When Curtis’ aunt made her first appearance in June of 2017, it immediately caused fans to wonder who plays Stella on GENERAL HOSPITAL. Well, that familiar face belongs to Vernee Watson, and you probably recognize her from her numerous roles in primetime television over the decades including her recurring role as Vernajean Williams on the classic sitcom WELCOME BACK, KOTTER in the ‘70s, and playing Will Smith’s mother, Viola ‘Vy’ Smith, on THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR in the ‘90s. And while the actress currently has a role on the CBS sitcom BOB ♥︎ ABISHOLA, she is still part of the GH cast and continues to appear whenever the storyline and her availability sync up!
Although Stella did nothing but cause trouble and drama for her nephew when she first appeared, Donnell Turner (Curtis) was thrilled to get a family member on the soap. “Oh, it’s good!” he enthused to Soaps In Depth when Watson first joined the cast of GH. “I’m pleased they would go there for me. Like any good auntie on a soap, she’s going to cause some trouble.” And Turner is well aware of his on-screen aunt’s impressive show biz resume! “I get to work with a legend!” he enthused. “I’m just incredibly grateful.”
Stella was not happy to learn that Curtis Ashford was dating Jordan Ashford, the woman she blamed for her nephew Tommy’s death. So when Curtis popped the question during the 2018 Nurses Ball, she saw red. But Stella also showed a softer side when she began working as a social worker at the hospital and formed a warm friendship with Mike Corbin. So when Curtis and Jordan finally walked down the aisle, Stella was persuaded to attend and gave her blessing to the union.
However, Stella wasn’t thrilled when her ex, Marcus Godfrey, showed back up in her life. Complicating matters was the fact that his wife, Yvonne, was also an Alzheimer’s patient and had befriended Mike. Marcus was very protective of his wife but eventually came to realize that he had to let her go and apologized to Stella for lashing out at her.
Through her job as a social worker at the hospital, Stella has continued to get involved in various medical cases and was on hand when Jordan was injured and required a kidney transplant in order to save her life. Having changed her tune about Curtis’ wife, Stella fought hard to convince Ryan Chamberlain to donate his kidney and has supported Jordan throughout her recovery. Afterward, she admitted she had taken one of those ancestry DNA tests and discovered she had a relative she’d never met and flew off to London to make contact.
She came back to Port Charles for a brief visit and offered Sonny Corinthos support as Mike’s Alzheimer’s worsened. She also gave TJ Ashford some advice after he revealed he was planning to propose to Molly. She also invited her family members to join her in London sometime. In June 2021, Stella returned to check on Curtis when he was shot trying to save Laura, who was being held hostage by Cyrus. She expressed her sympathy to Jordan about the end of her marriage to Curtis, and then had some words for Portia Robinson about her closeness with the guy!
Stella wasn’t happy to find out that TJ had been visiting Shawn in prison, especially once his father was finally set free. When her attempts to convince Jordan to fight for her marriage failed, she tried snatching the divorce papers from her desk! Stella tried to warn Portia to steer clear of her nephew, blasting her for cheating on her husband with Curtis years ago, and was horrified when Trina Robinson overheard all about her mom’s history! Stella later suffered a stroke and couldn’t remember anything about the missing envelope or what it was. As she recovered in the hospital, Stella felt terrible about her behavior and apologized to Trina, later telling Curtis Portia was a good woman.
Months later, Stella had a clean bill of health from her doctors in Baltimore, and questioned TJ about what was up with Curtis. The doc told her she should ask him herself but when she did so, Marshall Ashford interrupted! Stella was surprised that he was attempting to reconnect with his family, who had believed him dead, but he assured her that he would never let them know she had known he was alive the whole time.
Later, when Curtis shared with his aunt how Marshall had told him he’d gotten mixed up with shady characters and had to go into Witness Protection, he noticed she was acting a little twitchy. Stella insisted she hadn’t been around when he disappeared and urged her nephew to stop looking into his father’s past. And she then urged Marshall he was playing with fire and lying was only going to make things worse. Stella wished Portia all the best as she moved in with Curtis, but cautioned her to keep an eye on Marshall. When she found out that Marshall had asked Drew Cain to investigate his father, she grew even more nervous.
At Curtis and Portia’s housewarming party, Stella privately warned Marshall not to destroy her family and then suffered a panic attack while taking a family photo! After Marshall left town, Curtis went to Stella to share what he’d learned about his father and was hurt to learn that Stella had known the truth and kept it from him.
Stay tuned to see how Stella’s storyline continues!