02/19/2001 at 01:00 AM EST
Like Felicia Cummings and Frisco Jones, the characters they played when they met on the ABC soap General Hospital in 1984, Kristina Malandro and Jack Wagner endured plenty of made-for-TV plot twists in their 11-year relationship. While their GH romance was immortalized in Jack's 1985 Top 10 hit "All I Need," "we didn't start seriously dating until I got pregnant," Kristina once told PEOPLE. "Well, maybe a couple of months before." Then two years after Peter, now 10, was born, they broke up for eight months. Reconciled and wed in 1993, they had another son, Harrison, now 6. "I thought, as everyone did, that they were an amazingly beautiful couple," says General Hospital costar Denise Alexander. "It seemed like they should have lived happily ever after."
Alas, they did not: On Feb. 2, Kristina, 38, surprised even close friends by filing for divorce in Los Angeles, citing irreconcilable differences. "It takes my breath away," says Alexander. "I did not see anything coming." But others who know the couple say that despite the pair's happy facade, their problems were long-festering. "Friends have been begging her for years to do this," says one pal of the actress.
So far, neither Wagner is talking. Jack, 41, who last appeared on General Hospital in 1994 and later was seen on Melrose Place and last fall's NBC flop Titans, is auditioning for new roles. Kristina—who is seeking to share custody of the two boys with Jack—is back at work in her 16th season on GH. Some fans never got over the end of Felicia's star-crossed romance with Frisco. Now they'll have to deal with the Wagners' new storylines too. "Like the people who watch our show, I've fallen in love with the romanticism of certain pairings," says Alexander. "And theirs was one."