sides. Following Cassie's death in an automobile accident, Nick cheated on Sharon with Phyllis Summers, resulting in a pregnancy which ended their 11-year marriage.
Despite her second marriage to (and divorce from) Jack Abbott, Nick and Sharon had an affair and conceived a third child: Faith. During the pregnancy, Sharon experienced kleptomania. Faith was kidnapped by Adam Newman, Nick's brother, leading Sharon to believe she had died. Sharon then began a relationship with Adam, leading to a brief marriage. When Adam's crimes were revealed and Faith was returned to Sharon, she remained in love with him; SoapNet considered the relationship "dark". Since 2011, former showrunner Maria Arena Bell and subsequent head writer Josh Griffith have significantly changed the character's direction, receiving negative backlash from critics and audiences. Sharon married her ex-father-in-law Victor Newman, gained control of his company (Newman Enterprises) and burned down his ranch—a sequence of events which resulted in her being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The character was then involved in a DNA test alteration storyline regarding Summer, which was also heavily criticized by critics.
Sharon has been characterized as "insecure" and "not your typical romantic lead" by Case. Despite the character's crimes and faults, she is described as a central heroine and has been called soap opera's "hottest mess". The supercouple pairing of Nick and Sharon attracted a large fan following. Case has become popular with viewers and her performance has received praise from critics (particularly for overcoming heavily panned writing), while also earning her several award nominations including winning a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 1999.
Sharon Newman was created and introduced by William J. Bell, with the character making her first appearance March 24, 1994. Sharon Case, who plays Sharon to the present day, is the third actress to play the role. Previously, struggling actress Monica Potter originated the role, but was fired. She confessed years later, "I was fired because I was terrible". Heidi Mark then briefly took over the role; both Potter and Mark had a two-month stint.
Case, who had previously worked on the soap operas General Hospital and As the World Turns, was cast in August 1994. She was selected from a group of six other possible recasts after a screen testing with co-star Joshua Morrow, and began airing on September 7, 1994. Initially, Case believed she would only be playing the role for a maximum of six months. Of her casting, she stated: "Not only is this my third soap, but I'm also the third actress to play the role of Sharon Collins. So, if three times is the charm, this should be it." The actress wanted to "breathe new life" into the role and make it her own. In 2003, Case was off-screen from February 17 to May 1, during contract negotiations. These were resolved that April, when she signed a new contract to remain on the show for another four years, until 2007.
In March 1995, Los Angeles Times writer Nancy Reichardt characterized Sharon as "the girl from the wrong side of the tracks" with Nekeeta Borden of the entertainment news website Daytime Confidential describing her as being kindhearted and a "shero" during her early years on the show, noting that she wanted to start her own trends rather than follow other members of the Newman family. Case likened Sharon to a younger Jill Foster Abbott (Jess Walton), telling Soap Opera Weekly that Jill "was kind of like Sharon. She was nice...no one thought she was a gold digger—at first." According to the actress, Sharon does "weird things" and panics when stressed, and her mistakes "eat away at her", as "She doesn't do well with secrets". Case also described the character as feeling insecure and unworthy of being in a happy relationship, telling the Star-Banner that "Sharon goes through many emotions in a week". MSN characterized Sharon as a "bitch" after a storyline in which she took over Newman Enterprises in 2012. Of the writing for her character, Case said it is indispensable: "They both have to be there. I couldn't have gotten away with this without those lines". However, the actress has expressed displeasure with Sharon being paired with "too many men" because it "waters her down", wanting to incorporate different aspects of Sharon into her performance. Case stated that Sharon, who sees visions of her deceased daughter Cassie (Camryn Grimes), believes that "she is connected to the spiritual world". Having played many facets of Sharon over the years, Case said: "It’s almost like I’ve played 15 different characters in my career when I’ve only played one. There’s never a dull moment", calling the character an "optimist and a survivor".
