Though initially reported by soapcentral.com last week, ABC has now confirmed that Andrea Evans (Tina Lord) will return to the show later this spring. The actress' return has been the subject of rumors for years, but things never quite worked out. Fans were left to wonder if Evans would ever return -- or if the show might simply opt to recast the role.
"For many years, both fans of mine and One Life to Live have wanted me to return to the show," Evans said in a statement. "Now that the timing is right, I'm thrilled to be returning to the role of Tina, which I've always held near and dear to my heart. I'm looking forward to working once again with all my friends and 'family' at One Life to Live."
Indeed it has been years since Evans last appeared as Tina. The Emmy-nominated actress originated the role of bad girl Tina in 1978, but left the show just three years later. Evans would eventually return to the show in 1985, ending a string of poorly received recasts. The actress stayed with the show until 1990 when a much-publicized exit took her away from Llanview one more time.
"Even though Andrea has not appeared on OLTL since 1990, she has remained among the most requested characters to return to the show," added One Life to Live's executive producer Frank Valentini. "I welcome her home to OLTL and to the role where she made an indelible mark on our audience."
When Tina was last seen, she had just divorced David Vickers and left Llanview to start a new life in Baltimore. Since then, she hasn't kept in close contact with her family, due partly to the fact that the show didn't want to do too much with the character in the event that Evans was available for a return.
Since leaving One Life to Live, Evans has appeared on two other daytime drama series -- both based in Los Angeles. Evans jumped back into the soap world in 1999 and 2000 with a 22-episode engagement as Tawny Moore on CBS's The Bold and the Beautiful. But Evans may be best known to the current generation of soap fans as Rebecca Hotchkiss on the campy soap Passions. Evans joined Passions in September 2000 and will continue to appear on the soap through August 2008 when the show wraps up its nine year-run.
Despite being with the former NBC soap for eight years, Evans was never signed to a contract. As a recurring player, Evans could have opted to leave Passions at any time - which is one of the reasons that the actress' "return" to One Life to Live had been rumored for many years.
The details of Evans' return are still being closely guarded by ABC. According to the network, Tina will return "with a big secret, a surprising revelation on where she's been, as well as a connection to one of Llanview's most powerful residents."
The return of Tina kicks off a major storyline that will play throughout the summer, but whether or not Evans will be with the show for the duration of the storyline is unknown. According to a show source, Evans' return is only short-term. As fans know, that could always change. Considering the actress' lengthy stay as a front-burner recurring character on Passions, many fans seen plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
Evans began taping on May 5th and will first appear on June 11th.