Karen Role Took Brutal Toll On General Hospital Alum Cari Shayne

Cari Shayne is still fondly remembered for her time as Karen Wexler on "General Hospital," which she played from 1992 to 1994, but the role took a toll on her. At the time, Karen was a teenager, and Maurice Benard joined the show as the then-sleazy Sonny Corinthos in 1993 as the owner of a strip club called The Paradise Lounge. He cajoled Karen into working there as a stripper, got her addicted drugs, and even had a brief affair with her. Sonny eventually went on to become a powerful, but good-hearted mobster. Karen, however, would leave Port Charles with Jagger Cates (Antonio Sabato Jr.), only to return as a recast years later, where it was revealed she was the daughter of Scotty Baldwin (Kin Shriner). But there was a lot going on at the time behind the scenes, and Benard interviewed Shayne on his YouTube series, "State of Mind," which was posted on November 12.

The two got into a deep conversation about her career path, her divorce, and eventually about her time on "GH." Benard explained that when he was initially on the show, he had a mental breakdown and almost quit "General Hospital." Shayne stated that she only knew about it after the fact when he told her, and had chalked his behavior up to intense method acting. She said she didn't remember a lot from those days, stating, "I was also going through a breakdown. And I didn't know it. I didn't really realize where I was."

Karen's dark story was hard for Shayne

Cari Shayne explained to Maurice Benard on "State of Mind," "You said you were in the middle of a breakdown when you first started. And I remember you saying that you had quit," but she didn't remember that actually happening. She continued, "I remember I had to go to Wendy [Riche] and Shelley's [Curtis] office and say, 'I need to take a break,' because the character had gotten to me so much." Riche was the executive producer of "General Hospital" at the time, and Curtis was the producer.

Benard recalled noticing that she was having issues back then. "It really affected me because I was so much of a method actor, too," Shayne stated, further adding, "And so I was taking that approach to it. And I realized that it wasn't healthy because I was raking myself through the coals like every single day." She recalled they had a great amount of script pages to learn, remarking, "In the thick of that storyline we were just inundated with pages and pages of story, and it was all so heavy, and dark, and awful." Benard agreed that the story was bleak, and Shayne noted, "And so, to get to that place every day, I had to live there all the time." Ultimately, it became too much for her and she exited "GH," explaining, "Because I couldn't live that way."