Last summer, when Katherine reeled off a parapet, General Hospital fans were stunned– as were her castmates–that Mary Beth Evans was written off the soap. She was a star and stars weren’t supposed to be treated that way. After all, Mary Beth was half of a Days of Our Lives super couple–as Kayla, and General Hospital had reunited her with the other half of that famed super couple–Stephen Nichols (ex-Patch). As the weeks went by even Mary Beth began to wonder what was going on–even though the writers had told her that her soap opera demise was temporary.“First they said it was going to be for ten days, then it certainly went on a lot longer. The thing is it was all for story–it was nothing about me. They work that way there. It’s all for the story. So it was okay for a while because I had some things I needed to get done, but I really love working. That’s a big thing for me. I think I’ll always work–even when I’m a grandmother. I’ll do a ‘Where’s the beef?’ commercial,” she laughs. “I love working so I was really chomping at the bit to get back. That’s why I was glad they wrote those fantasies in and let me come back at least a little bit.”
And as the weeks dragged on, Mary Beth just waited and waited. “I kind of wish it would have been a little different, that they would have said, ‘It’s five weeks,’ then it would have been easier to do something else. But it was going to be ten days, then another ten and it went like that. As it did drag on I suppose I did think well maybe the writing’s on the wall.”

“I never thought it was a real kill off. Being on a soap opera is like reading the middle page of the book. You never get anywhere,” laughs Mary Beth, who resumed her role last summer.

The storyline took an exciting turn at the end of last year when Katherine and Nikolas–Stefan’s son–made love! Mary Beth had reservations at first. “When I first heard about that I kept saying, ‘Oh no, no. I hope they don’t do that,’ because it’s the furthest thing from my personal mind. Then it sort of looked like it was going that way and I was very nervous about it. When we started doing the story it seemed okay. In a situation like that it’s sort of like your hearts are connecting or your souls are connecting. Especially since it’s just the two of them, it’s not necessarily a public thing. I think a lot of things leave, you’re caught up in the moment, and you forget about the age difference. They have always been very close and he’s always been the one person who knows her and loves her. She needs that in her life. There is no one like that for her. With him she can be who she wants to be,” explains Mary Beth.

The fans are split down the middle. “Some people love it and some people don’t at all. They think I’m Dastardly Do Right and that’s hard for me because it’s a story that’s written for me. When people write and disagree and they think I’m terrible that I did that, they have to realize it’s written for me. There is a writer and it’s not me. I’m just trying to make it believable. I think the characters don’t look ridiculous together. I think his character sort of blossoms in this. The two have had some really honest, nice scenes together. For me, as an actress, I feel I’ve grown in some of the scenes I’ve done with Tyler (Christopher). I feel we really connect and out work is good together, but would that ever happen to me in real life? No. My son is only seven years younger!”

“I don’t want to be anybody’s older woman personally. I’d be more inclined to go with someone like Stuart Damon (Alan) or John Ingle (Edward) and feel young. I’d rather feel young than old,” she says honestly.

One bone of contention with Mary Beth is that her storyline with Stefan was left unfinished. “It’s been played that he’s been angry with her and has been with Genie. I always thought there should have been some element that he still loved Katherine or at least those strings that pull him.”

“That’s the weird thing for me, my training being from Days where you would be with one person for your life,” she laughs. “Their thrust is super couples. On General Hospital that is not the case. Everybody has been with everybody.”

With so many former Days co-stars now on the canvas at GH, is there anyone else Mary Beth would like to join the cast? “I was hoping Richard Biggs (ex-Marcus) would come on. He’s great. He’s incredibly sexy and he’s good looking. I think he would just be great– another hunk.”

Working on GH provides just the right schedule for Mary Beth, the mother of three children, Danny, 11, Katie, 9, and Matthew, six. “When I have to be at work at 1:30 I feel like I’ve already put in a day’s work. I’ve gotten the kids ready for school. I’ve done the carpool, gone to the market–the day starts early around here. It’s a scramble trying to get the kids out the door by 7:30 and on the road,” says Mary Beth, who found the experience of having her brood in school rather liberating.

“Then that makes my nanny have the easiest job on the planet because there are often times she doesn’t have to come because I don’t work that day or I get out of work in time to pick them up, so she’s got it pretty easy. But because of the job I have they have to be ready to rally at any given moment and work long hours if I have a five day week. I need someone who’s flexible. That’s what I always say in my interview for someone–you need to be flexible.”

While some might appear frazzled at having three kids, Mary Beth exudes a calmness that could give Dr. Spock a run for his money. “It’s really the funniest thing because I am really born a happy-go-lucky person. And I realize that as I get older that’s such a gift because there are people who aren’t. That’s the thing that is shocking to me. Children bring out a different kind of attitude with you, fabulous, and also, I don’t want to have bratty kids so that brings up the disciplinarian in me and that’s always scary. My husband Michael and I both, it’s very important that our children are well behaved and respectful, all those old-fashioned values.””My husband and I are extremely accessible. I kind of feel that between you, me, and the millions of readers, I can’t wait until they all turn 18 so I can let a little bit of that go. Of course I’ll always be their parent, but to be more of their friend. People are always still giving their kids all this advice when they’re in their 20s and 30s. Of course that probably will be me, but I’m hoping that when they go off to college I can say, ‘My husband and I have a lot of fun with the children. Our life is a lot about them obviously. I want my children to think they can always talk to me about anything,” Mary Beth says.

When her husband comes home after a twelve-hour day and the kids rush to greet him, all eager to tell him about their day, Mary Beth laughs. “I’ve often told my husband that it’s like a carousel that’s going around. If you walk in the door you have to hop on. And if you don’t then the horses know they’re slapping you in the face. You have to rev yourself up for reentry,” she laughs.

Each of the children has their own distinctive personality. “The oldest one is always in your face, but that’s not a negative thing. He knows what he wants and he knows how to get it. He’ll be a fabulous lawyer. And he’s very talkative and active. My daughter is very calm and more of a logical thinker, but incredibly sweet. She’s just a great middle child. The younger one is funny. He’s a little more shy, a little more of an observer. He’s a very sweet- natured child,” she says proudly.

And while you’d think there would be a tendency towards feuding, that’s not the case at all. “They really don’t fight too much. My husband and I are very big on them respecting each other. I don’t let them talk nasty to each other–or anyone else for that matter. A lot of kids say, ‘I hate you.’ I just do not accept that behavior.”

“I tell my friends and they do not necessarily do that with their kids and I think that’s not a hard thing to do and it really seems to work. What’s the point of everybody being nasty to each other?”

Like most mothers, Mary Beth would like to instill certain values in her children. “The main thing is respect of other people and each other and themselves. At least now in this phase I’m in of parenting, that is my biggest thrust with them. I spend a lot of time with them. I always talk about how beautiful the day is and how lucky they are to live where they live. Just start the day off happy and smiling,” shares the actress.

And it looks like she’s on the right track. “I made up these little songs for my kids that I sing in the morning when I wake them up. ‘It’s time to wake up. Get up and kiss your mommy now.’ A little tune. Then in the afternoon I’ll hear my son singing that song and think, ‘That’s it.’ I just want them to have this happy, loving, appreciate your life attitude.”

———-by Anne Marie Allocca