As soon as Nell Hayes first appeared on GENERAL HOSPITAL, she became a character fans loved to hate. And that was before it was revealed her real name was Nell Benson, tying her to Carly! The character was played by Chloe Lanier, who was already familiar to GH viewers as she’d appeared in a special anniversary episode in 2015 as a young Pat Spencer. Lanier’s first run lasted from August 2016 until August 2018. She then returned later that year for brief appearances in October, November, and December. Lanier reprised the role again in June 2019, lasting until the character was killed off in September 2020. However, in September 2022, Lanier returned again, though it was just for one episode.
Nelle Hayes arrived in Port Charles looking for Carly Corinthos and Michael Corinthos initially assumed she was applying to be Avery’s babysitter. But Nelle informed Carly that she’d seen the article in Crimson about her daughter’s kidney transplant, and believed she was Josslyn Jacks‘ donor. She explained how her parents had sold her kidney when she was a child, and the timeline matched Joss’ transplant, but Carly and Jasper “Jax” Jacks were skeptical as they suspected Nelle was after Carly’s money. After tests were run, however, they confirmed that Nelle’s story was the truth.
Carly hired Nelle to be Avery’s nanny, but her mother, Bobbie Spencer, was still suspicious of the girl’s true motives and stepped in to take care of Avery herself. So Carly instead hired Nelle to work for her at the Metro Court. After catching Carly and Jax kissing, Nelle rushed to tell Sonny Corinthos, then drugged him so that he woke up in bed with her and she led him to believe they’d slept together! She also secretly recorded their conversation to use later to destroy Carly’s life.
Michael urged Nelle to give up on her anger and focus on her future, so she decided to stop scheming so they could be happy together. But when she tried to destroy the recording, Bobbie confronted her about her lies and schemes. During a big blow-out, Nelle confessed that her last name is really Benson, and she’s the daughter of Carly’s adoptive father, Frank Benson! She blamed Carly for contacting Frank to get a kidney for Josslyn, and refused to believe everyone trying to convince her it was Frank who ruined her life, not Carly.
After a later run-in with Jax where he showed her proof that it was all Frank’s doing, Nelle began her apology tour, assuring Sonny they’d never slept together and attempting to make things right with Carly, though she was still furious and kicked her out. Nina Reeves hired Nelle to be Charlotte Cassadine’s nanny. Michal was reluctant to give Nelle another chance, but after she was attacked by someone on the docks and nearly killed, he admitted that he still cared about her.
Bobbie and Carly were determined to keep Michael away from Nelle, but even the revelation that her former fiancé, Zach, had died in a mysterious boating accident could convince him he was in any danger. Detective Harrison Chase arrived in town and revealed that Nelle had seduced him to taint the case about Zach’s death and keep her out of trouble!
Nelle became pregnant with Michael’s baby, and knowing Carly still wanted to tear them apart, began gaslighting her into thinking her son, Morgan Corinthos, was haunting her from beyond the grave. This scheme climaxed when Nelle fell down the stairs during her baby shower at the Quartermaine mansion and claimed Carly had pushed her! With no way to prove her innocence, Carly reluctantly pled guilty by reason of insanity so she’d be locked up in Ferncliff instead of prison.
Nelle was thrilled when Michael popped the question, but what she didn’t realize was that he was secretly working with Chase to bring her down. After exchanging vows in Nelle’s hospital room, Michael got her to confess to her crimes in the car when she believed they were going to die. But then they got into an actual crash and she abandoned the car… and Michael! She gave birth in the woods with the help of Dr. Liesl Obrecht, who had just escaped a prison transport, and then gave her baby to Brad Cooper, whose adopted son, Wiley, had just passed away. At the hospital, Nelle let Michael believe their son had died, considering it her final act of revenge against the Corinthos family.
Evidence proving Nelle’s gaslighting of Carly finally surfaced, and Nelle was arrested and she decided to plead guilty. But before going off to prison, she taunted Michael that they’d always be connected, and warned Brad she might get out for good behavior. While in Pentonville, Nelle learned from fellow inmate Harmony that Shiloh was attempting to take custody of Wiley away from Brad and Lucas and nearly told Michael the truth about their son. But she decided to maintain the lie and asked Harmony to keep Shiloh away from the kid.
After failing to get parole, Nelle suggested to her attorney, Martin Grey, that if he could find another way to get her out of prison, she’d cut him in on the large sum of money she was about to get courtesy of her late husband. She then appeared at Shiloh’s memorial service, introducing herself as his widow! Finally out on parole, Nelle tried to become part of Wiley’s life and once the baby switch was finally revealed, tried to kidnap the little boy and skip town! Michael and Chase managed to stop her in time and she found herself behind bars again.
Nelle got parole again and set about getting custody of Wiley from Michael. She landed a job working for Nina at Crimson and hoped her boss would act as a character witness in court. But when Michael married Willow Tait to bolster his chances in court, Nelle blackmailed Julian Jerome into marrying her! Unfortunately, Nelle lost the custody case anyway, so she forced Julian to break into the Quartermaine mansion and abduct Wiley while everyone was at the Nurses Ball. He tried to turn the tables on her at the docks, but Marcus Taggert intervened, preventing Julian from shooting Nelle and allowing her to escape with the kid!
Michael was finally able to track Nelle down and confronted her at a cabin in the woods. When she took off, Carly gave chase and followed her to the edge of a cliff where Nelle had fallen and was clinging to the edge. Although Carly tried to help her up, Nelle fell into the darkness and a body was later found and identified as hers. In September 2022, Willow dreamed that Nelle had murdered Michael and Carly and Nelle then appeared to taunt Nina as she visited her daughter’s grave. Is she really gone forever?
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