The oldest child of Todd and Blair Manning, Starr endured a tumultuous home life even before she was born. Before Starr's birth, Blair learned that Todd was Victor Lord's son and tricked Todd into marriage by pretending to be pregnant with his child. When Todd discovered that Blair had lied about her pregnancy, he ended the marriage. When Blair learned that she was actually pregnant, she and Todd reconciled again. Soon after their wedding, Todd left for Ireland and was presumably shot dead. Shortly after, Blair gave birth to Starr. Believing Todd was dead, Blair began dating Patrick Thornhart. Todd, who was actually alive, returned to Llanview in hopes of reuniting with his family, but was shocked to find Blair in Patrick's arms.
In an attempt to hurt Blair, Todd kidnapped Starr. As Blair struggled over the loss of her child, Viki persuaded Todd to return Starr to her mother. Once Starr was reunited with her mother, Blair and Todd decided to reconcile for Starr's sake. When it was discovered that Blair was pregnant with Patrick's child, the couple broke up. While Starr's parents fought over custody of her, Starr became deathly ill. She was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, and a bone marrow transplant was needed to save her life. It was soon discovered that Blair's unborn child was a match for Starr. However, Blair went into labor and lost the child while on the way to the hospital. As Starr's condition grew worse, Alex Olanov was found to be a compatible donor and offered her bone marrow to save Starr's life.
After Starr's recovery, Todd and Blair continued to fight over custody of Starr. Todd won full custody of Starr but had to relinquish custody to Blair after fleeing town due to legal issues. During Todd's absence, Blair became involved with Max Holden. When Todd returned to Llanview, Starr was elated and determined to reunite her parents. Upset by her mother's marriage to Max, Starr often assisted her father in schemes aimed at breaking up Blair and Max. Eventually, Blair and Max ended their marriage, as a result of Todd and Starr's interference.
To Starr's delight, Todd began his quest to win back Blair. As Todd and Blair attempted reconciliation, Max tricked Todd into believing he had slept with Blair. Todd retaliated by having Blair temporarily committed to St. Anne's Sanitarium. Starr blamed Max for her parents' troubles. One day, Starr stole Max's credit card and mailed him a package containing horse manure. Starr fought to get her parents back together. She even stole money from Todd, in order to purchase a love potion that would make her parents fall in love again.
Starr began wanting a little brother, but was heartbroken to learn Blair was pregnant with Max's baby. Todd was also horrified by the news, and couldn't fathom the thought of Blair having another man's child. In another attempt to punish Blair, Todd kidnapped Blair's newborn son and convinced Blair the child had died. The baby was actually Todd's son. Blair had lied about her child's paternity, out of fear that Todd would threaten to take the child away from her. Starr learned the truth and was unsuccessful at convincing her father that Blair's "dead" baby was actually his son. When Todd finally discovered the truth, Todd found the child and presented him to Blair as an abandoned baby, in need of a home.
The Mannings named their son Jack and soon remarried. Starr was pleased to have her family back together again. Soon, Starr began to resent her little brother, and grew jealous of the attention her parents paid Jack. In an attempt to receive attention, Starr began causing trouble and telling tall tales. To avoid punishment, one day Starr ran away from home and encountered an abandoned fun house. Troy McIver had lured Lindsay Rappaport to the funhouse, but she turned the tables on him -- Lindsay knocked him out and chained him to a huge wheel. Starr told her parents about Troy, but Todd and Blair didn't believe her.
In the meantime, Starr supplied Troy with food and water. Starr managed to convince Sam Rappaport of Troy's captivity and enlisted his help. An electrical fire ignited, and Sam managed to pull Troy from the funhouse, seconds before it exploded. When word spread about Starr's heroic actions, Child Protective Services placed Starr and Jack into a foster home -- luckily, Llanfair. Eventually, Starr and Jack were returned to their parents. Life in the Manning home was calm, until Blair discovered that Todd had kidnapped Jack and claimed he had died. Disgusted by Todd's actions, Blair filed for divorce and would not allow Todd to communicate with the children. Starr would witness her parents reconcile and break up several more times.
When the evil Mitch Laurence sought revenge against the Lord family, he kidnapped Starr at gunpoint. When Blair begged Mitch to release Starr and take Blair instead, Mitch complied. Todd managed to rescue Blair, but disappeared after Mitch had him buried alive. Afterward, Blair sent an emotional Starr and Jack to live with Cassie in Atlanta. Starr wanted to return home; she stole Cassie's credit card and purchased a plane ticket back to Llanview. Starr was upset to return home and find a gentleman by the name of Walker Laurence, who had an obvious attraction to Blair. Walker claimed to be Mitch Laurence's brother, but was actually Todd Manning - with a new face.
Starr didn't trust Walker and watched him closely. Starr missed her father terribly and attempted to rid Walker from their lives. Despite her hatred for him, Walker (Todd) had a soft spot for Starr, and attempted to win her over. When "Walker" began telling Starr stories about her dad, she began to warm up to him. But when she discovered "Walker" with Todd's ring, she began to attack him. Realizing Starr could blow his cover, Todd revealed himself to his daughter.
Todd had a difficult time convincing Starr that he was her father, but managed to do so by providing answers to questions only Todd would know. Starr was delighted to have her father back in her life. Starr never told her mother about "Walker's" true identity, because Todd swore her to secrecy. Blair married Walker, unaware he was actually Todd. When Blair learned the truth, she divorced Todd again. Starr blamed Blair for the breakup.