Relationship with Nicholas Newman
Sharon has been romantically linked to her high-school sweetheart, Nicholas "Nick" Newman (Joshua Morrow), since her debut on the series. As teenagers they dream of eloping, and face their first hurdle when Sharon's ex-boyfriend Matt Clark (Eddie Cibrian) exposes Sharon's teenage motherhood (when she gave her baby, fathered by her former boyfriend in Madison, Wisconsin, up for adoption). Nick, believing Sharon is a virgin, briefly breaks up with her but they reunite. With Matt behind them, they marry in February 1996 and have their first child—Noah (Robert Adamson)—in 1997, the year Sharon is also reunited with her daughter Cassie (Camryn Grimes). Sharon's best friend Grace Turner (Jennifer Gareis) seduces Nick, triggering another breakup; Sharon and Nick reunite during a custody battle for Cassie. Of their highly anticipated reunion, head writer Kay Alden noted that during the previous several months "there's been a lot of stop-and-go and mixed messages" between the couple, but their feelings were definitely clear again; Morrow felt that Nick loves Cassie as much as he loves Noah. However, Sharon has an affair with Diego Guittierez (Greg Vaughan). In May 2005, 14-year-old Cassie is killed in a car accident. Nick becomes distant from Sharon, and is unfaithful to her with Phyllis Summers (Michelle Stafford). The marriage ends the following year; Nick moves on with a pregnant Phyllis, who gives birth to their daughter Summer Newman (Hunter King).
Although Sharon also moved on, marrying Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman), Nick and Sharon remain in love. They kiss while Nick, suffering from amnesia, believes they are still married; Phyllis is jealous of Sharon, insulting her in an article in her magazine Restless Style. In January 2009, Nick and Sharon reunite in a sexual affair at the Abbott cabin, an event much anticipated by viewers. According to Case, Sharon wanted Nick more than anyone at the time but only if he left Phyllis; Morrow told TV Guide that although the reunion was "messy", viewers wanted this for a long time. After another one-night stand Sharon becomes pregnant, briefly lying that Jack is the baby's father when Summer becomes ill and Phyllis needs Nick. Nick soon finds out, but their daughter Faith is kidnapped at birth by Nick's brother (Adam) and given to Ashley (Jack's sister). Sharon, believing Faith has died, seduces a guilty Adam. Faith is eventually reunited with her parents, and Adam's crimes are revealed. Nick and Sharon are briefly engaged that November, but they break up when she sleeps with Adam and their relationship becomes bitter. Although Case and Morrow believe the couple belong together, they are apart for several years; during which they both believed a reunion wouldn't happen anytime soon. In late 2013, the characters begin to grow closer again despite the fact that Sharon secretly switched the paternity test results of Nick's daughter Summer; Case stated in an interview that Sharon is in "constant turmoil" regarding her secret, and Morrow stated that he believed a reunion was a possibility given Nick's vulnerability, saying: "They've worked things out before—and they could work things out again. There is always a possibility for Nick and Sharon to get back together!" However, Soaps In Depth wrote: "Yet, with Sharon's secret haunting her like the glowering ghost of Christmas past, the supercouple's fans may need a holiday miracle to keep Sharon and Nick's relationship from exploding!"
In February 2003, Case temporarily exited the show as a result of lengthy contract negotiations. Instead of having the character depart permanently (or be killed off), executive producer David Shaughnessy chose to have her leave town. While away, Sharon becomes suicidal; Case explained that Sharon's life had fallen apart and she left town to commit suicide, drinking herself into "a complete stupor". That night, she meets (and has an affair with) businessman Cameron Kirsten (Linden Ashby), who physically abuses her. In April, Case signed a new contract with the show. Upon Sharon's return to Genoa City, she is horrified when Cameron follows her for apparent business with Newman Enterprises. He blackmails her into meeting him at a motel. When she arrives they have a physical altercation in which Sharon throws a bottle at him to keep him from raping her, "killing" him (or so she believes). Australian magazine TV Soap noted that "sweet, demure" Sharon had become a murderer. After driving around with his body in her car trunk for days, she dumps it in an alley. Sharon's former friend, Grace, returns to town; she discovers Cameron alive, and nurses him back to health. Detective Weber (Sherman Augustus) is suspicious of Sharon's involvement in Cameron's disappearance. Sharon begins "hallucinating" with visions of Cameron's "ghost" (which is actually him, alive). Case noted that Sharon was getting into deeper trouble by making mistakes "trying to do the right thing".
A scene where Sharon and Nick's mother Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) were searching the sewers for what they believed was Cameron's dead body became popular with fans of the show. Scott described the sewer shoot as a "horrific day at work" with "20 live f--king rats on the set", while comparing the unlikely duo of Sharon and Nikki to Lucy and Ethel from I Love Lucy. Cameron eventually reveals himself. He had murdered Sharon's ex-boyfriend (and Cassie's biological father) Frank Barritt (Phil Dozois), who was visiting town, and hid the body in Sharon's car trunk. Cameron's crimes are revealed; he is jailed, absolving Sharon of wrongdoing. Although Sharon did not actually murder Cameron, Case praised the storyline and called Sharon a heroine. She explained: "Your romantic lead shouldn't just be a simple romantic lead. Sharon was that for a long time. She was in this love story with Nick and nothing really happened to her. You can only carry that so far."
