Ruth was married to Ted Brent when AMC first aired. They had an adopted son Philip (the son of Ruth's sister Amy Tyler and Nick Davis). Ted died following an automobile accident in 1970. Joe Martin (also widowed) and Ruth naturally gravitated together and were married in 1972. They have been Pine Valley's ONLY committed couple, having survived adultery (Ruth with David Thornton) and Joe's attraction (but not adulterous) to an abused patient, Leora, and Ruth's rape by Ray Gardner. Ruth and Joe tried to help Jeff (Joe's son) and Mary adopt the abandoned Tad Gardner. After Mary was shot and murdered by robbers in her own home, Ruth and Joe decided to adopt Tad. Ray wanted to "sell" Tad to the Martins and when they refused he raped and robbed Ruth.
Ray was found and sentenced to 25 years, he escaped, returned to Pine Valley and planted a bomb in the Martin home. Fearing that his daughter Jenny (Tad's natural sister) was inside, Ray took the bomb outside where it exploded and finally killed the nefarious character. Ruth and Joe had a baby, Joseph Jr. (Joey/Jake) on Christmas day 1979. Ruth and Joe have been the one constant in PV. They are what All My Children represents. Their lives have revolved around "all their children" (and grandchildren. Whenever one of the Martin clan returns to Pine Valley, the first place they stop is Hillcrest Drive because they know they will always be welcomed by Ruth and Joe. Ruth and Joe have also become the wise sages to all the young lovers, new parents, and anyone with a problem. Ruth has carried on where Grandma Kate left off.
Ruth's marriage to Joe nearly came to a premature end in July 1997. Joe, after a heated argument with Dimitri Marick, suffered a major heart attack. Joe, still wanting to protect his wife even while in a fragile state, demanded that his wife not be told of the serious nature of his condition. Ruth eventually learned of the severity of Joe's problems and did her best to nurse him back to health.
Ruth's appearances were confined to holidays and special occasions by the late 90's, although she also appeared with Joe in March 2003 to learn from Tad that Jake had fled town after cheating on his girlfriend, Mia. Ruth comforted Mia in her true maternal style.
Early in 2010, Joe and Ruth were ready for a change and they moved to Florida. They wanted to enjoy the warmer weather and be closer to Tara and her family. They returned to Pine Valley briefly in order to attend Tad's marriage to Cara Castillo.
In September of 2011, Ruth and Joe moved back to Pine Valley when Joe was offered a consultant position at Pine Valley Hospital. They were reunited with family and friends and celebrated the news of Tad's recent engagement to Dixie. They also joined many other Pine Valley residents at a party hosted by Adam Chandler at his mansion. During the party, they toasted the love of family, friends, and neighbors as a shot rang out.