It's been 20 years since Christel Khalil took on the role of The Young and the Restless' Lily Winters, and both the actress and the CBS soap opera are celebrating the milestone moment.
"Two decades of memories, and we cannot wait for many more to come!" Y&R tweeted along with a video of Khalil sharing her thanks with fans.
"I am celebrating 20 years as Lily Winters on The Young and the Restless, and I couldn't think of anyone I want to thank more than you, the fans, because through every romance, heartbreak, challenge, and success, you've been there with Lily -- and me -- through it all," Khalil enthuses in the special clip. "I am so grateful for all of your support the past two decades, and I cannot wait for you to see what's next."
In an interview with TV Insider, Khalil recalls her very first Y&R scene back in 2002, which she shared with Victoria Rowell (ex-Drucilla Winters).
"I remember being nervous and wanting to do a good job," she says. "My first few years, it was about introducing the character. I was a kid. I wasn't quite old enough to be a part of the teen storylines."
That all changed, however, when the actress became a young woman. "Around 15 or 16, I did the chlamydia storyline with Greg Rikaart [Kevin Fisher]. It was a great storyline and I think they did it really well," she shares. "I remember doing PSAs [public service announcements] after shooting scenes related to the chlamydia storyline. It was great working with Greg and it was the first time I got a Daytime Emmy nomination. I submitted the scenes where Lily told her parents what had happened with Kevin."
The actress also opens up about working with Kristoff St. John (ex-Neil Winters), who at one point was her on-screen father (until it was revealed that Shemar Moore's Malcolm was Lily's biological father).
"Kristoff was an amazing person who made everyone feel special. He was always so jovial no matter what was going on," she says. "He was so present and he made you feel like you were the only person in the room. He was a really great guy and he was incredibly silly. I'm not sure people knew that about him. He was playing jokes all the time. He had terrible dad jokes."
Khalil also remembers her former Y&R romantic partner Daniel Goddard (Cane Ashby), with whom she shared the screen for years.
"I was 19 when Lily was paired with Cane. I was still a kid. Daniel was a man about to have a baby. It was different at first. We met in the middle pretty quickly," she says with a laugh, adding that she's forever grateful for the fan support of the fictional couple. "I saw in the magazines that they were the number one couple. They were favorites. It was so crazy. I was happy that people really liked them."
Lily is now paired with Jason Thompson's Billy Abbott, and the actress says it's a relationship that she's happy to keep exploring.
"I was really excited when I learned I'd be working with him. I'm a fan of his work and I'm excited to try something new with a new character," she says. "I like Lily being involved in the business side and also working with Jess [Walton, Jill Abbott]. I'm really happy people like their relationship. We'll see where it goes... Hopefully, we can keep everyone interested!"
Would you like to wish Christel Khalil a happy 20th anniversary as Y&R's Lily? What are your favorite moments from the actress' two decades in Genoa City? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.