Because the news that Kelly Thiebaud was leaving GENERAL HOSPITAL broke at the same time that it was reported that she was returning to STATION 19 to play Eva Vasquez again, many fans assumed she was quitting the soap for the primetime series. But that is not actually what inspired her decision.
“I don’t know what it was about that Deadline article that made people think I was leaving for that show,” Thiebaud admitted in a recent issue of Soap Opera Digest. “Honestly, I probably would have been able to do both if that was the case, because it’s on the same network and Frank [Valentini, GH’s executive producer] is so incredible and always wants to try and help his actors. But that had absolutely nothing to do with it.”
In fact, there are multiple reasons that factored into her decision to say goodbye to Port Charles, one of whom is her British beau, PJ Harrison. “I’m in love and have been doing long-distance for almost a year now and my partner cannot move to the States at the moment,” the actress explained. But also, I am very interested in doing other things with my career.
“As much as I love Britt and I love the fans and I love working on GH,” Thiebaud continued, “I just felt like I had to leave and go and pursue those other dreams and goals of mine, because being [on GH full time] doesn’t really allow the flexibility to do other projects. So those were the two biggest factors in my decision.”
Thiebaud first joined the cast of GH as Dr. Britt Westbourne back in September 2012, and the schemer quickly became a fan favorite among viewers. Although she exited in 2014 to explore other opportunities, the actress returned numerous times to reprise the role over the years, even earning the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2022.
Although Thiebaud’s most recent return in 2020 was meant to be another temporary stint, Britt’s budding romance with Jason inspired her to stick around longer. “I was very clear with the writers and Frank about that,” she revealed. “We were all really excited to go on this journey.” Unfortunately, Steve Burton leaving GH for refusing to follow the vaccine mandate set down by the network put the kibosh on that particular storyline. “But it was always going to be a temporary thing for me because I really want to do films and theater and all sorts of other things,” she clarified.
Sadly, this particular exit is a lot more permanent than her previous ones, with Britt tragically dying in the Jan. 4 episode, something that was heavily discussed ahead of time. “In the soap world, you can still come back after you die,” Thiebaud noted, “and who knows what will happen in 10 years. But for me, really wanting to move on in my creative experiences and in my life, I needed to feel like this was the end and that’s why we all kind of decided on her dying.”
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