In 2005, good-girl Cassie becomes a rebellious teenager; Nick and Sharon have a difficult time dealing with her. Cassie has a crush on bad-boy Daniel Romalotti (Michael Graziadei), who is dating Lily Winters (Christel Khalil). One night, against her parents' wishes she sneaks out to a party. In a ploy to impress a drunken Daniel she attempts to drive him home, despite being underage. The car crashes, leaving them with no memory of the accident. Daniel is thought to have been driving, and is blamed for the accident. Cassie becomes hospitalized and escapes to find Daniel to tell him she was driving, but is soon re-admitted. During the May 24 episode, Cassie dies with Nick and Sharon at her side. Grimes said she did not think Cassie would die, but if it was "meant to happen, it's meant to happen". The actress found filming her last scenes with Case and Morrow "ridiculously hard". Case also found taping the scenes devastating: "It was too real for Joshua and me to even go through it. We did it in one take. The scene is still devastating in my mind and Joshua’s. It’s almost not watchable. If it comes on, I can’t get through it". Daniel is cleared of all charges and Nick and Sharon begin Cassie's Foundation, a movement to prevent teenage drinking and driving. According to Case, when Sharon loses something in her life it "reminds her and reactivates Cassie’s death for her". After Nick cheats on Sharon following Cassie's death, Case said it "makes you so fearful that you are going to be alone for the rest of your life; that no matter what you go out in life to create, it’s going to be ruined anyway". The actress also believed that Sharon lost her identity after Cassie's death. In 2012, during a court battle over Newman Enterprises (the family company), Nick stated that Sharon's mental problems date to Cassie's death.
According to Case, Sharon loses her identity after her divorce from Nick, which leads to her beginning a romance with Phyllis's ex-husband Jack Abbott, played by Peter Bergman. They marry in April 2007, but divorce two years later as a result of Jack's dishonesty which severely weakened the marriage. Case praised the pairing for its accurate representation of a "modern marriage" and noted that Sharon could not deal with Jack's "broken promises again and again". Years before marrying Jack, Sharon had a brief affair with Brad Carlton (Don Diamont). Case believed that the romance could have been further explored. During a blizzard, Brad visits Sharon at the Abbott cabin and declares his love for her, although she rejects him. Moments later, Brad is killed while saving her son, Noah, from drowning in an icy lake; he falls through the ice himself. Case stated that Sharon was guilty over Brad's tragic death.
Unlike Nick's mother Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott), his father Victor Newman (Eric Braeden) adored Sharon and maintained a paternal relationship with her over the years. Case described Victor as being Sharon's hero and a "father figure". However, their dynamic changes in January 2012 when Victor marries Sharon so that she can protect his assets while he is in jail; the non-romantic marriage is annulled days later. Several months later, they become romantically involved. Joshua Morrow told Soaps In Depth that he was puzzled as to why Nick had no "legitimate anger" about the relationship, while Braeden was also unhappy with the storyline, stating: "We all have gone through periods of playing something we didn't really like to play so much, but you do it."
In August 2012, Victor and Sharon remarry, but he disappears shortly afterwards. Sharon burns their prenuptial agreement, and takes over his company. Unfavorably, Case felt that the writers could have handled the storyline other ways without having Sharon actually marry Victor. The actress described the relationship as incestuous: "Sometimes controversial storylines can work because you're bringing attention to a controversial issue that the nation is trying to decide on. But this was not one of those things", calling it "upsetting to the audience". The marriage (which ended after Victor's return) was considered an "inside joke" for the actors. Reflecting on the storyline, Case revealed: "I didn’t understand how I was going to sell a love story between Sharon and Victor for obvious reasons. What motivated Sharon to fall in love with Victor when she’s in love with Adam and Nick?"
Adam Newman (Michael Muhney)—who kidnapped Sharon's newborn baby, Faith, and gave her to Ashley Abbott (Eileen Davidson) to avoid being caught in a scheme—bonds with Sharon out of guilt, though falls in love with her and they marry. Muhney told SoapNet that Adam "unequivocally" loves her, explaining "You can argue as much logic as you want about what Adam has done and what he is doing." Adam's kidnapping of Faith is revealed; Sharon remains in love with him, to the chagrin of her family and friends. Case described Sharon's ability to forgive Adam as "a tough pill to swallow", while Jamey Giddens of Zap2It described them as "inappropriate, yet red-hot". After trying to get Adam acquitted for Skye's (his ex-wife's) murder, Sharon is jailed. Case liked "Shadam", noting that the relationship "took us all by surprise...that is what I was referring to with this storyline because of the pace and the vitality that 'Shadam' has." While a fugitive, Adam believes Sharon is dead; however, she sleeps with Sam Gibson (Sean Patrick Flannery). Adam feels betrayed when Sharon returns to Genoa City; he cons her into a jailhouse wedding, and leaves her heartbroken and angry.
