What Really Happened To General Hospital's Hayden Barnes?

The previously unknown Hayden Barnes appeared on the "General Hospital" scene in 2015 played by Rebecca Budig. The actress was a familiar face to some, having been cast in other soap roles in the past. She appeared as Michelle Bauer on "Guiding Light" from 1996 to 2007 and Greenlee Smythe on "All My Children" from 1998 to 2011.

Hayden showed up on the doorstep of Elizabeth Webber (Rebecca Herbst) claiming to be the wife of the amnesiac "Jake Doe" (then Billy Miller) that Liz had been nursing back to health and falling in love with (via Soap Central). This story turned out to be a lie as Hayden had been hired by Ric Lansing (Rick Hearst) to break up Elizabeth and "Jake" because he was in love with her himself; she agreed to the con because she was in desperate need of cash. It was later discovered that Hayden Barnes had grown up as Rachel Berlin until her prominent father Raymond Berlin was found guilty of a ponzi scheme that swindled people out of millions of dollars. She changed her name to escape the scandal.

Hayden and Elizabeth had a contemptuous relationship, but after it was revealed that Hayden was the result of an affair between Naomi Dreyfus and Elizabeth's father Rick Webber and thus they were sisters, they tried to put their differences aside and were eventually able to build a relationship. By then Hayden had become fully settled into a new life in Port Charles, but it certainly wasn't drama-free.

Hayden was shot and put in a coma

At the 2015 Nurses Ball the scheme that Ric Lansing and Hayden Barnes had cooked up regarding "Jake Doe" was exposed to everyone (via Soaps in Depth). At this point "Jake" had believed Hayden to be his wife, but he immediately broke things off as soon as her lies came out. That same night Hayden overheard the wealthy Nikolas Cassadine (then Tyler Christopher) tell Elizabeth Webber that "Jake Doe" was really Jason Morgan, and she saw an opportunity. Hayden began blackmailing Nikolas in hopes of getting her hands on some of his fortune now that she was both penniless and publicly disgraced. Nikolas went along with her scheme, though he quickly made a plan of his own.

Nikolas didn't want "Jake's" identity to be revealed because he was orchestrating a plot to take over ELQ, and Jason Morgan's shares of the company would put his plan in danger if he were to "come back from the dead." To prevent that from happening and to get out from under Hayden's thumb, he hired a hitman to take her out (via The U.S. Sun). One night Hayden went to see "Jake" at the garage where he worked, but before she was able to speak to him, she was shot in the head. Hayden didn't die but was seriously injured and brought to the hospital where she fell into a coma.

Shawn Butler (Sean Blakemore) was then wrongfully arrested for the shooting because he had been sent to kill "Jake" that same night on orders from Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) and was caught at the scene with a weapon.

Hayden married Nikolas Cassadine

After being in a coma for several months, Hayden Barnes woke up with little memory of the events that transpired before her shooting (via Soap Central). She didn't remember that "Jake Doe" was really Jason Morgan or that she had been blackmailing Nikolas Cassadine. Nikolas wanted to make sure that her memory didn't return and that he wouldn't be implicated in the shooting so he offered to bring Hayden back to his castle to recover.

Hayden's memories slowly began returning, and she decided to help Tracy Quartermaine (Jane Elliot) foil Nikolas' plans to take over ELQ to spite him. However, while the two spent time together at Wyndemere, Nikolas and Hayden began developing real romantic feelings for each other. Tracy noticed Hayden's wavering loyalty and began blackmailing her by threatening to reveal her past as Rachel Berlin. Hayden then offered Nikolas a marriage of convenience so that his ELQ stocks would be better protected. In February 2016, the two were married in Las Vegas.

By March, Elizabeth Webber had discovered Hayden's previous identity as Rachel and publicly revealed it. Nikolas, who had begun a genuine relationship with Hayden, was upset that she had lied to him and threatened divorce. In retaliation, Hayden threatened to go to the police and turn him in for trying to kill her, which he hadn't realized she knew about (via Soaps in Depth). Their problems would soon solve themselves though when Nikolas suffered a severe fall from a window at Wyndemere and was presumed dead — though it would later be revealed that he faked his own death.

