Carly Benson came to Port Charles in 1996 with an agenda---to get revenge on the mother who had put her up for adoption as an infant. Though Carly was adopted by a wonderful couple who loved her with all their hearts, she never felt quite good enough. Her attitude was one of self-pity, ďIf my own mother didnít love me, how can I think that anyone else would?Ē
Immediately upon her arrival, Carly began to worm her way into the lives of Bobbie Spencer and Tony Jones. When she realized there were problems in the marriage, she was more than happy to help the marriage come to an end by sleeping with Tony. To her amazement, Carly found herself falling in love with the good doctor.
Her love for Tony wasnít enough to keep her faithful. Carly also enjoyed bedtime with her friend, Jason Morgan. After one drunken night, she found herself in bed with Jasonís brother, AJ Quartermaine. AJ, who was also drunk, did not remember the night. When she became pregnant, Carly suspected that AJ might be the father, but allowed everyone to believe the baby she was carrying was really Jasonís.
Everyone except Tony, that is. Realizing that Carly had been unfaithful, Tony kicked her out of his life. He informed her that, once the baby was born, he would be suing for sole custody. Her assertion that Jason was the babyís father didnít deter him. Tony was determined to raise the baby. By the time the baby was born, AJís memory of his night with Carly has returned. Blood tests proved that Tony was not the father, and AJ assumed, as he had spent only one night with Carly, that the baby must really be Jasonís. Neither Carly nor Jason corrected him. Unfortunately, a severe case of post partum depression caused Carly to leave Port Charles after her sonís birth. She left him in the capable hands of Jason, who christened the child Michael.
Upon her return to Port Charles, Carly found it difficult to bond with the boy. Bobbie, who had forgiven Carly for her part in the break-up of her marriage, offered help and advice. She told Carly about her daughter, Caroline, who had been born while she was a teenage hooker. She had known that was no life for a child, so out of love she offered the child up for adoption. Her admission that she thought of Caroline every day caused Carly to make her own admission---she was Caroline, the daughter Bobbie had given away. Learning that Carlyís sole purpose for coming to town was to destroy Bobbieís life caused Bobbie to push her long-lost daughter out of her life.
Mother and daughter reconciled after Tony kidnapped baby Michael. He went on trial for the kidnapping, but was let off very easily. Carly shot him in the courtroom, earning a trip to a mental institution. Bobbie stayed by her side through the whole thing.
Carly never stopped loving Jason, but he made it clear that all he wanted was a friendship. She then turned to AJ, who agreed to marry her and raise Michael (still not knowing her was the boyís father). The marriage was strained, due to AJís hatred of Jason and Carlyís fascination with Jason. Yet it was a one-night stand with Sonny, which led to a pregnancy, that brought about the end of the marriage. Sonny helped Carly gain a divorce from AJ. During an argument with AJ, Carly fell down the stairs and lost the baby. Sonny then swept her away to his Caribbean island, where the two bonded over their loss and became lovers.