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Getty Images | instagram.com/mauricebenard
Getty Images | instagram.com/mauricebenard

'General Hospital's' Maurice Benard Heard 'Voices' & 'Threatened' Wife's Life Yet She Still Stayed with Him

Olawale Ogunjimi
Jun 16, 2022
06:30 P.M.

Maurice Benard and Paula Smith have been happily married for over three decades. However, there was a time the actor threatened his wife's life. Find out what happened and how they overcame the situation.

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American actor Maurice Benard has appeared in many productions but is best known for playing Sonny Corinthos, a wealthy drug kingpin in "General Hospital."

The star has undoubtedly enjoyed a stellar career in Hollywood, but there is more to him than being a movie star. For example, Benard is a doting husband to his wife, Paula Smith.

Maurice Benard in "General Hospital" airs Monday - Friday, on ABC. | Source: Getty Images

Maurice Benard in "General Hospital" airs Monday - Friday, on ABC. | Source: Getty Images

The couple walked down the aisle 31 years ago but have been together for about 36 years. It has been nothing short of marital bliss for Benard and his wife, as the former once described their longtime journey as an incredible experience.

Although it is unclear when the duo first met, the actor has been open about the early stages of their romance.

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On September 24, 2021, Benard did so again in a sweet Instagram post dedicated to his wife on her birthday. The actor shared a throwback photo of him and Smith during their dating years.

Maurice Benard with wife, Paula Benard in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Maurice Benard with wife, Paula Benard in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

In the snap, Benard leaned in to kiss Smith's forehead, as she looked shy, wearing a big smile. He added the caption:

"This picture shows our relationship when we started going out 💝 I used to embarrass Paula, and then I would kiss her on the forehead. Over thirty years later, we are still going strong and owe most of that to her."

"I can't believe what this woman can do and never stop❤ HAPPY BIRTHDAY (Always-and-forever) PAULA," he concluded.

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WHO ARE THE COUPLE'S CHILDREN?

Actor Maurice Benard (R) and his wife Paula arrive to the 11th annual PRISM Awards at the Beverly Hills Hotel April 24, 2007 in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actor Maurice Benard (R) and his wife Paula arrive to the 11th annual PRISM Awards at the Beverly Hills Hotel April 24, 2007 in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

Benard and Smith are doting parents to four children, Cailey Sofia, Cassidy Rose, Joshua James, and Heather Ann.

The couple's first child, Cailey, was born on September 18, 1994; the second, Cassidy, arrived on April 8, 1999, and the third, Joshua, was born on December 5, 2004, while Heather was adopted in 2008.

The longtime couple decided to adopt Heather, Smith's younger sister when her mother unexpectedly passed away. Since joining the family, Benard and his wife have treated her like their own.

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Heather is frequently spotted in family photos, including a picture the actor shared on Father's Day in 2014, which he captioned:

"I love my family. I don't know what I'd do without their support. I think every father is a lucky man. Happy Father's Day."

Besides Fathers Day celebrations, Benard has shown how much family and fatherhood mean to him on various other occasions.

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In April 2017, the "General Hospital'' star took to Instagram to reveal the most incredible feeling for a dad. Alongside a picture of him and two of his daughters, Benard wrote:

"The greatest feeling in the world for a father is to know that your kids have grown up to be beautiful souls."

Indeed, all of Benard's children have grown up to be beautiful souls. In 2018, the actor's first daughter, Cailey, got engaged, and his son, Joshua, recalled that Benard was filled with so much emotion that he cried.

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It was joyful to know that his daughter was one step away from starting her marital journey. Thankfully, Benard had no fears for Cailey as she had the perfect role model in her mother.

Smith was not only the best wife but also the best mom. Her ability to coordinate her family is not surprising, seeing that she took the advice of her late mom.

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In one of Benard's books, the actor revealed what Smith had told him about her late mother's advice on marriage. In his words:

"She told me years later that her mother instructed her that in order to be a good wife, she had to keep her husband happy, no matter what it took, and that when a man went out alone, a wife should stay home and take care of the family."

BENARD'S STRUGGLE WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER

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Benard and Smith have one of the longest celebrity marriages, but like every other couple, the pair have dealt with their fair share of difficulties. One of such troubles is the "The Ghost and the Whale'' star's bipolar disorder.

During an episode of "State of Mind With Maurice Benard," the actor asked his wife how it is living with a husband who is bipolar. In her response, Smith noted that it is no different from living with someone who has any other type of problem.

According to the actress, it is not easy, but she does not think twice about it and does whatever must be done to manage it.

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Similarly, Benard has opened up about his battle with the illness countless times, one of which was in his memoir.

The actor revealed that he was diagnosed at 22 and was prescribed lithium. Unfortunately, Benard would take the drug on and off, leading to manic episodes.

One time when he was off his meds, the actor recalled hearing voices when no one was with him on set, at home, and in his car. On another occasion, Benard was listening to Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror," convinced that the late singer's words were about him.

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The manic episodes continued for a while and eventually worsened, leading to a nervous breakdown. On the night it happened, Benard threatened his wife's life, but nothing tragic happened.

After that incident, Benard started therapy and went back on his medication. For the next 27 years, he did not experience any breakdown and gradually healed from the symptoms, including depression.

However, in his memoir, the actor confessed that he was still battling anxiety and had accepted that he might fight it for the rest of his life.

WHAT IS BENARD'S GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT?

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Benard has his family to thank for their support and love throughout the trying times. In a 2017 Instagram post, he admitted that his family, who has shown the way, is his most significant accomplishment.

It is no wonder the actor shows them off, especially his wife, on social media, recounting all their good deeds. On one occasion, Benard thanked Smith for being one in a million and helping him become a better man, father, and husband.

Then, on Valentine's Day in 2019, the actor credited his wife for always supporting and encouraging him when he did not believe in himself.

With the kind of bond Benard and Smith share, it is safe to say that the couple inspires many people in Hollywood and the world.

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