All The Times General Hospital's Maxie Has Been Recast

On October 31, 1990, Maxie Jones was born to legendary super couple Frisco (Jack Wagner) and Felicia (Kristina Wagner) Jones. In 1994, she was played by Robyn Richards, who was part of one of the most heartbreaking "General Hospital" moments that we won't forget. Maxie had Kawasaki disease and required a heart transplant. In a strange twist of fate, a school bus crashed leaving her cousin BJ Jones (Brighton Hertford) brain dead. BJ's dad, Dr. Tony Jones (Brad Maule) made the tearjerking decision to transplant her heart into Maxie, who has thrived and grown on the show since then.

In May 2005, Kirsten Storms — who had previously played Belle Black on "Days of Our Lives" — stepped into the part and has been identified with the character ever since. But, on December 27, 2023, Soap Opera Digest reported that Storms was to be replaced for just one episode by accomplished television actress Nicole Paggi. Storms has had many health issues over the years, and in April 2022, she revealed to "GH" co-star Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos) on his YouTube show "State of Mind" that she had been dealing with bipolar depression. Before her diagnosis, she stated, "I felt alone in my feelings for so long," but she has since gotten the correct treatment and is doing well.

Paggi stepping in isn't the first time Storms has had a temporary replacement on the sudser, having had several leaves-of-absence over the years.

Jen Lilley and Molly Burnett took over for Storms at various times

In September 2011, Soap Central reported that "General Hospital" put out a casting call for a female who is "25ish, sexy, hip, quirky, has vitality, charisma and personality." Soap Opera Digest further stated that a spokesperson from the show announced, "Due to illness of Kirsten Storms, the role of Maxie Jones will be temporarily recast by Jen Lilley with a first airdate of September 28."

The site also quoted a since-expired X, formerly Twitter, post from Lilley that excitedly stated, "Drumroll please...I will be on 'GENERAL HOSPITAL' for the next couple of months!! I start tomorrow!!!!!! Not sure what else I'm allowed to say." That two months turned into a year as Lilley stayed on until August 2012.

According to the New York Post, Storms also had to take time off at various points between 2016 and 2018, and Molly Burnett stepped in during those absences. Burnett played Melanie Kiriakis on "Days of Our Lives" from 2008 to 2016, as well as several other notable shows. In 2016, UPI pointed out that Storms' hiatus from "GH" coincided with her real life divorce from husband Brandon Barash (Stefan, "Days"). Michael Fairman TV reported in July 2016 on a no longer available X post from Burnett that lovingly stated, "Thank u Port Charles for letting me visit. Kirsten is so talented, & created such a fun character, it was an honor to step in for a few."

Nicole Paggi is the most recent Maxie recast

In June 2021, Storms was on hiatus from "General Hospital," and wrote on Instagram that doctors "stumbled upon a rather large, very full of fluid, cyst that was attached to the lower portion of brain." She shared, I feel very fortunate that my situation wasn't more serious and that I had a wonderful neurosurgeon who immediately knew how to fix it." She also admitted the brain surgery was nerve-wracking, but was grateful to everyone in her life who supported her. This time, Maxie was written out of the show without a recast.

However, as previously stated, Nicole Paggi took over playing Maxie on "General Hospital" for one episode in December 2023. The Texas native got her start in acting when she played Jennie Bradbury on the series "Pasadena" in 2001, which also starred Dana Delany and Balthazar Getty. Alongside her television and movie appearances, she received an Ovation Award nomination for Featured Actress In A Play from her performance in "Girls Talk" in 2011. 

Paggi's also the owner and designer of the Naomi Gray jewelry line, which she promotes through social media and her website. While Paggi only briefly appeared as Maxie on "GH," she captured the essence of the character. We're glad that despite all of the breaks Kirsten Storms has had to take, there's a roster of actors who easily slide into the role, keeping the character going.