Meta Bauer Roberts, met Dr. Bruce Banning in New York City in 1951, while she was separated from her husband, journalist Joe Roberts, and staying with her sister, Trudy. Although deeply in love, the Roberts kept the marriage a secret due to the hostility Joe’s daughter, Kathy, felt toward Meta. Tired of living a lie with Joe, Meta began to wonder if her future lay with Bruce rather than with a husband who was still tied exclusively to his grown children. In 1952, Meta and Joe finally revealed that they were married. As expected, Kathy behaved belligerently toward Meta and, unable to handle the contention in the Roberts family, Meta left for New York again. She and Bruce became reacquainted and when Bruce proposed, Meta (at Trudy's urging) realized she belonged to Joe and she returned home and renewed her marriage -- despite Kathy's continuing resistance. Meta would lose Joe to cancer on Christmas Eve 1955. By 1956, after the customary mourning period, Meta's sister-in-law, Bert, tried to match Meta up with Mark Holden, a handsome and dynamic structural engineer.
Though Meta and Mark became engaged, Mark ultimately fell for Kathy and married her. Tragically, Kathy would soon have an accident and miscarried her baby. Afterward, Meta spent some time with Trudy and Clyde at their penthouse apartment in New York, where she was reunited with Bruce. Bruce visited Meta frequently after she returned to Los Angeles and soon proposed marriage, but Meta was noncommittal -- she had not gotten over Mark. Not too much later, tragedy struck when Kathy was struck by a car and killed. Bruce backed off his courtship of Meta because he could tell that Meta might want to pursue Mark. Bruce wasn't too far off the mark, for Kathy’s daughter, Robin, insecure and desperate to have a stable family life, tried to bring Meta and Mark together at every turn. By late 1959, Meta finally came to terms with the fact that Mark would never love her, and she accepted Bruce's long-standing marriage proposal.
Meta and Bruce remained happy the next couple of years and would often support her friends and family. Though sometimes, they wouldn't necessarily see eye-to-eye, especially in concern to the raising and rearing of Robin and her romances. When a scheming Robin married Meta's nephew Mike, it was Meta who instructed a disapproving Bert not to interfere, while Bruce could see disaster. Bruce was proven right when, an angry Karl lunged after the newlyweds, Mike and Robin on Meta's patio and hit his head on some patio furniture and died of his injuries. In 1962, after Bert got Mike to annul his marriage to Robin, Robin fell for and married the dour 40-year-old entrepreneur Alex Bowden. Robin still continued to lead Mike on by having a few secret, albeit sexless, meetings with him. In his dual role of Robin's guardian and Alex's doctor, Bruce (in spite of Meta's wishes to the contrary) began to sympathize with Alex and helped him to conquer his jealousy. Bruce also sternly told Robin to grow up and take responsibility for her life.
Later, in 1964, Robin married Bruce’s colleague Paul Fletcher, despite Paul's son Johnny's disapproval of Robin. Paul and Robin returned home and told no one about their marriage except for Meta, Bruce and George Hayes. Meta thought it was wise, but Bruce and George thought the newlyweds should not let Johnny dictate whether to announce their marriage. In 1966, Meta and Bruce moved to New York, where Bruce accepted a prestigious position at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.
In 1971, the pair moved to the Midwestern town of Springfield (where Bill, Bert and Papa had relocated) when Bruce was offered the job as Cedars of Chief of Staff and the couple remained happy. After mourning the loss of her father in February 1973, later celebrating the marriage of Mike and Leslie Jackson Norris and warning Bert about the dangers of Ed's new marriage to Holly Norris (Leslie's stepdaughter) -- with Bruce being a little more lenient and forgiving of Holly -- the couple left again for New York in 1974. Sometime after this, Meta and Bruce must have divorced, because in late 1984, Bert would move in with a now single, Meta when she became ill. While Meta would recover, Bert died while staying with her.