Fans had grown to love Hayden Barnes on GENERAL HOSPITAL so they were understandably upset when Rebecca Budig confirmed that she was leaving the soap. Originally introduced as a con artist, Hayden was only on for a few months before she was shot and put into a coma. But the character woke up a couple months after that and began making a new life in Port Charles. Sadly, that all came to an end when her past caught up with her and she made her escape. The soap revealed that Budig was coming back and bringing plenty of drama with her starting in July of 2019, but by November the actress was on her way out again.
Hayden first appeared on GH in March of 2015 claiming to be the wife of Jake Doe, who was later revealed to be Jason Morgan (and ultimately found to be Jason's twin brother, Drew Cain!). However, the whole thing was a big scam and she was really working for Ric Lansing, who wanted to get Jake away from Elizabeth Webber so he could have her for himself. Hayden fell for Nikolas Cassadine and realizing that he knew Jake was actually Jason, used it to her advantage.
After Ric and Hayden’s scheme was exposed during the Nurses Ball, Hayden tried to blackmail Nikolas but he urged her to go ahead and tell the truth. However, when Hayden went to the garage where Jake worked, she was shot in the head! Although it was assumed Shawn Butler was the shooter, under orders from Sonny to take out Jake, it was really a hitman sent by Nikolas! At the hospital, Hayden fell into a coma before she could tell Jake the truth about his identity.
Months later, Hayden awoke from her coma but didn’t remember anything, and Nikolas wanted to keep it that way. But Hayden’s memories returned and the truth was finally revealed. She started working for Tracy Quartermaine to help her get ELQ back and continued to see Nikolas as part of their plan. Heck, they even got married in Vegas! Although the couple's feelings for each other were questionable, Hayden did form a genuine bond with Nik’s son, Spencer.
Eventually, it was revealed that Hayden’s real name is Rachel Berlin, the daughter of Raymond Berlin, a banker who swindled billions of dollars out of his clients. Furious, Nikolas demanded a divorce, but she threatened to reveal he tried to have her killed if he dumped her. Later, Heather revealed that Hayden’s mother, Naomi, had an affair with Jeff Webber back in the day and realized that Hayden is his child — making her Elizabeth’s sister!
Hayden found herself drawn to Dr. Hamilton Finn and helped him deal with his drug problem. After contracting the same disease that was killing him, they were finally cured and began a relationship. But they were both startled to learn Hayden was pregnant, and she worried that she wasn’t ready to become a mother. After thwarting Liesl Obrecht’s scheme to have Finn fired from the hospital by tampering with his drug tests, Hayden and Finn were targeted by the doc for revenge.
Obrecht brought Hayden's ex-husband, Jared, to Port Charles as part of her plan to destroy Finn's life. Jared had gone to prison to protect Hayden, who had gotten drunk and hit a girl walking her dog. He threatened to reveal the truth unless Hayden paid up, and she very nearly did, but reconsidered and came clean to Finn herself. He still wanted to marry her, but on their wedding day, Hayden pulled a disappearing act and left Finn desperate for answers!
With Curtis' help, Finn was able to track down Hayden, but all the detective found for the doctor was a letter. In it, Hayden apologized for taking the coward's way out and hoped he would find someone who truly deserved him. She also told him that she had lost the baby, but in a flashback shot of Hayden writing the letter, after glancing at her new passport with the name Madison Ford, she stood up to reveal that she was still very much pregnant!
Much later, Curtis delivered a letter to Finn from Hayden from France, and in a private section for Finn's eyes only, she asked him to come visit her so they could talk. Finn, who had moved on to a relationship with Anna Devane, was torn about what to do and ultimately declined to meet with her.
Hayden returned to Port Charles to attend Liz and Franco's wedding reception and with a mysterious connection to Jasper Jacks. It turned out that they were working together to find the codicil to Helena's will that would strip Valentin of his Cassadine fortune, and then it was later revealed that they were working with Nikolas, who wasn't really dead after all! The other big reveal was when Hayden admitted that the little girl in the hospital who was Finn's new patient was actually their daughter, Violet!
Finn was stunned to learn she hadn't lost the baby and that he had a child, and as they were discussing co-parenting, Anna returned and tried to make sense of everything. Meanwhile, Valentin offered Hayden a fortune for the truth about what they were plotting against him and followed up the bribe with physical threats. Nikolas claimed to want to help Hayden get away before she was hurt and even paid a guy to assault her on the docks to put a real scare into her. Terrified for the safety of her daughter, Hayden said goodbye to Violet and left her with Finn and Anna before disappearing again!
Stay tuned to find out if Hayden will return again, and for more GH news, keep reading the ABC edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.