General Hospital's Nicholas Chavez and Tabyana Ali on Being a Soap Power Couple: 'Our Dynamic' Is 'Special'' (2024)

Move over Scandal’s Olivia and Fitz, and take a seat Bridgerton’s Simon and Daphne, because General Hospital’s Spencer and Trina — a.k.a. Sprina — have fans clamoring for more.

The proof is in the journey. Name any coupling on the big or small screen that could survive this list of hurdles all before their first date: a revenge p*rn scandal and courtroom trial where Ali’s Trina Robinson was drugged and falsely accused of videotaping her friends having sex and leaking it on the Internet (she was framed by Spencer’s ex-love, mean girl Esme Prince). The pair continued swooning after Chavez’s Spencer Cassadine served two jail stints in both minimum and maximum prisons.

The couple, played by Nicholas Chavez and Tabyana Ali, stayed devoted after the epic Greenland Ice Princess storyline when they had to thwart Spencer's Uncle Victor's (Charles Shaughnessy) maniacal, Thanos-reminiscent plan to wipe out half the Earth's population by unleashing a deadly pathogen into the world. This included taking a kidnapped Spencer and stowaway Trina onboard a doomed ship.

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Currently, the twosome is enduring familial drama as Spencer fights to get custody of his little brother from his ex-girlfriend Esme. Did we also mention that Spencer’s father, Nikolas Cassadine, is the father of Esme’s baby?

"Spencer and Trina can’t just settle in, be cute and comfortable," Ali, 21, exclusively tells PEOPLE. "They just don't have that break."

Emmy Award-winning actor Chavez, 23, believes viewers of the soap are devoted to the couple's rollercoaster journey because their characters are soulmates.

General Hospital's Nicholas Chavez and Tabyana Ali on Being a Soap Power Couple: 'Our Dynamic' Is 'Special'' (1)

"When Spencer is with Trina, it's the closest thing to home he's ever felt. He didn't have a mom, his dad has mostly been absent. He's never felt home or family any other time in his life," Chavez says. "With Trina, it's peace and happiness. It's tough love when it needs to be, but it's also balance, safety, and freedom of expression. It's truth. It's all those things and there's no other place Spencer has that."

Ali also describes the on-screen pairing as a deep connection and understands why their TV relationship will always have a back-and-forth dynamic. "I think they're actually twin flames. And there's a period of time before twin flames can be together," she explains. "They have to go through this up-and-down tumultuous ride to have the calm waters. They must have the thunderstorm before they get to the sunset."

It's that type of all-or-nothing love connection, despite the melodramatic high relationship odds, that has earned the pair comparisons to the original super-couple of daytime, Luke and Laura. But Ali confesses she still can't believe Chavez and herself are regularly talked about alongside the iconic soap opera characters.

"It's hard to wrap my head around that. Anywhere you go, you say 'General Hospital' and people say 'Luke and Laura.' Generations of people still think and talk about Luke and Laura," Ali says. "For it to be Nick and I, where people are telling us, 'I'm watching the show because of you.' Or that, 'I left the show but now I’ve come back [because of you],' I’m like, 'What … what?' It’s a lot, it's a lot. But I’m grateful. I'm very thankful."

Chavez, whose character is also the grandson of Laura Collins (played by Genie Francis), believes the Luke and Laura connection was hereditary and built into Spencer and Trina's essence.

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"We understand why [the couples are compared] and it seems the show is trying to paint them in that light as well with the Ice Princess storyline in Greenland," he says.

"They are drawing a pretty direct comparison and they’re not being super subtle about it. But we love it, and we think that it’s super smart," he adds. "It's the greatest compliment we could ever get."

General Hospital's Nicholas Chavez and Tabyana Ali on Being a Soap Power Couple: 'Our Dynamic' Is 'Special'' (2)

Francis, who’s played GH matriarch Laura (to Anthony Geary’s Luke) since 1977, has extended her maternal gaze onto the young pair whom she often works with in ongoing storylines. “Genie is a special person, and she likes to check in. When she wants to connect it’s, ‘How are you doing? You feeling, okay? How’s life?’ Chavez tells PEOPLE. Genie has been nothing but an amazing friend and teacher since I came on the show.” Ali agrees. “I’m honored to be able to know Ms. Genie, understand her and her life. She’s a great teacher and a good person to watch and learn from.”

Being two stars of television's longest-running drama has completely transformed the lives of Chavez and Ali. General Hospital is Chavez's first professional acting job and has reset everything in his worldview from his independence to his aspirations.

"It's changed everything about me. Before the show, I was selling cars in Florida. I live across the country now. I was driving my dad's old Jeep and now, I'm sitting in a car that I paid for," he says. "This show has given me the opportunity to become my own guy. It's also given me the gift few people get in life — the privilege to earn an income doing what I love to do every single day. If I'm not the luckiest guy in the world, I've got to be damned close."

For Ali, a former child actress with acting credits that include New Girl, General Hospital is responsible for a reawakening of her own creativity.

