Julia moved to Port Charles in 1991 to run Barrett Industries at the behest of her father Harlan Barrett. She soon found love in the form of Bill Eckert. The relationship didn't last however as Bill shot and killed Harlan, who was a member of a cartel planning to control global business used a deadly substance. Harlan's death made Julia break up with Bill.
In 1992, Julia was shocked to find her younger teenage sister Brenda Barrett on her doorstep. Brenda was rebellious and had been kicked out of school after school due to her wicked ways. Julia was always Harlan's favorite, as Brenda reminded him of their free spirited mother Veronica who had died in the Venice canals. Julia wanted to make amends with her sister and persuaded Brenda to move in with her and to enroll at Port Charles High School.
In 1993, Julia began an affair with the recently divorced Ned Ashton, but felt that Ned would never truly get over his ex-wife, Jenny Eckert. Julia moved from Ned's bed to his cousin's, A.J. Quartermaine's, bed. Julia decided it was time to start her life over so she moved from Port Charles to London. She sold her shares of the Port Charles Hotel to A.J.
Julia didn't return to Port Charles until fall 1997, when Jax brought her to town as a gift for Brenda. Unbeknownst to him, Brenda hated Julia, but the two mended fences during Julia's visit. Julia also had a warm meeting with Luke Spencer, lookalike and cousin of her late flame Bill Eckert. At the end of 1997 when she was summoned by Jasper Jacks because Brenda had a major mental breakdown. Julia wanted to take Brenda back to London with her for a short vacation, but Brenda refused.
Tragedy struck in 1998 when Brenda was killed in a car accident due to the return of their suicidal mother Veronica! Julia returned to Port Charles and had to cope with the fact that her sister was gone. She felt angry that she never really treated Brenda like a real person and only like a little sister. Julia was also upset that Jax, who was then Brenda's fiancée, allowed Brenda to spend time with Veronica, who was suffering from a mental illness. After Brenda's funeral, Julia went back home.
Julia then showed up a few months later, in Monte Carlo. Jax had just lost his entire fortune to the government when it was discovered that the Jacks family money was started by mobsters! Jax and his friend V. Ardenowski traveled to Monte Carlo to win his money back and prove to the world that Jax wasn't tied to organized time. Jax had V. pose as heiress Isabella Castillo but his plan backfired when Julia saw him! Julia thought that Jax was sleeping with V./Isabella and accused him of never loving Brenda at all. Jax called Ned Ashton and Alexis Davis to his aid to keep Julia away from him before she found out it was all an act. Julia was distracted by Ned for awhile but then attacked V./Isabella! V told Julia of the ruse; Julia told her she realized V wasn't a countess, she'd tried to help Jax by having such an extreme reaction. She called Jax's brother Jerry to see if he could help, assured Alexis that she wasn't interested in Ned, and then went back to London.