'General Hospital' Star Cries During Heartwarming Reunion With Daughter

General Hospital star Maurice Benard is used to scripted surprises on the long-running soap opera, but there was one he could not prepare for when he stopped by Tamron Hall on Thursday. Hall reunited Benard with his daughter, Heather Andersen, whom he had not seen in months. Andersen is his wife Paula Smith's half-sister, whom they adopted after Paula's mother died.

While discussing Benard's life and career, Hall changed the topic to his family. She put up a photo of Andersen on the screen behind them, noting that he hasn't seen her in a while. Benard tried to tell a story about Andersen, but Hall stopped him before he could continue. Andersen is serving in the Air Force, which has kept her from seeing Benard since October 2022, reports Entertainment Weekly.

"You haven't seen her in a long time. You've never seen her in uniform," Hall said. "You're not the only one who made a special trip today. She wanted to be here -because I know it was rough getting on that plane and coming here – your daughter, Airman First Class Heather Andresen."

Andersen came out to hug her father, and the two began crying. Hall also wiped away tears during the emotional moment. Benard noted that he didn't like surprises. "I am so proud of her. I can't talk, so can I leave?" he jokingly asked Hall.

Benard went on to share another story that had Hall reaching for a tissue. "The most beautiful thing that I shouldn't say, because I'm not going to be able to talk," the actor said. "When we adopted her, we were talking in the room, and Paula, my wife, and her were talking about how happy we were, and at one point [Andresen] said, 'Can I call you mom?'"

Benard, 60, has played Sonny Corinthos on ABC's General Hosptial since 1993. He and his wife Paula adopted Andersen when she was 15, following the unexpected death of Paul and Andersen's mother. Benard and Paula also have three daughters and one son.

The actor has been on the media circuit as General Hosptial celebrates its 60th anniversary. The show is ABC's last surviving daytime soap and is the world's second-longest-running soap still in production. General Hospital holds the record for most Outstanding Drama Series Daytime Emmy wins with 14.

"Let me tell you, the fans of General Hospital, there are no fans like those fans," Benard told Fox News Digital this week. "I know now creating another show how important it is to have those loyal fans because they'll just stay with you to the end."