Hayden and Hamilton Finn tried to start a family

By November 2016, Hayden Barnes had gotten herself a job at General Hospital with the help of Dr. Hamilton "Finn" Finn (Michael Easton). While working with him she contracted the terminal Blackwood's Syndrome, which killed Finn's ex-wife and from which he was suffering himself (via Soap Central). Luckily, Finn was able to develop a cure for the condition, as he is known to do. Throughout and following this ordeal, Hayden and Finn grew closer and eventually fell in love. Soon after, they discovered that Hayden was pregnant.

Despite some initial reservations, the couple settled down in a new home and prepared to welcome their baby, and even got engaged. However, their happiness was short lived when Hayden's ex-husband Jared Preston (Matt Corboy) was released from jail after taking the blame for a crime she had committed years before (via SoapHub). She had been drunk driving and hit a young girl with her car. Jared wanted $250,000 from her so Hayden went to visit her father in prison to find a way to get the money, but he informed her that there was nothing left. Instead, Hayden embezzled the money from the hospital to pay Jared, but the discrepancy in the accounts was soon discovered. 

Hayden decided that she was going to flee the country. On their wedding day in September 2017, she left behind a note for Finn that said that she had miscarried their baby and that she was leaving Port Charles and he should move on.

Hayden returned to Port Charles with her daughter

In July 2019, Hayden Barnes returned to Port Charles and revealed that she was working with Jasper "Jax" Jacks (Ingo Rademacher) to help take down Valentin Cassadine (James Patrick Stuart), who had supposedly killed Nikolas Cassadine and usurped his position as heir to the Cassadine fortune (via Soap Opera Spy). Hayden and Jax were secretly working with a very much alive Nikolas to find a codicil to Mikkos Cassadine's will that would prove that Valentin had no claim to the money.

A few months later, Hayden's world was turned upside down when she was forced to reveal that she hadn't lost her and Hamilton Finn's baby, but that they had a daughter together named Violet Finn (Jophielle Love), according to SoapHub. Violet was sick, and Hayden brought her to the hospital where they ran into Finn; Hayden admitted to him that the little girl was his daughter. He was incredibly upset with her for keeping his child away from him, but he soon got to know Violet and was able to build a true father-daughter relationship with her.

In November 2019, Hayden was on the pier when she was attacked. Nikolas (now Marcus Coloma) arrived and was able to save her, but was concerned that Valentin had sent his men after her. Concerned for her life and her daughter's safety, Hayden made the difficult decision to go into hiding (via Soap Central). She left Violet in Port Charles to be taken care of by Finn and his girlfriend, Anna Devane (Finola Hughes), and fled once again. 

Hayden Barnes hasn't been seen on "General Hospital" since, and many Port Charles residents have tried to locate her.

Hayden's whereabouts are unknown

In August 2021, Hayden Barnes' mother Naomi Dreyfus (Gigi Bermingham) came to Port Charles supposedly wanting to spend time with her granddaughter (via Soaps). Hamilton Finn questioned her about where Hayden was and why she hadn't returned to her daughter after Valentin Cassadine's threats had been neutralized. Naomi claimed that she had no information and that she was looking for her herself.

Meanwhile, Sam McCall (Kelly Monaco) and Shawn Butler were trying to figure out who had shot Hayden years earlier since Shawn had finally been cleared of the crime. They went to speak to Naomi who acted very strangely and went on a tangent about how Hayden was a bad mother (via Soap Central). Viewers were soon clued in that Naomi was speaking on orders from a mysterious unknown person. Sam and Shawn thought their encounter with her was suspicious and went to see her again, only to find Naomi murdered in her hotel room.

Months later, Victor Cassadine (Charles Shaughnessy) was speaking with Nikolas Cassadine and Ava Jerome (Maura West) and admitted to being the one to send goons after Hayden years before because she was a threat to Nikolas' plans (via Geeks). He then said that Hayden needed to be "dealt with" just like Naomi was. It's unclear whether Victor was behind Naomi's murder or if Hayden is still alive herself. 

"General Hospital" fans will just have to wait and see if she ever shows her face in Port Charles again or if there is a more sinister plot behind the missing woman.