Veteran fans of beloved soap Guiding Light recall heroic Phillip Spaulding as a big part of soap opera history. The character debuted on the CBS soap as a pre-teen in 1977 and by the time the show went off the air in 2009, Phillip was a grandfather!
Phillip was at times heroic and at times every bit as dastardly as the man who raised him — Alan Spaulding. Here’s a look back at the life and loves of Phillip, who was played for the majority of the character’s run on Guiding Light by Emmy-nominee Grant Aleksander.
Switched At Birth
Phillip’s biological parents were Jackie and Justin Marler, but he was adopted shortly after birth by Alan and Elizabeth Spaulding. He had a complicated childhood as Jackie and Elizabeth were friends. Phillip had a medical condition that caused Elizabeth to refrain from telling her son the truth about his birth. Phillip had conflicted feelings about his often-absent father, Alan.
In high school, Phillip fell in love with Beth Raines, who was abused by her stepfather Bradley. Phillip and Beth ran off to New York where they shared adventures and a grand romance. They returned home and Bradley was sent to jail. Alas, Phillip and Beth’s marriage was called off because he had impregnated Mindy. He was devastated when Mindy, whom he’d reluctantly wed, miscarried their little girl.
A Passage To India
Phillip met his match in India Von Halkein, his aunt Alexandra’s former stepdaughter. She blackmailed Phillip into marriage as revenge against Alex. Despite this, Phillip and India made a go of their union for a while, but her machinations led to a lack of trust. The fact that Phillip was still in love with Beth didn’t help either! His future wives included Blake, Harley, and Olivia.
Phillip was BFF’s with Rick Bauer, but the two often came into conflict over women. Phillip impregnated Meredith (she lost the baby) shortly before she wed Rick. Later, Rick wed Beth after helping Phillip fake his death when he’d been framed for murder. Years later, Rick impregnated Harley, which harkened back to Phillip’s betrayal with Meredith. Despite these conflicts, the two remained pals.
Over The Top
Sadly, Phillip had a break from reality and “kidnapped” his children but was stopped before leaving town with them. Alan shot his son and people had thought Phillip had died. But he hadn’t.
He returned to Springfield years later, doing his best to make amends with those he’d wronged including his daughter, Lizzie, now a mother herself to little Sarah. When the series concluded, Phillip reunited with Beth, and he was the oldest family member living in the Spaulding mansion.