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Brenda Barrett
General Hospital
Portrayed by Vanessa Marcil
Duration 1992-98, 2002-03, 2010-11, 2013
First appearance September 18, 1992
Last appearance April 23, 2013
Cause/reason Went back to Rome
Created by Maralyn Thoma
Introduced by Wendy Riche (1992)
Jill Farren Phelps (2002, 2010)
Frank Valentini (2013)
Book appearances Robin's Diary
The Secret Life
Previous legal name(s) Brenda Jacks
Brenda Morgan
Brenda Corinthos
Namesake(s) Veronica Wilding
Nickname(s) The Divine One (by Spinelli)
Gender Female
Born April 1, 1975
Age 45
Education Attended PC High
Occupation Model
Residence Rome, Italy

Brenda Veronica Barrett is a fictional character on the ABC soap opera General Hospital. She is the mother of Alec Scott with the late mobster, Aleksander Janáček.

The role was originated in 1992 by Vanessa Marcil. Brenda was on-screen from 1992-98 and made three returns in 2002, 2010 and 2013.


Actress Vanessa Marcil premiered in the role of Brenda on General Hospital in September 1992. She remained with the series for six years before departing in September 1998. In May 2002, it was announced that Marcil would return to the series as Brenda Barrett.[3] Her return, however, was cut short when in January 2003 it was announced that Marcil was leaving the series once again, this time over contract disputes.[4]

In an interview with TV Guide, Marcil stated:

When I signed a short-term deal last summer, I made it clear I'd have to see how my son responded to my going back to work. And he hasn't responded well. I'm really disappointed to be leaving, but I guess ABC's not willing to compromise on the things I need. I have a lot more needs now that I have a child, and they need what they need to run a show smoothly.

Marcil's last airdate aired on February 19, 2003. In the next few years following her exit, rumors continued to appear concerning Marcil's return on the Internet, with nothing of truth coming to them. During her stint on the NBC series Las Vegas, Internet rumors began to heat up over a possible reprival of Brenda Barrett. However, following another season pick up in 2007, Marcil's reps said that she could not reprise, due to be contractually obligated to the NBC series. Fan rumors persisted, with speculation of a possible recast in talks on Internet message boards. Such actresses as Gina Tognoni (Dinah Marler, GL; Kelly Cramer, OLTL) and Rebecca Budig (Greenlee Smythe, AMC) were rumored to be up for a recast however no truth came to such rumors.

In early 2008, then-executive producer Robert Guza, Jr. confirmed to Soap Opera Digest that he was in close talks with Marcil to reprise her role of Brenda. Guza stated:[5] I'm in very close contact with [Vanessa]. She wants to make it happen. I would do handstands to make it happen. Fans were disappointed once again in 2008, when following the cancellation of Las Vegas, Marcil landed two primetime acting jobs; a role on the NBC series Lipstick Jungle and as a host on the reality series Blush: The Search for the Next Great Make-Up Artist on Lifetime.[5]

In January 2009, Marcil told her fans that she was trying to make a return to General Hospital work. In a statement to Soap Opera Digest, she stated:[6] We're trying to make it work again. We were trying to fit it in this past year, but it didn't work out, so maybe in '09 we'll find a way. However, a mere two weeks later, such "talks" were muted when Marcil landed the recurring role as Kim Marcus on the CBS primetime series Without a Trace. She premiered in the role on March 17, 2009.[7] In early January 2010, the series confirmed they were back in-talks with Marcil to reprise the role of Brenda Barrett. Guza commented:[8] We have actually been in contact with Vanessa, and there is interest on both parts in seeing Brenda return.

Three months later, rumors began heating up that Marcil was closer than ever towards a return to Port Charles and Brenda Barrett.[9] On June 7, 2010, after seven years of speculation, ABC announced that Marcil had signed a one-year contract with the series to reprise the role of Brenda Barrett on General Hospital.[10][11] When asked why she decided to return to the series, Marcil stated:[12]

Because it feels so right. A lot's been going on. We found out that my older sister, Sherry, has breast cancer. We've bought a farm in upstate New York and she and I went up there to spend a week together before she had to start her chemo, and it got me thinking about how grateful I am to GH for giving me pretty much everything I have. [Head writer] Bob Guza and I got back in touch again during that time. I told him I wanted to settle down for a while so that I could be available to my sister and my family, and that maybe during that time I could come in and out at GH for a couple of days a week. I called [ABC Daytime chief] Brian Frons and asked him if he would have me back, and he was gracious enough to say yes. I just couldn't feel any more grateful that I'm still allowed to visit such a great place. I love that Julianne Moore went back to As the World Turns to honor where she came from. It's important to do that. I left GH for a few different reasons, but it was never because I wasn't madly in love with the show and the character and with daytime.

