Unfortunately, that was not to be. Laura's mental health remained fragile and after her mother Carrie committed suicide in a sanitarium in 1979, Laura's mental health deteriorated further. She began hallucinating and hearing things. Eventually her odd behavior became apparent to everyone around her, and she became a danger to little Jennifer. After Laura tried to kill herself, Bill was forced to commit his wife to Lakewood Sanitarium. The following year, Bill took a job at Lakewood and left Jennifer in Salem to be raised by his parents, Tom and Alice Horton.
By 1985, Mike Horton, Jennifer's older brother, had become a doctor and returned to Salem, in time to try and keep his younger sister out of trouble. Jennifer had turned into a rebellious teenager and pathological liar. With Mike's positive influence, Jenn straightened out her priorities and got her life back on track. She had run away from boarding school. Now she moved back in with her grandparents and went back to school in Salem, where she began dating Glenn Gallagher.
Glenn learned that his high school coach was dealing drugs; he planned to expose the coach and his illicit activities. Unfortunately, the coach learned of Glenn's plans and meant to kill him. Jennifer, with the help of her best friend Frankie Brady, rescued Glenn, and subsequently the coach was arrested. Glenn began to pressure Jennifer to have sex. She rejected him and turned to Frankie, for whom she had begun to develop feelings that went beyond friendship.
Bill returned to Salem and decided to raise his daughter himself. He was an overbearing father, though, and Jennifer rebelled by becoming engaged to Frankie. When she discovered that both her mother Laura, still institutionalized, and her maternal grandmother Carrie were both schizophrenic, Jennifer abruptly broke off the engagement to Frankie. She was afraid of developing the condition herself and passing the disease on to her children.
Frankie found solace in an affair with his boss, Paula Carson. After he reconciled with Jennifer, a jealous Eve exposed the truth to Jennifer, who was shocked. Ultimately, Frankie said goodbye to Salem and in 1989, Jennifer became involved with Emilio Ramirez.
Jennifer's cousin Melissa returned to Salem and was concerned to see Jenn drawn to her ex, Jack. She tried her best to push Jenn toward Emilio, but instead found herself attracted to him. Melissa's feelings notwithstanding, Emilio and Jennifer became engaged.
Desparate to prevent Jennifer from marrying Emilio, Jack kidnapped her in a fire engine on her wedding day. While trying to escape, Jennifer fell off a cliff and was knocked unconcious when she slipped and fell. It was then that Jack poured out his true feelings for her. Later, Jack refused to repeat what he had said, so Jennifer went back to Emilio, who had also been injured while trying to rescue her. However, their relationship eventually failed.
Jack began to hallucinate and suffer deep inner turmoil, plagued by thoughts of his evil biological father Duke Johnson and his murderous adoptive father, Harper Devereaux. He pushed Jennifer farther and farther away.
Confused and rejected, Jennifer took on a daring role. She switched places with her longtime friend from her boarding school days, Carly Manning (a.k.a. Katerina Von Leuschner) and travelled to New York in Carly's place to meet the man Carly had been promised to in an arranged marriage, Lawrence Alamain.
Returning to his homeland with Lawrence, who still believed her to be Carly, Jennifer was married to him in a rushed ceremony. When he learned that she was an imposter, Lawrence raped Jennifer. While she was living in Lawrence's palatial home, Jennifer learned that her longlost boyfriend Frankie was being held against his will by the mysterious Lawrence. She was stunned to learn Frankie's true identity: he was Francois Von Leuschner, Carly's younger brother! Jack arrived from Salem to rescue Jennifer.
When his wicked plans were foiled, Lawrence managed to escape. He triggered an earthquake as he fled, which killed his father Leopold. By the end of 1990, Lawrence resurfaced in Salem.
Nick Corelli had died and left $10 million to Eve, provided she marry. Frankie rejected her proposal, repulsed by her greed. Eve then approached Jack and suggested a marriage of convenience. Jack, who had been engaged to Jennifer, had called off their wedding because he felt alienated from her. Jennifer was unable to handle intimacy and was too ashamed to tell Jack the truth about the rape. For this reason, and to protect his beloved Spectator from a hostile takeover by his nemesis Lawrence, Jack accepted Eve's indecent proposal.
With Kimberly Brady's help, Jack and Jennifer obtained Lawrence's confession of rape on tape, and, bolstered by the strength of the evidence against him, Jennifer finally pressed charges against Lawrence. At last Jack understood the reason for her earlier coolness toward him.
Knowing that Jack loved Jennifer and wanted to be free to marry her, Julie bought Eve off. Reluctantly, Eve granted Jack a divorce. Frankie forgave Eve for her greed and wrongdoings, and the two of them left Salem and went off together to Africa.
Jack kept Eve's fortune and married Jennifer in a Wild West themed ceremony. The newlyweds honeymooned in Hollywood. Happiness was not long-lived for them, though. A clever con man named Hawk managed to con the newlyweds out of their money, which sent Jack on the run. Jennifer used her trust fund to save Jack's interest in The Spectator. In Jack's absence, Hawk planned to grow closer to Jennifer.
Jack and Jennifer were able to trick Hawk into making a full confession of bilking them out of all their money. Nonetheless, the couple was left penniless. It was at that time that Jennifer revealed to Jack that she was pregnant. Jack became paranoid that he would suffer a relapse of his Hodgkins Disease and die, leaving Jennifer alone with a small child. He decided that the thing to do would be to find Jennifer a suitable replacement husband. When he decided that Brian Scofield, the eldest son of Spectator editor Vern Scofield, would be a qualified candidate, Jack hired the one-time police detective to be Jennifer's bodyguard. To provide for her financial security, Jack sold The Spectator to Julie. Doctors were finally able to convince the hypochondriac Jack that he was in perfect health. Later that year, Jennifer gave birth to their daughter, Abigail Johanna.
Jennifer's favorite author is Charles Dickens?
When asked if she uses cue cards, Melissa Reeves replied:
"No, I don't. I have a big guilt thing about it. It is part of my job to learn my lines. I think it's very distracting; I don't put down people who do, but it's not my thing." (Soap Opera Digest, December 31, 2002)
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