Credit: ABC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection (2), Howard Wise/JPI
Welcome to Port Charles
In 1992, the daughter of womanizing businessman Harlan Barrett and the “late” Veronica Wilding showed up on the doorstep of older sister Julia, who forced her to enroll in high school if she ever wanted to see a penny of her trust fund. Feisty Brenda complied, but her idea of the three Rs wasn’t reading, writing and arithmetic, it was romance (with musclebound Jagger Cates), rivalry (with his true love, Karen Wexler) and real friendship (with sweet Robin Scorpio).
Playing With Fire
Brenda knew that older man Sonny Corinthos was as sketchy as an art-class still life; after all, it was he who’d added to frenemy Karen’s list of extracurriculars stripping at the Paradise Lounge. But the heart that Jagger had broken when he’d dumped Brenda nonetheless skipped a beat when the smooth criminal flashed his dimples, and before she could say, “This seems unwise,” the two of them were head over heels in love.
A Matter of Trust
Everyone who cared about Brenda told her over and over (and over) again that Sonny was bad news. She just couldn’t bring herself to believe it; by then, as you can see, the couple even dressed alike! So she decided to prove her loved ones wrong by wearing a wire on her boyfriend. It… um… Wow. It did not go well. Instead of getting to say to her friends, “I told ya so,” Brenda found herself on the receiving end of Sonny’s wrath and, as an added bonus, learning his least favorite word (betrayal). He was still as drawn to her as a moth to a flame, of course. But by the time he was willing to admit it, new wife Lily Rivera was pregnant.
When Clink Met Boom
Knowing the importance of family to Sonny, Brenda attempted to give up on the idea of living happily ever after with the godfather-slash-father-to-be by eating a pint of Häagen-Dazs and watching chick flicks throwing caution to the wind and tying the knot with rich Australian Jasper Jacks… just as a car bomb was removing from the picture both the don’s wife and unborn child. D’oh! In the aftermath, the widower made it his mission to win back Brenda. And when he failed with normal means — i.e., working the dimples and pointing out that Jax’s actual name was Jasper — he resorted to desperate measures.
To acknowledge the Jackses’ decision to renew their vows at the Quartermaine mansion, Sonny didn’t buy them a toaster or blender or even get them an Olive Garden gift certificate. No, he showed up at the ceremony with a surprise guest: Jax’s “dead” wife, Miranda. And though it would’ve been nice if her ex had bothered to RSVP that he was bringing a plus-one, Brenda smiled and said, “Whatevs. The more, the merrier.”
Are You Kidding?!?
Of course what the bride really did was take out her own kind of “hit” on the mafioso, in the process damn near knocking the dimples clear off of his smug face.
‘I Do… Not Believe It’
Eventually, Sonny wore down Brenda, to the point that she put Jax in rear-view and agreed to become made man and wife. But on the day that they were to exchange vows, Sonny realized — “Hey, wait a minute… ” — just how dangerous it was being a (cough) coffee importer. Brooding more than usual, he left his fiancée at the altar and sent his flunky — the bride’s old Port Charles High classmate, Jason Quartermaine Morgan — to deliver a message: It was a great ride.
She Drives Me Crazy
By 1998, Brenda had ping-ponged back to Jax. But because the fates would sooner allow the existence of a calorie-free dessert than let her know a moment’s peace, they chose then and there to reintroduce into her life her “deceased” mother just long enough for the madwoman to speed them over the edge of a cliff to their presumed deaths. (Seriously, how many “deceased” people can one article include? Asking for a friend… )
‘Death’ Becomes Her
After being rescued from what could have been her watery grave by arms dealer Luis Alcazar, Brenda was forced to act as a kind of svelte human shield between her possessive “keeper” and her exes, Sonny and Jax. Mind you, she really, truly didn’t want either of them back. Or at least she didn’t want to want either of them back. Or at least… ya know what? Brenda was probably right after all; the only thing she could possibly do to keep from busting up Sonny’s marriage to Carly or Jax’s relationship with Skye Quartermaine was to get hitched to Jason. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
A Kiss Before Lying
You remember what happened next, right? Alcazar met his maker (courtesy of closet femme fatale Alexis Davis), Brenda and Jason were accused (and acquitted) of the crime, and she shared a passionate kiss with Sonny as an unorthodox method of preparing to remarry Jax (who, upon learning of the lip-lock, took a hard pass on the “I redo”). The mercurial supermodel wouldn’t return to Port Charles again until 2010, with a menacing Balkan in hot pursuit and Sonny as hot for her as ever.
No sooner had Sonny and Brenda finally tied the knot in 2011 than the Balkan put his own spin on clink-boom. This bride made out a whole lot better than predecessor Lily had, but the newly-minted Mrs. Corinthos was soon faced with a terrible dilemma: Since she’d just been reunited with her “late” son, Alec, did she really want to be married to the Mob? Sonny answered that question for her when he shrugged off bullets flying in their direction — “They missed, didn’t they?” — and framed Jax in order to tank his custody case against Carly.
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
Brenda’s 2013 visit to Port Charles to honor “late” pal Robin at the Nurses Ball was a short one, but she sure packed a lot into it: She not only revealed that she’d gotten engaged to Jax again (must have been his year), she sacrificed their second chance to ask for another one from Sonny (who confoundingly still posed as much of a threat as ever to her and Alec’s health) and faked a one-night stand with Carly’s son, Michael. You know, just to make her see redder than usual.
A Chapter Yet Unwritten
What will Brenda get up to when she returns to Port Charles — and we all know she will, someday! (Well, probably.) Our money’s on her reconsidering her marriage of convenience to Jason. As portrayer Vanessa Marcil put it in November of 2020, “Yes all day to finally landing Jason. Hot.”