Top 20 Soap Opera Romances of All Time
Image: CBS,John Paschal/JPI, Frank Edwards/GETTY
A good, passionate romance is the backbone of any soap opera.
When compiling a list of the best of the best, it was hard picking just 20. There are just so many to choose from, and since we are not exactly looking for soul mates here, just a great love story, the pool got even wider. We have definitely left a few out, so let us know who your favorites are in the comments below. In no particular order, here are Hollie’s picks for Top 20 Romances of all time from soaps such as All My Children, As the World Turns, Days of our Lives, General Hospital, Guiding Light, One Life to Live, Passions, and Young and the Restless.
20. Haley and Mateo, All My Children
This couple has to be on the list if only for the simple fact portrayers Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos tied the knot in real life ─ and have stayed married for 16 years. No surprise considering their chemistry as Haley Vaughn and Mateo Santos. They fought through her airplane kidnapping by his best friend, his lying ex-wife and about with Libidizone. After eloping in 1996, Ripa and Consuelos have three children and seem hotter than ever.
19. Luke and Laura, General Hospital
Can you have a list like this and not include them? Even people who claimed to not watch soap operas knew who this super couple was. Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary) and Laura Webber (Genie Francis) are considered by many to be the golden standard of daytime pairings, despite their controversial beginning when he raped her. But their characters fell in love, got married (in front of 30 million viewers!) and stayed that way for more than two decades.
18. Robin and Stone, General Hospital
Played by Kimberly McCullough and Michael Sutton, this pairing was puppy love with some serious bite. Just a teenager when she fell for bad-boy Stone, her crush developed into something so much more. Stone was diagnosed with AIDS, and it was through him she got HIV. In fact, it was on his deathbed where she revealed to him her diagnosis. Despite his death, their relationship has always been a part of who Robin is.
17. Greenlee and Leo, All My Children
From the moment Greenlee Smythe (Rebecca Budig) and Leo du Pres (Josh Duhamel) shared the screen together, they simply sizzled with chemistry. An old plotline (helping each other win over their true loves) was new and fresh with the easy banter and sparks these two generated. And when he fell into Miller’s Falls trying to save Greenlee from his mother Vanessa, scores of fans were devastated along with Greenlee.
16. Tad and Dixie, All My Children
Considered one of the greatest soap loves of all time, Tad Martin (Michael E. Knight) and Dixie Cooney (Cady McClain) seemed to share a true affection that everyone could feel. What started off as true and tender friendship developed into so much more as their love was allowed to slowly build over the years. Their love even transcended death when, after a run in with the Satin Slayer’s poisoned pancakes) Dixie came back to life at the hands of Dr. David Hayworth, allowing the couple to be together at the end of All My Children.
15. Erica and Dimitri, All My Children
Jackson Montgomery (Walt Willey) fanatics are sure to be in up in arms, but Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) was never able to really let him be the man in the relationship, even at the end. But when she was with Hungarian Dimitri Marick (Michael Nader), he was always in control. Except for that time when she stabbed him. The heat that fired their initial hatred of each other (he tried to take over Enchantment) is also what made their relationship exciting and fiery.
14. Doug and Julie, Days of Our Lives
The pairing of Doug Williams (Bill Hayes) and Julie Olson (Susan Seaforth Hayes) was almost inspired. In fact, the two took up together off-screen and even eloped before their characters married on the show. Writers still delayed their wedding, (he was married to her mother) making the anticipation even greater for these star-crossed lovers to finally tie the knot. And when they did, the event was a full-blow soap confection.
13. Josh and Reva, Guiding Light
Josh Lewis (Robert Newman) and Reva Shayne (Kim Zimmer) were simply irresistible. Childhood sweethearts turned longtime loves ─ barring a divorce or three ─ their stormy romance held Guiding Light viewers captivated until the end when they literally drove off into the sunset together. They survived an Amish clone, amnesia and cancer to have two children and one of the more memorable soap opera romances.
12. Sami and Lucas, Days of Our Lives
While Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney) has undeniable chemistry with a few different men in Salem, it is her longtime love Lucas Roberts (Bryan Dattilo) that has Lumi fans tap dancing over their current reconnection. The two met backstage at a Cherish concert when she walked in on Lucas having sex with the singer. Since then they have dealt with his spiteful mother Kate, swapped paternity results and attractions to a slew of other people. Still, their easy connection and scheming ways keep us on our toes and we can’t wait to see what is next.