"[The show] has me wanting to do more of the things I love to do, like singing and dancing, which I got to do during [scenes for] The Nurses Ball," she says. "I love doing those things. It's freeing to me. General Hospital makes me want to work harder and be a better person."

The version of the coupling fans now see today comes after the role of Trina was recast twice. Ali took over when the second actress to play the character, Sydney Mikala, left to focus on college. Before that, Tiana Le played the part in three episodes airing between 2017 and 2018.

Even though the version of Sprina with Mikala was already very popular with viewers, Chavez had no fear about continuing the magic with Ali.

General Hospital's Nicholas Chavez and Tabyana Ali on Being a Soap Power Couple: 'Our Dynamic' Is 'Special'' (3)

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"I didn’t have the goal of recreating what me and Sydney had because Tabyana and Sydney are two completely different people," he says. "I feel like it has to be different because it's a completely different actress playing the role."

For Chavez, Ali's casting was a perfect find. "What amazes me is that we went two for two in creating something beautiful and connecting with people,” he says. “It’s getting everyone excited and it's a testament to how good [General Hospital executive producer] Frank Valentini and [casting director] Mark Teschner are at their jobs.”

General Hospital's Nicholas Chavez and Tabyana Ali on Being a Soap Power Couple: 'Our Dynamic' Is 'Special'' (4)

Fans, followers and even the actors themselves admit Chavez and Ali's onscreen chemistry is a huge driver in the Spencer and Trina phenomenon.

"I think now our chemistry is so much stronger because of the connection we have outside of work," says Ali. "Our dynamic is really special because we understand each other on a very deep level."

Chavez takes a more technical approach to maintain Sprina's allure. It consists of "homework" on scripts that include "imagination exercises." But he admits that the pair having that 'it factor' also makes it feel real for viewers.

"No matter how much work you do, if you don’t have that chemistry, that little something that exists between people. I don’t know if it’s going to read as good," he adds.

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General Hospital's Nicholas Chavez and Tabyana Ali on Being a Soap Power Couple: 'Our Dynamic' Is 'Special'' (5)

Most couples on soap operas swap partners with the frequency of a revolving door, but the Sprina romance takes a different approach. Their slow burn and angsty unrequited love move like molasses and often to the chagrin of their fanbase. But that delayed pace has also created epic TV moments for Spencer and Trina that’s fueled the duo's regular Sprina Twitter spikes.

Their first kiss occurred after a two-year wait of star-crossed longing, passionate entranced stares and plenty of almost-kiss interruptions. “I knew everybody was going to fall for the first kiss. When we finally saw it we were like, ‘They are going to go crazy,’” says Ali.

But a Sprina fan favorite moment neither of them thought would get much reaction was the onscreen Spencer and Trina reunion at the conclusion of the Greenland Ice Princess adventure when Spencer was presumed dead.

Cheered on by Francis, Ali improvised a run and leap into Chavez’s arms that was not rehearsed but resulted in a viral moment. Ali reveals The Bodyguard-style, Spencer Trina jump was delivered more out of necessity. “Honestly, I had no idea I was going to do that. It was a surprise for Nic too,” says Ali. “I realized I couldn’t stop running. I was going so fast that if I didn’t jump, I was going to create a me size hole in him [laughs]."

Chavez says the incident revived the former athlete in him. “I used to play football. And she was coming at me with a lot of velocity, and it didn’t look like she was slowing down,” he recalls. “So, I knew I had to make an athletic movement to pull it off. It was more like trying to catch a football than it was being in a scene.”

But even he admits getting caught up in the magic when he finally saw it. “When I watched it back, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that had to be one of the coolest moments I’ve ever seen on General Hospital,’” Chavez tells PEOPLE. “Peter Reckell who plays Bo on Days of Our Lives retweeted it,” says Chavez. “James Patrick Stuart [of Seinfeld who plays Chavez’s uncle Valentin Cassadine on GH] gave us some love online. It got a lot of attention and people loved it. It was an exciting, cool and fun moment.”

It's clear both Chavez and Ali are firmly invested in the business of being daytime TV's most popular super-couple. And based on the work, chemistry, and dedication the duo has devoted to Sprina so far, Ali understands why it's a title she and her onscreen love have earned.

General Hospital's Nicholas Chavez and Tabyana Ali on Being a Soap Power Couple: 'Our Dynamic' Is 'Special'' (6)

"Every time Spencer and Trina come together, it’s magnetic and powerful. You feel the tension and it’s thick," says Ali. "It's difficult for them to be happy. But they are willing to work through it together and fight [to be] together. It’s like, 'Y'all ain't separating us. We are a duo. We're tied at the hip. We're glued.'"

Agreeing with his costar, Chavez adds: "That's what makes them the super-couple."

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General Hospital airs weekdays on ABC (check local listings).

General Hospital's Nicholas Chavez and Tabyana Ali on Being a Soap Power Couple: 'Our Dynamic' Is 'Special'' (2024)
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