Re­becca Budig (ex-Hay­den)

GEN­ERAL HOS­PI­TAL’s Re­becca Budig shares fans’ frus­tra­tion over Hay­den’s exit — but still thinks she “lucked out” with the role

ABC Soaps In Depth - - Contents - — Deanna Barn­ert

Af­ter finally fight­ing her way to re­demp­tion, GEN­ERAL HOS­PI­TAL’s Hay­den suc­cumbed to her past and ran from her fu­ture. And while por­trayer Re­becca Budig has mixed feel­ings about her exit — she doesn’t want to leave — she’s thrilled that the pow­ers that be didn’t kill off her char­ac­ter! “I thought they would, so I was grate­ful,” she grins. “And I like how they sent Hay­den off. They wrote this

great end­ing for Finn and Hay­den. It wasn’t black-and-white. That’s more in­ter­est­ing.”

One thing’s clear, how­ever. Hay­den’s choice to run re­flected her in­se­cu­ri­ties win­ning out, not her dark side. “She’s do­ing this be­cause she hates her­self… and she’s scared,” Budig in­sists. “When she did things be­fore, it was di­a­bol­i­cal. Now, she wanted to be this good, amaz­ing hu­man be­ing for Finn… but she’s got this past she can’t shake. So she wants Finn to move on with his life. It’s go­ing to be frus­trat­ing for fans. It’s frus­trat­ing for me!”

Sto­ries Left Un­told

Budig’s frus­tra­tion comes in walk­ing away from so much un­tapped stor y po­ten­tial. “The first thing I asked when I heard was, ‘So what’s go­ing to hap­pen to the baby?’” dead­pans the ac­tress. “I was look­ing for­ward to play­ing that out, be­cause it was in­ter­est­ing that Hay­den and Finn were fear­ful about be­com­ing par­ents.

“This just wasn’t a typ­i­cal soap pair­ing,” she con­tin­ues. “I like the way they wrote the char­ac­ters to­gether, with the hu­mor and quirk­i­ness. I was cu­ri­ous to see how we could nav­i­gate their fu­ture.”

And how Hay­den would nav­i­gate the fu­ture with sis Liz. “They had finally found their way to be­ing nice to each other,” Budig sighs. “They weren’t besties. There was still awk­ward­ness… but there was also this sense of hav­ing each other’s backs. There’s some­thing beau­ti­ful in that, and I was look­ing for­ward to where we would land, not to men­tion ex­plor­ing ‘Where’s our dad? Why isn’t he here for us?’”

The Friends She’ll Miss Most

In ad­di­tion to en­joy­ing the ride GH showrun­ners took Hay­den on, Budig adored her co-stars. “I do miss see­ing Michael Eas­ton (Finn) and hav­ing our chats,” she says. “I loved work­ing with Becky Herbst (Liz), and Don­nell Turner (Cur­tis) is so

sweet. And I miss see­ing Fi­nola Hughes (Anna) and all the fa­mil­iar faces in the hall­way.”

While Budig — a vet of GUID­ING LIGHT (as Michelle) and ALL MY CHIL­DREN (as Green­lee) — would “do any­thing” to work with her many Port Charles pals again, the ac­tress re­mains grate­ful for the time she had. “In this busi­ness, you’re lucky if you have a job longer than a few days — and I was only sup­posed to be here for two weeks,” she re­minds. “I lucked out!”

More Pop­u­lar Than She Knew

Though Budig ad­mits she’s “bummed” about end­ing her GH run, some­thing amaz­ing did come out of it. “Peo­ple reached out from ev­ery­where,” she mar­vels. “The fans were so vo­cal — and I didn’t ac­tu­ally re­al­ize they liked Hay­den! It’s dif­fi­cult to en­ter into a cast that’s so es­tab­lished, so I didn’t know whether they’d ac­cepted me yet. The out­pour­ing of love was amaz­ing and mind-blow­ingly flat­ter­ing.

“Also, the amount of fel­low ac­tors, pro­duc­ers and writ­ers who reached out across so­cial me­dia was a nice sur­prise,” she adds. “I never ex­pected peo­ple to feel that.”

Less sur­pris­ing was the sup­port Budig re­ceived from her former GH spar­ring part­ner and real-life buddy, Jane El­liot (ex-Tracy). “She came over the other day, and it was great,” Budig raves. “She’s a dear friend and def­i­nitely a good guide to have in life.”

A Play­ful Warn­ing For Finn

With one more beat in Hay­den’s story yet to play out, Budig doesn’t ex­pect a call back to GH… but she’s still keep­ing her ears open, just in case. In the mean­time, she’s got­ten daugh­ter Char­lotte, 2, set­tled into preschool and hit the au­di­tion cir­cuit. “I have good agents, thank God,” says the ac­tress, who’s open to another soap. “That hasn’t come up yet. We’ll see where I land.”

And we’ll see how Port Charles fares with­out Hay­den. “I’ll be check­ing in,” Budig prom­ises. “I want to see what’s go­ing on with Michael, Becky and Don­nell. Finn bet­ter not move on too quickly!”

Budig will miss Eas­ton. “I’ve learned a lot from him,” she says. “He has an in­cred­i­ble sense of hu­mor, he’s re­ally smart… and he has great hair!”

“Jane El­liot is just a smart, good woman,” gushes Budig. “I love her.”

“I re­ally liked the friend­ship they were de­vel­op­ing” be­tween Hay­den and Cur­tis, says her por­trayer. “It was very sweet.”

“Tyler Christopher (ex-Niko­las) and I got along

so well,” raves his former lead­ing lady. “I adore him!”

The sib­ling ri­vals were a big “hit.”

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