What Happened To General Hospital's Brenda Barrett?

Actress Vanessa Marcil, who would become well-known for her roles on "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "Las Vegas," got her start in the acting world when she was cast as Brenda Barrett on "General Hospital" in 1992 (via IMDb). She remained on the show until 1998 when she left to pursue other acting roles. She would return to the soap several times over the years, from 2002 to 2003, 2010 to 2011, and again briefly in 2013.

Brenda was an extremely popular character during her time on "GH" as one of Sonny Corinthos' (Maurice Benard) great loves, before he met and fell in love with Carly Benson. However, Brenda was also involved with Jasper "Jax" Jacks (Ingo Rademacher) several times over the years and he and Sonny often fought over Brenda's affections.

When she first arrived in Port Charles, Brenda was only 17-years-old (via Soap Central). She integrated herself in the teen scene which included A.J. and Jason Quartermaine, Robin Scorpio, Karen Wexler, and Jagger Cates — and even became the first Face of Deception! However, it wasn't long after she moved to town that she met the older Sonny, who at that point was working as an underling for mob boss Frank Smith, and the two shared an instant attraction.

Brenda struggles to choose between Sonny and Jax

Brenda Barrett and Sonny Corinthos grew to have feelings for one another but their romance was short-lived when Brenda wore a wire to (unsuccessfully) prove that Sonny wasn't involved in the mob, and he broke up with her, according to Soaps in Depth. They eventually reconciled and agreed that Sonny would leave his wife Lily Rivera (Lilly Melgar) so they could be together. However, at the same time, Lily became pregnant and Sonny confessed to Brenda that he felt obligated to stay with her.

Brokenhearted, Brenda found solace in the arms of Jasper "Jax" Jacks who had been carrying a torch for her. Jax proposed and Brenda accepted even though her heart was still with Sonny. While Brenda and Jax celebrated at their wedding reception, a heavily pregnant Lily was killed in a mob-related car explosion that was meant for Sonny.

Not long after, Jax and Brenda discovered their marriage was invalid because his previous wife Miranda Jameson (Leslie Horan) turned up alive after being presumed dead (via SoapHub). Then, Brenda was kidnapped in an attempt to get to Sonny and while trapped in a cave-in together, the two slept together. After Brenda confessed what happened to Jax, he left her because she was unable to choose between him and Sonny.

Sonny leaves Brenda at the altar and she is presumed dead

Following Brenda Barrett's first split with Jasper "Jax" Jacks, she and Sonny Corinthos found their way back to each other. Sonny proposed and Brenda accepted on the one condition that he would leave the mob (via Soap Central). Although he agreed at the time, Sonny realized that Brenda would never be safe if they were together and he left her at the altar, sending his right-hand Jason Morgan (Steve Burton) to break the news to her.

Her devastation over Sonny's betrayal sent Brenda into a tail-spin and she began experiencing paranoid delusions. She was briefly institutionalized, but after receiving treatment Brenda decided that Jax was her true love, not Sonny, and they planned to marry again. However, in 1998 Brenda's severely troubled mother Veronica Wilding (Jennifer Hetrick) showed up in town and it was revealed that Veronica was suffering from a hereditary, potentially-terminal mental illness (via Soaps). Before Brenda could be tested to find out if she was dealing with the same diagnosis, disaster struck. While the two women were in the car together, Veronica drove them off a cliff and both were presumed dead.

Brenda escapes Luis Alcazar and marries Jason Morgan

It wouldn't be until 2002 that Vanessa Marcil returned to the set of "General Hospital." It was revealed to viewers that Brenda Barrett had been rescued from the cliff-accident by a man named Luis Alcazar (Ted King), according to Soaps in Depth. Luis had managed to keep Brenda with him by convincing her that she had inherited her mother's illness and that he needed to take care of her. Luis then brought her back to Port Charles and formed a plot to kill both Sonny Corinthos and Jasper "Jax" Jacks in order to remove any competition for Brenda's affections.

Brenda tried to warn both Sonny and Jax that they were in danger, but still managed to shoot Jax. Overwhelmed with guilt over what happened, Brenda nursed a temporarily-paralyzed Jax back to health, even though he was married to Skye Quartermaine (Robin Christopher) at this time. Worried that she would be tempted by the married man, Brenda convinced Jason Morgan to marry her so she would stay away from Jax (via Soap Central). Jason agreed, only to prevent Brenda from going after Sonny who was now married to Carly Corinthos (then Tamara Braun).

Jax breaks up with Brenda and she leaves town

A jealous Skye Quartermaine joined forces with Luis Alcazar and they kidnapped Brenda Barrett, bringing her with them on their private jet, which Sonny Corinthos had also snuck aboard (via Soap Central). The plane crashed into the jungle, but no one was injured and Jason Morgan and Carly Corinthos managed to rescue Sonny and Brenda. Later, back in Port Charles, Luis was killed and Skye lied to police in an attempt to frame Brenda for the murder. Meanwhile, Jax had learned about his wife Skye's betrayal and divorced her. Despite lingering feelings between Brenda and Jax, she and Jason remained married so they wouldn't have to testify against each other in court.

