Brenda hasn’t been on GENERAL HOSPITAL for years but as one of the soap’s most popular and iconic characters, fans won’t soon forget her! The character made her debut in 1992 and was played by Vanessa Marcil until 1998. She had another run from 2002-03 that earned her the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress. In 2010, Brenda returned to GH for another stint that lasted until July 21. The last time Marcil reprised her role was in 2013 for the soap’s 50th anniversary, but who knows what the future holds?
Brenda Barrett fell in love with mobster Sonny Corinthos but despite warnings about how dangerous he is, she refused to listen. Brenda agreed to wear a wire believing she could prove everyone wrong, but when Sonny found out, he kicked her out. Brenda desperately tried to win Sonny back but once she got him to admit his feelings for her, his wife, Lily, discovered she was pregnant. As Sonny dedicated himself to his family, Brenda found comfort with Jasper “Jax” Jacks, who quickly urged her to become his wife. She and Jax tied the knot on the same day that Sonny lost his wife to a car bomb.
After mourning Lily, Sonny became determined to win Brenda back, but she wanted to remain faithful to her husband. So Sonny showed that their marriage was invalid by bringing Jax’s presumed-dead wife, Miranda, to Port Charles. Later, Brenda was abducted and when Sonny rescued her they found themselves trapped together in a cave where they finally confessed their love for each other. Brenda was so torn between the two men in her life that in the end, she left them both because she couldn’t decide.
Eventually, Sonny and Brenda found their way back to each other and he eventually proposed. Brenda was delighted, believing they would marry and leave Port Charles and the mob behind, but on their wedding day, Sonny realized Brenda would never be safe with him and sent Jason Morgan to tell her he’d left town. Distraught, Brenda found herself at loose ends and Jax tried to comfort her and get her to move past Sonny. Over time, she came to realize Jax was the best choice and despite Sonny showing up as they were getting married, Brenda became Mrs. Jacks again. When her estranged mother, Veronica Wilding arrived and revealed she had a mental illness, Brenda worried it could be hereditary. But before she could get the test results, Veronica drove her and Brenda off a cliff and they were presumed dead.
In 2002, it was revealed that Luis Alcazar had rescued Brenda from the water and cared for her before bringing her back to Port Charles. But jealous of her relationships with Sonny and Jax, he plotted to kill them. Learning his plans, Brenda escaped and arranged for Sonny to meet her at the church where they were to marry. Sonny was stunned to see Brenda alive, but she was horrified as he was shot multiple times! She managed to warn Jax, but Alcazar still shot and paralyzed him. Brenda helped Jax recover, which made his wife, Skye Quartermaine, jealous. Brenda assured her it was fine as she was dying of her mother’s illness, but that turned out not to be true.
Not wanting to hurt Jax, Brenda got Jason to agree to marry her, which he did to keep her away from Sonny, who was now married to Carly Benson. When Alcazar was killed, Brenda and Jason were arrested for his murder but soon cleared. As she was preparing to marry Jax again, Brenda forgave Sonny for leaving her waiting at the altar years ago and they shared a passionate kiss which Jax later learned of. So at the wedding, instead of saying “I do,” he dumped her. Crushed, Brenda decided to leave Port Charles and Jason took her to the airport to escape.
In 2010, Brenda was in Italy living the life of a supermodel but when The Balkan’s thugs tried to kill her, Sonny and Jason brought her back to Port Charles. There she was surprised to run into Dante Falconeri and it was revealed that they knew each other back in New York City when he was hired to guard her and when she shot The Balkan’s son dead as he tried to attack her, he helped her hide Aleksander’s body. They also discussed a baby, which she admitted she had lost.
Sonny proposed, and Brenda was thrilled to finally become his wife. At the ceremony, Brenda came clean before Carly could and told Sonny about the baby. Dante interjected that he claimed paternity but it was not his child. Brenda started to walk away, but Sonny stopped her and they exchanged vows. After the wedding, Brenda was believed killed in the exploding limousine, but she had actually been abducted by The Balkan, who had been posing as her attorney, Theo Hoffman! He demanded to know what happened to her and Aleksander’s child but she insisted she didn’t know. Sonny was able to rescue her and they went on their honeymoon.
Brenda was thrilled when The Balkan’s wife, Suzanne, returned the presumed-dead Lucian to her and she quickly bonded with her son. However, it turned out he was a decoy so Suzanne could spend the rest of her life with her real grandson, Alec. After returning Lucian to his real family and getting Alec away from Suzanne, Brenda struggled to connect with her real son. She and Alec were shot at by mobsters and Sonny was framing Jax to hurt his chances to take custody of Josslyn away from Carly, so Brenda decided to cut her losses and leave town to protect her son. Sonny asked her to reconsider, but she returned her rings and gave a note to Robin to give to Sonny when the time was right. Jax flew Brenda and Alec to Rome.
In 2013, Brenda attended the annual Nurses Ball but first paid a visit to Sonny. He assumed she wanted to get back together, but she informed him that ship had sailed and that she was engaged to re-marry Jax. But Carly overheard their conversation and told Jax that Brenda still wanted Sonny back, so he called off the engagement. After being kicked out of the ball for fighting with Carly, Brenda pretended to have a one-night stand with a drunken Michael to get back at her. Before leaving, she asked Sonny to join her and Alec in Rome, but he decided they both needed time to heal.