11. Theresa and Ethan, Passions
Despite “Passions” fairly short run, fans quickly became obsessed with the pairing of Theresa Lopez-Fitzgerald (Lindsay and Ethan Crane (Travis Schuldt and Eric Martsolf). People are even rabid about their allegiance to one Ethan or the other. Their classic rich boy meets girl from the wrong side of the track’s storyline involved the most out-there obstacles, which made their wedding at the end of the soap that much sweeter.
10. Victor and Nikki, Young and the Restless
Only on Daytime can you meet the love of your life working as a barely-legal stripper. Nikki Reed (Melody Thomas Scott) was just a regular Eliza Doolittle as Victor Newman (Eric Braeden) transformed her into a real class act. Keeping his distance at first, he eventually succumbed to his feelings for Nikki and the two have shared a stormy relationship ever since.
9. Robert and Anna, General Hospital
Super spies and uber-couple Robert Scorpio (Tristan Rogers) and Anna Devane (Finola Hughes) have spent years traveling the world as espionage agents, there was a lot of false deaths and dangerous missions throughout their relationship. They have lost a child together (although not really) and because of some current meddling by Luke (Anthony Geary) their current path is uncertain, but certain to be interesting.
8. Kim and Bob, As The World Turns
Kim Sullivan (Kathryn Hays) originally met Dr. Bob Hughes (Don Hastings) when her sister Jennifer introduced him as her fiance. Kim was envious her sister found such a catch. Jennifer and Bob’s marriage was on the rocks and while they were apart, Kim found herself in bed with her sister’s husband. Both women became pregnant with Bob’s babies and while Bob and Jennifer reunited, Kim gave birth to a baby girl she was told died. Kim’s life went on. She married Dr. John Dixon, but the marriage wasn’t good. She became pregnant again but left John. Her sister perished in a car accident, leaving Bob a widow. Bob and Kim got together and through their ups and downs, they stayed together for the duration.
7. Sonny and Brenda, General Hospital
The steam between Brenda Barrett (Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo) and mobster Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Bernard) was always there, whether they were with other people or not. Through kidnappings, wire tappings, explosions and revenge sex, these two always brought the heat when they shared the screen. Her return in 2010 didn’t bring the anticipate spark, however, so we are left with our memories of how things used to be.
6. Bo and Hope, Days of Our Lives
Just a teenager when she met Bo Brady (Peter Reckell), babysitter Hope Williams (Kristian Alfonso) fell for the rebellious outsider immediately. He even kidnapped her from her own wedding, riding off on a motorcycle together. They have lost a child together, battled past brainwashing and even a few muddled paternity results, but remain one of soaps’ most beloved couples.
5. John and Marlena, Days of Our Lives
Another super couple from “Days,” John Black (Drake Hogestyn) and Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall) fell in love under false pretenses since he thought he was an amnesiac named John Black, but was really the missing Roman. But not really. Huh? Over the years, not even her demonic possession or Stefano’s machinations could keep this couple apart.
4. Angie and Jesse, All My Children
Another teen romance-turned-lifelong commitment, Jesse Hubbard (Darnell Williams) was from the wrong side of the tracks but fell for well-to-do Angie Baxter (Debbi Morgan) anyway. Their love spanned the length of the soap, and their last year was possibly the most tender as they dealt with her blindness and the death of their baby. Fans of the paring can now see them as Harmony and Sarge on “Young and the Restless.”
3. Liz and Jason, General Hospital
While many people can’t bear the idea of Jason Morgan (Steve Burton) with anyone other than Sam McCall (Kelly Monaco), others are holding out hope for him to reunite with Elizabeth Webber (Rebecca Herbst). Her friendship with Jason evolved over time, built on a background of respect and love. Though no longer together, the death of their son will always keep them connected, and possibly bring them back together in the future.
2. Bo and Nora, One Life to Live
Lawyer Nora Gannon (Hillary B. Smith) connected with fans the moment she hit the screen, and connected with Bo Buchanan (Robert S. Woods) even more when the two started working together to solve the mystery of his wife’s murder. That wasn’t the only drama throughout their relationship, but despite all the trials, they were together and happy when the soap ended in 2011.
1. Todd and Blair, One Life to Live
You don’t get more controversial than Todd Manning (Roger Howarth and Trevor St. John) and Blair Cramer (Kassie DePaiva). They bond over drinks in a bar, and when she found out about his fortune, schemes to seduce the convicted rapist. Through every obstacle imaginable, including a new Todd with a new face, this couple had a daughter in jail and fans on the edge of their seat there could be a reconnection on General Hospital.
A version of this article was written by Hollie Deese May 14, 2012. It was refreshed by Christine Fix on April 20, 2020.