Major 'General Hospital' Character Recast as Actress Steps Away

Nicole Paggi will temporarily step in as Maxie Jones.

General Hospital has brought in Nicole Paggi as Maxie Jones while Kirsten Storms steps away temporarily. The daytime soap tapped Paggi, who played Kelly Ripa's niece Sydney in the ABC comedy Hope & Faith, to fill in for Storms for just a few days, making her debut as Maxie on Wednesday, Dec. 27, as reported first by Soap Opera Digest.

Storms first joined the ABC soap in 2005 after five years playing Isabella "Belle" Black on NBC's Days of Our Lives from 1999 to 2004. In 2011, Storms' General Hospital character was temporarily recast as she struggled with endometriosis, with Jen Lilley playing the part until Storms returned to the role the following year. Storms has also taken a number of temporary leaves from the show over the years ranging from a few days to several months, including in 2016, 2017 and 2018, when Molly Burnett took up the role in her stead. In 2021, Storms took another leave from playing Maxie while recovering from brain surgery.

At the time she shared on social media, "I had a very large cyst that had split into two, and the doctor said it was, like, so full the pressure was very noticeable when they opened up my skull. [It] sounds so weird." Storms continued of her diagnosis, "I spent the last few years having random health issues that I disregarded as side effects to my medications or just something I was experiencing due to age. ...I feel very fortunate that my situation wasn't more serious and that I had a wonderful neurosurgeon who immediately knew how to fix it."

Storms is a mom to 9-year-old daughter Harper, whom she shares with former General Hospital co-star Brandon Barash. Storms and Barash, 44, met while filming the soap and tied the knot in June 2013 but split three years later. The two have continued to remain amicable as they co-parent their daughter. 

Aside from General Hospital and General Hospital: Night Shift, Storms is known for her role in the Disney Channel Zenon movies and her work on Kim Possible as Bonnie Rockwaller. Paggi, meanwhile, has appeared recently on The Rookie: Feds and 9-1-1 after previously starring on the UPN sitcom One and One.