A short time later, Blair was rushed into emergency surgery to remove a brain aneurysm. After the surgery, Blair accused Todd of raping her. Todd was convicted and sentenced to Statesville prison. Devastated, Starr set out to free her father from prison. Starr discovered the route the police van carrying her father would be traveling. Aided by Matthew Buchanan, Starr flagged down the van and managed to unlock the door. Although Todd refused to flee, Dr. Troy McIver, who was also a prisoner in the van, decided to take advantage of the opportunity. During the escape, Troy took Matthew hostage.
For her part in the crime, Starr was placed on probation and ordered to work at the hospital. While performing her community service, Starr vandalized hospital property. Todd was released from Statesville, after Blair realized Todd hadn't raped her after all. Blair was unwilling to forgive Todd and refused him any contact with the children. Upset with her mother, Starr began contacting her father over the Internet. While surfing the Web, Starr entered a chat room and met a young boy named Travis O'Connell. Starr began communicating with Travis regularly and wanted to visit him in New York. Starr tricked Blair into taking her to New York, and ran off with Travis.
A man named Laser noticed a missing poster of Starr. Laser kidnapped Starr and demanded a large sum of money for Starr's return. Laser was arrested, and Starr returned home to her parents. Travis promised to keep in touch with Starr. A short time later, Travis appeared in Llanview and began dating Starr. Todd was against the idea, but Starr pleaded with her dad. Meanwhile, Kevin Buchanan and Todd were at odds as usual. Attempting to protect her father, Starr, aided by Travis, hacked into the Banner's computer database, and printed malicious statements about Kevin. Starr's summer romance soon came to an end, and Travis returned to New York.
Starr had high hopes for her parents when they decided to marry again. The night before the wedding was to take place, Todd vanished but left a note saying he couldn't marry Blair. Blair was devastated, but Starr suspected foul play. Starr's suspicions were correct. Todd had been kidnapped by a deranged woman named Margaret Cochran. Margaret was obsessed with Todd and wanted to eliminate Blair from his life. Margaret wanted to become pregnant with Todd's child. Although he was being held against his will, Todd refused to sleep with Margaret. To entice Todd, Margaret locked Blair in the trunk of a car. Fearing for Blair's life, Todd gave in to Margaret's advances. While holding Todd captive, Margaret raped him. Both Todd and Blair were later rescued, but Starr feared Margaret could resurface at any time.
A handsome stranger named Dr. Spencer Truman arrived in Llanview. Both Starr and Todd noticed the instant attraction that Spencer had toward Blair. To Todd and Starr's displeasure, Spenser began integrating himself into Blair's life. Todd and Spencer quickly became sworn enemies. At the same time, a pregnant Margaret returned to Llanview. Todd had never told Blair about the rape and kept Margaret's pregnancy from Blair. Livid at Todd's rejection, Margaret lured Starr to Todd's office and attempted to kill her. Starr fought back and managed to escape unharmed.
During Starr's interaction with Margaret, Starr noticed Margaret was pregnant. Starr confronted her father about Margaret's pregnancy, and Todd revealed the truth to her. Devastated by the news, Starr was sworn to secrecy by her father. After Margaret's attack on Starr, Todd had plans to kill Margaret. One night, Todd lured Margaret to the lake and the two began to struggle. Later, the bodies of a woman and her unborn child were discovered. The bodies were believed to be that of Margaret and her child. Todd was charged with murder and sentenced to the death penalty.
Starr was horrified, but refused to believe her father could kill his unborn child. Blair, however, began to doubt Todd's innocence. While Todd was incarcerated, Blair began dating Spencer. Starr was upset by her mother's betrayal. It was later discovered that Spencer had helped Margaret fake her death. While being transported to Todd's execution, Margaret was killed. Spencer was later murdered. Todd was reunited with Starr and Jack, but remained estranged from Blair.
When Starr entered high school in the fall, her classmates constantly ridiculed her about her parent's latest scandal. One classmate in particular, Brittany, terrorized Starr to no end. Starr found a friend in Langston Wilde. Langston supported Starr and proved to be a true friend. Starr also developed an attraction for the school's star football player, Cole Thornhart. Cole was the son of Marty Saybrooke and Patrick Thornhart. Shortly after Starr and Cole began dating, Cole began using steroids.
Brittany was jealous of Starr's relationship with Cole and set out to cause them trouble. Brittany encouraged a fellow classmate to slip Cole drugs. At a party, Cole was high on drugs and attacked Starr. Todd forbade Starr from seeing Cole again. Starr and Cole refused to stop seeing one another, and even attempted to run away together. Their parents begrudgingly allowed them to date again. Starr and Cole encountered several setbacks. Cole had a difficult time dealing with the fact that Todd had raped his mother in college.
Once Starr and Cole's relationship was back on track, an enemy of Cole's father kidnapped Cole and Marty. Before being rescued, the van Marty was in exploded, and Marty was believed dead. Cole had a difficult time accepting his mother's death and began shutting Starr out of his life. As Cole and Starr began growing apart, he and Langston, who had tragically lost her parents, began bonding over their losses. Starr was suspicious and jealous of Cole and Langston's relationship but then realized they were just friends, and she and Cole began dating again.
Todd and Blair joined forces and found Todd's long-lost son, Sam, his child with Margaret. The couple remarried, in order to gain custody of Sam. Todd then decided to move his family to Hawaii, in fear for their safety. Starr and Cole wanted to spend one last night together before the big move. So they went to Langston's old house, where they slept together for the first time. Todd walked in on them and nearly beat Cole to death. Todd decided to forbid Starr to see Cole or get anywhere near him, even though she assured him that he had walked in before anything happened.
