Ruth Martin (née Parker; previously Brent) is a fictional character from the ABC soap opera All My Children. She is currently the wife of Dr. Joe Martin. She is a registered nurse and volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. She was also raped by Ray Gardner, the birth father of her adopted son, Tad. Ruth is the matriarch of the Martin family and, in a sense, the matriarchial character of All My Children itself. She has been portrayed by Lee Meriwether since July 10 1996, but was portrayed by Mary Fickett from 1970 to 1996.
After her first husband Ted Brent died in a car accident she began dating Dr. Joe Martin, also a widow. The two married in 1972, blending the families and took in a young boy Thaddeus Gardner in 1973. Thaddeus (known a Tad) was abandoned by his abusive father, Ray Gardner in a park. Ray showed up sometime later and demanded money for his son. After the Martins adamantly refused, Ray stalked Ruth and violently raped her one night, leaving her in a coma.
Joe began to have feelings for a patient Leora Sanders. During their separation Ruth had an affair with David Thorton and two two were engaged at one point. Eventually Ruth and Joe reconcilled. Ruth and Joe had a son Joseph Martin Jr. (now referred to as Jake) on Christmas Day 1979.
Ruth has stood by her husband during some very trying times. The Martin House was destroyed in 1994 by a tornado. The whole town came together and helped the Martins as they rebuilt. In 1997 Joe suffered a heart attack and almost died.
Ruth is now a recurring character only visible during special occasions.