The character of Emily Bowen was created by General Hospital head writer Claire Labine, and was introduced to the canvas in 1995. Emily’s adoptive mother Dr. Monica Quartermaine met Emily’s mother Paige Bowen while they were both undergoing treatment for breast cancer. After Paige’s death, Monica and her husband, Dr. Alan Quartermaine, become Emily’s guardians. Initially resistant to being adopted by the couple, Emily ran away with best friend Lucky Spencer in search of her estranged aunt. Emily & Lucky eventually returned home, and Emily agreed to let the Quartermaines adopt her.
In 2003, Emily,, returned to Port Charles (now being played by Natalia Livingston) with a secret. She refused to tell her first boyfriend Zander, her best friends, Lucky & Elizabeth, her brother Jason Morgan, and her adoptive family, the Quartermaines that she had developed breast cancer. Emily decided to avoid chemotherapy, and opted instead for experimental treatment. Emily believed traditional medical treatments killed her mother, and would eventually take her life too. Instead, Emily chose a herbal protocol only available in Mexico. When Emily returned home in 2003, she was still in love with her estranged boyfriend Zander Smith (played by Chad Brannon) The two had a troubled history. Emily had left town years earlier to recover from injuries she sustained while attempting to run away with Zander. Certain she would die of Cancer just like her mother did; Emily was bound and determined to protect Zander from having to watch her battle her illness. In order to conceal her prognosis from Zander, Emily convinced a very reluctant Nikolas (Her childhood crush) to pretend to fake a romantic relationship with her. Nikolas agreed, because he couldn’t cope with Emily’s broken heart at the thought of hurting Zander. Over the next several months, Nikolas and Emily grew closer as she underwent chemo treatments. In the meantime, Nikolas’s uncle, Stefan Cassadine, was pressuring him into marrying Lydia Karenin, a wealthy heiress who could save his family from losing their fortune. (Nikolas being of Greco-Russian nobility). Nikolas & Emily became engaged, despite protests from Zander and Stefan. On the night of their engagement party, a hitman hired by Stefan accidentally threw Summer Holloway, (Lucky’s girlfriend), over a cliff to her death in an attempt to murder Emily and remove her as an obstacle between Nikolas and the arranged marriage that would secure the Cassadine fortune.
Torn Between Two Loves
Frustrated by Emily’s claims of being in love with Nikolas, Zander began spending time with Gia Campbell, (who previously dated Nikolas). When Gia learned of Emily’s cancer, she reluctantly agreed to keep the truth from Zander, honouring Emily’s wishes despite her feelings for Zander. As Nikolas watched Emily face her own mortality with grace, dignity and humility, he gradually fell deeply in love with her, but kept his feelings to himself. Emily came to the realization that she had been unfair keeping the truth from Zander denying him the chance to choose what to do with the knowledge of her diagnosis. She decided to tell Zander the truth. The two reunited, and Emily began an aggressive chemotherapy treatment. Nikolas begrudgingly married Lydia. Emily discovered Nikolas was in love with her after overhearing a conversation between Nikolas and Lydia. Emily confronted Nikolas and asks him if what she heard was true? Was he really in love with her? Nikolas hesitantly admitted the truth. Emily became overwhelmed with the love she had felt for him since she was a young teenager. Emily and Nikolas confessed their feelings for each other, but decided not to act on them because of her illness and of course, her feelings for Zander too.
Later, Monica told Emily her chemotherapy was destroying her immune system and that she had become dangerously susceptible to infection. Emily was forced to stop treatment. She developed meningitis and believed she was going to die. On her deathbed,, Emily married Zander in an effort to give him something of herself before she died. In her heart she truly loved Nikolas, but she genuinely felt that Zander would be better equipped to handle her death if they became husband and wife. When Emily slipped into unconsciousness she dreamed of marrying Nikolas. In her dream, she was being called toward a heavenly light, but a kiss from Nikolas brought her back to her awareness of her physical body, and she woke up. Nikolas, who was asleep in the room beside Emily, experienced the same dream she did. Emily recovered miraculously from meningitis, and she fought her overwhelming attraction to Nikolas. Attempting to make her marriage to Zander work, she moved into Brenda Barett’s (played by Vanessa Marcil), old cottage with Zander. Emily was placed on a new combination of chemo which moved her cancer into remission. On Halloween night, 2003, she had to make a choice between Zander & Nikolas. She could no longer deny her love for Nikolas. Regretting breaking Zander’s heart, she ended her romantic relationship with Zander. Nikolas & Emily consummated their relationship for the first time.