Eventually, in 2003, Brenda was cleared of Luis' murder, which had actually been committed by Alexis Davis (Nancy Lee Grahn), and she and Jason had their marriage annulled so she could be with Jax, whom she planned to marry again (via Soaps). The night before the wedding, Brenda ran into Sonny and they mended fences about all the previous wrongs they had done to one another. Brenda and Sonny shared a goodbye kiss but were unaware that Carly had witnessed them and told Jax about it. While saying their vows the next day, Jax said "I don't" and explained to Brenda that he couldn't trust that she wouldn't cheat on him with Sonny. Brenda was heartbroken and decided to leave Port Charles that very night and start a new life.

Sonny and Brenda finally get married

Brenda Barrett wasn't seen again on "General Hospital" until 2010 when she coincidentally ran into Sonny Corinthos where she was living in Rome, after becoming the target of a dangerous criminal, The Balkan. Sonny quickly hired Jason Morgan to act as her bodyguard but they soon realized that Brenda would be safer returning to Port Charles with them. Back in town, Brenda ran into a familiar face — Sonny's son Dante Falconeri (Dominic Zamprogna), per Soaps. It was later revealed that years previously, Brenda had been involved with The Balkan's son Aleksander Janáček whom she had killed in self-defense. Dante had been working for the NYPD at that time and was detailed to her security team. He helped her hide the body and then briefly claimed paternity of the child she was carrying in order to protect the baby from its father's dangerous family.

Brenda and Sonny had reconciled by this time and they were finally married in February 2011, almost 20 years after they first met, according to Soap Central. Their marital bliss didn't last long, though. Her old flame Jasper "Jax" Jacks was fighting with his wife Carly Corinthos Jacks (now Laura Wright) over custody of their daughter. Jax asked Brenda to testify in court on his behalf, regarding how dangerous Sonny's lifestyle was. Despite having reservations, Brenda agreed to help Jax because of her own fears raising her son surrounded by the constant threat of violence. She told the court about how she and her son were recently shot at by a rival mob-family, the Zaccharas, though she did maintain that Sonny was a good father. Having opposing loyalties in regard to Carly and Jax's custody battle put a strain on Brenda and Sonny's marriage and she ultimately made the decision to leave him and return to Rome with her son.

Brenda loses Jax again and manipulates the Corinthos family

Over the next few years, Jasper "Jax" Jacks visited Brenda and her son in Europe several times. In 2013, Brenda returned to Port Charles with Jax in order to attend the Nurses Ball which was being held in honor of her old friend Robin Scorpio. Brenda went to see Sonny to let him know in person that she was once again engaged to Jax (via Soaps in Depth). After realizing there had been a miscommunication between them when Brenda left in 2011, she asked Sonny if there was any hope for a future between them, but he told her it wasn't the right time. Unbeknownst to them, Carly had overheard their conversation and was all too thrilled to inform Jax of Brenda's lingering feelings for Sonny, resulting in Jax breaking off the engagement.

A heartbroken Brenda wanted to get revenge against Carly and the perfect opportunity presented itself at the Nurses Ball. She came across Carly and Sonny's son Michael Corinthos (Chad Duell), who was heavily intoxicated, and convinced him to come back to her hotel room (via Soap Central). The next morning, Carly found Brenda in bed with her son, which led to a physical altercation between the two. Unable to remember what happened, an ashamed Michael believed that he had slept with his father's ex-wife, but it was later revealed that Brenda had only made it appear that way. After being thrown out of Carly's hotel, Brenda made the decision to return to Europe once again, and hasn't shown her face in Port Charles since.

What does the future hold for Brenda Barrett?

On daytime TV, you never know when an old character might resurface to shake things up. Recently, there have been rumors flying about Brenda's possible return to "General Hospital." Vanessa Marcil has publicly stated on multiple occasions how appreciative she is to "GH" for jumpstarting her acting career and how much she loves her character Brenda. She has been in talks with the show several times over the years about returning to the soap but it never panned out due to her busy schedule and other roles she was committed to.

However, now that Sonny and Carly Corinthos are divorced once again, does that mean we could see Brenda return to Port Charles to stir the pot? Though, she'd have to battle Nina Reeves (Cynthia Watros) to win him over. Viewers would undoubtedly be entertained by a three-way war between Carly, Nina, and Brenda. Carly and Nina could even forge a truce and join forces to run the brunette out of town. Many longtime "GH" superfans feel that Brenda is Sonny's one true love and would be thrilled to see the "one that got away" come back again.