Popular soap star Rebecca Budig is bidding farewell to General Hospital. Her final appearance as Hayden Barnes is expected by the end of summer.
Budig began her soap career as Michelle Bauer on Guiding Light in 1995. After her exit from GL, she made to the leap to All My Children as bad girl turned heroine Greenlee Smythe, a role created by Agnes Nixon. She played the role from 1999 to 2005 and 2007 to 2011.
Budig originated the role of Hayden Barnes in 2015, signing a four-year contract with GH. Hayden came to Port Charles after being hired by Ric Lansing (Rick Hearst) to pose as Jake Doe’s (Billy Miller) wife in an effort to help him win Elizabeth Webber’s (Rebecca Herbst) heart. Fans quickly took a liking to the sexy bad girl. Hayden was given a scandalous back story along with a hot romance with Nikolas Cassadine (Tyler Christopher) and friendship with Curtis Ashford (Donnell Turner). Hayden was actually Rachel Berlin, the daughter of an investment banker who duped some of Port Charles’ residence in a Ponzi scheme. It was revealed that her mother Naomi (Robin Riker) and Jeff Webber had an affair, making Hayden and Elizabeth half-sisters. Hayden is currently expecting a baby with her boyfriend Dr. Hamilton Finn (Michael Easton). The couple is working to clear Finn’s name and expose Dr. Liesl Obrecht (Kathleen Gati) for trying to sabotage his career.
Per Soap Opera Digest, Budig is set to tape her final scenes this week prior to GH’s three-week summer hiatus. She was informed of the show’s decision to write off her character for storyline reasons last month.
Editor’s Take: General Hospital is in need of an overhaul and trimming the cast is a necessary evil in order to produce a quality show. That being said, the decision to axe Budig seems like the wrong one. Not only was Budig a talented addition to the cast but her character Hayden had massive story potential that gave fans something outside of the same tired mob stories. Hayden was connected to a core family tied to the show’s heart, the hospital. Fans were looking forward to the relationship between the Webber sisters being explored and hoped that it would lead to the return of Jeff Webber. The romance between Hayden and Finn also gained a fan following. It’s disappointing that GH did not recognize the value in continuing Hayden’s story.