The true love of Caroline Brady's life was her husband Shawn, with whom she had three children, Roman, Kimberly, and Kayla, and in later years, they also adopted Frankie and Max. When Kayla was a child, Caroline had a brief affair with Victor Kiriakis, which produced their son Bo, whom Caroline always pretended was Shawn Brady's son. She and Shawn had shown up in Salem to enjoy the relationship between their son Roman and his new wife Marlena. Once Victor realized Caroline was in Salem, he began a campaign to try to get her back in his life, but her heart lay with Shawn. When she wouldn't come back to him, Victor began seducing Kimberly. After Victor deliberately tried to sabotage the Brady Fish Market by opening one of his own and fought Kim for custody, Caroline argued with Victor, and when Bo nearly shot Victor, Caroline blurted out the unthinkable truth...that Bo was Victor's son!
Caroline couldn't take that Victor was Bo's father and also fighting Kimberly for custody of her son Andrew, and tried to shoot him one night. After seeing that, Bo made Victor a deal...if Victor would leave his family alone, he would be his son. For a long time, that made Victor happy, except that it made Bo so horribly unhappy. When Bo came to Caroline, announcing that he couldn't be Victor's son because Victor had a vasectomy in 1963, Caroline confronted Victor, who stuck to his story. He wanted Bo to have a happy life.
More than anything, Caroline has always been a good and loving mother, and it was only natural that, when Kayla was accused of murdering Marina Toscano, that Caroline tried to take the fall for her daughter. Unfortunately it didn't work, as Kayla ended up in jail, where she gave birth to her daughter Stephanie, although she was later exonerated. Later that year, Caroline and Shawn met the new doctor in town, Carly Manning. A lovely woman, but unfortunately, her ties to Victor brought up too many bad memories for the Brady family, They are able to put that behind them, though, when Bo finds comfort in Carly after Hope's death.
When Shawn and Caroline took a much needed vacation and visited their daughter Kim in California, they never anticipated that this would result in her returning to Salem and facing off with newly widowed Kayla, who was getting romantically involved with Kim's ex-husband, Shane Donovan. Caroline was equally horrified when Kimberly got herself involved with Lawrence. She tried to talk to Kim, to tell her that Lawrence was just like Victor, but Kim wouldn't listen. Luckily Kim later figured out Lawrence for herself.
All the stress over the years had been hard on Caroline's heart, and she had a heart attack shortly after her granddaughter Sami came back to Salem from Colorado. While in the hospital Caroline nearly died when Vivian (who was trying to ruin Carly) would have killed her. Luckily for all the Brady's, Caroline was alright. It was heartbreaking for the entire Brady family when Marlena, whom they had taken in like one of their own, was discovered to not only have been cheating on Roman with John Black, but little baby Belle, whom they all loved, wasn't really a Brady after all. For a long time, Caroline wasn't comfortable around John or Marlena. Caroline was able to put aside her pain at John and Marlena's betrayal, and soon was just as close to them as before. When Marlena was possessed by Satan, Caroline was there for both her and John to help bring Marlena back to herself.
Caroline has always been the rock that held her family together, and it was her love and her faith that held Sami together when she was arrested and charged with Franco Kelly's murder. She continued to support her granddaughter once released, even when Sami seemed to turn on her. Oftentimes Caroline and Shawn's home turned into a safe haven for Sami and Lucas' young son, Will. Will even had dreams of moving in with his grandparents when Caroline's prints were found on the bottle used to attack Maggie Horton. Although her family and friends surrounded her, not willing to risk losing her to the Salem serial killer, Caroline was poisoned by the Salem Stalker the day of Abe, Jack, and Maggie's wake, and died while she was in the Church, praying. Her death left the entire Brady family devastated.
Amazingly, Caroline and all the other victims were alive being kept on the mysterious Melaswen Island. She was thrilled to be reunited with her sons, but when she was again presumed dead after an escape attempt, her family was doubly devastated. Unbeknownst to them, she is alive and well being held captive by Andre DiMera, with Victor Kiriakis as her only nearby friend. Victor and Caroline were eventually rescued, and Caroline returned to her life in Salem with Shawn.
In February 2008, her beloved Shawn was killed in a plane crash. He had died a hero – giving his oxygen mask to Bo, who was suffering from a rare pancreatic disease. While she missed Shawn dearly, Caroline assumed the position as head of the Brady family. She continued to council her children and grandchildren when it comes to love and life lessons, making sure that they do not forget the lessons that Shawn taught them.
Her son Max needed Caroline's protection in the summer of 2008 when Max's biological father, Trent Robins, returned to Salem and started harassing Max. Caroline warned Trent many times to leave Max alone. At one point, Caroline even threatened Trent with a knife.
Later that same night, Caroline went to visit Shawn's grave. All of a sudden, Trent Robbins came stumbling out of the bushes with a knife in his back and collapsed on top of Caroline. Scared, Caroline pulled the knife out of Trent's back just as the police were coming to investigate her screams. The police arrested Caroline for Trent's murder, but Bo and Hope were able to prove her innocence and the DA dropped the charges. Caroline returned home to help Max cope with Trent's murder. Less than a year later, Caroline was saddened to say goodbye not only her granddaughter, Chelsea, but Max as well as they moved to London together.
Throughout the fall of 2009 and winter of 2010, Caroline persevered and had her hands full with family problems. She not only kept a watchful eye on Stephanie and her other grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but she was there for Bo who was having marital problems and Kimberly who was diagnosed with Leukemia. Luckily, Kimberly survived and her cancer went into remission, however Caroline still had to deal with Bo’s problems. He and Hope had separated and he was once again involved with Carly Manning, who had returned to Salem.
As it turned out, Bo made a deal with Victor – if Victor neutralized Vivian and kept her away from Carly and her daughter, Melanie Layton, then Bo wouldn’t kill her. In attempt to keep his end of the agreement, Victor married Vivian as it was something she had always wanted – to become Mrs. Victor Kiriakis. When Caroline found out she went ballistic. She was upset that Victor married such a monster. However, Victor reminded Caroline that she rejected him just the year before when he attempted to win her heart. Caroline couldn’t help to admit defeat, but that didn’t stop her from thinking Victor had made a terrible mistake, or feeling a little jealous.
In the summer of 2010, Caroline’s family gathered to say goodbye to Alice Horton who had died on June 23, 2010. Kimberly and Kayla as well as Carrie returned home for the services. Although saddened by Alice’s passing, Caroline was happy to be surrounded by all of her family once again.
In the fall of 2012 people started noticing that Caroline was forgetting things and calling people by the wrong name. Caroline was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Luckily, Kayla discovered a hospital in California that was performing a trial Alzheimer's treatment, Bo accompanied her on the trip. When Caroline was well enough to come home, Bo brought her back. (Though, Bo was not shown on screen upon his return.)
Caroline attended Alzheimer's support groups and continued her treatment in Salem. She showed no more signs of Alzheimer's.