Victoria Rowell and Kristoff St. John starred as beloved power couple Neil and Drucilla Winters from 1993 to 1998, and again from 2003 to 2007

By Aurelie Corinthios
February 06, 2019 02:49 PM
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Kristoff St. John‘s on-screen wife is speaking out after his unexpected death.

Victoria Rowell starred alongside St. John as the beloved power couple Neil and Drucilla Winters on The Young and the Restless from 1993 to 1998 and again from 2003 to 2007. She released a statement Wednesday, three days after the actor was found dead in his home at age 52.

“Kristoff was a joy. He lived for the day. He loved working in film, prime time and starring on The Young and the Restless,” said Rowell, 59. “He cared about preserving the African American legacy on the show and not being pigeon-holed into a Black storyline. Obviously, we coveted the Black family on Y&R, but we also coveted that we were crossovers. Proud we pulled in a huge audience, and a huge Black, female audience. We understood the gravity of what we were responsible for and he took that very seriously.”

“I shall forever cherish our private and professional time together,” she continued. “Now, is a time for reflection, to mourn his departure and celebrate his brilliance, permanently imprinted on my memory.”

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In an interview with TheGrio.com, Rowell said she and St. John “loved each other.”

“We stayed in touch over the years and we cared about each other,” she said. “I can’t discuss confidential matters that our beloved Kristoff may have shared with me. I will tell you that he took mental health issues very seriously, especially given the well-reported tragic incident of the loss of his and Mia’s son, Julian.”

St. John’s death came two weeks after he publicly mourned the loss of his son Julian with ex-wife Mia St. John. Julian, who struggled with mental illness, died by suicide four years ago at age 24.

St. John was found dead Sunday after police responded to his home for a possible alcohol overdose. A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner told PEOPLE that St. John was pronounced deceased at 4:02 p.m.

His autopsy was completed on Monday and a cause of death has been deferred pending additional results.

RELATED: Shemar Moore Tearfully Remembers Kristoff St. John: ‘He Embraced Me Like a Brother’

St. John’s final appearance on The Young and the Restless aired Wednesday on CBS. The network plans to air a special tribute to the late actor during Friday’s episode.

St. John is survived by his fiancée, Kseniya Mikhaleva, as well as daughter Paris with Mia and daughter Lola with ex-wife Allana Nadal.