To spend time with Faith, Nick forces Sharon to get a restraining order against Adam. The night before the order becomes active, Adam and Sharon make love. Jae' Jones of Yahoo! noted that Sharon's actions would always lead her back to Adam. After Adam is attacked (losing his vision), Sharon brings him back to his mother's farm in Kansas and they become engaged. After returning to Genoa City, however, she leaves Adam when his additional past crimes come to light. After marrying Chelsea Lawson (Melissa Claire Egan), Adam helps Sharon through an emotional breakdown (which drove her to burn down Victor's home) and covers her tracks so she is not arrested. Sharon and Adam's attraction drove a wedge between him and Chelsea. Luke Kerr of Zap2it considered Chelsea "out of her league" against Sharon. While Case felt that Nick and Sharon's history "held more weight", she said Sharon's relationship with Adam is "just as deep".
Imprisonment and escape
In January 2011, Sharon is arrested for the murder of Adam's ex-wife, Skye Newman (Laura Stone), and sinks into a state of depression. She had previously traveled to Hawaii to find Skye, who fell into an active volcano. CBS Soaps In Depth reported that a distraught Sharon might commit suicide. After she is sentenced to life in prison Sharon claims she is ill, going to a bathroom where Adam hid a duffel bag for her escape. She overcomes an officer with chloroform, and escapes through a window. Adam has given her a false identification, a passport and cash. She stops at a gas station, where she dyes her hair brunette and changes into a revealing outfit. (Case said that although the storyline was fun, she disliked being a brunette.) Later, Sharon is carjacked and her possessions stolen; the female carjacker dies after the car crashes. The body is identified as Sharon's, leaving her family and friends believing she died. Case (who wanted to do a Mr & Mrs. Smith-type storyline) said that when Sharon became a fugitive, she had her chance. The actress enjoyed playing the "aggressive" side of Sharon when she attacked the prison guard.
After escaping from Genoa City, Sharon then lives under the pseudonym of Sheri Coleman for several months in New Mexico. While there she seduces Sam Gibson (Sean Patrick Flannery), who lets her stay at his farm; she bonds with the barn animals and a young local girl named Piper. Case said that although she hoped the "recklessness" of her character would continue, she found Sharon's storyline with Sam, Piper and the animals "really beautiful". Case hoped the story would take a different route, where she could meet Adam on the run and create a Bonnie and Clyde scenario.
Head writer Maria Arena Bell dedicated the 4th of July episode to Sharon, stating that the episode would "shed more light on Sharon and all the factors that caused her to be in this situation, why she's acted the way she has and why she's gone into the pit of [low] self-esteem." Case noted that she wanted to show viewers why Sharon is in in the place she's in, as well as examine her life over the years during the episode. Jae' Jones of Yahoo! analyzed the storyline in anticipation of Sharon's homecoming, hoping that Nick, Adam and Noah would not forgive her because of all the "unforgivable things" she has done (especially her devious move of letting them believe she was dead). Jones further said: "Some will say she did what she thought she had to do. Even though it seemed as if it was easy, it's never that easy to walk away from the people you love".
In July 2011, Sharon is arrested in New Mexico, and returned to Genoa City to serve her life sentence. Case said that although she was happy to be at the barn because it was "relaxing", she became restless as an actor and was glad her character was returning home. Sharon's actions do have repercussions: Nick is immensely angry with her, and Adam dumps her for sleeping with Sam. In November 2011 (almost a year after the accident at the volcano), evidence of Sharon's innocence surfaces and she is acquitted.
Mental health issues
In 2009, Sharon suffers from kleptomania (an impulse-control disorder), causing her to steal items from people and stores. As a result, she is forced to admit herself into a psychiatric hospital while she is pregnant. Case told TV Guide that all the character's "craziness" made sense; she welcomed the challenge to decide how functional Sharon appears to viewers and got into debates with directors. Michael Fairman noted that Sharon is "acting so bizarre". Case said her breakdown was due (in part) to Brad Carlton's death and the breakdown in her marriage to Jack; each time Sharon mapped out her life, it is "torn to pieces". Sharon has since experienced periodic kleptomania.
