After Stone’s death, his grieving girlfriend was sure that she’d never love again — and, frankly, viewers thought she might be right. But then a miracle occurred: A tender romance blossomed between her and, of all people, her polar opposite: brain-damaged Mob muscle Jason. They were warm and cool, open and closed, the ultimate yin and yang. And they might have made it for the long haul, too, had he not put Carly’s needs first, inadvertently pushing Robin to acknowledge that, however platonic it had become, the besties’ love was the one that was going to stand the test of time.
Holden and Lily, As the World Turns
The CBS soap caught lightning in a bottle when it paired Jon Hensley with Martha Byrne in the 1980s. “I just had that massive crush on him,” she admitted to Soap Opera Digest in 2020. She was “like, ‘Oh my God, he’s so cute!’” After replacing her with Heather Rattray, ATWT recaptured the magic by rehiring Byrne. But when the role was recast again, this time with Noelle Beck (formerly Trisha, Loving), Holden and Lily were as much a thing of the past as Byrne’s tenure on the show.
Roman and Marlena, Days of our Lives
In the early 1980s, Wayne Northrop’s rough-around-the-edges cop and Deidre Hall’s glamorous Doc were the kinda hot that could give viewers third-degree burns just by watching. But after Northrop split in ’84 to return to Dynasty, their moment passed (and, for a while, we all thought that Drake Hogestyn’s John was Roman!). Days of our Lives re-teamed Northrop and Hall in ’91, but to no avail. He was given the chop three years later, telling the Chicago Tribune, “Leaving this time is not my choice.”
Lucky and Elizabeth, General Hospital
There was an irresistible sweetness to the romance that blossomed between Jonathan Jackson and Rebecca Herbst’s characters as teenagers. When they promised to be one another’s forever, we didn’t doubt it for a second. But after Jackson left the show in 1999, no matter how good the subsequent Luckys were — and Jacob Young (ex-Rick, The Bold and the Beautiful) and Greg Vaughan (Eric, Days of our Lives) were really good — the relationship, understandably, never felt the same. Even when Jackson returned a decade later, we had the sense that times had changed… and so had Lucky and Liz.
Ridge and Taylor, The Bold and the Beautiful
For so many decades, the playboy had ping-ponged between Brooke and Taylor, Taylor and Brooke, that we kinda assumed that he always would. But, after Thorsten Kaye assumed the role from Ronn Moss in 2013, the game ended. Ridge remained drawn to Brooke — and also found himself drawn to Caroline, Katie, Shauna… a whole bunch of women. However, his interest in Taylor seemed to have shrunk into near nonexistence.
Victor and Ashley, The Young and the Restless
Don’t you dare say that these two were only a pretty-good, not a super, couple; they were super enough to make Nikki feel so threatened that she pretended to be dying to keep them apart. But, unlike the most frequently-wed Newmans, Victor and Ashley’s rooting value diminished when she was recast over and over again. Eric Braeden and Eileen Davidson have still got “it.” But we’d be Adam-dressed-as-Sabrina-level shocked if they ever went for it again.
Catlin and Sally, Another World
We can understand why the NBC soap would’ve wanted to keep this supercouple going after Mary Page Keller left her role in 1985. But what we can’t understand is why the powers that be thought they’d be able to. Keller, you see, didn’t just have chemistry with leading man Thomas Ian Griffith on screen, she had it off, too. So any sparks that flew between him and her successor, Taylor Miller (previously Nina on All My Children), were going to seem by comparison like a flicker, not a blaze. The show figured that out a year later and not only nixed the pairing but killed Sally!
Jason and Elizabeth, General Hospital
We thought these crazy kids just might make a real go of it. But when push came to shove, the mother of three decided that her actual kids shouldn’t have to grow up in the line of fire that seemed to follow wherever Sonny’s right-hand man went. So the two of them broke each other’s hearts — and ours along with them — and parted ways. Now, he’s raising a family with Sam, and she’s married to former homicidal maniac Franco. Hey, it makes sense to them.
Kyle and Lola, The Young and the Restless
We’re still scratching our heads over this one. The CBS sudser came up with a recipe for success when it paired the working-class chef with Genoa City’s poor little rich (play)boy. But instead of go back for seconds, the show let the dish get cold and sent it back to the kitchen, breaking up the couple that had fought so hard to be together with little more than a shrug and an “Eh, we gave it a shot. Better luck next time.”
Scotty and Laura, General Hospital
At a time when the soap was struggling and desperately needed a shot in the arm, Kin Shriner and Genie Francis’ young lovers provided it. “All of a sudden,” he recalled for Soap Opera Digest in 2020, “people were running home from school to watch it.” So super a couple did Scotty and Laura become that they even had their own spoiler in scheming Bobbie. But after she unleashed big brother Luke on the sweethearts, and he became infatuated with Laura, the audience grew more enamored of the new pairing than it had been of the old one.