Before awakening from a 23-year-long coma in 2014, Nina Reeves (then Michelle Stafford, aka The Young and the Restless’ Phyllis) had already lived quite the life. The poor little rich girl had wrapped Daddy so tightly around her finger that he might as well have been a ring. And mom Madeline? Eh, Nina wasn’t so crazy about her. Nina was kinda crazy, though — enough to “help” Mommie Dearest down a flight of stairs.
Pre-nap, Nina’s marriage to Dr. Silas Clay (Michael Easton, now Finn) went south when she discovered that she was expecting… at the very same time that his mistress, Ava Jerome, found out that she, too, was carrying his child. Wanting to sever and we mean sever Nina’s ties to her philandering husband, Madeline tried to induce a miscarriage but wound up giving her daughter more beauty sleep than she needed.
‘Honey, I’m Home’
After Madeline “broke the news” to Silas as well as Nina’s adopted brother/cousin, Nathan West, that she had died, she showed up, right on cue, to stick a fork in the doctor’s relationship with Sam McCall. Nina clearly had a few screws loose, but alas, there wasn’t a mechanic in Port Charles who knew how to tighten that type. So the unstable Rip Van Winkle was free to “claim” the child that Silas and Ava’s fling had cost her.
Nina didn’t want to kidnap Ava’s grown daughter, Kiki. She wanted all the fun of doting on an infant. So, as she came ever more unspooled, she abducted archenemy Ava, who at the time was pregnant by infinitely virile mobster Sonny Corinthos, and induced labor in order to make off with newborn Avery. In Nina’s warped mind, it seemed simple and fair. An eye for an eye, a baby for a baby — that kind of thing.
Mad About You
Aiding and abetting Nina as she ran away with Avery was former serial killer Franco Baldwin (Roger Howarth, now Austin). Oh, don’t make that face; he wasn’t a killer at that point, just a smidgen off kilter. And he became so devoted to Nina that, after they were caught — c’mon, you knew that they would be! — he worked overtime to remain institutionalized just so that he could hang with her at Shadybrook. Ain’t that sweet!
After Nina was hornswoggled into marrying Sonny’s gold-digging half brother, Ric Lansing, and framed first for re-kidnapping Avery, then for murdering Silas, she and Franco were finally, finally free to be together. There was just one problem, and it proved to be even bigger than the re-kidnapping and murder charges. Franco didn’t want children, and do we even need to tell you that Nina did? Because she did. Big time.
Soon, Nina found two things to distract her from her breakup with Franco: her new job as editor-in-chief of Crimson magazine and her new relationship with Valentin Cassadine. And if she was a magnet for trouble, Lord, that man was an even stronger magnet, forever being connected to high crimes (like Nikolas’ “murder”) and lowlifes (like Nathan’s evil half brother, Peter August). Yet passion insisted that the duo say “I do.”
The Bad Seed
By marrying Valentin, Nina brought into her life his daughter, Charlotte, whose origin story was more bizarre than anything you could read in Marvel Comics. (Right, Lulu Spencer?) But the kid was as unapologetically pampered and obnoxious as she was cute, which put her on schoolmarm Willow Tait’s naughty list and made parent/teacher conferences especially tense. This would be important later. Trust us on that one.
‘It’s a Girl!’
Not long after Nina (now Cynthia Watros) learned that she hadn’t actually miscarried all those years ago — damn it, Madeline, you lying liar! — Valentin hired Sasha Gilmore to pretend to be his his wife’s long-lost daughter. Out of, you know, love. But also, he hoped that it would get him out of the doghouse. It did not. In fact, after Nina confronted him on the day that they were to remarry, she rebounded right into the arms of another man.
The Blonde Leading the Blonde On
Nina’s romance with Jasper Jacks went belly up when she discovered that he’d known that his ex-wife, Carly Corinthos, had been the last person to see her real long-lost daughter, Nelle Benson, with a pulse and hadn’t saved the young troublemaker as she’d fallen from a cliff. From that moment on, anytime Nina so much as thought of Carly, she launched into Mrs. White’s “flames on the side of my face” monologue from Clue.
Open Mike Night
Trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, Nina made tracks to Nixon Falls, where she discovered that Carly’s late husband, Sonny, was alive and, well, extra chill now that he had amnesia and thought that he was a dude named Mike. Nina could’ve filled in her sworn enemy, sure. But instead, she kinda-sorta accidentally started imagining herself in the future of the made man with no past. (Not a past that he could remember, anyway!)
‘You’ve Got Some Splainin’ to Do!’
When Mike recalled that he was Sonny — and that he had a wife and family back in Port Charles — he not only dumped Nina, he read her for filth. But some part of him couldn’t shake his feelings for his Nixon Falls boo. Since he made the fatal mistake of admitting as much to Carly, she pulled the plug on their marriage and set in motion a chain of events that paved the way for Sonny and Nina to couple up for real.
Brawl in the Family
If anyone loathed “the other woman” more than Carly — hard to imagine, we know — it was Michael, the son that Sonny had taken away from biodad A.J. Quartermaine. So when Michael wasn’t hurling venomous insults at Nina, he and significant other Willow — told ya she’d be back! — were moving heaven and earth to ensure that Nelle’s mother never got to play “Got your nose!” with grandson Wiley.
‘It’s a Girl — But This One, Not That One’
Nina was crushed to be barred from the little boy’s life. But she had Sonny to canoodle with. And although only Carly knew it at first, she also had to look forward to a reunion with her actual long-lost daughter — surprise! — Willow. Mind you, since she hated Nina as much as Michael did, Carly told herself that she was doing a good deed by keeping secret the sparring partners’ connection.
Truth *and* Consequences
Only when Carly learned that Willow was a goner if she didn’t receive life-saving bone marrow from a relative did she reveal to Nina that Nelle hadn’t been her only daughter. “Better late than never,” Nina chose not to reply to her archenemy. Oh, and for those keeping track, that’s two — count ’em, two — kids that Carly had kept from Nina. That must be a fair trade for one Sonny, right?