A Modern Fairytale
Nikolas divorced Lydia to be with Emily. When he proposed to Emily, her dysfunctional family objected, in part because he had lost his family fortune. His aunt Alexis attempted to sell Nikolas’s royal estate named Wyndemere.. Emily secretly bought it back for Nikolas as a Christmas present. Later, they met Sam McCall, a shipwreck salvager who would later be revealed to be the daughter a teenage Alexis gave up for adoption. Sam told Nikolas & Emily about a treasure on the sunken ship “The Courage” belonging to the Cassadines. She salvaged the treasure. Emily and Nikolas put it up for auction at the Port Charles Hotel. Mob boss Lorenzo Alcazar was the highest bidder. The treasure was stolen shortly before a fire broke out at the hotel. Nikolas and Zander came to blows in the boiler room just before the fire erupted. In desperation to protect Emily, Nikolas gave his seat on the last helicopter evacuating guests, to Emily. Nikolas later went missing and was presumed dead, but returns to find Emily grieving for him at Wyndemere. Zander was also presumed dead after the hotel fire. Elizabeth’s ex-husband Ric Lansing believed Nikolas was responsible for Zander’s “death” since the two fought right before Zander disappeared. A month later Zander, he revealed he was alive. Zander had become mentally unstable and frantically tried to get Emily to run away with him again, She refused, she would never leave Nikolas. Zander took Emily hostage desperate to escape with her. When the police surrounded the cottage, Zander lead Emily outside. After having pushed Emily to safety, Zander reaches into his pocket pretending to have a gun. The police shot Zander, and died in Emily’s arms.
Only A Memory
Meanwhile while driving, Nikolas, had just purchased an engagement ring for Emily, and learned of the hostage situation via the radio, He had a car accident which lead everyone to believe he also died. However, Nikolas sustained a head injury which caused him to lose all memory of his identity A grieving widow named Mary Bishop found and cared for Nikolas. Mary’s husband Connor Bishop, was presumed dead in the Iraq War. When Nikolas asked who he is and how they knew each other, Mary quick informed Nikolas that he was her husband Conner. A deserter from the marines. After weeks of search followed by a memorial service for Nikolas, Emily convinced longtime friend Lucky to go on a trip to Mexico that Nikolas had planned for them.
Emily was stunned when she spotted Nikolas, who there with Mary to renew the vows she had made with Connor. Emily feared telling Nikolas his true identity because her brother Jason had suffered brain damage permanently affecting his memory. After his accident, Jason initially resented everyone he couldn’t remember. Therefore, Emily decided not to force Nikolas’ memory to return. Emily DrawnTogetherMemoryLossinstead confronted Mary upon returning from Mexico. She befriended Nikolas (who believed he was Conner Bishop, and married to Mary bishop) Emily was patient, loving, kind and compassionate. Over the next 3 months Emily & “Conner” grow close. Conner deeply puzzled by how drawn and attracted he felt to Emily. One night while telling “Conner” about Nikolas & Emily’s love, one thing lead to another and they gave in to their connection and made love. “Conner’ immediately felt guilty and pushed Emily away. Not long after, Mary accidentally confesses the truth. Nikolas isn’t Conner, he’s really Nikolas Cassadine! After Nikolas learned his friends and family knew who he was and didn’t tell him, he rejects them, just as Emily feared. Lucky, who had been Emily’s support through this ordeal, admitted he had developed feelings for her. Emily gently refused his advances.