Todd took Starr out of school and decided that she should be homeschooled to prevent her from seeing Cole. Langston walked in on Starr while she was holding a pregnancy test. Todd eventually decided to trust Starr and put her back in school, as long as she agreed not to talk to Cole. Starr found out that she was pregnant and did not want to tell Cole. She contemplated having an abortion so that her father would never find out about the pregnancy.
Starr and Langston sneaked Starr out of the house so that Starr could take a bus to Atlantic City to get an abortion. Cole got wind that Starr had gone to Atlantic City, and Langston gave him the address where Starr had gone; he didn't know that he was heading to an abortion clinic. Cole showed up and came face to face with Starr, who decided to return to Llanview without having an abortion. Cole then told Starr he wanted them to run away to Virginia Beach and raise the baby together. Cole obtained fake IDs for both him and Starr and they run off into the night.
Blair and John, who found out that Starr was pregnant, track Cole and Starr down in Virginia Beach, along with Todd. Back in Llanview, Starr told Blair she wanted to have the baby and give it up for adoption. She then decided to give her baby to Marcie McBain, who had adopted Todd's son Sam and had been forced to give him up when his identity was discovered. Heartbroken and then angry that Starr did not want to raise their child together, Cole threatened to sue for custody of his child before later deciding to give up his parental rights and to break up with Starr. When school resumed in the fall, classmates made fun of a very pregnant Starr, and Cole rushed to her defense. They began to mend their relationship and consider each other friends as Starr prepared to deliver their child.
Starr went into labor while visiting Cole at his mother Marty's gravesite. Cole took Starr to the hospital and stayed there as Starr prepared for the delivery, with Blair and Marcie by her side. On Nov 6, 2008, Starr gave birth to a healthy baby girl, whom Marcie named Hope. But Starr's obstetrician, Dr. Leah Joplin, claimed something was wrong with the baby and removed her from the delivery room before Starr or Marcie could hold her. Dr. Joplin claimed she was taking the baby to the Neonatal ICU, but in fact she took the baby to her office, where nurse Janet Ketring was to retrieve the baby and take her to Todd Manning, who had blackmailed the women into helping him kidnap Starr's child.
Todd had second thoughts about his plan, however, and went to the hospital and called off the deal. While Janet was talking to Todd, however, Todd's niece Jessica, who was under the control of her alternate personality Bess, snuck into the hospital and replaced Starr's child with the stillborn baby Jessica had delivered hours earlier. Dr. Joplin, who had just informed Starr and Marcie that their baby was fine, returned to her office and was horrified to discover that the baby was dead. She broke the news to a heartbroken Starr and Marcie. Starr blamed herself for the baby's death, but Dr. Joplin told her she had done nothing wrong. Marcie gave Starr a locket containing a lock of the baby's hair, and Starr began wearing the locket every day to keep the memory of her baby close to her.
Starr's heartbreak turned to outrage when she learned her father had planned to kidnap her baby and run off with Cole's mother, Marty, who had not died as everyone had thought. She confronted Todd, who confessed but said he had always planned to give Starr the baby once she was older. When Todd was freed on charges of holding Marty captive and raping her yet again, Starr stood up in court and said her father had admitted he planned to kidnap her baby. Todd was charged with attempted kidnapping, and Starr prepared to testify against him during his trial.
However, after Marty goaded Todd into attempting suicide, Todd's ex-wife and current attorney, Téa Delgado, went to Starr and told her that Todd had attempted to kill himself because he was distraught over what he had done to her. Faced with this news, and after getting pressure from her brother Jack not to send their father away to prison, Starr shocked everyone on the stand when she recanted her earlier statements and lied that Todd had never told her he planned to steal her baby. Starr's decision infuriated Cole and Langston, who turned away from her for a time. Cole even began taking illegal drugs to block out all of his pain, and Starr told him she couldn't be around him until he quit.
Starr began to find comfort in her new biology teacher, Schuyler Joplin. Starr and "Mr. J" bonded even more after Starr learned that her teacher was the son of Starr's obstetrician, who committed suicide after blaming herself for the death of the baby believed to be Starr's. Starr told her teacher that she had a friend who was struggling with a drug addiction, and Schuyler admitted to Starr that he was a recovered drug addict. During a March dance at the school, Schuyler admitted to Starr that Todd had used Schuyler's former drug use to blackmail his mother into helping kidnap her baby.
Overwhelmed with emotions, Starr kissed her teacher just as a drugged-out Cole walked up and saw them kissing. Cole accused Mr. J of taking advantage of Starr, but Starr admitted that she was the one who had kissed him. That night, Starr received a double whammy when she learned Cole had crashed his car while driving high, at the same time her mother, Blair, was found nearly stabbed to death in the shower.
Schuyler told Starr that he had been suspended indefinitely from school because of the incident and that they couldn't see each other anymore, but Starr continued to pine for him. One day, she showed up at Schuyler's apartment and found him in the shower. When Schuyler came out, clad only in a towel, he ordered Starr to leave. But she began taking her clothes off, saying how she wasn't a child and wanted to be with Schuyler. After Cole nearly caught them together, Schuyler told Starr there was no way he would ever be with her. Devastated, Starr stormed out, still buttoning up her blouse, and Cole spied her from the hallway. Starr sent Schuyler a love letter, but before he could respond, Todd confronted him, after Cole had told him about Starr and Schuyler's relationship.
Starr found herself gravitating back toward Cole, who had entered a drug rehab program but was still using. With Starr's help, Cole acknowledged that he was a drug addict. During a harrowing night in Starr's bedroom, Cole faced his addiction head-on and began to recover. Following Cole's accident, Starr and Cole learned that their baby couldn't have died from Rh disease as they were told because they both had the same blood type. They had the baby's hair, still kept in the locket Starr wore around her neck, analyzed to see if there was any genetic reason for the baby's death. But the results showed that the hair couldn't have come from their baby.
