When Erica began dating Phil Brent, he didn't take their relationship as seriously as she did. He was flattered by her attention, loved making love to her and chose to ignore all the warnings he received about her. Tara reminded him what Erica had done to her brother Jeff. Phil could see Tara was still jealous, and he was glad. Ruth warned her son Erica was not to be trusted. In truth, Ruth also felt a pang of guilt for the secret she continued about Phil’s son. His father, Nick, had seen the worst side of Erica with her mother, Mona. To no avail, Nick tried to dissuade Phil from getting involved with Erica. Phil continued to see her, but even Erica realized he didn’t love her and began to doubt he ever would. If anyone was in his heart, it was Tara. Erica couldn’t believe she was still competing with such an unworthy opponent. She was tiring of second place.

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By the time Erica decided to end her affair with Phil, she was pregnant. Again, she decided the sensible choice for her was abortion. Before she could act, Phil found out about the baby and was overjoyed. He persuaded Erica to marry him, and she let herself get caught up in his dream of a happy family life. The baby soon became real to her too. She loved it, and she loved Phil. With him, she saw a chance for real happiness. They were married, moved into their own house and started planning for the future.

While Phil’s mother lamented that Erica was again a member of their family, her husband Joe was relieved that at least she was out of his son Jeff’s life. Jeff had found happiness with Mary, and the newlyweds moved into a sunny apartment made even warmer by their love. They couldn’t adopt Tad Gardner until the parents who had abandoned him were found. But Tad, who was staying with Ruth and Joe, visited often.

One afternoon Mary was home alone when Tad arrived for a visit. The boy didn’t know that two thugs had broken in and were holding a terrified Mary at gun point. When Tad came to the door, she screamed at him to run, and Tad escaped. But the gunmen were trigger happy, and Mary was shot dead.

Mary’s murder tore Jeff apart. He was haunted by happy memories of her and felt they’d been cheated of their time together. Jeff suffered tremendous grief and realized he could no longer stay in Pine Valley. Before moving away, he spoke with Joe and Ruth about Tad. They understood Jeff's need to leave the Valley and reasured him that Tad would be fine. They had come to regard Tad as a spm and, if Jeff approved, wished to adopt him themselves. Jeff thanked them. Tad was thrilled and the Martins were overjoyed. They became his legal guardians until a formal adoption could be arranged. Not that any of them needed a piece of paper to feel he was part of their family.

It was little Phillip who worried the Martins when he suddenly became ill. They rallied to Tara’s side when they learned her son desperately needed a blood transfusion. Tara and Chuck were frantic, because neither of their blood types matched little Phillip’s. They soon learned that only Phil Brent’s blood could save the child. Phil and Erica’s happiness hadn’t lasted long. Erica had a miscarriage and was so distraught over the loss that she suffered a nervous breakdown. Phil was forced to commit her to a mental hospital. While he and Mona prayed for Erica’s recovery, the weeks became months.

During Erica’s absence, Phil saved little Phillip’s life with his blood, donating the instant he learned he matched the boy’s blood type. He’d have done anything to help Tara’s son. Chuck and Tara were grateful beyond words, but the blood match raised questions in Phil’s mind. Things that never made sense to him began to clear up. Phil told Ruth he suspected she’d kept something from him since the day he returned from Vietnam. He demanded to know if little Phillip was his son.

Ruth confirmed what Phil already felt in his heart. The secret had to come out, and Ruth was relieved it had. She was wrong to have kept it from Phil for so long. Ruth felt justified when she explained her disclosure to Joe, but Ruth’s interference angered him. He reminded her that Tara was still married to Chuck and the boy was their child. Joe felt it was wrong of Ruth to encourage Phil to pursue Tara. Kate watched uneasily as her son and daughter-in-law quarreled. She feared that a serious rift in their marriage could all too easily develop over what was best for their children.

Phil rushed to Tara. When he confronted her with his newfound knowledge, she tearfully told him the whole story of her pregnancy by him and subsequent marriage to Chuck. The confirmation gave Phil new hope. He asked Tara if she still loved him, and she broke down, confessing she had never stopped as they fell rapturously into each other’s arms. Phil’s mind was racing. He would divorce Erica, and Tara would leave Chuck. Then they could be together to raise their son. It was what they both wanted.

When Erica recovered and returned to Pine Valley, Phil asked her for a divorce. Seeing how much he wanted it, she emphatically refused. Before Tara could broach the subject of divorce with Chuck, he suffered a brief recurrence of his old kidney ailment. As little Phillip worried about his father, Tara rethought her plans. Tara couldn’t help seeing how connected little Phillip was to Chuck. She felt the news that he wasn’t little Phillip’s real father would be too much for the boy. Phil was crestfallen. Ultimately, it wasn’t Tara’s decision to make. When Chuck discovered Tara still loved Phil and that he knew he was little Phil’s father, Chuck sacrificed his own happiness for his friends’ and granted Tara’s request for a divorce.

Phoebe Tyler was heartsick that her grandson was giving up on his marriage. She reminded him of his son, Phillip, and the commitment Chuck had made with Tara for better or for worse. She turned to her own husband for support, but Charles was weary of Phoebe’s incessant meddling. He wondered how she would feel if she knew how often the thought of divorce entered his own mind. As an image of Mona flickered into his thoughts, he left the room.

Phoebe’s objections to her son Linc’s involvement with Kitty Shea Davis were also ignored. To break them apart, she tried to promote a romance between Linc and Claudette Montgomery, the daughter of Paul Martin’s new wife, Margo Flax. But Linc wasn’t interested in Claudette. He’d fallen deeply in love with Kitty and nothing Phoebe could say or do–including falling into a dead faint in the middle of their wedding ceremony–could keep them from getting married.

Nick Davis was pleased that his ex-wife Kitty had found a man who could love and appreciate her as she deserved. Nick also remained friendly with his other ex-wife Anne, who was now Kitty’s sister-in-law. Anne gave Kitty a sales job in her fashion boutique. They became friends.

But when a stranger named Hal Short arrived in Pine Valley looking for Kitty, her stable world was shaken. Hal was Kitty’s first husband. He thought Kitty had done very well for herself , marrying into money, and wanted her to help him set up an illegal drug operation in Pine Valley. Kitty wanted nothing to do with Hal’s business. He showed her their final divorce papers, unsigned by him, and wondered how Kitty’s brand new husband would feel about marrying a bigamist. Hal didn’t think Linc would ever have to know as long as Kitty was agreeable to helping him. She had no choice. If she told Linc the truth, she’d lose him. She had to play Hal’s game and allow him to traffic his drugs through shipments to The Boutique. He needed more help than the reluctant Kitty could provide for his operation, so Hal made Claudette Montgomery one of his associates. Anne’s boutique was thriving, and it wasn’t hard for Kitty, at Hal’s insistence, to persuade Anne to hire Claudette, who didn’t need money as much as she needed the drugs to feed her own addiction.

Paul’s marriage to Margo turned out to be a loveless affair. He realized too late how he had been manipulated and that he never loved her. He had also never stopped loving Anne. As it turned out, Anne felt the same way. Slowly, they began to rekindle their romance from the embers of the past. Promising he would ask Margo for a divorce, Paul asked Anne to accompany him on a business trip. With Anne beside him, Paul had to force himself to keep his mind on the purpose of the trip.

Margo felt her husband slipping away, and she didn’t know how to hold onto him. She thought a baby might bind Paul to her, but she was too old to have one. Regardless, she liked the idea and began making plans. She found a baby broker, told him she needed a newborn and gave him the appropriate delivery date so it would appear she had been pregnant and given birth.

Paul returned from his trip with every intention of asking Margo for a divorce, but he never had the chance. She bombarded him with news of her pregnancy, how shocked she was that she could still conceive, what a miracle this would be for them. Paul was trapped. Anne couldn’t believe the news but understood why Paul couldn’t leave Margo. Anne had news of her own, which, under the circumstances, she wouldn’t tell Paul. So she turned to her best friend, her ex-husband Nick Davis. When she told Nick she was pregnant with Paul’s child, Nick came up with an idea: they could raise her child together. He’d always loved Anne and offered to marry her. Anne needed time to think about it and asked Nick not to tell Paul about the baby. Nick vowed to keep silent while he waited for her answer.

Source: All My Children: The Complete Family Scrapbook

1975 Episodes / Clips: