In 1980, wealthy politician Kellam Chandler moved into a large mansion in Salem and summoned his daughter Liz to leave Paris and join him. Liz arrived in town and made no time in making a pass at Don Craig, even though he was married to Marlena. Don and Liz eventually began having an affair, and one night while he was out with Liz, Marlena found their infant son D.J. dead in his crib, a victim of SIDS. In his grief, Don lashed out at Marlena and blamed her for their baby's death. He told her that if she had taken better care of herself during the pregnancy, DJ would not have died.

Liz and Don's affair was very brief. She soon became taken with Dr. Neil Curtis. Liz actually proposed to Neil, but Kellam was determined to keep the two apart. Kellam bribed Neil to stay away from Liz. Heartbroken at having lost Liz, Neil turned back to his favorite pastime, gambling. He became addicted and sank deeper and deeper in debt.

Liz became estranged from her father Kellam. He went so far as to try and drive a wedge between Liz and her brother Tod, telling Tod that Liz had turned against him. Kellam was obsessed with Marlena and raped her. When Kellam was accidentally shot and killed in an altercation with Tod and his half-brother Josh Fallon, Don conspired with the two of them to keep Marlena's rape a secret, to protect her. In Kellam's will, his estate was divided equally between Tod and Josh, leaving Liz out entirely. Don and Liz later married.

In 1981, Stefano DiMera's son Tony arrived in Salem because he wanted his wife Liz back. He did not love her; he only wanted to control and punish her for leaving him. He forced Liz to move into the DiMera mansion but they maintained separate bedrooms. Don divorced her after only a few months of marriage. Meanwhile, Tony pursued Renee Dumond relentlessly, having destroyed Liz and Don's marriage. Tony threw a huge New Year's Eve party at the mansion and forced Liz to act as his hostess.

Although Tony wanted to be with Renee, Stefano insisted that he not let Liz go just yet; he felt Liz would be useful in helping Stefano get control of Doug's Place. Stefano threatened to harm Don and Neil if Liz did not spy on Doug for him. Liz did manage to help Neil by stealthily giving him $50,000.00 to pay off his gambling debts. Lee Dumond warned Tony to stay away from Renee but he would not, so she told Stefano that Renee was his daughter. Learning the truth of their genetic relationship, Tony and Renee broke off their romantic relationship. Stefano threw a coming out party for Renee. Tony was so devastated he wanted to leave Salem. Stefano, insistent that both his children be near him, faked a heart attack to manipulate Tony into staying in town. Renee, on the rebound, took up with David Banning.

When Liz pressed Tony for a divorce and threatened to leave him, Stefano arranged to have a bomb blow up in Neil's hotel room. Then Tony slapped Liz around and raped her. The terrorized Liz was then forced to tell friends that Neil's gambling was the reason she had left him and gone to Tony. Neil, in his hospital bed, vowed to kill Tony for stealing Liz from him. Don confronted Liz about the arrangement and promised to help her prove that the DiMeras were responsible for the explosion that injured Neil.

By November of 1982, David and Renee were married. Tony, armed with new lab tests that proved he and Renee were in fact NOT related, tried to stop the wedding, but he burst into the chapel just as David and Renee were pronounced husband and wife. Later, Tony told Renee that they were not siblings and kissed her. Renee chose to leave with David for their honeymoon in Paris anyway. While the newlyweds were gone, Tony told Liz he would give her a divorce but he wanted to keep the baby she was carrying, because he desparately wanted an heir. Liz knew that the baby was Neil's, not Tony's, but she had to push Neil away for his own safety. Marie Horton offered Neil comfort, and they became lovers. Liz, desparate to be free of the DiMeras, tried to get proof that Renee and Tony were having an affair, hoping it would help her get a divorce. However, her efforts were in vain. Nothing could get her free from Tony.

Roman Brady succeeded in his efforts to get evidence about Stefano's illegal activities, but then learned that Liz and Marlena had disappeared. Stefano had kidnapped them and was holding them hostage at his mountain hideout while he made plans to leave Salem by helicopter. Along with Abe Carver and Neil, Roman arrived just in time to foil Stefano's plans. As the rescue was underway, Liz went into labor and delivered a baby girl, but she fell unconcious before she could tell Neil that the baby was his. When Tony found out the truth, he finally gave Liz a divorce. Stefano had a massive stroke while he was in prison and died. Neil and Marie continued their affair and were married at the Greenbriar Inn.

Marie and Liz were at war. Hope overheard Liz tell Neil how much she hated Marie, and the two women even had a catfight at one point. When Marie was out of town, Liz went to Neil's house and the two of them made love. Later, Neil went to work at the hospital, leaving Liz alone in the house. Liz heard glass break and went downstairs to investigate, gun in hand. She shot the prowler, who turned out to be Marie. Liz called the paramedics then fled before anyone arrived. Daphne DiMera, Tony's mother, helped Liz ditch the gun. Marie recovered but was temporarily paralyzed. Neil pledged his love to Liz but she was arrested and tried for murder. Convicted, she was sentenced to five years in jail.

Neil and Marie divorced, and Liz and Neil planned a prison wedding. But several other inmates, Charlene, Gail, and Billie, planned to use the wedding as a distraction so they could escape. In the chaos that ensued, Liz was shot. She recovered, but suffered temporary amnesia, which made her think she was still married to Don, who was currently involved with the widowed Maggie Horton. Liz was released from prison, still mistakenly thinking she was married to Don. When there was a holdup attempt at Doug's Place, the sight of guns dispelled her amnesia. Shortly afterward, Liz and Neil were finally married.

Stefano, who had only faked his death in prison, had returned to Salem. He orchestrated a plot to get many Salemites including Eugene, Calliope, Bo and Hope, Anna, Liz, Daphne, Carlo, Tony and Andre stranded on an island due to a plane crash. Daphne died in Andre's arms on the island. Stefano headed for the island with Roman hot on his heels. On the island, Stefano shot and killed Roman. The Coast Guard then arrived and rescued everyone else.

Neil wrongly accused Liz of having an affair with the much younger Carlo Forenza. Carlo wanted to have an affair with Liz and planted love notes to make Neil believe his suspicions were grounded. One night when Liz was drunk she had a one-night stand with Carlo. Neil walked in on the two of them in bed. Liz and Neil ultimately reconciled and Neil confided to her about his past as Allen Jackson, who owed a large gambling debt to the syndicate. He and Carlo's father Mario Forenza had turned state's evidence. Mario was dead and the syndicate wanted Neil dead too. Neil faked Allen Jackson's death, but when Liz and Neil tried to leave town, Carlo confronted them. Carlo died after a fight with Neil.

Liz was happy when her brother Tod came home to Salem in 1985. but Tod was secretly involved with Savannah Wilder and her crime syndicate. Unwittingly, so was Liz. While being promised great music contracts, Liz innocently delivered illegal pornography and drugs in cassettes, not promotional copies of her work as she was led to believe. When Tod tried to dissuade her, Savannah kidnapped Liz's daughter Noel, who had developed diabetes. The child was returned unharmed. Later, Liz was shot in the throat by crooked cop McBride during a drug bust at her record party.

Tod, a recovering alcoholic, fell off the wagon with a nudge from Savannah and was seriously injured in a car wreck. As he lay dying in the hospital, he begged Liz to sing to him. As she tenderly sang a favorite childhood song, he died in her arms. Liz eventually managed her own drinking problem and her singing voice returned. but the stress had taken a toll on her marriage. When a movie opportunity arose late in the summer of 1986, she and Neil divorced and Liz left Salem.

David Lebec tried to kill Liz at Blondie's on New Year's Eve.