During an interview in February 2011, Marcil revealed she'd entertain signing another one-year contract if it worked with her scheduling and family life.[13] On June 7, 2011, it was announced that Marcil would once again vacate the role of Brenda.[14][15][16] Marcil departed General Hospital again on July 21, 2011.[17]

It was announced on March 5, 2013 that Marcil would once again reprise her role as Brenda for the series' 50 anniversary celebration.[18][19]


Brenda Veronica Barrett is born to Harlan Barrett and his former lover, Veronica Wilding, on March 31, 1975,[20] the birth celebrated on-screen April 5.[21] In 1992, the 17-year-old drops out of boarding school and turns up on the doorstep of her older sister, Julia. Julia has been blocking Brenda’s access to her trust fund until she agrees to finish school. She later moves in with Jagger Cates and clashes with Karen Wexler, who is in love with Jagger. Brenda also becomes best friends with Robin Scorpio.


1992 teens

The 1992 teens: Jason, Brenda, A.J., Robin, Jagger, and Karen

In 1992, 17 year-old Brenda moved to Port Charles to live with her sister Julia Barrett after she dropped out of boarding school. She lived with Jagger Cates for a while and became very good friends with Robin Scorpio. Brenda developed a rivalry with Karen Wexler due to Karen's relationship with Jagger. She eventually moved into the Quartermaine mansion upon invitation by Lila Quartermaine where she was much beloved. Brenda and mobster Sonny Corinthos shared an instant attraction when they met in 1993. She helped Sonny after he was shot breaking Frank Smith out of jail. Brenda's friends told her Sonny was in the mob, but she didn't believe them. She wore a wire to prove otherwise. Lily Rivera told Sonny what Brenda was doing. He and Brenda had a very angry, emotional split, which devastated her.

20100715 VMarcil Party1992 633x445

Teenage Brenda

Although Sonny was angry at her, she was eventually able to convince him to leave his wife Lily for her. When Sonny tried to end his marriage, Lily told him she was pregnant. Brenda knew she had lost him. Brenda moved on by marrying a widower, Jasper Jacks. However, the marriage proved to be invalid when Jax's previous wife, Miranda, turned out to be alive. Lily was killed in a car explosion, but Brenda remained with Jax. After she was kidnapped to draw Sonny into a trap, she and Sonny were trapped together in a cave. They expressed their feelings and made love which Brenda later admitted to Jax. They ended their relationship because Brenda could not decide between he and Sonny. When Brenda reunited with Sonny, Lily's father, Rivera, attempted to frame Brenda for the murder of Dr. Pierce Dorman. Rivera had been believed dead.


Brenda and Jax

Sonny eventually killed him in self defense, clearing Brenda of all charges. Brenda was ecstatic when Sonny asked her to marry him and leave Port Charles and the mob behind. On their wedding day, Brenda walked down the aisle with no groom at the end. Sonny, believing he could not protect her, sent Jason Morgan to the church to tell Brenda that he had left without her. Brenda was deeply hurt and hated Jason for agreeing to do this for Sonny. She moved back in with the Quartermaines for a period and then lived with Jax as friends while he helped her deal with Sonny's betrayal. Brenda's mental state deteriorated and she was institutionalized. She regained her strength and decided she wanted to be with Jax, not Sonny. She and Jax planned to marry, and upon Sonny's return, he realized she had moved on. When Brenda's mother, Veronica, showed up in Port Charles, Brenda was tested for a hereditary mental illness that Veronica had. Veronica drove Brenda and herself over a cliff, and they were presumed dead. After Brenda's "death," Jax burned the test results without reading them.

Brenda returned to Port Charles in September 2002. She was staying with an arms dealer named Luis Alcazar who had rescued her from the water after her accident with Veronica. Alcazar told Brenda she had Veronica's mental condition and that he would care for her during the remainder of her life. Jealous of her past relationships, Alcazar planned the murders of Sonny and Jax. Brenda discovered Alcazar's murderous intentions and escaped from him. She had someone call Sonny to a meeting at St. Timothy's without telling him it was she who he was to meet there. Brenda stepped out of the church and into the rain, coming face to face with a shocked Sonny. She then watched in horror as Sonny was shot multiple times. Jason arrived to find Brenda crying next to Sonny, who ordered Jason to take her to safety. Brenda blamed herself for Sonny's "death" and tried to escape the house Jason took her to so she could warn Jax.