In 2012, after Victor disappears following his wedding to Sharon, she realizes she must be married to Victor for more than eight days to obtain his money. She then burns their prenuptial agreement after Nikki sends her a text from Victor's phone saying he has left her. Sharon decides to run his company (Newman Enterprises) in his absence. Case thought a scene where Sharon crashed a Newman board meeting was fun and different, confessing that she had wanted to play "this version of Sharon for years". As Victor's proxy she became CEO of the company, secretly aided by manipulative businessman Tucker McCall (Stephen Nichols). The stock price for Newman drops (with Tucker secretly buying stock). Case hoped the writers wouldn't go the typical route, where Victor would return and "wreak havoc on everyone". Sharon was labeled "Newman's Grim Reaper" by the media of Genoa City, leaving Nick and Victoria to regain the company from her clutches. They demonstrate her history of kleptomania to a court judge, forcing her to return to the psychiatric hospital for an evaluation (which she passes); she then returns to her position as CEO. Case called Sharon's return a "fun aspect of the story". Sharon continued to behave out of character; when she discovers that Victor is alive, she tells everyone he died after identifying a burnt body which was not his (Case said that Sharon took advantage of the situation). At Victor's funeral Sharon wears white, nearly marrying Tucker afterwards. Victor then returns, expelling Sharon from his family, home and company. Despite her crimes, Sharon avoids prison. At this point, Aaron Hagey-MacKay of GlobalTV stated that Sharon was "crazy".
Case said she was unconcerned about the storyline because the writers had a plan to explain Sharon's behavior. New head writer Josh Griffith told TV Guide that the character would reach a "total mental breakdown", which would take her to the edge and beyond before being rebuilt. Griffith said the breakdown would help her find salvation, with a "stronger, more together, more evolved Sharon" emerging. Sharon breaks down at the main house of the Newman ranch, burning it down while under the influence of alcohol. Griffith stated that the damage Sharon has done to the Newman family is "physical, professional and emotional". After seeing a doctor, Sharon is diagnosed with bipolar disorder and begins treatment; however, she is alarmed after discovering she must take prescribed medication, possibly for the rest of her life. Case was happy with the outcome of the storyline, as were viewers of the show. In January 2013, she told Soap Opera Uncensored, "When Sharon battled her emotional problems, that also took a lot of work but in a different way. Playing someone who is bipolar is very exhausting but it worked out perfectly and explained all of Sharon’s past behavior. I applaud Josh for making that decision because I think it makes the most sense considering her history." The actress in addition was pleased that she didn't have to continue justifying Sharon's questionable actions.
In mid-2013, the paternity of Summer (now 18 years old) is questioned upon the revelation that Nick declared himself her father despite the initial paternity test being corrupt. Nick did this to fill the void left by Cassie's death. Sharon feels that Summer's birth and the affair between Nick and Phyllis ruined her destiny with him, so she makes the decision to change the results of another test undertaken by Nick; which revealed that he was in fact Summer's father. Following her controversially changing the results, Jack is believed by everyone to be Summer's father. The storyline received negative complaints from fans of the character. Speaking of the storyline, Case told On-Air On-Soaps that an unstable Sharon was trying to reverse the damage caused by Nick's affair with Phyllis. Phyllis overhears Sharon confessing to altering the test results; a fight between the two women in a stairwell results in Phyllis falling down the stairs and slipping into a coma. In a February 2014 "super-secret plot twist", it was revealed that Victor had hired a Cassie doppelganger to haunt Sharon, who has been known to see visions of her deceased daughter while she was off her bipolar medication. Camryn Grimes (who is playing the Cassie lookalike) stated that Victor and Fake Cassie's "initial plan" was to make Nick believe Sharon was "nuts and seeing ghosts" so that he would not reunite with her. However, "then they find out Sharon has an explosive secret — one Victor can really use", that being the secret of Summer's paternity, which Sharon is still hiding as a result of losing her memory due to recent ECT treatment.
Born in June 20, 1974, Sharon Collins grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. She lived with her mother, Doris Collins (Karen Hensel), who was confined to a wheelchair after chasing a rebellious Sharon years earlier. Sharon became pregnant by high-school boyfriend Frank Barritt (Phil Dozois), but gave the child up for adoption.
