Vanessa Marcil broke onto the scene as General Hospital's spoiled rich girl Brenda Barrett back in 1992. For a brief time, Brenda was thought of as nothing more than the vixen to Karen's (Cari Shayne) good girl as she struggled to hold onto the rebellious Jagger Cates (Antonio Sabato, Jr., now Dante, B&B). Then, with the introduction of Sonny Corinthos as played by Maurice Benard, Marcil found her niche and became an instant fan favorite that viewers immediately connected with because of not only her love for a broken man, but also her past neglect as a child. GH suddenly had a new supercouple on its hands ... and up until 1997, when Benard decide to vacate his role, there was no other couple that could compare in popularity.
Marcil's exit soon followed her leading man's in 1998, but she made brief returns in 2000 and again in 2002. Sonny and Brenda were back ... at least for a little while ... and ratings skyrocketed.
As it turns out, S&B lovers weren't the only ones addicted to the couple's roller coaster relationship or so Soapdom learned when we recently caught up with Marcil.
"I loved Brenda deeply. I lived and breathed her. I still dream about her. She was –and always will be- a really big deal to me," tells the Emmy-winning actress of her former alter ego.
"When I would watch a scene between (Sonny and Brenda) I would forget that was me on screen because I really do think of Brenda as such a completely different person than me.
"I would get as caught up as the audience would," she continues. "I felt extremely protective of them and believed Sonny and Brenda were really meant for each other. I haven't seen General Hospital since I left in 2003 because it devastates me to not play her."
Soapdom felt that it was our duty to break the news ever so gently to Marcil as to what her former leading man has been up to as late: Wining and dining Emily Quartermaine (Natalia Livingston).
"No way!" says Marcil in disbelief. "Really?"
Although the busy actress couldn't say for sure whether or not she would ever return to GH, it seems certain that if she did Emily would be in for the fight of her life with Brenda back in town.
Currently, Daytime Award winner Marcil is happily busy with her gig as Samantha Jane Marquez on NBC's hit "Las Vegas" opposite another daytime alum: Daytime Award winner Josh Duhamel (ex-Leo, All My Children).
"I love Sam because she's so shut down; she's so driven; she's like a dude," she tells Soapdom. "I kind of like the fact that people wonder about Sam and want to know why she is the way she is. Gary Scott Thompson (creator and executive producer of Las Vegas) is smarter than I am, so I think he keeps Sam a little aloof so people keep wondering about her, which, I think, is intriguing in itself."
Not that Marcil doesn't sometimes have an ache for one of Brenda's fallout's. But only sometimes.
"I definitely have the itch to do sometimes the kind of stuff I used to do, but then I also have to say that it is a nice life to go to work and laugh and not...
...have to cut your heart open and put it on the table every day," she argues.
"When I was on GH, it did wear on me to dig that deep and face all those demons all the time. I used to take Brenda home with me a lot. That character was very emotionally open, but she was also extremely tortured."
Marcil continues to remain focused on raising her four-year-old son Kassius (whom she fathered with Brian Austin Green, David, Beverly Hills, 90210, now co-starring with Freddie Prinz, Jr. in the primetimer, Freddie) in addition to her charity work for both Sojourn Services for Battered Women and Their Children and Oprah Winfrey's Angel Network.
"We are working on creating a character and clothing line and when the time is right we're going to bring this certain cartoon character that we've created and this clothing line together," notes Marcil who says that a portion of the proceeds from the line will go directly to help to build schools and open centers to aid mothers in Africa.
"It's called Gaagoo (the character). Gaagoo is what Kassius calls my mom,” offers Marcil. "It's a long time in the making. We're really wanting to make it right and obviously my first priority is to be a good mom and to go off and work when the work comes so that I can make money to try and get the company off of its feet."
And speaking of Kassius, how is he? Has he inherited any personality traits from his mother?
"He’s so much a better person than I am already. He’s funnier than me. He’s incredible!" gushes the proud mom. "The only thing that I've ever seen that remotely reminds me of myself is he has his opinion and I mean, 'Forget it!' He's extremely opinionated."
"I really believe after having him that babies kind of come out one way or another…come out with their personalities in tact," she muses. "We can either protect however they come out and not let anybody squash that and nurture their personalities. My main goal with Kassius is to support who he is instead of trying to mold him into who I think he should be."
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