Why Kelly Thiebaud Ditched Her Role On General Hospital After A Decade

When Kelly Thiebaud's Britt Westbourne was killed off on "General Hospital" in January, it sent a jolt to fans. Although it had been announced that Thiebaud was leaving the popular soap opera, there was hope that Britt would be written off with the possibility of returning. "I know this isn't the way that the fans wanted things to happen, but I hope that they like how we wrapped up this special character," the actor told Soap Opera Digest in January shortly after her final "GH" appearance aired.

Thiebaud took to social media after Britt's on-screen death to share a touching video that recapped her time on the show and with cast mates. "Being on this show, being in your living rooms everyday, is an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life," she wrote in the caption of the Instagram video.

Months before her exit from "GH," there was an announcement in August 2022 that Thiebaud would be re-joining the cast for "Station 19." The actor posted about working on the series on Instagram. "Excited to be back on @station19 stirring up trouble!" This led some to believe that Thiebaud was leaving "GH" because of the opportunity to work on the firefighter drama. According to Thiebaud, the network would have allowed her to juggle both shows, as she told Soap Opera Digest, but she had different reasons for leaving Port Charles behind. One of the reasons Thiebaud left "GH" was because of a blossoming romance.

Kelly Thiebaud's long distance relationship

Kelly Thiebaud opened up about her decision to leave "General Hospital" during a lengthy interview with Soap Opera Digest in January. According to the soap star, she had several reasons for leaving Britt Westbourne behind. "One is that I'm in love and have been doing long-distance for almost a year now and my partner cannot move to the States at the moment," she told the outlet. Thiebaud had given fans their first glimpse of her boyfriend, P.J. Harrison, in an Instagram post in July 2022 while bemoaning the efforts of maintaining a long-distance love. "7 months long distance. Los Angeles and London. 5,437 miles. 8 hour time difference. Thousands of calls and texts. You've always been consistent," she wrote in the caption alongside snaps of the couple spending time together. Harrison is a soccer personality who lives in Britain.

The other reason Thiebaud decided to walk away from "GH" was to pursue acting opportunities outside of daytime TV. "I just felt like I had to leave and go and pursue those other dreams and goals of mine," she told Soap Opera Digest. Thiebaud said when she signed a new contract with "GH" in 2020, she knew her time on the series was nearing its end.

After she wrapped up filming, Thiebaud commemorated the occasion with a snap alongside her beau on Instagram. "Celebrating a year of long distance love, no more," she wrote — although there was initially a tinge of regret when she walked away from the show. 

Why she was not on TV after 'General Hospital'

When Kelly Thiebaud was wrapping up her final scenes as Britt Westbourne, she gained new perspective on the opportunity to reach so many fans on "General Hospital." "Throughout that week I had these moments when I was walking up on stage where I would kind've go, 'Wow, I miss this," the actor said during a YouTube interview with Michael Fairman in January, not long after her final episode aired. "There was something about that week where it clicked, and I got it, and I really appreciated it," she said about the fandom surrounding "GH."

After leaving the daytime soap, Thiebaud had the opportunity to work on a film, as she was cast in "Shakey Grounds," a movie starring Eric Roberts and Ella Cannon, that has a release date for 2024.

Besides that film, Thiebaud has been low-key, as her exit from "GH" was soon followed by the Writers Guild of America strike, putting any potential acting opportunities on hold. "I hope every1 is doing good.I miss being on ur [TV emoji] but hopefully soon the strike will end and I'll book something fantastic!" Thiebaud tweeted on September 13 in response to fans wishing her a happy birthday. The actor also addressed the writer's strike in an Instagram post earlier that month. "What are you gonna do during a strike? #sagaftrastrike #sagaftrastrong #notworryaboutcalories," she wrote in the caption of a cheeky video posted to Instagram on September 6.