emme rylan anniversary mashup
Credit: ABC, Jill Johnson/JPI, Howard Wise/JPI, George De Sota/JPI, Paul Skipper/JPI

It’s high time for the actress’ next role.

We know, we know, it’s hard to believe, but it has, indeed, been 16 years since General Hospital’s much-missed Lulu Spencer, Emme Rylan, first made her daytime appearance as Guiding Light’s Lizzie Spaulding. It’s almost as hard to believe that before landing in Springfield on February 7, 2006, Rylan had only secured her first major acting credit a year earlier with a guest role on Nickelodeon’s Drake & Josh!

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Back when Rylan debuted, Lizzie was a bit obsessed with the finer things in life and was falling more and more in debt to an old prep school friend named Quinn. Plus, she was doing everything in her power to keep Ava Peralta away from her beau, Coop. Then Crystal Hunt announced she was leaving Guiding Light and moving on from the character. Not wanting to slow things down, the show scrambled to replace her and landed on Rylan in almost record time.

When the actress took over, she had to hit the ground running. Fast.

Daniel Cosgrove, Marcy Rylan. Bill, Lizzie, GL, JPI

Above: Even when she found true love, Lizzie was a bit of a hot mess.

Credit: George De Sota/JPI

Within her first six months, Rylan’s Lizzie paid off an escort to lure Ava away from Coop, faked an attack and a stalking from Joey Lupo, got pregnant and faked birth records to lie about when it happened and then lied that Jonathan Randall had raped her. She even faked a suicide attempt and tried to kill her own grandfather, Alan Spaulding!

If you need a moment to catch your breath, don’t worry, we’ll wait.

That, though, is something Rylan did not get to do. Lizzie’s love life was no less tumultuous than her personal one as she obsessed over Coop, fell for Jonathan and finally found happiness with Bill Lewis. The actress stayed with Guiding Light for the next three and a half years, eventually marrying Bill by the time the show ended in September of 2009.

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Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for another soap to pick her up, and in 2010, she began airing as a now grown Abby Newman, taking Ashley and Victor’s daughter into her wet and wild Naked Heiress days. After playing the tumultuous Lizzie, it seemed like a natural fit. But when budget cuts reduced Rylan’s Abby to recurring, General Hospital took the opportunity to hire the actress as Luke and Laura’s plucky daughter, Lulu.

As difficult as it can be taking over such an iconic role, it didn’t take long for Rylan to win over the audience. Her start was even more dramatic than Lizzie’s or Abby’s, as she first aired in a cryogenic chamber after being kidnapped by Stavros Cassadine. The show was revisiting the Ice Princess storyline in a big way and Rylan’s Lulu was right at the center of it.

Rylan stayed at the center for nearly eight years, more than twice as long as Guiding Light and Young & Restless combined. During that time, Lulu and Dante’s love remained strong, but when it finally broke down after a series of devastating blows, she had a mental breakdown and left on New Year’s Eve of 2020.

Dominic Zamprogna, Emme Rylan, Lulu, Dante, JPI, GH

Above: Lulu and Dante fans are still in mourning.

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

It was sad news for Lulu fans, but could still potentially be good news for whichever soap picks her up next… like, say, Days of Our Lives?

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Kayla and Steve’s daughter, Stephanie hasn’t really been seen since 2011, but supposedly, she’s still living in Salem. She showed up for her parents’ wedding in 2017, but that was the last we saw of her.

Granted, Rylan’s Stephanie would be a bit blonder than she was when Shelley Henig was playing the role, but the General Hospital alum has already demonstrated a clear knack for taking on legacy roles — she’s played one on every soap she’s been on! Stephanie seems like she could be the perfect fit.

And she would also be great to have on canvas for when Philip inevitably returns from his mental health break, alive, maybe a bit more rational, and eager to get Chloe back from Brady. Stephanie and Philip had been thisclose to marriage at one time, until the Kiriakis/DiMera feud (plus her beau sleeping with Melanie) put an end to them.

Bringing her back could easily turn the Brady/Chloe/Philip triangle into a quadrangle and up the stakes further. It would be yet another opportunity for Rylan to join a soap and make a splash right from the start! Maybe just with more clothes on than Abby had.

What do you think? Would you like to see Rylan join Days of Our Lives as Stephanie? Or maybe you’ve got another idea for a character she could play? Sound off below, then before you head out, why not check out a gallery of Rylan’s Guiding Light co-stars so you can catch up on how they, too, have changed (or haven’t!) over the years.