Maurice Benard sizzles as Sonny Corinthos on ABC's hit soap opera, General Hospital. In real life, the devoted family man has been married to his sweetheart, Paula, for 14 years and they live a quiet life in Los Angeles with their two daughters. But Maurice's life isn't as picture perfect as it seems. Behind the scenes, Maurice battles a mental illness that, at its worst, left him suicidal and inside a mental institution wondering if he'd ever get out.
Maurice's struggle with the demons of his bipolar disorder began in his early 20s just as he was beginning his acting career. One night, he slipped into what he calls "the dark side" and turned violent against his mother. Maurice recalls that night: "I grabbed her, kind of physically, by the arm. When I looked at my dad and I said that I was the devil and I was yelling at him. Scary. And my mind was racing a hundred miles an hour. It's kind of like being in a nightmare and not being able to wake up. They had to admit me."