In 1994, 18-year old Sharon arrives in Genoa City and begins attending a local high school. She meets Nick Newman (son of wealthy tycoon Victor Newman), who is dating Amy Wilson (Julianne Morris). Nick falls in love with Sharon, despite Sharon's ex-boyfriend Matt Clark's (Eddie Cibrian) attempts to win her back. Nick and Sharon briefly separate after Matt exposes Sharon's secret about her motherhood at 16, but they reunite shortly afterwards. An angry Matt later rapes Sharon in his car, traumatizing her. Nick and Sharon become engaged; she tells him about the rape, which leads him to avenge Matt. Matt is shot, and Nick is the chief suspect. He is convicted and acquitted several months later, when Amy confesses to the shooting. After Matt leaves town, Nick and Sharon marry; to hold on to Nick, Sharon stops using birth control and becomes pregnant. Nick complains that he is unready for fatherhood; Sharon nearly has an abortion, but he stops her. In 1997, she gives birth to Noah Newman, who nearly dies after his premature birth. While Noah was critically ill Sharon's best friend (Grace Turner) tracks down the child Sharon gave birth to as a teenager (Cassie) and brings her to Genoa City, believing Cassie was lessen the pain if Noah died. Noah survives, and Grace decides to raise Cassie as her own; however, her plans are foiled when Nick and Sharon win custody. Nick had cheated on Sharon with Grace (which nearly ended his and Sharon's marriage), but the custody battle for Cassie reunited them.
In 2001, Matt (Rick Hearst) returns to town after plastic surgery with a false identity, Carter Mills. He rapes Sharon, and his true identity is revealed when he dies after driving off a cliff. Sharon becomes pregnant, with Matt possibly the father of her child. During an argument with Nick Sharon trips and falls, giving birth to a stillborn baby girl. After a paternity test, Nick is revealed to be the baby's father. Sharon finds solace with the Newman ranch's handyman Diego Guittierez (Greg Vaughan), who had been dating Nick's sister Victoria, and her infidelity results in a breakup with Nick. Nick later sees Sharon kissing Victor, which leaves Sharon humiliated and depressed. She leaves town and meets Cameron Kirsten; they begin an affair, and he brutally abuses her. Sharon returns to Genoa after her injuries heal, but is horrified when Cameron comes to town on business with Newman Enterprises. She briefly believes that she killed him, but he is later tracked down and jailed for his crimes. Sharon becomes restless as a housewife, and wants to become a stripper; Nick gives her a job at spokesperson for Jabot Cosmetics to occupy her. In 2005, Cassie dies in a car accident after driving without a license. While Sharon is grieving, Nick cheats on her with Phyllis Summers and Sharon has a one-night stand with Victoria's husband, Brad Carlton. Nick and Sharon divorce, after eleven years of marriage, when Phyllis becomes pregnant with Nick's baby.
Sharon seduces Phyllis' ex, Jack Abbott, and they eventually marry. Phyllis discovers Sharon's affair with Brad, and blackmails her. During a cliffside photo shoot Phyllis threatens to tell Jack about the affair, triggering a fight. Sharon and her best friend Drucilla Winters (Victoria Rowell) fall from the cliff, and Drucilla dies. Sharon is found apparently dead, but she is revived. Nick is later presumed dead after his plane crashes; he returns with amnesia (thinking he is still married to Sharon), regains his memory and returns to Phyllis. Jack, Phyllis, Nick and Sharon develop a magazine, Restless Style; however, clashes among the four drive Jack and Sharon from the company. In October 2008, Sharon and Nick meet in Paris; they kiss on a bridge, and Phyllis sees them. Sharon divorces Jack because his dishonesty; she and Nick make love at the Abbott cabin. Confused, Sharon spirals out of control; she develops kleptomania and has a brief affair with Jack's brother, Billy (Billy Miller). Sharon becomes pregnant; Nick goes back and forth between her and Phyllis, choosing Phyllis when Sharon lies about Jack being the father of the child. Sharon checks herself into a psychiatric hospital after her kleptomania becomes uncontrollable. She gives birth to a baby girl, Faith, who is stolen by Adam Newman (Nick's brother) and given to Jack's sister Ashley (Eileen Davidson) after he caused her miscarriage. Believing her baby is dead, Sharon grows close to Adam (who bonds with her out of guilt). Sharon and Adam are married, but when the truth about Faith is revealed the marriage ends. Several months later, Sharon shoots Adam when he tries to visit her at the Abbott cabin (mistaking him for a burglar); he survives. Nick and Sharon briefly reunite, but break up again when she cheats on him with Adam (who follows her to New Orleans).