The Heart Of The Quartermaine’s
During this time, Emily’s beloved grandmother Lila Quartermaine died, leaving Emily as the “heart and soul of the Quartermaine family.”
Emily had decided to enroll in medical school to become a doctor like her parents, Nikolas recovered his memory, leading a distraught Mary to become unhinged. A masked Mary terrorized the Quartermaine mansion, killing Sage Alcazar and another teenager. Mary died in hospital after being shot. Nikolas Emily become engaged again. Helena Cassadine, Nikolas’ grandmother, attempted to kill Emily. Nikolas threw Helena over a cliff to protect Emily. Emily testified that Nikolas had acted in self defense. Connor Bishop, Mary’s husband who had gone AWOL and faked his death, witnessed Helena’s supposed death and kidnapped Emily. After a confrontation with Nikolas, Connor and Nikolas struggled with a gun. Connor was shot. Nikolas, Lucky, Elizabeth, and Emily debate about turning Connor in for being AWOL, but agree to help him escape from Canada. When Connor foiled their plans, Nikolas turned himself in for Helena’s murder. Connor was arrested. Nikolas, after being allowed to marry Emily, was sentenced to life in prison, with the possibility of parole.
Believing Helena was alive, Emily convinced Connor to pretend he is Nikolas to entice Helena out of hiding as she instructs him on the finer arts of being a Prince. Connor becomes obsessed with Emily, and eventually raped her. Afterward, Emily shol Connor in self defense as he was coming for her again. Elizabeth and Lucky arrived to comfort Emily. Lucky buried Connor, Elizabeth tried to get Emily to admit Connor raped her, but she is in shock and can not face what happened. Helena came out of hiding and kidnapped Emily, Lucky go caught in the crossfire and was shot. Lucky fell into a coma, and Emily confessed she was raped to her first friend. Emily was deep;y traumatized and planned to pretend the rape never happened. When Lucky recovered, he moved into Wyndemere with Emily, and attempted to help her recover from the rape. In prison, Nikolas was concerned about Emily’s reluctance to be intimate with him. Emily admited Connor raped her. Emily told Nikolas she couldn’t go on with their marriage as if the rape never happened. Helena was captured, Nikolas was devastated because Emily decided she couldn’t be with him. Especially considering her husband looks just like her rapist.
Emily tried to make her marriage work, but admitted her efforts to be intimate with Nikolas were about trying to make him happy then they were about her real feelings. She just couldn’t get past the rape. In frustration, Nikolas developed a friendship with Courtney Matthews, Sonny’s sister and Jason’s ex-wife. Courtney was married to Jasper “Jax” Jacks. Courtney became jealous of Jax’s relationship with a cash strapped Elizabeth, who had agreed to be their surrogate mother. Courtney and Nikolas kiss one night after Nikolas felt rejected by Emily. When Elizabeth saw them, Emily learned the truth from Elizabeth and followed Nikolas & Courtenay. Courtney and Nikolas book vacations to The Bahamas separately, and are found by their spouses. Despondent about Elizabeth miscarrying their child, Jax fights Nikolas and decideed to divorce Courtney. Emily decided on divorcing as well, even though she felt her inability to connect with Nikolas aided in their marriage crumbling.
Emily tried to contact her brother Jason who always offered unconditional support when she needed it. Sonny revealed Jason was unreachable. Sonny could tell Emily was deeply upset, and when Emily confided that Nikolas was having an affair, Sonny suspected it was with his sister Courtenay. Sonny invited Emly to stay in his guest house so that she could have time to sort things out. . Lucky & Elizabeth got married and while on route to their honeymoon a train, carrying most of the lead characters crashed. Sonny’s ex-girlfriend Reese Marshall died after refusing to tell Emily about all her injures. Emily then questioned her decision to become a doctor. Sonny offered support and reaffirmed her faith in herself. After living at Sonny’s for several months Emily began to develop genuine feelings for Sonny.
