The Young & Restless Death That Turned Camryn Grimes’ World Upside-Down: ‘I Had Essentially a Midlife Crisis’

When The Young and the Restless killed off Sharon and Nick's beloved teenage daughter, it hit the audience hard — but it got to Camryn Grimes even harder. However, "it didn't hit me until much, much later," she tells Soap Opera Digest.

Before the heart-wrenching scenes were taped in 2015, "I knew it was coming," says the Emmy winner, who now plays Cassie's twin sister, Mariah. "But I was 15. You can't emotionally prepare for something like that even if you think that you can." One day, you're getting up and going to work like always, and the next… nope, you're going to school instead. "There's nothing that can prepare you for that at that age."

Not even the reactions of her on-screen nearest and dearest. "People were treating me like I was dying," Grimes recalls. "In all fairness, that's what it felt like to them. I'd been on the show for 10 years at that point. I'd grown up with these people."

At first, the youngster tried to embrace her freedom. For instance, after watching an episode of The Ashlee Simpson Show, "I realized I'd never dyed my hair in my life," she says. So she did just that, turning her trademark red mane jet black. "Not a good look. Dark hair, super pale, lotsa freckles… Doesn't work.

"I was completely in disarray," she continues. "I had essentially a midlife crisis at 15… I really had to reckon with, 'Do I want to do this? Did I just stumble into it? Am I any good at it?'"

Looking back, Grimes calls it "a very traumatic and chaotic year." But it was also one in which she learned a lot not only about herself but about the industry and how to attain longevity in it. Speaking of which, if you check out the photo gallery below, you'll be reminded of a whole host of other soap stars who grew up before our eyes on screen.