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Adela is forced to give up rights to her son when Sonny is seven years old and marries Deke Woods, who is extremely abusive to both Adela and Sonny, even locking Sonny in the closet, which results in Sonny becoming claustrophobic.
Sonny begins to act out to take Deke's abusive behavior off his mother.
Bernard was also offered the role of Damian Smith and a two-year contract as well as that of Sonny Corinthos, but he chose Sonny Corinthos because he liked the name.
Two weeks after starting in the role, Bernard suffered a manic depressive episode and didn't come into work for while.
All that had to happen was to get Bernard onscreen.Sonny comes to Port Charles in 1993 after the Atlantic City murder.He runs a strip club for Frank Smith and becomes involved with Karen Wexler (Cari Shayne), who he starts supplying with drugs in order to get her to work for him.Sonny hangs with his friends, Lois Cerullo (Rena Sofer) and her brother, Louie to escape his abusive home life.Raised as a devout Catholic by Adela, Sonny is very religious.