Adam is convicted for the murder of his ex-wife, Skye Newman (Laura Stone). Sharon tries to help him, but is arrested for murder after finding Skye in Hawaii (where Skye fell into a volcano). After escaping and returning (after several months of being thought dead), Sharon is acquitted. She then dedicates herself to Victor, who is in jail protecting Nikki from a murder charge. Victor marries Sharon platonically to protect his assets, although the marriage is annulled two weeks later. Adam is believed to be permanently blind after an attack by Patty Williams, and Sharon helps him recover. They reunite, but more of his past schemes are revealed. After another nervous breakdown and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder (which made her remarry Victor and take over Newman Enterprises), Sharon is re-hired at Newman as vice president for research and development. Adam is shot saving Victor's life; before slipping into a coma he asks Sharon, his closest friend, to run Newman Enterprises. Sharon again becomes CEO of the company, angering the Newman's. She leaves the company upon Victor's return to run the company with Adam. Victor forces Adam, who is engaging in a sexual relationship with Sharon, to stop seeing her.
In 2013, it is revealed that the paternity test conducted in 2006 was inconclusive. A second paternity test was run by Nick and the results show that Jack is Summer's father. However, Sharon now wants Nick back, and tampers with the test results, allowing everyone to believe Jack is now the father of Summer. Phyllis ultimately hears Sharon confessing to this at Cassie's gave, resulting in an altercation between the two and ending with Phyllis falling down a flight of stairs, and into a coma. Noah discovers that Sharon is off her medication, attributing to her erratic behavior. Sharon realizes that she needs help, and soon begins taking new medication. She is hired by Jabot Cosmetics to mentor younger models. Sharon later undergoes electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) to stop experiencing visions of Cassie; which in reality is actually a Cassie lookalike named Mariah Copeland (Camryn Grimes) hired by Victor to haunt her. After the ECT, Sharon loses her memories of switching Summer's paternity results and witnessing Phyllis fall. By this point, Nick and Sharon have resumed their romantic relationship. After Victor's gaslighting of Sharon is exposed, Sharon becomes drawn to Mariah; inviting her to live with her family and having Nick hire her for a job at his club. Sharon throws Mariah out after realizing that Mariah has been trying to seduce Nick away from her. Simultaneously, Nick does some investigating and discovers that Mariah is Cassie's twin sister, and Sharon had no knowledge of giving birth to twins. Soon, Nick and Sharon are engaged; but their wedding is interrupted by a now awakened Phyllis (Gina Tognoni), who walks in and collapses. Soon, Phyllis makes Sharon remember switching the test, and her engagement to Nick ends. A furious Nick sues Sharon for full custody of Faith and wins.
Despite her crimes and faults, Global TV describes Sharon as a central heroine who has endured many challenges to get to where she is. In an early observation of the character, Kathleen Sloan of the Toronto Star noted that Sharon's "angelic demeanor" could mask a "devil in disguise". Tommy Garrett of Canyon News describes Sharon as an "ever-suffering heroine, who can't find a break in life", stating that she has "faced it all". In 2009, Luke Kerr of Daytime Confidential noted that all of Sharon's love interests—including Jack, Brad and Nicholas—"seem to think" that she is "the perfect woman". Jamey Giddens (also from Daytime Confidential) described her as soap operas' "hottest mess".
During Maria Arena Bell's tenure as executive producer and head writer, the character's storyline underwent a change in creative direction, inciting unfavorable reviews. Bell had promised to make the character into a "stronger woman", but Jillian Bowe of Daytime Confidential criticized Bell for not living up to her pledge: "Has transforming Sharon into a promiscuous, recovering kleptomaniac, who never considers what her sexual choices will mean for her children, really made her stronger in [Bell]'s eyes?" She also contended that the beloved character was being "utterly assassinated, via one ill-conceived storyline and/or romance after another". Michael Logan of TV Guide noted that the character turned from heroine to a "psycho slut-nut" when she's "not channeling Joan Crawford in the Pepsi board room." Another writer from Daytime Confidential praised Case for giving "one wonky storyline after another" her best efforts in a character that was "once beloved" but had been "royally assassinated". A September 2012 scene (in which Sharon wore white to husband Victor's funeral) was described by co-star Joshua Morrow as "one of the best and funniest scenes" in the show's history. Tommy Garrett of Canyon News wrote, "Maria Bell knows that consummate actress Sharon Case plays the consummate heroine Sharon Newman with aplomb." By the end of 2012, Aaron Hagey-MacKay of GlobalTV compared the "tortured soul" of Sharon to the character Nicole Walker on Days of Our Lives, writing: "Who had it worse this year, Sharon or Nicole?"
