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Maurice Benard Reveals Why He Temporarily Left General Hospital

Benard recounted a recent mental health battle amid his GH character’s breakdown.

Maurice Benard from General Hospital with the Soap Hub logo across the bottom.Benard took to his podcast to share his recent mental health battle.

After a tough few months for the General Hospital star, Maurice Benard took to his State of Mind podcast to speak with his viewers about a recent mental health battle that took him away from GH.

You’ve Got A Friend

While Benard typically sits down with a guest – most recently, GH co-stars Steve Burton, Eva LaRue, and Michael Easton – in a 20-minute episode on July 7, 2024 titled “True Friendship,” the actor sat alone in front of the camera to address the recent state of his mental health. It had previously been revealed that Benard had gone through a bout with anxiety, which he delved deeper into during this short and personal episode.

“I don’t want to relive it, I just want to tell the story of what happened,” Benard began before explaining the battle with anxiety he faced a month ago. “Plus, I was playing a character on General Hospital that is bipolar and off his medication,” he added, saying Sonny’s storyline may have played a part in what happened.

Benard revealed that he was home alone during the time and experienced anxiety-driven insomnia which had him seeing several doctors in search of medication to help. He also recalled calling a friend one night, who called another friend, and the two prayed for the actor. “It’s amazing the compassion that people have,” he continued, later revealing the two friends were GH co-stars Steve Burton and Jonathan Jackson, who is returning to the show this summer. Benard also thanked former GH co-star Vanessa Marcil for helping him get through the ordeal.

Recasting Sonny?

The battle forced Benard to take two weeks off from work. “I knew I had to go to work… and I knew I couldn’t go to work, the way I was feeling,” he admitted. He went on to call GH executive producer Frank Valentini generous and compassionate before revealing, “If I had to stay away another week, they would have had to recast.”

Sonny’s portrayer recounted what it was like to eventually return to GH, remembering he had eight episodes to film in two days. “I’m not going to tell you what it was, but you’ll see. It’s pretty intense,” he said after debating whether he could reveal the details of a specific scene he filmed.

With Sonny off his medication as Ava (Maura West) plots his demise and Morgan (Bryan Craig) is said to be showing up for an episode, fans are left to speculate what this intense upcoming scene could be about.

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