When Jason left Sonny's accountant to watch her, Brenda escaped and went to Jax's wedding to Skye Quartermaine. Jax was shocked to see Brenda, who warned him about Alcazar's plan. Alcazar was able to find them and shoot Jax. Jax survived and Sonny arrived and shot Alcazar. He explained to Brenda that he faked his death in order to get to Alcazar. Jax was paralyzed, and Brenda decided to help him in his recovery while telling his new wife that she was dying and would not interfere with their marriage. However, Jax and Brenda grew closer, and Skye discovered that Brenda did not have her mother's fatal mental illness. Brenda became worried about her closeness with Jax and blackmailed Jason into marrying her. Jason agreed only to prevent Brenda from reuniting with Sonny, who was married to Carly. Alcazar, who also survived his bullet wound, convinced Skye to help him kidnap Brenda. He took Brenda away on a plane with Sonny hidden onboard. The plane crashed and they all survived but were stranded in the jungle.

Jason and Carly rescued Sonny and Brenda, and Jax discovered Alcazar's lie. Jax left Skye because she kept the truth about Brenda's illness and he soon found Brenda to tell her she was not dying and profess his love for her.When Alcazar was murdered, an angry Skye lied that Brenda killed him. Jason and Brenda were arrested, and although Jax attempted to take the fall, charges against him were dropped. Although Brenda and Jason constantly bickered and fought, they decided not to get an annulment so that they would not be forced to testify against each other during the murder trial. Jax wanted Brenda to flee, but she refused to let Jason face the charges alone. When seemingly damning evidence surfaced against Brenda, she pleaded with Jason to leave the country with her, but they ultimately decided to stay. New evidence kept Brenda and Jason from being convicted and sent to jail. Brenda and Jason left the country to have their marriage annulled, however, she convinced Jason to get the annulment back in Port Charles where it would take longer because she was not ready to marry Jax.

When she felt she was ready, Brenda and Jason, with a new understanding of each other, had their marriage annulled. Brenda ran into Sonny on the docks the night before her wedding to Jax. She forgave him for leaving her at the altar years before and told him she understood why before they shared a steamy goodbye kiss. Sonny's wife Carly witnessed the kiss. At the altar with Jax the next day, he responded "I don't" when prompted by the priest to say "I do." Brenda was confused, but Jax explained that he knew about her kiss and that he did not trust her not to cheat on him with Sonny. Brenda ran into Sonny after Jax left her and told him of her breakup. He revealed that Carly had also left him. Upon returning to his penthouse, Jason found a crying Brenda with all her things packed. She decided to leave Port Charles and Jason took her to the airport.

Before Jason left her there, Brenda told him that he deserved to be happy more than anyone she knew.[22] While waiting alone for her flight, Brenda reminisced with a smile about her time with Sonny and Jax. In late 2007, after a nasty fight with Carly, Jax disappeared to Europe. Carly did some snooping and discovered that Jax had flown to Rome to see Brenda.

On the General Hospital spin-off General Hospital: Night Shift, one storyline surrounds a woman visiting from Europe–- Brenda lives in Italy. The dark-haired woman has an accident at her hotel and then suffers from severe burns when the ambulance she’s in explodes.

When the patient’s heart stops, she is sent to the hospital morgue, but she regains consciousness. The woman's face remains bandaged and she is on bed rest until the season finale. In the final episode, the woman flirts with Spinelli without showing her face.

Later, she watches as Jason and Robin share an embrace. The unknown woman leaves, revealing a tattoo similar to the one Brenda has on her lower back. Although the name "Barrett" was shown, the woman is never explicitly stated to be Brenda.


Brenda and Sonny reunite in Rome after 7 years.

On August 11, 2010, Brenda appears on-screen in Italy now a world famous supermodel and the face of the Alliance to Save Exploited Children. She is at a press conference and just before she steps on stage, a man tries to kill her. Brenda's bodyguards stop him before he reaches her and Brenda finally faces the crowd with tears in her eyes. Brenda is shocked to see Sonny in Italy who reveals that he is running from the police. After reminiscing about their tumultuous relationship, she persuades him to return home. When Brenda's security seems to be failing, her friend Suzanne contacts her ex-husband Jason. Jason comes to Rome and steps in as her bodyguard though they constantly bicker and emphasize their dislike for one another. When Jason finally decides to go back to Port Charles, the Balkan's thugs get a hold of Brenda and inject her with heroin. Jason returns just in time to save Brenda and he ultimately decides that it would be safer for her in Port Charles.