Confused, Starr and Cole, with Marcie and Michael's blessing, agreed to have Hope's body exhumed so an autopsy could be performed to establish the true cause of death. Natalie Buchanan and her fiancée, Jared Banks, had stumbled upon the truth on their own and realized that the truth was about to be revealed. They finally admitted to Viki, Clint, and Charlie that the baby Jessica believed was hers was, in fact, Starr and Cole's child. At the same time, Todd and Marty learned from Powell Lord that DNA tests had been performed that proved the baby was their grandchild.
As Jessica began to realize the truth, her alter Bess emerged and kidnapped baby Chloe and took her to Nash's parents' home in West Virginia. Todd, Blair, and Marty all agreed to keep the truth about the baby from Starr and Cole until they knew that the baby was safe. Once Jessica had re-emerged and was headed back to Llanview with the baby, Starr and Cole learned that their baby was, in fact, alive and had been with Jessica the whole time. Starr quietly debated keeping the baby instead of giving her to Marcie and Michael, and Blair urged her daughter to do what was in her heart and not be afraid of hurting Marcie and Michael's feelings. But in the end, Starr signed the adoption papers. She and Cole shared a bittersweet reunion with their believed-dead baby and then handed her over to the McBains.
Starr admitted to Langston that she had thought about keeping the baby but didn't want to go back on her word to Marcie. Marcie overheard Langston and Markko discussing this and stunned Starr by showing up the next morning with the baby. Marcie said she knew that Starr really wanted to be a mother to her baby, and Marcie said she thought Starr should be the one to raise Hope. Then she tore up the adoption papers and left Starr alone with Hope.
Just as Starr was getting back her baby, Cole was getting arrested on drug possession charges after being caught with a bag of pills that had been given to him against his wishes by Asher. Cole told a heartbroken Starr that he was being sentenced to two years in Statesville Prison for violating his parole. He then got on one knee and proposed to her, saying he wanted to have a wife and baby to come home to once he was released from jail. Starr said yes, and both were shocked when Todd didn't fight their decision to get married.
Later it came out that Todd wanted to force Blair to say no to the wedding, but Blair spited Todd by agreeing to the nuptials. On July 6, as the justice of the peace prepared to announce that Starr and Cole were husband and wife, John McBain interrupted the ceremony to announce that he had worked out a deal with the judge that would keep Cole from going to prison. Cole told Starr he still wanted to go through with the wedding, but Starr said there was no reason for them to get married, since Cole wasn't going to prison. Starr said she'd rather wait until they could have the wedding of their dreams at the right time, and Cole agreed.
Starr was unhappy to learn that instead of going to prison, Cole would be going undercover on a dangerous assignment to help expose the people who were allowing drugs to infiltrate Llanview. The night before his assignment was to begin, Starr and Cole made love for the first time since she had gotten pregnant. Starr and Cole continued to talk on the telephone until Cole learned that his apartment was bugged and he had to cut off nearly all contact with her to keep his identity from being blown.
After Todd saw Cole selling drugs to Justin Lowell, the mayor's son, he told Starr he was going to the cops. Starr was forced to tell her father that Cole was working undercover for John McBain. Dorian overheard the conversation and told Mayor Lowell, unaware that the mayor was really the one behind the drug-smuggling operation. Todd also went to the mayor, asking him to fire John because of the danger John had put Todd's daughter and granddaughter in. After a botched attempt to kill Cole, Lowell ordered Starr and baby Hope to be kidnapped. Shaun Evans tried to stop the kidnappers and was shot multiple times, while Todd was severely beaten up. Starr and Hope were held in a warehouse but eventually escaped unharmed, thanks to a rescue operation headed by undercover officer Brody Lovett.
Starr briefly considered not going to school for her senior year before changing her mind after Langston protested. After Mitch Laurence resurfaced and threatened Dorian's family, Blair moved everyone to Todd's house. On the eve of her 18th birthday, Starr decided she wanted to move Hope and herself out of her father's house and into Cole's apartment. Todd and Blair protested, but Starr said she would do it, anyway, so they relented. When Starr and Hope got there, they learned that Markko had already invited Langston to move in as well. Everyone tried to make the best out of the cramped quarters, although Langston and Markko briefly considered moving out.
Starr was stunned when Matthew brought over his friend Danielle Rayburn and revealed that Danielle was Todd and Téa's child and therefore Starr's half-sister. Starr took the news surprisingly well and tried to help Danielle through her struggles of accepting Todd as her father, despite all of his past crimes and misdeeds. Starr even offered Dani a place to stay for a while when Danielle felt she couldn't stay with her mother. After Starr learned that Cole would be working with an attractive fellow college student named Hannah on a class project, she was briefly jealous before realizing that Cole wouldn't cheat on her.
Starr caught Cole in a lie when he said he was working at the library all night with Hannah, but Starr learned Cole was at Hannah's dorm room. Cole explained that he was helping her recover from swallowing a bottle of pills, which she had taken after being rejected by a Llanview University teaching assistant named Robert Ford, whom she had been sleeping with. Starr noticed that Langston was behaving erratically, but Langston attributed her mood swings and late-nighters to problems she was having writing the high school musical. Starr was furious when she found out that Langston had based her musical on Starr and Cole's troubled relationship, including her teenage pregnancy and Todd's abusive behavior, even after Starr had asked her not to. But she eventually gave Langston a pass.