Following the character's diagnosis with bipolar disorder, her switching Summer's paternity test was heavily criticized by critics, who felt that the character still had not been repaired. About.com listed the paternity twist as one of the worst storylines of 2013 on the soap opera. Sara Bibel of Xfinity slammed Josh Griffith's writing, stating that he "undid all his great work rehabilitating the character of Sharon" in a "character-destroying" storyline. Garrett (writing for Highlight Hollywood this time), who has noted Case as "the show's best actress", was livid with Jill Farren Phelps, the executive producer of The Young and the Restless, claiming Sharon to be the latest in a line of "strong female characters, or popular female actors" to be destroyed by Phelps. Garrett strongly opposed to Sharon being turned into a villain "with no good reason", and labeled Phelps a female misogynist. Soap Opera Digest listed the character of Sharon as the "Most Ruined" soap opera character in both 2012 and 2013, while in turn praising the performance of Case. In December 2014, Daytime Confidential described Sharon as one of the most "drastically damaged" characters in the history of the soap opera genre, and wrote, "You name it, one head writer or another has had her do it. Kleptomania. Three baby daddies. Bipolar disorder. It was almost like a reward was passed out in the Y&R writing room anytime anyone came up with something more awful to have Sharon do."
The relationship between Sharon and Nick relationship is popular with viewers, and they are considered a prominent soap-opera supercouple. The pair are known by the portmanteau "Shick" in social media. Kim Potts of The Huffington Post ranked Nick and Sharon 16th on a list of "Greatest Soap Opera Supercouples". Potts observed that although they have not become "enduring love", a reunion is "always a possibility". SoapNet reported that with their anticipated reunion in February 2009, the show gained an average of 447,000 viewers, boosting the show to nearly 5.7 million viewers and a 4.0 household rating. Sharon's romance with Adam has also gained a fan following, and they are known as "Shadam" in social media. The couple are perceived as "showing us the many shades of love. In this case, mostly dark", according to SoapNet. The show gained 115,000 viewers after their reunion in December 2010. In 2012, Sharon's romance with Victor was the source of disapproval from actors, critics and viewers. Of the relationship, journalist Michael Fairman said it "hasn’t worked out or caught fire through the writing, or with the fans watching on-screen!" Several cast members expressed negative opinions about the relationship, including Case, Braeden, Morrow, and Muhney. Daytime Confidential placed Sharon and Victor atop its "Worst Soap Opera Couples" list for that year.
Case has received a number of honors for her portrayal of Sharon, including Daytime Emmy Award nominations in 1996 and 1997 for Outstanding Younger Actress. At the Soap Opera Digest Awards in 1998, she won the Hottest Female Star award. In 1999 she won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, her first nomination in that category; she was nominated for the same category in 2000 and 2004. At the 2003 Soap Opera Digest Awards, Case received an Outstanding Supporting Actress nomination. Cassie's 2005 death storyline (with parents Sharon and Nicholas coping afterwards) earned the show a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team. The death of Cassie Newman is rated number 41 on Soaphunks' list of "100 Most Memorable Moments In Soap History". Dan J. Kroll of Soap Central noted that it had "widely been expected" that Morrow and Case would receive nominations for Outstanding Leading Actress and Actor at the 33rd Daytime Emmy Awards; however, they were not. Despite this, Grimes was nominated for the Outstanding Younger Actress award.
In January 2011, a Daytime Emmy Awards "final push" by Canyon News suggested that Case's performance needed more Emmy attention. Soap Opera Digest praised Phyllis finding the evidence that freed Sharon from prison in 2011, writing: "The twist that Phyl hijacked the glory from both Adam and estranged sister Avery was downright delicious—and made Sharon beholden her worst enemy. The cherry on top? Sharon giving Adam an overdue verbal beatdown. Justice has finally been served." Case's performance in 2012, described as a "whirlwind year", was met with critical acclaim due to writing by Bell (which, in turn, was criticized). On-Air On-Soaps commented, "Surviving probably one of the worst on-screen character assassinations in soap opera history, which virtually left viewers wondering, what the heck are the writers doing to the integrity of Sharon Newman, the once befallen heroine of Genoa City?, Case rebounded by making her performances noteworthy, no matter what the creative teams decided to do to her character." This led Soap Opera Uncensored to name her Entertainer of the Year in January 2013.
In other media
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