Ava Jerome has been through a lot on GENERAL HOSPITAL, and every time something awful happens to her, we are reminded that she’s a cat with quite a bit more than just the nine lives. Every time her back has been against the wall, she comes back fighting, and has survived everything… including being burned alive! Ava made her first appearance in May of 2013 when actress Maura West joined the cast of GH. West was previously best known to daytime fans for her Emmy-winning portrayal of AS THE WORLD TURNS’ Carly, though she also had a brief stint as THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS’ Diane in between ATWT and GH!
Ava is the daughter of the late mob boss, Victor Jerome, and his ex-mistress, Delia Ryan Coleridge (played by Ilene Kristen). She has a better relationship with her brother, Julian Jerome than her sister, Olivia Jerome, who returned from the dead hell-bent on taking revenge against her family!
Ava arrived in Port Charles hoping to get a share of ELQ since her daughter, Kiki Jerome, was fathered by Franco Baldwin, who was believed to be a Quartermaine at the time. But it turned out that Ava had been lying, and Dr. Silas Clay was actually Kiki’s real babydaddy. Kiki dumped Morgan Corinthos after learning he’d known the truth and kept it from her, and Ava was hated by everyone she’d deceived. So the two found comfort in each other as Ava and Morgan began an affair!
When Ava called Derek Wells Julian, it was revealed that he was really her brother, and the siblings joined forces to build the Jerome family back up in the Port Charles mob scene, targeting Sonny Corinthos for a big fall. When Sonny’s girlfriend, Connie Falconeri, was murdered, she scrawled “AJ” in blood, which many assumed to mean A.J. Quartermaine was her killer, but the initials actually stood for Ava Jerome!
When A.J. confronted Ava, Sonny walked in as he was strangling her and joined in the fight, ultimately shooting A.J. dead! Ava and Sonny bonded over their shared secret and after A.J.’s funeral, had sex together in the Quartermaine crypt. But when Sonny learned that Ava was Connie’s killer, she warned him he couldn’t kill her for revenge because she was pregnant and the baby was either his child or grandchild (she’d also been sleeping with Morgan, remember)!
While escaping Sonny’s men trying to kidnap her, Ava accidentally ran down Jason and nearly went into premature labor. She was able to carry to term, but upon giving birth to Avery, Nina Reeves abducted the child hoping to start a family with Franco! Once Avery was brought home safely, though, Ava was arrested for Connie’s murder. Oh, and by the way, the child turned out to be Sonny’s!
Ava nearly managed to escape from prison but was confronted by Carlos Rivera, who shot her. Sonny found her dangling from a bridge but refused to pull her up so she fell to her presumed death. Luckily, Silas had found her and secreted her away to nurse her back to health, though he discovered Ava had terminal leukemia and was forced to use Avery’s bone marrow to save her life.
Returning to town with dark hair and calling herself Denise DiMuccio, Ava was soon exposed but was able to avoid jail time when the tape of her killing Connie disappeared. Wanting custody of Avery, Ava entered into a long, ugly battle with Sonny and Carly over the little girl. When Kiki became involved again with Morgan, Ava tampered with his bipolar medication to cause trouble for them, but Morgan’s downward spiral led him to steal Julian’s car which exploded, killing him!
Having finally made progress with Sonny regarding custody arrangements for Avery, Ava scrambled to cover her tracks, but the truth finally came out, and Sonny and Carly confronted her after the Nurses Ball. Under pressure, Ava cracked and confessed to switching out Morgan’s meds and knocked over a lantern to start a fire. Unfortunately, Sonny and Carly managed to escape unscathed while Ava herself suffered horrible burns all over her body.
As she struggled with the guilt of what she’d done to Morgan and having her beauty scarred for life, Ava found a shoulder to cry on in Griffin Monroe. Valentin Cassadine offered Ava a way to restore her face at a shady clinic in Russia if she agreed not to testify against him in Nikolas’ murder, and she reluctantly agreed. But at the clinic, she met the mysterious Patient Six (who turned out to be Jason Morgan) and helped him escape so he could return home to his family in Port Charles. Griffin showed up in St. Petersburg to help Ava get out of there alive as well. Once back home, Ava’s appearance was slowly restored, and her relationship with Griffin heated up. In fact, after they slept together, he decided to leave the priesthood!
Unfortunately, while Ava tried to be a better person for Griffin, it wasn’t always possible, especially when battling Sonny over Avery’s custody arrangements. Things came to a head at the Nurses Ball when Ava dumped Griffin and he found comfort in Kiki’s arms! They both agreed to keep their one-night stand a secret, but it came out in court when Kiki was suing Dr. Bensch for sexual harrasment and Ava blew her top. She plotted revenge against them both, and while her schemes and manipulations didn’t have much effect on Griffin and Kiki’s budding romance, her new friend’s did! Ava had sought treatment from Dr. Kevin Collins, but didn’t realize he was secretly his evil twin, serial killer Ryan Chamberlain. And when she expressed her desire to see Kiki punished, Ava was horrified when her daughter was found dead!
Ava wanted revenge on her daughter’s killer and was shocked to eventually learn that she was literally sleeping with the enemy. After helping lure him out of hiding, Ava wanted to kill him, but Ryan’s kidney was needed to help save Jordan’s life so she only stabbed him in the back! Struggling to put her life back together, Ava regretted her decision to do a cover story interview for Crimson after the internet comments came flooding in. She sought out psychics to contact Kiki’s spirit and ended up receiving a ghostly visit from her late daughter that didn’t bring her any peace.
When she saw Nikolas on Halloween, Ava was convinced she was seeing ghosts again and committed herself to Shadybrook in order to finally receive therapy. But the actually alive Nik visited her there and tormented her into telling him the whereabouts of the portrait of Helena Cassadine everyone was after to locate the codicil to Mikkos’ will. Nina urged Ava to join her in bringing down the Cassadine men who had been lying to them. Ava auctioned off the portrait in her gallery, but after the winning bid was placed, the painting burst into flames! At Wyndemere for Valentin and Nina’s wedding ceremony, Ava found herself alone on the parapet with the groom, who insisted he tell her where the codicil is. When she refused, he pushed her over the edge into the water! Thankfully, Nikolas pulled her out of the drink and together they interrupted the ceremony to bring Valentin down.
Ava continued to work at her gallery, hiring Trina Robinson to work there as an intern. She also convinced Nikolas to marry her because she had the codicil and wanted to be a Cassadine. He agreed, but even though their union was a business arrangement, their agreement forbade either one of them from cheating with anyone else. Of course, there are enough sparks between them that Ava and Nik’s marriage of convenience could become the real thing!
Stay tuned to see how her story continues and for more GH news, keep reading the ABC edition of Soaps In Depth magazine!
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