When Starr returned home to find Langston alone with Ford, with an open condom wrapper on the floor, Langston admitted she was having sex with him. When Starr told Langston she couldn't keep on lying to Markko, Langston agreed -- saying she would break up with him, because she really wanted to be with Ford. Starr told Cole, believing that Markko was about to find out, but then Langston thought better of coming clean and instead lied to Starr and Cole that she had broken up with Ford. She continued to carry on with Ford behind everyone's backs, although Cole was suspicious that Langston was lying.
Starr made Langston promise on their friendship that she was through with Ford, and Langston complied. Starr walked in on Hannah and Cole in an embrace, and Cole explained that Todd had barged in and overreacted when he'd found Hannah without her shirt, which she had removed when she spilled coffee on her blouse. Cole was angry when Starr took her father's side, especially since Todd had told Cole that Starr would always side with her father. When Hannah showed up at the apartment, thinking Cole was there, Starr invited her in and called Hannah out for trying to make the moves on Cole.
After Marty was pushed down a flight of stairs, causing her to lose her unborn baby, she blamed Todd for the crime. Cole lashed out at Starr, saying how her father has always had it out for Marty and him. Starr refused to believe that Todd would have pushed Marty, causing a huge rift between Starr and Cole. Starr was stunned when Cole showed up at the school and beat Todd unconscious after Hannah, who had eavesdropped on Cole and Starr's argument, said she had seen Todd push Marty. Todd recovered, while Cole was arrested for attempted murder.
Starr didn't believe Hannah's eyewitness account and later concluded that Hannah might have pushed Marty herself to pin the deed on Todd and split up Starr and Cole. Cole refused to believe Hannah would so such a thing. Starr attended the prom, although she was in no mood to celebrate, but then she got a pleasant surprise when Cole showed up, having won a one-night reprieve from jail. They enjoyed their time together, but by the next morning, they were arguing again about Todd and Hannah.
Starr was stunned to learn from Langston that Langston had been lying the entire time about not seeing Ford. Langston told Starr how Marrko had caught her and Ford together and how Ford had dumped Langston. Even though she was upset at Langston, Starr told Langston that she would not turn her back on her best friend.
After another fight over Todd and Hannah, Cole told Starr to stop going to see him. While in a park with Hope, Starr met a handsome young man named James and opened up to him about all the troubles in her life. Starr ran into James yet again when she was having car trouble. James fixed her car but then sped off with Starr and Hope inside as a man was chasing after him. Outside of town, Starr forced James to pull over, and she drove away, hoping never to see him again.
After Starr received her high school diploma, James grabbed her and told her she was in danger because the man who was after him had retrieved her purse from the hospital parking garage and knew where Starr lived. James admitted he had stolen $50,000, and the man was trying to get it back, but James had lost the money. Starr took James to her Aunt Viki's cabin on Llantano Mountain, where James told Starr that his father had forced him into the car stealing business when he was 15 years old. His father had gotten abusive when James resisted. James' mother had left when he was very young, and his older brother had escaped by getting a college scholarship. James said he was hoping to get his GED at Llanview University, where his brother was a teaching assistant, but when he got to town he had learned that his brother was in the hospital.
Starr then realized that James' brother was Robert Ford. James had stolen the money from his father and intended to pay him back, but his father had sent one of his hired goons to retrieve the cash. Starr called home to let her family know she was okay and was surprised when Cole answered. He had just gotten out of jail on bail and wanted Starr to return home, but she said she needed some time away and hung up.
Starr told James her father had purchased her an expensive car for her graduation and she would collect the cash instead of the car to help him pay off his debt. But when the car dealer refused to make the trade, Starr stole the car with James's help. After wrecking the car, they wound up at a bar outside town where one of Todd's private investigators showed up looking for them. Starr recognized the P.I. and pulled James into a kiss to keep from being spotted. Later, Starr distracted the investigator while James stole his car keys, and they made their second getaway. James went to meet his father's hired gun, Bull, unaware that Bull had kidnapped Nate Salinger, the teenager who had found the stolen money and taken it for himself.
Todd showed up, prepared to offer Bull $500,000 in exchange for Nate, but all hell broke loose after Nate tried to hit Bull over the head with a shovel. As Todd and Bull struggled over Bull's gun, Starr grabbed the gun and fired, accidentally shooting James. James survived the shooting, but Starr had a tough time explaining her adventure to Cole. Cole had gone through his own ordeal, getting conned by Hannah into believing that Starr and James had become lovers before realizing that Hannah was lying. Cole told Starr that Hannah had confessed to lying about Todd pushing Marty down the stairs, and an elated Starr told her father the good news. Starr and Cole tried to return to domestic life, but Starr felt a connection to James, who told her how much fun he'd had on the run with her.
Starr and Cole continued to bicker whenever Hannah's name was brought up, and Cole finally admitted to Starr that he had nearly slept with Hannah when he thought Starr was having an affair with James. Starr was furious, even though Cole insisted he didn't have feelings for Hannah. Starr struggled over her own feelings for James and eventually told Cole that they had kissed while on the run, but she insisted she didn't have feelings for James. Starr was livid at Cole for not telling her that the police suspected that Blair's fiancé, Elijah Clarke, was a suspected serial killer who was actually behind the attacks on Marty and Robert Ford. After Starr found James crying on a park bench, James kissed her and told her he wanted to be more than friends. Starr admitted to Cole that she had feelings for James, while Cole acknowledged he had feelings for Hannah. But they both remained committed to making their relationship work.
Starr was surprised to learn the court had dropped all charges against Hannah for accusing Todd of pushing Marty. Cole told Starr that Hannah was living with Marty, but that he would stay away from her. Starr rushed to Todd's house when she learned the judge had ordered Dani to move back to Tahiti with Ross following Téa's death. As Dani packed her things, James and Nate sneaked in through the window and helped Dani escape. Later, Cole grilled Starr for getting involved with James yet again and stormed off.
