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'General Hospital's' Maurice Benard 'Used to Embarrass' Wife of 31 Years Yet Adopted Her Sister

Junie Sihlangu
May 23, 2022
11:30 A.M.
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When Maurice Benard and Paula Smith were dating, he would embarrass her with a loving act. The actor loved his wife so much that he even agreed to adopt his sister-in-law because of the death of someone close.

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Maurice Benard, well-known for his role as "General Hospital's" Sonny Corinthos, fell in love with Paula Smith years ago. On September 24, 2021, the actor shared a sweet dedication for his wife's birthday.

The post included a cute picture of the couple during the earlier stages of their relationship. In the caption of the Instagram post, Maurice said the image depicted how their relationship was when they started dating.

Maurice Benard at the "General Hospital" panel during the Summer TCA Tour on July 26, 2012, in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

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The photo showed the actor leaning in to kiss Paula's forehead, who looked slightly uncomfortable as she smiled and shied away. Maurice explained what was happening during the couple's dating days, saying:

"I used to embarrass Paula and then I would kiss her on the forehead."

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In August 2019, the ABC star also shared another throwback image of himself embracing his wife. Maurice explained the photo, saying that was what happened when "a young girl from Texas who lived a tumultuous life" met "A Low riding [sic] bad boy from Martinez."

The day he shared the Instagram post happened to be the couple's 29th wedding anniversary. Using her husband's Instagram, Paula also created her own post to celebrate the special milestone.

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With a collage of images, the star's wife said on that day, she was thinking of the time she married the man who changed her life in many ways. Paula proudly revealed how the actor had taken her from "darkness to light, and from pain to happiness."

She said Maurice had given her a family, and they learned what that truly meant. Paula shared how she was forever grateful to her loving husband and concluded by professing her undying love.

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In July 2019, Maurice uploaded a wedding day picture of himself and his wife. He described it as the night that changed his life and shared what he recalled about Paulathen, stating:

"I’ve never seen her looking so vulnerable and lovely as she did that night, I’ve never seen her shine so bright, she was amazing.”

The star concluded by thanking Paula for agreeing to marry him and turning his "darkness into light." The couple tied the knot on August 11, 1990, and they've been together ever since.

MAURICE AND PAULA ADOPTED HER SISTER

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In 2008, Maurice and Paula did something selfless when they adopted the latter's sister, Heather Ann Smith, at 15. The couple chose to take her in after Paula's mother passed away unexpectedly.

During a January 2022 joint interview with Heather, now Maurice's daughter, on his YouTube series, State of Mind, she opened up about her life before the adoption. She spent her school breaks visiting Paula's family when Heather was a child.

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She would hang out with the couple's children because she didn't have a stable home. In the interview with Maurice, Paula's younger sister revealed that she was "born on drugs" while their mother was a sex worker.

The actor praised his adoptive child for not going down the illegal substance use and alcohol path, but Heather thanked her older sister for ensuring that. The trauma she went through left her memory with gaps, and she thankfully didn't remember her mother's usage.

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However, Heather did recall how she'd often be left home alone. Maurice couldn't help but tear up when he shared the story of the time when the adoption papers had been signed, and Heather was now their daughter, with him recalling:

“Heather looked at Paula and said, ‘Can I call you Mom?’ You didn’t see me; I just turned my head, and I couldn’t talk. You guys hugged… It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen.”

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Paula's sister said being adopted by the couple gave her a support system she didn't have when they became her parents. She also got to have the siblings that she'd wished for.

Maurice confessed that "it's beautiful" having Heather in his family as his daughter. Paula's sibling also blessed the Benards by making the couple grandparents when she welcomed a child.

HOW MAURICE GLORIFIED HIS WIFE AFTER MORE THAN 3 DECADES TOGETHER

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Maurice and his wife have been together for over 30 years, but he's still very much in love with her. The star frequently shared Instagram images and dedications to his wife, showing how besotted he was with her, like the one from April 2021.

Alongside a throwback photo, the "General Hospital" star confessed how people would tell him they wished Paula was with them. He said that 35 years later, he felt great having found his best friend.

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For 2019's Valentine's Day, the actor praised and thanked Paula for uplifting and encouraging him when he doubted himself. In May 2018, he shared a throwback picture with his wife and said it was the first year of dating "my unbelievably gorgeous wife."

He described her as "unbelievably gorgeous" and "like a fine wine." In April 2017, he uploaded a beautiful photo posing alongside his wife and captioned it, "The love of my life," and the year before, he wrote:

"My wife is truly like fine wine amazing."

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His July 2016 post was of his wedding day. Maurice wrote, "Sometimes in life you meet someone who not only changes your life but becomes your life that person teaches you to be a better husband."

The actor continued, "a better father and most important a better man; thank you, Paula, for being one in a million." In April 2020, the actor uploaded an Instagram image of him and his wife smiling and wrote about how laughter was "the best medicine."

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He said it was sweeter when it could be done with the person you loved. In 2018, Maurice celebrated his wife's birthday by sharing how he'd met someone who was a part of his life.

He described Paula as his wife, love, therapist, acting coach, manager, phenomenal mother, and most importantly, his best friend. The star thanked God for bringing Paula into his life because he didn't know where he would've been otherwise.

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He wished her a happy birthday and shared his gratitude for her making their lives "something to cherish." In May 2017, the television personality revealed how his family was his "biggest accomplishment."

Although the couple seems to have a loving and happy marriage, they've gone through trials like others. At age 22, Maurice was diagnosed with Manic Depression and dedicated himself to being an advocate for the disease.

The star was institutionalized twice while battling the disease. Besides the couple's adopted child, Heather, Paula, and Maurice were blessed with three more children in their long-term relationship.

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MEET MAURICE AND PAULA'S OTHER CHILDREN

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Maurice and Paula's other three children are daughters Cailey Sophia (born September 18, 1994), Cassidy Rose (born April 8, 1999), and son Joshua James (born on December 5, 2004). Cassidy was described as compassionate and caring.

The actor [Maurice Benard] noted how he wasn't very verbal but said there were three words everyone was supposed to hear as much as possible.

She also shared the trait of loving animals like her father. In October 2018, Cailey, now an adult, was engaged to Carlos, her boyfriend, and Maurice shared a video of his daughter getting proposed to and revealed that he couldn't stop crying.

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The actor said he loved Cailey and her then-fiancé before sharing how Carlos had made the whole family happy with the news! On September 18, 2021, Cailey turned 27, and her father made sure to honor the milestone.

Taking to Instagram, Maurice shared an adorable throwback picture of him with his daughter when she was still a child. He reflected on how one could see their mistakes by looking at their children.

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The actor noted how he wasn't very verbal but said there were three words everyone was supposed to hear as much as possible. Maurice shared how Cailey was beautiful, intelligent, and super funny!

He said he knew, for a fact, that his daughter was going to be an incredible mother. The star noted that it wasn't enough to say the words "I love you" but that he was saying them from the bottom of his heart.

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