Sonny initially denied having any feelings for Emily and purposefully pushed her away to protect her from himself and his life, and to honor his longtime relationship with her brother, Jason. Truthfully though, he knew he was falling for her too. No matter how much the town objected to a relationship between them, their feelings were mutual and genuine.
One evening after an awkward confession of love from Emily to Sonny in which she felt the relationship was unrequited, Emily saved Michael Corinthos, Sonny’s son, from drowning. Sonny contemplated a relationship with her. Knowing his feelings were real but feeling guilty for having them. The two shared a kiss. Jason convinced Emily a relationship with a mob boss would ruin her life. Sonny staged a kiss between he and his his ex-wife Carly Corinthos. to push Emily away for her own protection. When a virus claims the lives of several of their friends, including Courtney; Sonny and Emily decided to secretly become a couple. Despite their attempts at discretion, Emily and Sonny’s relationship became fodder for tabloids. During the course of their relationship, Emily was able to help Sonny come to terms with destructive patterns that created havoc on his life. Because of her unconditional love, compassion and tenacity, Sonny was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and was able to seek treatment and escape social stigma attached to the diagnosis. Emily convinced Sonny to go into therapy. He ended their relationship to protect her from his mob life.
Alone again, Emily threw herself into her medical studies. She reconnected with Nikolas. while he learned that Courtenay’s baby was his son. Emily became Spencer’s godmother, and briefly let Helena take her hostage in order to save the baby. The two decided to rekindle their romance, but became caught in a hostage crisis at the Metro Court Hotel. Jerry Jacks, Jax’s brother, going by the name of Mr. Craig, held the two and several of their friends hostage with a bomb in order to get a package Lorenzo Alcazar had left in the hotel’s security vault. When Elizabeth goes into premature labor and her father Alan has a heart attack, Emily was forced to choose which one would be released. With Elizabeth’s urging, Alan was released, but his heart attack proved fatal. Jerry goes on to inject Nikolas with a poison which required a daily antidote. Elizabeth, Robin, and Patrick Drake help Emily developed an antidote that saved Nikolas’ life.
Nikolas goes on to experiences periods of rage where he began to black out. He discovered he had beaten Logan Hayes, and stabbed Jerry, while Georgie Jones and several other women are strangled to death by the Text Message Killer. Emily convinced Nikolas to have tests performed. He insisted on throwing a ball first to honor their renewed love. Dubbing it a Black and White Ball, he invites all of their friends. The night of the ball, Nikolas proposed to Emily. She happily accepted. Crazed mafia don Anthony Zacchara came into the ball, stabed Ric Lansing with a sword, and shot Leyla Mir. During Zacchara’s rampage, Nikolas experienced another blackout. Jason tied him to a chair to protect the other guests. Nikolas awaked to find himself untied and discovered Georgie and Emily had been strangled to death. Nikolas later learns Diego Alcazar, Lorenzo’s son, murdered Emily.
Over the next several months, Nikolas continued to see Emily as a apparition in his mind, He originally believed she was a ghost. With the help of nurse Nadine Crowell, Nikolas accepted he was suffering from a rare brain tumor allowing him to hallucinate visions of Emily. After debating with his hallucinations, Nikolas opts to remove his tumor. He woke up holding the engagement ring he gave Emily the night she died. The two shared a moving goodbye to the song “Broken” by the band Lifehouse, as Emily promised she would always be with him, and that he would find love again someday.
In 2009, Nikolas was stunned when Emily’s unknown twin sister Rebecca Shaw moved to Port Charles. It was later revealed Rebecca found out about Emily and came to get her hands on Emily’s money. She moved to Paris in December 2009.
On the show’s 50th Anniversary on April 2, 2013, Emily returned as a ghost along with Alan and Rick Webber to help Monica and Tracy quit their long running feud To this day, the character of Emily is beloved by those who watch General Hospital. Emily is considered the “Heart & Soul” of the Quartermanes, and viewers are still hopeful that Natalia might return to the role in a storyline that insists Emily isn’t dead.