Starr returned to the apartment to find Eli there, having killed Hope's babysitter Carla. When Dani showed up, Eli forced Starr, Dani, and Hope to go off with him. The girls convinced Eli to go to a nearby hospital to get help for his gunshot wound, and they went to the Cherryvale Clinic. As Dani went inside to get bandages and medicine, Starr and Hope escaped when Eli passed out in the waiting car. Starr called Cole's cell phone, but Hannah answered it, explaining that Cole had just gone off to find Starr. Starr and Hope waited for Cole to arrive at the clinic, but Starr was stunned when Hannah appeared instead.
Starr woke up in a locked attack with Hope nearby, unharmed. Starr slowly realized that Hannah had locked up her and Hope, and she was unable to break free, despite numerous attempts. Starr rigged a box to hit Hannah when she opened the door, but instead the box knocked out James when Hannah brought him to the attic at gunpoint. Hannah then forced Starr and James to dress up in Halloween costumes and dig their own graves at a graveyard while Hannah kept a gun on them and Hope.
When James tried to grab Hannah's gun, Hannah knocked him out and pushed him into the open grave and forced Starr to cover him with dirt. Just as Hannah was about to shoot Starr, James reached out from beneath the ground and grabbed Hannah's leg. Hannah fell to the ground, and Starr hit her over the head with a shovel. Freed at last, Starr thanked James, giving him a kiss on the cheek, before returning to Cole with Hope in her arms.
Starr was devastated when Cole admitted that he had shot and killed Eli when he believed that Starr and Hope had died in the warehouse explosion. James told Cole and Starr that Marty had confessed to killing Eli but that the police knew Cole had done it. Cole and Starr fled to a nearby hotel, and Starr told Cole they should move far away with Hope and start a new life together. When Starr went to take a shower, Cole left the hotel room and turned himself in to the police. Cole pleaded guilty in court to killing Eli and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Before heading to Statesville, Cole broke up with Starr and urged her not to wait for him, but Starr rejected his request and vowed to wait for Cole to be released. She impulsively threw herself at James in an attempt to take away the pain of losing Cole, but James told Starr he didn't want to be with her on the rebound.
Starr was tricked by Todd into signing a restraining order that kept Marty from seeing Hope. She told Marty she would have the order reversed, but Marty blamed Starr for Cole going to prison because Starr was pining after James. Starr tried to remain detached from James but kept getting pulled back into his orbit. When James' abusive father Eddie Ford showed in Llanview, Starr worried about James' safety. When Eddie turned up murdered, Starr feared James may have pulled the trigger. James told the police that he threatened to shoot Eddie and even fired the gun into the wall behind him. But James told Starr that he couldn't kill his father because he would go to jail and leave Starr alone, like Cole had done.
Starr told James he needed to see other people, since she had made a commitment to wait for Cole to be released from prison. But Starr got jealous when she saw James with another student, Michelle. Starr finally decided that it wasn't fair to herself to wait for Cole, so she went to Statesville on Valentine's Day 2011 and broke up with him. Starr went to tell James but saw Michelle coming out of James' apartment partially dressed and assumed they had slept together. Dani and Nate ran away when Todd found them about to have sex, and Starr and James tracked them down at Viki's cabin. Nate blurted out that James and Michelle weren't seeing each other, and Starr admitted that she had broken up with Cole but didn't say anything because she thought James was already taken. The two decided to pursue a relationship.
Starr was grief-stricken when Todd was shot outside Rodi's and went into a coma. Then she had to say goodbye to Langston, who moved to Los Angeles to work on a screenplay about David Vickers' life. She intervened when she learned that Jack had been bullying Shane Morasco, to the point where Shane had nearly died from an asthma attack after Jack had stolen his inhaler. Starr fended off advances at James from her cousin Jessica, who was under the influence of her alter Tess. Then Starr learned that James' ex-girlfriend, Deanna, had come to town and was staying with James in the Ford apartment. Starr invited Deanna to stay the night at La Boulaie and was relieved when Deanna later said she was going to move back to Dayton. But Deanna later told James and Starr that she was going to stay in Llanview, because there was nothing left for her in Dayton.
Deanna moved in with Nate, and Dani told Starr she worried that something was going on between them. Starr was relieved when Todd woke up from his coma. Starr met an obnoxious teenager named Baz who swiped her iPod and replaced all the music with tunes he favored. Starr wanted to be mad but she liked the tunes, especially when Baz revealed that the songs were his own compositions. Dani introduced Starr to her Uncle Tomas' son, Sebastian, who turned out to be Baz. Blair allowed Baz to use the music equipment at Capricorn to record his songs, and Starr agreed to sing on one of his tracks. Starr was pleased that Hope took a liking to Baz and confided in him that Hope lashed out at James whenever she saw him. Baz and Starr shared the same attraction to reptiles. While out in the park, Baz impulsively kissed Starr. Starr chided him, reminding Baz that she had a boyfriend.