Brenda and Sonny get engaged

Jason and Brenda arrive in town on September 30, 2010 where she meets Spinelli, who is like a brother to Jason. Spinelli gives her the nickname "The Divine One." On October 8, 2010, Brenda visits Jax's and they talk about how things are doing for them. When Brenda goes to Sonny's house, she runs into Dante who asks her what she is doing there. Sonny then comes in and introduces Brenda and Dante, but they seem to know one another already. Through flashbacks and discussions with Dante and Jason, the audience learns that Brenda was once involved with the Balkan's son, Aleksander Janacek. Once she learned that he was involved with exploiting children, she broke up with him and traveled to Manhattan. Dante, along with three other officers, was hired to guard Brenda. One time while Brenda and Dante were out on a walk, Aleksander tries to attack her. While Dante and Aleksander fight, Brenda picks up the gun Dante dropped and shoots him. Once she realizes she killed him, she panics and Dante tells her that no one will find out. He then dumps the body. It is also revealed that the secret involves a baby, but details are not made clear.


Sonny and Brenda get married (2011)

On December 22, 2010, during Luke Spencer and Tracy Quartermaine's wedding reception, Sonny proposes to Brenda, and after some convincing, she accepts. Meanwhile, Spinelli reveals to Carly that Brenda and Dante had a child together. Tracy throws the bouquet and Brenda catches it. She and Sonny then announce their engagement to the wedding guests. She returns to Jason's penthouse and Theo Hoffman stops by, informing her that he is her new defence attorney when he is really the Balkan. He questions her but she leaves to go on a walk. She runs into Dante and tells him that she is considering telling Sonny about the baby, but he says that if the truth won't do any good, then she shouldn't tell him. On February 18th, Sonny and Brenda were married at the Archer's Pavilion. In the middle of 2011, Brenda is caught up between the custody battle of Jax and Carly. Jax wants her to testify about how dangerous Sonny's world is and if she did, she would be going against Sonny and Carly. Brenda testifies about the incident of the shooting that happened earlier, but also states that Sonny is a good father. This strains her relationship with Sonny greatly. Jax is set up by Sonny and Brenda is devastated by this. She decides to leaves for Rome with her son Alec. Jax flies them in his private jet on July 21, 2011.

Brenda returns on April 2, 2013. She comes to Sonny's place, and invites herself in as Sonny wonders to himself why she is in Port Charles. Brenda says she has come back to attend the Nurses' Ball in honor of Robin. They talk about how Robin meant so much to them. Brenda says she misses having a friend like her; one who could be trusted with anything and everything.

Brenda explains that was why she gave Robin the letter to give to Sonny before she left for Rome. Sonny at first doesn't remember the letter, but then realizes that he tore it up and threw it out before he read it. Brenda is shocked; if he had read her letter things might have turned out differently. She tells him that in the letter, she told him that they needed time apart. When things calmed down, she wanted Sonny to come see her in Rome and they could try again.

Ever since she gave Robin the letter, she was sure that every knock at her door would be Sonny. When enough time had passed and he never came, she took that as his answer. Sonny tells Brenda that there is someone else in his life, but he thinks she's lost to him, just like he lost Brenda. He says he won't be able to look at her without thinking about what could've been and Brenda adds that she also came to see him because she has moved on too. She reveals to a visibly livid Sonny that she is engaged to Jax.

At Brenda and Jax's hotel room at the Metro Court, Carly tells Jax that Brenda was at Sonny's. Brenda has to admit that she was with Sonny last night and wanted to know if there is still a possibility of getting back together. Jax walks out on Brenda. Brenda shows up at the Nurses Ball to honor Robin, and walks into the Metro Court on the red carpet, much to Carly and Sonny's surprise. Carly takes a few digs at Brenda on live television, but Brenda casually brushes her off and says her (and Jax, in spirit) are there in Robin's honor.

In the ballroom, Brenda finds her name card next to Jax's. Carly comes over with the signed divorce papers and goads Brenda into an argument. Brenda exclaims that Carly is jealous and an "enormous bitch." Sonny and Shawn intervene, and they take their seats for the Ball. Later, Brenda begins a food fight and Carly kicks her out.

