Steve and Audrey – theirs was a relationship that honored the vows “till death us do part”… However, it took three trips down the aisle on General Hospital to finally get it right.
How Did Steve and Audrey Meet?
She was a transcontinental stewardess who had taken to the skies the same day she had earned her nursing degree. He was a dedicated physician who prioritized his patients’ health over his own well being.
When they first laid eyes on each other at General Hospital’s seventh-floor nurses’ station, the chemistry was immediate and palpable to every observer.
Steve was taken with the brash airline hostess and Audrey was equally smitten despite the staid and stuffy Steve being far removed from her usual type.
After years of bearing witness to the jet-set lifestyle – and reaping some of the fringe benefits – Audrey decided to finally heed the advice of her exasperated but well-meaning older sister Lucille and settle down in Port Charles.
To that end, Audrey accepted a position at the hospital. As a private duty nurse, she was assigned to care for Randy Washburn, a well known junior ad executive being treated by Dr. Phil Brewer for malaria.
The very wealthy, worldly and adventurous Randy was the kind of man that Audrey would have normal pursued, but she continued to be entranced with Steve. They bonded over lunches in the staff cafeteria and more sumptuous dinners at the local club and despite himself, Steve began to fall in love.
But Randy was not to be deterred. During his convalescence, he had fallen for Audrey and he subsequently showered her with expensive trinkets and promises of an exciting and fulfilling life as Mrs. Washburn.
For her part, Audrey only had eyes for Steve and she gladly accepted his proposal of marriage. However, Steve secretly feared that Audrey was merely settling for him and that worry caused him to refuse to set a wedding date.
Misinterpreting Steve’s apprehension as buyer’s remorse, Audrey halted the engagement and declared her intent to leave the country with Randy. On the day she was to leave for the airport, Audrey collapsed into a heap on the floor! An emergency battery of tests revealed that she was suffering from lymphoma.
Radiation arrested the spread of the disease, and it was Steve who stayed by Audrey’s side during her grueling treatments while Randy had simply made the trip to the Philippines solo.
Nearly losing Audrey was a wakeup call for Steve, who swallowed his wounded pride and once again asked her to marry him. Their marriage was a quiet and humble affair briefly marred by Randy’s appearance.
Audrey hoped to become pregnant. But when no such condition developed, she began to suspect that her husband was sterile and that she would never conceive.
To remedy the situation, Audrey connived to have herself artificially inseminated and nearly lost Steve when the truth was outed. He eventually warmed to the idea of being a father but just as visions of being a happy family danced in the couple’s head, tragedy struck.
Both were involved in a serious automobile accident – with Steve at the wheel – and Audrey suffered a miscarriage. In her grief, Audrey petitioned the courts for a divorce and briefly relocated to Vietnam in order to care for displaced or orphaned children.
Upon her return, she married Doctor Tom Baldwin – more to prove that she had gotten over Steve than anything else. The relationship was a stifling one, and Tom soon proved to be a violent brute who delighted in berating his wife. When he forced himself on her, Audrey became pregnant and welcomed a baby boy into the world.
In time, Audrey extricated herself from that sorry predicament only to embroil herself in another by marrying Dr. Jim Hobart. Through it all, Steve remained a confidant and friend.
More Trials and Tribulations
When Jim callously abandoned her, Audrey attempted suicide. To her side, Steve rushed. Finally realizing the folly of her ways, Audrey cornered Steve in his office and demanded that they finally lay their cards on the table.
“Is the rumor true?” she asked. “Do you share my feelings?” Steve answered in the affirmative. They weathered yet another lengthy engagement – made necessary by Steve’s brief, injury-related paralysis – as well as the return of a presumed dead Tom Baldwin, the objections of Tom Baldwin Jr., over his mother’s remarrying, and the revelation that Jeff Webber was Steve’s illegitimate son.
Steve and Audrey – Till The Bitter End
The couple’s 1977 wedding proved the old adage, “the third time’s the charm.” They remained a seemingly indelible aspect of General Hospital and their romance served as inspiration for most of their lovelorn coworkers.
When Steve succumbed to a heart attack in 1996, it was truly the end of an era and the finale of an epic love story. General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes.