Athena Aquitane was a famous actress and the girlfriend, later wife, of Cross De Lena.
Athena, called Thena as a girl, grew up in Texas and married her high school sweetheart, Boz Skannet. They had one child together, Bethany Aquitane. However, Boz eventually grew resentful of Athena's intellect and talent and he feared that she would someday grow beyond him and leave him. Boz then became emotionally and physically abusive towards Athena. After one incident in which he purposefully dropped Bethany, Athena took her daughter and left. She left her daughter in the care of relatives while she began to pursue an acting career, hoping to come back to get her once she made enough money.
Bethany was eventually diagnosed with autism, and, realizing that her daughter needed a high level of care she couldn't provide while working, Athena left her in a care facility for autistic children, visiting her frequently. To prevent her abusive husband from finding their daughter, Athena told Boz that Bethany was dead and she buried her in the desert.
Life in Hollywood
Athena found great success in Hollywood as an actress, eventually winning an Academy Award and becoming world famous, though her background was not widely known. She befriended screenwriter Claudia De Lena and entertainment attorney Molly Flanders. She eventually was cast in the lead role in a film Claudia wrote, Messalina.
However, her estranged husband Boz eventually came into her life again. Boz snuck up to her and threw water on her face while she was talking to reporters in front of an awards ceremony she was attending, the implicit threat being that next time it could be acid. Fearing for her life, Athena quit Messalina and planned to go on the run. She realized that since Boz came from a wealthy and well-connected family, the legal system would not punish him, and he could also reveal Bethany's existence to the world.
Through her lawyer, Athena told the production company of Messalina, Loddstone Studios, that she would not act until her safety was guaranteed, and she would not believe that Boz would keep any agreement he made. Eli Marrion and the other studio higher-ups threatened that she would never work in Hollywood again, but Athena would not change her mind. Claudia decided to go to her Mafia-connected brother Cross for help. Cross, realizing that Athena was essentially asking for Boz to be murdered, bought Messalina from the studio and had him killed.
Athena returned to work on the picture and began a romantic relationship with Cross. She eventually felt comfortable enough to introduce him to Bethany, and she told him that she planned take Bethany to a new doctor in Paris and care for her full time after filming on Messalina was done. Eventually, Cross decided to join her.
Life in Paris
In Paris, Cross and Athena got married and lived in peace for some time. However, this peace was shattered when Athena was killed with a bomb meant for Cross. Cross took his stepdaughter Bethany back to the United States to rejoin the Clericuzio crime family to find who was behind Athena's murder.