Here comes the bride! Emmy winner Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo, who's had multiple weddings to CSI: NY star Carmine Giovinazzo, is about to get hitched on General Hospital, too. The date: February 18 (though the ceremony and its shocking aftermath will air for a full six episodes). TV Guide Magazine spoke with the daytime superstar about her character Brenda Barrett's long and legendary romance with mob boss Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) and her own oh-so-mysterious love life!
TV Guide Magazine: This is the wedding of the new soap century! Let's cut to the chase: Are you a gorgeous bride?
Marcil Giovinazzo: I don't know about that but I'm definitely smart and funny in this wedding, which I love. Marrying Maurice is my dream come true. Brenda is one of the rare characters in soaps who's been around 20 years and has never married. She did have that infamous funny-pretend wedding to Jason but that doesn't really count. I'm talking about a real wedding to someone she truly loves, so this is a first. [Laughs] It's like the end of an era.
TV Guide Magazine: We know the wedding will actually take place this time, unlike Brenda's past ceremonies. What don't we know?
Marcil Giovinazzo: A lot of things happen that I've never seen take place during a soap wedding. It's not just another spin on something we've done a hundred times. Sonny and Brenda end up exposing everything about their real selves so that there are no more horrible secrets between them and it's just incredible. It's what true love is supposed to be about. Nobody has to lie or hide anything anymore, so it's a deeper love than they've ever had before. It's an adult love. All that childish, keeping secrets stuff is boring if you're not 25 anymore, you know?
TV Guide Magazine: Is a happily-ever-after ending really possible for these two?
Marcil Giovinazzo: I'm the wrong person to ask about that because I do not believe in happily-ever-after. I believe you can love somebody truly and want to do what's best for them no matter how it affects your life. And that's Sonny and Brenda. That doesn't mean it's always going to be perfectly lovey-dovey. After all, they're both hot-blooded Latins.
TV Guide Magazine: They are?
Marcil Giovinazzo: Aren't they? Isn't Sonny supposed to be Italian?
TV Guide Magazine: Uh...I always thought the name Corinthos was Greek.
Marcil Giovinazzo: Well, anyway, what I mean is that Maurice and I are both Latin, and that can't help but come through in our characters. Even if Sonny and Brenda are happily-ever-after we're going to be seeing some great fights along the way. I really believe this couple can make it. They won't have your typical home-sweet-home. [Laughs] There will be gangsters hanging around and the occasional dead body. But there's real love there. Even though I can see a lot of fights, I also see a lot of fabulous making-up scenarios where truth and passion win out. I don't like those relationships with the flowers and candles and all that crap and everyone has to be nice, nice, nice. Those relationships end up exploding in the end. Maurice and I were talking just today about how we'd be so excited to portray a real marriage with all its arguments, debates and problems but also with great moments of real love and friendship.
TV Guide Magazine: Let's discuss Brenda's relationship with Dante [Dominic Zamprogna]. Before we found out about their secret past together, you two really played up the sparks. It seemed there was a definite potential for romance there.
Marcil Giovinazzo: I was very much playing that because [GH head writer Bob Guza] wanted to make sure that [the possibility of attraction] was established and intact. Of course, at that point Brenda and Dante didn't know they had this crazy connection, but I do like the serendipity of it all. I think Brenda was drawn to Dante because he's basically a younger version of Sonny, who is the love of her life. There's something kind of pure about it. [Laughs] Even though in theory it's a little alarming.
TV Guide Magazine: If you decide to stay with the show, can you see Guza pursuing a Brenda-Dante romance?
Marcil Giovinazzo: Oh, no, no. I can guarantee nothing like that will ever happen now that Brenda knows he's Sonny's son. Never! Now we're getting into Jerry Springer territory.
TV Guide Magazine: Hell-ooo, have you never seen The Bold and the Beautiful? How are you so sure it will never happen?
Marcil Giovinazzo: At the risk of being too honest here, I have never played that kind of a character.
TV Guide Magazine: So you'd refuse?
Marcil Giovinazzo: Brenda's never been that kind of a person. It was one thing when she was young and would do crazy bad-girl stuff, but now she's a grown woman. You don't sleep with your son-in-law. Sorry.
TV Guide Magazine: But it's a soap opera!
Marcil Giovinazzo: [Laughs] I don't care! It's not going to happen!
TV Guide Magazine: What if Sonny and Brenda split and their relationship is permanently kaput. Would it be OK then?
Marcil Giovinazzo: No! You still can't sleep with your ex-husband's son. Ever.
TV Guide Magazine: What, is it too Woody Allen for ya?
Marcil Giovinazzo: I stopped watching Woody Allen movies for that very reason, and he's a genius! Don't get me wrong. I'm crazy about Dom. We get along really well and I have loved playing that line where you're not really sure what's going on between them. Did they? Didn't they? I always like unanswered questions.
TV Guide Magazine: Where do you see the Brenda and Carly [Laura Wright] rivalry headed, especially after Carly's determination to ruin the wedding?
Marcil Giovinazzo: I don't know what the writers will do but I think there's a lot more for Laura to play because Carly has children with Brenda's man, and there's nothing more intense than that. As for Brenda, she's not a big grudge holder. She's not sitting around thinking about what Carly did to her nine years ago or whatever. She's rather oblivious about it, which I think is funny.
TV Guide Magazine: I always find it disappointing when Brenda sinks to Carly's level and gets all bitchy-witchy.
Marcil Giovinazzo: It disappoints me, too! I really don't like that Brenda does that. She's not really a hater. You're not going to see me getting crazy with the girl fights. Not my thing.
TV Guide Magazine: Jeez, girl, your list of what you won't do on this show is getting longer by the minute! You signed for one year. Will you renew?
Marcil Giovinazzo: I still feel the same way about the character and the show as I always have — I'll come visit for the rest of my life. Anything's possible. That's one thing that has never wavered.
TV Guide Magazine: Yeah, but will you renew?
Marcil Giovinazzo: It's always going to be about scheduling and family for me.
TV Guide Magazine: Don't you need to decide somewhat soon so the writers can plan? It's not like Brenda can just flit off the canvas and go back to European modeling — she's in committed marriage territory now.
Marcil Giovinazzo: I agree with what you're saying. It's no secret I came back to GH to work with Maurice, not only to honor my roots but to honor him specifically. When I was the new kid on the show, he took me under his wing. He really saved me. The week we shot the wedding was the best week ever because I was in scenes with him all day long, every day. Working opposite him is like listening to music — it's beautiful and emotional and surprising and nostalgic and I feel all that at completely spontaneous levels. This is literally the most fun I've ever had acting. Right now my happiness is at its peak, if that answers your question.
TV Guide Magazine: I'll take that as a definite maybe. Hey, while we're on the subject of weddings, what's the deal with yours? Are you legally married or not in real life?
Marcil Giovinazzo: Of course I'm married.
TV Guide Magazine: I keep reading that it's either not legal or you only recently made it legal and that your previous ceremonies were just symbolic. So straighten this out.
Marcil Giovinazzo: Isn't that always the way with people? They make stuff up.
TV Guide Magazine: Well, you do help foster the mystery. You're the most ambiguous chick in show biz!
Marcil Giovinazzo: [Laughs] No, I'm not! Of course we're married.
TV Guide Magazine: Legally?
Marcil Giovinazzo: Yes! We've had a few different ceremonies, including one for our east coast family and one for our west coast family.
TV Guide Magazine: At what point was it legal?
Marcil Giovinazzo: A long time ago.
TV Guide Magazine: So why is the press claiming otherwise?
Marcil Giovinazzo: How do I know? Why do they keep writing that Oprah's having an alien baby? Why do they write that Jennifer Aniston was in Angelina Jolie's backyard throwing rocks at her window? I'll tell you why! [Laughs] Because the truth is too boring!