There’s no doubt that General Hospital’s Luke and Laura are one of the most beloved soap opera couples of all-time. However, their relationship has been partly marred by controversy. Luke raped Laura on a disco dance floor in 1979. Despite the assault, Laura fell in love with Luke. The couple eventually married in 1981 in what remains the most-watched hour of daytime television with over 30 million views.
“I’ve had to justify it for so many years and I have to say, it feels good to sit here and say I won’t justify it,” Genie says during ABC’s The Story of Soaps special. “It’s awful. They shouldn’t have done it.” She adds, “Gloria Monty [former GH executive producer] tried to deal with it by calling it rape seduction. The term now would be date rape. The night of the rape, Luke’s last request was to dance with him. And the dance became very seductive. He took her down to the floor and that is the rape.”
Abigail De Kosnick, the author of The Survival of Soap Opera, noted that Luke and Laura “became popular not spite the rape but partly because of it.” The show would eventually address the rape 20 years after it happened as Elizabeth Webber dealt with her own assault. Laura confronted Luke about assaulting her in a powerful scene.
Luke and Laura became a cultural phenomenon in the early 1980s and fans still love them 40 years later. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Genie about Luke and Laura’s peak. “It was such a big, strange moment in life,” Genie told HollywoodLife. “I almost don’t like to revisit it that much in my memory. It was just too big.”