Kristina Wagner is a popular soap opera actor and the ex-wife of Hallmark star Jack Wagner. On June 6, Harrison Wagner, the former couple’s son, was found dead in a Los Angeles, California parking lot. Details regarding Harrison’s death are still emerging as fans of his parents lend their support.
Here’s what you need to know about Kristina Wagner:
1. Jack & Kristina First Connected at Work
In 1984, Kristina, then going by her maiden name Malandro, and Jack became the new “it” couple on “General Hospital,” detailed OWN. Their pairing came shortly after super-couple Luke and Laura Spencer left Port Charles and the writers needed a new, hot couple. Jack and Kristina played Frisco Jones and Felicia Cummings, and he first popped up in Port Charles as a singer with the band Blackie and the Riff Raff, noted Soaps in Depth. Blackie, played by John Stamos, was later sent to prison, while Frisco and Felicia joined Robert Scorpio and Holly Sutton for some wild adventures. Frisco went through the police academy, married Felicia, and later left town to work for the World Security Bureau. In present-day Port Charles, Frisco works abroad for the WSB while Felicia is married to Mac Scorpio and lives in town near her daughter Maxie Jones.
Jack told OWN “That ride as Frisco and Felicia was, I would say, probably one in a lifetime.” He added, “We were very emotionally connected. The chemistry was just coming off the page.” The on-screen romance developed into an off-screen one as well. As Jack explained, “Falling in love with a co-star is amazing because you have something in common.” At the same time, he admitted, “It’s also a little dangerous.” Kristina told OWN, “Being thrown together on set in a romantic way, I think it was inevitable” they would romantically connect in real life, too. “I don’t know how you could avoid it,” she admitted.
2. The Couple’s Romance Brought Marriage & Babies
As Soap Hub detailed, Kristina was just 22 years old when she started at “General Hospital.” She told People, “We didn’t start seriously dating until I got pregnant,” then clarified, “Well, maybe a couple of months before.” Kristina added, “There was always a strong passion, and the passion grew into a more respectful, loving relationship.” She also noted, “He’s always been my true love.”
According to Closer Weekly, Jack and Kristina welcomed their first son, Peter, in 1990. Per OWN, the pregnancy was what drove Jack and Kristina to go public with their real-life romance. Up until then, they keep it mostly under wraps. The “General Hospital” stars got married in a private ceremony in December 1993 in Lake Tahoe, and welcomed their second son, Harrison, in 1994.
3. The Marriage Was Often Filled With Challenges
Unfortunately, Jack and Kristina’s marriage was filled with “a lot of emotional ups and downs for us,” she told People. In fact, they split up for eight months after Peter’s birth, before they got married. Soap Opera Digest detailed she stepped away from “General Hospital” in the midst of the separation, as it was “a down time for me,” Kristina explained. “It was me and baby Petey,” she said of that time before feeling ready to reunite with Jack and return to “General Hospital.”
SheKnows noted that Jack and Kristina filed for divorce in 2001, but they did reconcile for a while. However, in 2006, the pair followed through with the divorce. Kristina explained, “It’s easy to lose yourself when you’re only in your young 20s and you’re just doing what’s expected of you and not really thinking about your own needs.” She added, “I realized that I really needed to figure out what was going on with me in order to move forward.”
The “General Hospital” star told OWN the divorce was an “awakening” for her, as “I don’t think I was being a very good mother” ahead of her divorce. She acknowledged she had not been making the best choices for herself then, and Kristina admitted, “The divorce was the best thing that could have happened to me and for my children.”
4. Kristina & Jack Rebuilt a Friendship
The divorce filing cited “Irreconcilable Differences,” and the couple never aired their dirty laundry. They eventually reached a place where they were friendly and could work together again, but it did not come easily. In 2013, Kristina was back on “General Hospital” and Jack was invited back to help celebrate the show’s 50th anniversary. Kristina described it to Soap Opera Digest as “just downright painful.” That was, in part, because of the storyline written for Frisco’s return. “I think it was just not handled well,” she said. However, there were still personal challenges too. “Jack and I were, on a personal level, working through some things.” Kristina added, “I wasn’t completely ready for him, to work with him face to face. I wasn’t in the proper place of my recovery with him.”
By 2015, Kristina felt ready to work alongside her ex-husband. She got a call from Jack asking if she would be interested in joining him on Hallmark’s “When Calls the Heart,” and as Soap Opera Network noted, she quickly accepted the offer. “It’s so much easier,” she said of working with Jack at that point. “I can go on set and establish my boundaries and my needs and my wants and get through these scenes and, you know, work with him as a professional actress rather than a girlfriend or a wife,” she explained.
The long journey Kristina navigated to rebuild her personal relationship with Jack has brought her to a good place. “I’m grateful for it today, that it has all worked out the way it has,” she said in 2019. What could that mean for a potential Frisco return to “General Hospital”? “If he came back today, oh, my God, we would have so much fun,” Kristina teased.
5. The Soap Opera Star Recently Faced ‘A Bittersweet Farewell’
Kristina has continued to play Felicia on “General Hospital” as she has embraced love and happiness in her personal life. On May 20, she shared a photo on her Instagram page with her sons, Peter and Harrison, and included a sweet tribute. She noted the family had recently sold “Wagner Ranch” after owning it for 25 years, and she said it was a bittersweet farewell. She explained, “The prickly beauty of the high desert and a landscape surrounded by national forests always reminded us that there is peace when you are willing to look for it.” Another previous Instagram post, seemingly from the ranch as well, allowed Kristina to share a bit more about her love for the area. “Out here there is beauty and poetry. I can’t stop smiling. When I’m immersed in nature, life for some reason just makes sense,” she wrote.
Sadly, Kristina’s farewell to the ranch she had cherished for 25 years came just weeks before her son Harrison’s sudden death. Given the unexpected nature of his death, the “General Hospital” star had no way of knowing how powerful that ranch goodbye would soon feel. As of this writing, Kristina has not spoken out about her son’s death. She has continued to work on “General Hospital” in recent months, and spoilers have suggested she might have a big storyline coming up as Esme Prince wreaks havoc. Given recent events, however, fans may find that Kristina will need to step away from playing Felicia for a while.