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Rebecca was born in Encino, California on May 12, 1977. Her parents are originally from Germany. She has an older sister named Jennifer. She is not related to former GH co-star Rick Hearst (who played Ric Lansing, Elizabeth Webber's ex-husband), whose birth name is Richard Herbst.
At age 6, "Becky" told her mother she wanted to be on TV, so she could play with toys and began being in commercials. Rebecca's childhood dream was to become a national figure skater, and she has skated with well-known skaters Michelle Kwan and Karen Kwan. At age 16, Herbst decided to concentrate on acting because she grew to dislike the competition aspect of figure-skating. Herbst also has a passion for designing clothes. She has designed most of her Daytime Emmy dresses, and dresses for co-stars Natalia Livingston and Kimberly McCullough.
Herbst grew a large fanbase from her role on GH as Elizabeth. In January 2011, ABC Daytime announced that Herbst had been fired. After much fan protest, ABC released a statement revealing that Herbst would be staying on the show, which is not very common. Although she is no longer as front burner as she had been in the past, Herbst continues to portray Elizabeth.
For the first time in over a decade, Herbst portrayed another character other than Elizabeth, the legendary Nurse Jessie Brewer, in a flashback episode in honor of GH's 52th anniversary in 2015.
She has guest starred on many TV series, including Highway to Heaven, L.A. Law, Beverly Hills, 90210, Step by Step, and Days of our Lives, before joining GH. She was also featured in the Goo Goo Dolls' 1995 music video Naked.
Herbst became a spokeswoman for Purpose Skincare in 2007; Purpose has just signed her to a second year partnership.
On June 1, 2001, Herbst married former General Hospital co-star Michael Saucedo (who played Juan Santiago). They have three children, Ethan Riley (born October 31, 2001), Ella Bailey (born April 12, 2004) and Emerson Truett (born August 9, 2010).