It is true that the old adage “All good things must come to an end” can apply to many of us in our daily lives. For Jen Lilley, she found out last week that her time as Maxie Jones on General Hospital has come to an end. The loveable and talented actress stepped into an almost untenable position, replacing fan favorite and the actress who first put her stamp on the part of Maxie, Kirsten Storms. Now with Storms finally due back to the set after many months battling an illness, Jen must step down from the role.
During Saturday’s GH Fan Club Weekend Main Event, Jen received a standing ovation from the crowd in attendance during the Q&A session. Earlier that morning, Jen and On-Air On-Soaps sat down, shared some hugs and tears, as Jen shared her thoughts on her final tape day, her takeaway from her GH experience, and what she would like to say to the fans. In addition to our interview as many know, Jen released her own video heartfelt “thank you” to the fans on a You Tube video, which you can also see at the conclusion of this post. Here’s our farewell conversation with Jen!
So Jen, you just taped your last episode as Maxie Jones. It must have been very emotional for you. What went down on the set?
JEN: I filmed my last episode on Friday. It was definitely emotional, but my last two days and two episodes on GH were comedic and very “Maxie”. And it’s the first time we have seen Maxie with all her “Maxiness” in awhile, with her spunk back. I was really happy to leave on that note. We would say as Lilleys in the Lilley family, “The best way to cope with stress with laughing.” (Laughs) So I thought, “I am just going to laugh my way through this.” But it was nice. It was so funny how everything panned out because the crew did not know till Friday. I don’t know even know if Bradford Anderson (Spinelli) knew till Friday, either. I did not get to talk to him at all, till here at the GH Fan Club event. I told Bradford, “I am going to miss working with you!” But, I can’t complain, and it’s been bittersweet. I had such a wonderful time and they had a cake for me on set the other day, which was nice, because everyone loves cake!
Did you make a speech in front of the cast and crew?
JEN: Well, first Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) made a speech and then he asked if I wanted to say anything. He said they loved having me there. Everyone on the crew always says, “When you come to work there is a different energy, because you are always early, but you are always ready to have fun. And you always have fun, even if you are crying, you are happy to be here.” So they said don’t be a stranger and they would miss me and all of that. Then Frank asked if I wanted to say anything, and I am trying to hold it together. I am totally crying at this point, but I just said, “I want to thank everybody for never making me feel awkward, but so welcomed in such an awkward circumstance.”
When exactly did you find out that your time on GH had truly now officially come to an end, after so many stops and starts?
JEN: They told me last Monday that they were giving me a heads up of what was going on , and then I found out last Friday July 20th was my last day, but I did not say anything, I respect Frank Valentini so much. He is the executive producer and he is a good captain, and I don’t think he is going to sink the ship. So I thought if you say something, then I will say something.
So I hear there may be a small gap where Maxie will not be on-air following your departure, and Kirsten Storms return?
JEN: That is my understanding. She is not in the next couple weeks of storyline taping wise. However, I will be on the air through August 10th. But honestly Michael, I am just so grateful. This was only going to be two weeks and it’s been eleven months which has been amazing! And, I got to go to the Daytime Emmys! And honestly, I am from Roanoke, Virginia and in my wildest dreams I never thought that was going to happen.
I think it was great that you got to work under Frank Valentini and he was there with you. He will never forget you, and the two of you have that New York connection you spoke of previously. Something is going to come out of all of this. You’ll see!
JEN: Look, its great timing. Here is why: I have had the Robin storyline and all the other parts of storylines that I have gotten to do. I am stoked that Kirsten Storms is feeling better, that is wonderful. I think regardless of how people feel about the situation, we should be happy about that. It’s good, thank God. You never want anyone to not be feeling well. But Monday, the 23rd of July is the start of episodic season, meaning Modern Family, Dexter, and The Middle are back in productions and these are the shows I would love to be on. All the primetime shows that we also love come back, and they need their guest stars. HBO, Showtime, and AMC, the channels we would all give our left nut to be on, that is pilot season for them; July August, September and so it’s good timing.
What would you like to see the fans who have stood by you through one of the most difficult situations an actress, certainly in my years covering daytime, has been through?
JEN: All I can say to the fans is “thank you”. There are no words to express how deeply gracious they have been. Michael, I don’t think I could not have survived if it wasn’t for them. I am a strong person and an optimist to a fault, but I don’t think I could have weathered the storm, if it wasn’t’ for them saying, “We know you are a reed swinging in the wind. We got you.” So thank you for being my fan, and stay being my fan, and keep tweeting with me. And try not to be sad. It’s not the end; it’s just a springboard into a new beginning.
So soapers, what do you think of Jen’s exit? What would you like to say to Jen for keeping Maxie Jones alive during Kirsten Storms absence? Let us know!