Starr didn't know what to think when she overheard Sam talking to someone at Dorian's pool and he claimed that the person was a man with a line on his face, much like the scar on her father's face before his plastic surgery. Starr shared the story with Blair and Téa, who wondered what it meant. When an unidentified dead man turned up at La Boulaie, Sam told John that his friend had killed the man to protect him. Sam then identified his friend from a photo of Todd with his original face. Starr was stunned when Tomas told the family that Todd was an imposter and a man with Todd's original face appeared, claiming to be the real Todd Manning. Starr seemed initially persuaded by the man, who called her Shorty and seemed to remember many details of her life. But she also realized that many of the facts were common knowledge and could have been memorized. Jack sided with Todd, putting him at odds with his sister. John stunned the family by revealing that DNA tests indicated both men were Todd Manning. Starr hypothesized that the men were identical twins, although that didn't explain why they both believed they were Todd. The truth came out when the police located Starr's grandmother, Irene Manning, who had faked her death in the 1970s and became the leader of a covert CIA operation in Louisiana. Irene revealed that both men were twins and that the man who had lived for the past eight years as Todd was actually Todd's twin brother, Victor Lord Jr.
Starr was dumfounded when Todd told her the news, but she quickly believed that it was true. Victor didn't want to believe it and at first even lied to his family that he was the real Todd, but Starr revealed the truth. Starr and Jack butted heads when Jack refused to accept Todd as his father, while Starr quickly accepted Todd back into her life. Life took a tragic turn when Victor Jr. was found shot to death in August 2011. Todd was arrested after Jack put him at the scene of the crime, but Starr believed in her father's innocence. When Todd told Starr that his mother Irene was setting him up and threatened to kill the entire family, Starr helped him break out of jail. Todd then shot and killed Irene after hearing an explosion and believing his family was dead.
Starr's relationship with James was complicated by her budding music career. Starr worked with Baz to record a song, "One Life to Live," and was excited to learn that a record company was interested in the single. But Starr balked after learning that the company representative was Rick Powers, a sleazy porn producer. Baz signed the record deal with Rick behind Starr's back and then moved to Paris, so Starr was forced to work with Rick if she had any hope of launching her career. Rick used Starr's sordid family history as fodder to sell her as a bad girl. Although Starr objected with his methods, she was pleased by the reception to the single and agreed to work with him on another song she had written, entitled "Jailbait." But Rick went too far when he leaked a story to the press that Starr was having an affair with her sister's boyfriend, Nate Salinger. The teens confronted him and Rick broke his leg during a freak fall. Afterwards, Rick sued the teens claiming that they had intentionally caused his injuries. Starr convinced her father to pay off Rick to drop the lawsuit, but Rick refused the money. Rick wanted to work with Starr, and since he owned the rights to anything she wrote, Starr was forced to agree to work with him.
On New Year's Eve 2011, Starr was stunned when Cole showed up at the front door, having just escaped from Statesville Prison during a major breakout. Cole told Starr he wanted to see Hope one last time before leaving to find his parents, explaining that he had received a letter in jail telling him that his father was alive and was with his mother. Starr reluctantly hid Cole in the cabana until she could figure out what to do. Starr lied to James and to the police, who showed up looking for Cole. After James had left, Starr went into the cabana and Cole pulled her into a passionate kiss. Starr pulled away but then they kissed again. As Cole told Starr that he still loved her, James walked in, having learned from Sam that Cole was there. James accused Starr of loving Cole even though she was with him, but Starr insisted she was only helping Cole because he was Hope's father. Cole agreed to leave after James pointed out that Starr could be arrested for helping him escape, meaning that Hope would grow up without either of her parents.
As they entered LaBoulaie so Cole could say goodbye to Hope, they came face to face with Hannah O'Connor, who was holding Sam and had a gun on Todd. Hannah also had escaped from Statesville and was looking for Cole. Cole tried to convince her that he wanted to be with her, but Hannah knew that his heart still belonged to Starr. Hannah aimed her gun at Starr and fired, but Cole was struck instead. Cole was rushed to the hospital, where Starr pleaded for his life and told an unconscious Cole that she loved him. The doctors told Starr, Todd and Blair that Cole would make a complete recovery, but Starr knew that he would have to go back to jail. So Todd made a few phone calls and arranged for Cole's death to be faked. Starr and Cole shared a tearful goodbye before Cole left to be reunited with his parents, whom Todd had located.
The next day, Starr went to see James and was shocked when James said he was breaking up with her. James had overheard Starr declare her love for a dying Cole and knew that she would never love him as much as she loved Cole. Starr tried to convince him otherwise, but James was adamant that their relationship was over. Starr returned home and learned from Rick that a studio wanted her to record her own album. The next day, Starr announced to her family that she was moving to Los Angeles and taking Hope with her. Todd and Blair tried to convince her to stay, but Starr was adamant that she needed to pursue her dream. Starr arrived in Los Angeles with Hope and went to visit Markko and Langston. Starr told them that Cole was actually alive but that she would probably never see him again. A man came to the door and told Starr that Todd wanted her to have a bodyguard, who turned out to be Cole. Cole said he had reunited with his parents but wanted to be with his family, which was Starr and Hope. Starr and Cole shared a joyous reunion with Langston and Markko.
In late February 2012, Starr, Cole and Hope were headed to Llanview because Starr's father Todd had been arrested for killing his brother Victor Lord Jr. Their plane was rerouted to Port Charles, New York, due to bad weather in Llanview. On the way from the airport, Cole told Starr he wanted to settle down with her and he proposed marriage. Before Starr could answer, an oncoming car driven by Anthony Zacchara swerved into their lane and Cole veered off the road, crashing into a guard rail. Starr managed to escape from the passenger side door, but Cole was trapped inside and Starr couldn't get the door open to free him or Hope. Starr confronted the man who had veered into their lane and he explained that his tires had been shot out by a man named Sonny Corinthos. Anthony ran off on foot, and Starr ran back toward the car before tripping and falling down. Police detective Dante Falconeri and his younger brother Michael arrived on the scene. Starr pleaded with Michael to get her boyfriend and daughter out of the car before passing out. Michael was unable to rescue them before the car plunged over the side of a ravine and exploded. Michael brought an unconscious Starr to the hospital. Starr's mother, Blair Cramer, arrived from Llanview and told a devastated Starr that Cole and Hope had died.
