Michael Baldwin is one of THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS’ top legal eagles, but newer viewers might not be aware that the edge he has today was much darker in the past! The character first appeared in November of 1991 and left in 1993, returning again in 1997 for a run that continues today. Michael has always been played by Christian LeBlanc, who has received multiple Daytime Emmy Award nominations over the years, taking home the trophy for Outstanding Lead Actor three times, in 2005, 2007, and 2009.
Michael first appeared as a hotshot attorney who took Christine Blair under his wing but then began making sexual advances on her. She filed sexual harassment charges and found out he had done this with other women as well. Michael tried to make himself look better by wooing and marrying one of those women, Hilary Lancaster, but when he took Christine on a business trip he tried to have sex with her and she caught it on tape. After being fired, Michael found work at another firm and claimed Christine had entrapped him. He also paid a woman, Rebecca, to interfere in Christine’s marriage to Danny, and when she threatened to blackmail him, Michael strangled her! Found guilty of sexual harassment, Michael lost his job and his wife, then left town. However, he secretly tunneled into Christine’s apartment and hid in her closet waiting to attack. Thankfully, Paul Williams was able to stop him in time, and Michael was sent to prison.
After four years, Michael returned, looking to take revenge on Christine. He represented Phyllis Summers in the custody battle over her son, Daniel, and also had a brief affair with her. He claimed to be a changed man and not only did he convince Christine to help him get his license reinstated, they even started a law practice together. However, her focus on work over family caused a rift in her marriage to Paul. He had an affair with Isabella Braña, and so did Michael, so when she got pregnant, she told him he was the babydaddy. Michael eventually warmed to the idea of being a dad, but then Paul found out the child was really his.
Michael moved on by growing closer to Christine, and although they were haunted by their past, she ultimately accepted his marriage proposal. However, she dumped him when Michael confessed to hiring Isabella to come between her and Paul. He found Isabella murdered, and Christine was the prime suspect. But it turned out she was really alive, and tried to kill Christine herself! Michael managed to rescue Paul and Christine, then stepped aside so they could finally be together.
The arrival of his brother, Kevin Fisher, turned Michael’s world upside down, and the family situation got even more complicated when their mother, Gloria, showed up, too! He fell in love with Victoria Newman, but she left town to get away from her family. Michael found new romance with Lauren Fenmore, and they tied the knot. A year later, they welcomed their son Fenmore “Fen” Baldwin. While dealing with defending plenty of folks in Genoa City, Michael also searched for and reunited with his father, River Baldwin. During this time he also met River’s daughter, his sister, Eden. Michael recused his wife from Sarah Smythe, Sheila Carter’s sister who had plastic surgery to look just like Lauren.
After being fired from Newman Enterprises, Michael became Genoa City’s new district attorney. Unfortunately, this meant he had to prosecute Fen after his son was accused of pushing Jamie Vernon off a roof (he was innocent — the kid had jumped). This also caused a strain in Lauren and Michael’s marriage, and she had a brief affair with Carmine Basco. After Carmine was found dead, Michael assumed Fen was guilty and covered for his son, landing himself in jail. Fen confessed to save his father, and Michael was able to discover Carmine was alive and in Witness Protection to help get Fen out of prison.
Wondering why his sex drive was so low, Michael went to the doctor and was stunned to learn he had prostate cancer. Although Lauren stood by her husband’s side, he grew jealous of her growing closeness to Cane Ashby. He demanded a divorce, but they eventually reconciled, and Michael’s cancer went into remission. Since then, Michael has found himself wrapped up in various legal issues in Genoa City, most recently defending Nikki Newman and Victoria when they were charged with murdering J.T. Hellstrom and covering up the crime.
Stay tuned to see how Michael’s story continues, and for more Y&R news, keep reading the CBS edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.