In a deleted scene never aired, Brenda talks to Robin, saying she thinks she's screwed everything up again. Sonny comes out into the lobby and tells her he didn't want to be in a place that she wasn't welcome. Robin wouldn't have wanted Brenda to be alone and sad. She tells him that Jax left and that Carly stopped him from making the biggest mistake of his life. Sonny said that it would have been a big mistake to marry him too. He hugs her and leaves as Carly looks on.

The morning after the Nurses ball Carly brings Brenda's room service to her room and finds Michael in her bed. While Brenda and Carly physically fight in the lobby of the Metro Court, Michael and AJ are talking about the incident of spending the night with Brenda.  Michael confesses to Sonny about the ordeal. 

It is later shown that Brenda and Michael never slept together and it was just a ploy to make Carly mad.  Brenda decides to head back to Rome where she spots Sonny (still there from welcoming Lulu back). Brenda tries to get back together with Sonny, but Sonny says that it is not the right time. She boards the plane and Carly shows up to the gate.

Crimes Committed

  • Took photos of a showering Karen Wexler and distributed them around their high school [1993]
  • Escaped from jail when they were holding her for Dr. Dorman's murder and went on the run with the help of Sonny and Jason [1997]
  • Sabotaged her photo shoot while suffering a mental breakdown [Dec 1997]
  • Cut Luis Alcazar with a knife [2002]
  • Fled town to avoid facing charges for murder [2002]
  • Found guilty of the murder of Luiz Alcazar (ruling turned over) [2002]
  • Shot and killed Aleksander Janáček in defense of Det. Dante Falconeri [2007; revealed in a flashback in 2010]
  • Hit Dante over the head with a vase and rendered him unconscious [Oct 2010]
  • Shot and klled Anton Banovic, an employee of The Balkan, in defense of Det. Dante Falconeri [Nov 1, 2010]
  • Tricked Michael Corinthos into believing they slept together [Apr 2013]
  • Tricked Carly Jacks into believing she slept with her son, Michael [Apr 2013]

Health and Vitals

  • Suffered a hip injury after being hit by a hit-and-run driver [1996]
  • Became dependent on the painkillers that were prescribed to her following the hit-and-run [1996]
  • Arrested for the murder of Dr. Pierce Dorman (not guilty) [1997; charges dropped]
  • Suffered a mental breakdown after being left at the alter by Sonny [Dec 1997]
  • Suffered numerous injuries and temporary amnesia after her mother drove their car off a cliff [1998]
  • Presumed dead [1998-2002]
  • Fainting spell [2007]
  • Drugged by Suzanne Stanwyck, which caused her to have a fever and to lose consciousness [2007; revealed 2010]
  • Gave birth to her son completely natural [2007]
  • Suffered minor injuries during attempted kidnapping [Aug 2010]
  • Given an overdose of heroin [Sep 2010]
  • Drugged and kidnapped on her wedding day by Theo Hoffman [Feb 2011]
  • Injected with a deadly neurotoxin by Theo Hoffman [Mar 2011]

Family tree


See also


  1. Jax was still married to Miranda, whom he thought had been killed in an explosion.
  3. Newman, Laine out; Marcil returning. Soapcentral. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  4. Marcil out Over Contract Dispute. Soapcentral. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Vanessa Marcil lands two Primetime Jobs, Won't Return to GH. Soapcentral. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  6. Marcil says she's "trying" to make a GH return work. Soapcentral. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  7. New Wrinkle in Marcil's "GH" Return. Soapcentral. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  8. Could Vanessa Marcil really be headed back to GH this time?. Soapcentral. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  9. Vanessa Marcil return rumors heat up. Soapcentral. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  10. Vanessa Marcil to rejoin GH in August. Soapcentral. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  11. Vanessa Marcil Returning to General Hospital. TV Guide. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  12. Vanessa Marcil Reveals Why She's Finally Returning to General Hospital. TV Guide. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  13. Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo Dishes Her Wedding — and Future — on General Hospital. TV Guide. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  14. Exclusive: Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo Dishes About Her General Hospital Departure. TV Guide. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  15. Vanessa Marcil Discusses Exiting General Hospital. Soapcentral. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  16. Marcil Giovinazzo Opens Up about Her GH Exit. Soaps In Depth. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  17. Episode #1.12352. IMDb. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  21. April 5, 2011 episode.

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