Later, Starr's father jumped bail and came to Port Charles to see her. Starr at first wanted nothing to do with her father, but Todd told Starr he would be there for her whether she liked it or not. Starr recalled Anthony telling her that Sonny Corinthos had shot out his tires, and Todd promised to take care of it. Starr realized that Sonny was Michael's father and she angrily confronted Michael. When Starr learned that Sonny was being arraigned on murder charges, she and Michael went to the courthouse, where they walked on in Todd about to shoot Sonny. Starr pleaded with Todd to drop the weapon but he refused. Llanview Police Detective John McBain stormed the courtroom and fired a warning shot. John took Todd into custody and prepared to bring him back to Llanview to face charges for murdering his brother. Starr angrily confronted Sonny for causing the deaths of Cole and Hope, although Sonny continued to maintain his innocence. Starr agreed to return to Llanview with Blair, but promised to return to Port Charles to testify at Sonny's trial.
In Llanview, Starr said goodbye to Cole and Hope at a memorial service and vowed to make sure that Sonny paid for their deaths. She returned to Port Charles without telling her family and ran into John McBain at the airport. John tried to convince Starr to return home, but Starr said she couldn't stand being in Llanview without Cole and Hope and needed to make sure that the jury in Sonny's trial knew what he had taken from her. Starr showed up at Michael's door, unsure where else to go, and Michael took her in. Starr refused to believe anyone other than Sonny was responsible for the crash, even though Michael warned her not to trust the Zacchara family. Still, Michael and Starr bonded while waiting the trial to begin, much to the chagrin of Michael's family. Starr delivered emotional testimony about the loss of her family, but the jury found Sonny not guilty of the crime. Starr was devastated and told Michael she was leaving town. But before she left, Starr confronted Johnny, since Sonny and Michael believed he was responsible for the accident.
But Starr believed Johnny's assertion that he was innocent. Starr told Johnny that she had been in Los Angeles recording an album before the accident but that the financing had fallen through. Johnny bought out her contract and encouraged her to stay in town to finish recording the album, hoping it would help her get past the loss of her family. Starr however was unable to cope with Sonny walking around free as a bird, so she stole a gun from Johnny and confronted Sonny at his home. She took Sonny to the site of the crash and was about to shoot him when Michael showed up and convinced Starr to put down the gun. Later, Starr was stunned when Michael turned her in to the police and had her arrested.
While in jail, Starr was paid a visit by her father Todd, who had been found not guilty by reason of insanity in the murder of his brother Victor Lord Jr. Todd vowed to help get Starr out of jail, and Starr got some much needed legal help from her former stepmother Téa Delgado, who arrived from Llanview to take on her defense. The assistance from Téa was no longer required after Todd intervened and forced Sonny to order Michael to recant his statement.
Although Starr continued to grieve the loss of her family, she showed compassion after Kate Howard confessed that she suffered from dissociative identity disorder and that her alter Connie had shot out the tires that caused the accident. Starr spoke on Kate's behalf and asked that she not be punished for the crime that her alter had committed.
Starr settled into Port Charles and began work on her album with Johnny. She and Michael started dating and she developed a friendship with her roommate Trey Mitchell. Starr was placed in a difficult position after Trey revealed that his father had a history with Sonny and he married Michael's sister Kristina under his father's orders. Starr decided to betray Trey's trust and she shared what she knew with Michael. The damage to her friendship with Trey was quickly repaired after he learned that Kate Howard was the mother that had abandoned him at birth and that his father had not been the man he believed him to be.
The pain and anger Starr felt over the loss of Cole and Hope was renewed after Kate's alter Connie took control. Starr immediately demanded that Connie be taken into psychiatric care but was hurt and disappointed to learn that Connie was free because her new husband, Johnny Zacchara, refused to commit her. Starr accused Johnny of never truly being her friend and she quit her job singing at his nightclub. Her anger was also aimed at her father after she learned that had known for months that Johnny had been responsible for the accident. Todd had kept Johnny's guilt a secret to ensure that Johnny would not reveal Todd's involvement in switching Téa's deceased child with Samantha Morgan's son.
The pain and anger Starr felt over the loss of Cole and Hope was renewed after Kate's alter Connie took control. Starr immediately demanded that Connie be Starr remained furious with her father and made sure he was unable to use dissociative identity disorder to avoid facing charges for the baby switch. She also refused to forgive Johnny but she did accept the gift he gave her as he was sentenced to prison. Johnny gave Starr his half of the Haunted Star nightclub which he had co-owned with Lulu Spencer.
Eventually Starr learned the truth that Johnny had caused the accident that killed her family and she was horrified that she had ever considered him a friend. She also learned that her father had known about Johnny's guilt for months but had covered for him to ensure that Johnny would not share the proof he possessed regarding Todd's role in switching Téa's deceased child with Samantha Morgan's infant. Starr believed that both her father and Johnny deserved any punishment they received and she thwarted Todd's attempt at an insanity plea. In the meantime, Johnny tried to make amends with Starr and he gave her his half of the nightclub.
As Starr dealt with her disappointment in her father, she leaned on Michael and they became lovers. He helped her sort out her feelings for Todd after the charges against him were dropped and he was free again. In return, Starr assisted Michael and his biological father in restoring their company but she was called out of town before their company project was complete. A few weeks after she left, Starr called Michael and ended their relationship. She also told him that she would not be returning to Port Charles.