The first wife of wealthy Alan Spaulding, Elizabeth moved with him and their son Phillip to Springfield in November 1977. An independent professional photographer, Elizabeth was unhappy and felt stifled by Alan's attempts to dominate her. Elizabeth dreamed of a career as professional photographer. Alan couldn’t understand why a pampered woman like Elizabeth would want to work, but he decided to support her dream. Alan secretly made a large donation to the Springfield Ecological Society in exchange for Elizabeth being hired as a staff photographer. Elizabeth loved her new job, but quit when she discovered Alan had bought the job for her. She was later hired, on her own merits, as a photographer for the Springfield Journal. Elizabeth began to grow concerned that Phillip’s nanny, Diane Ballard, was trying to undermine her at home and was even flirting with her husband. Elizabeth politely told Diane that Phillip had outgrown the need for a nanny, and it was time to let her go. Diane refused to accept Elizabeth’s authority. Alan hired her and only he could fire her. Elizabeth made it clear to her husband that Diane was no longer needed, and Alan agreed. Alan told Diane that while her services were no longer required in the Spaulding household, they could be used at Spaulding Enterprises. Diane readily accepted Alan's offer, an offer that left Elizabeth greatly upset.
Alan then planned a surprise weekend family ski vacation in Aspen. Elizabeth would’ve been happy to go skiing any other weekend but that weekend was her first big photography assignment for the newspaper. She pleaded with her husband postpone the trip for another weekend. If she cancelled this assignment, she could jeopardize her entire career at the newspaper. Alan refused to change his plans and told his wife that she had to make a choice between her job and her family. Since she already made a commitment to her boss, Elizabeth sadly watched Alan and Phillip leave without her. When Elizabeth called her husband and son to see how their weekend was going, she was shocked to discover Diane was with them. Alan explained to an angry Elizabeth that since she couldn’t come with them, he brought Diane along to take care of Phillip. The Spaulding marriage continued to crumble as Alan and Elizabeth entertained friends and business associates in their home. Alan spent the evening belittling his wife’s career as being silly and inconsequential, and chastised her for wearing what he felt was an ugly and inappropriate evening gown. Worst of all, he accused her of shamelessly flirting with his attorney, Mike Bauer, in front of everyone! Later that night as she got ready for bed, her mind in turmoil over her eroding marriage, Elizabeth took a sleeping pill. Alan noticed her taking the pill and belittled her for that too. Unable to take it anymore, Elizabeth decided to sleep downstairs. Enraged that his wife would leave their bedroom, Alan left the house to go get a newspaper without telling anyone. Just then, Phillip woke up from a terrible nightmare in which Alan and Elizabeth had left him all alone. Not knowing where his parents were, the young boy ventured out into the stormy night to search for them. When Alan returned home and discovered Phillip was gone, he angrily woke Elizabeth, demanding to know where their son was. Elizabeth was sleeping so soundly due to the sleeping pill that she had no idea Phillip was gone. Luckily, Alan found him soon after.
After the police arrived, Alan accused Elizabeth of mixing alcohol and sleeping pills and that she was stone drunk. He claimed that he told Elizabeth where he was going and asked her to stay with Phillip. Unable to take any more of Alan’s lies, Elizabeth packed her bags and informed her husband that she was moving to a hotel. When Alan later tracked her at the hotel, Elizabeth thought he came to apologize and ask her to come back home. However, Alan's concern was only for Phillip, not her. He wanted to make sure she really was staying at a hotel. And with that said, he abruptly left her hotel room. Despite Alan’s cruel treatment, Elizabeth loved her family. She decided to return home and make amends. But when she got there, she discovered no one was home. She then rushed over to Alan’s office, where his secretary informed her that Alan took Phillip and Diane to London. And from there, the three of them were off to Africa for a photographic safari. Elizabeth was left behind and with Mike’s help immediately filed for divorce. During the divorce, Alan did everything in his power to make sure that Elizabeth would not get custody of Phillip and with Diane's help, he falsely proved that Elizabeth was having an affair during a trip to the South Rivera by bribing Ramon de Vilar to lie in court. Because of this lie, Alan was awarded custody of Phillip. Alan, angry that he wasn't given full custody of Phillip, told her a dark secret--she wasn't able to bear children.
Rattled over this revelation, Elizabeth became addicted to pain killers. Although Mike was able to work out an agreement of shared custody, Elizabeth's world was rocked again when she learned that Mike had known about her infertility and kept it from her. When the court discovered she was addicted to pain killers, they gave sole custody back to Alan with Elizabeth being granted temporary visits. At the same time, Phillip started suffering from shortness of breath and chest pains and at the advice of her friend and now Alan's wife, Jackie Marler, Elizabeth took Phillip to the best cardiologist in Springfield, Jackie's ex-husband Justin. Meanwhile, with help from psychiatrist Sara McIntyre as well as from Justin, Elizabeth was able to overcome her addiction. Out of gratitude for him Phillip, as well as supporting her, Elizabeth started seeing Justin. In early 1979, Elizabeth would rehire Mike to represent her after she got a clean bill from Sara that she was no longer addicted and was awarded joint custody. It was then that Alan dropped another bomb on Elizabeth: Phillip wasn't their son! He’d switched Phillip at birth with their stillborn child! Although by this point, Elizabeth and Mike had rekindled their relationship, when Elizabeth learned that Mike already knew this, she left him but later forgave him and they made plans to marry after Elizabeth won custody of Phillip. Unfortunately, thanks to Alan, Phillip blamed Mike for the end of his parents' marriage and resented the time Mike and Elizabeth spent together. Not wanting to hurt Phillip, Elizabeth and Mike parted ways.
Meanwhile, Justin had fallen in love with Elizabeth and asked her to marry him. Though she was still in love with Mike, Elizabeth agreed to marry Justin out of gratitude for saving her son. Meanwhile with the help of Alan's new attorney, Neil Blake, Alan got sole custody of Phillip. However, when Jackie became pregnant with Alan's child she insisted to Neil that Elizabeth and Justin gain a more favorable part-time sharing of Phillip's custody. However, she wasn't able to inform Alan of any of this because he had disappeared. Jackie insisted that Elizabeth and Justin have full custody, until she and attorney, Mike Bauer could locate him (and Mike's daughter, Hope.) Meanwhile, Elizabeth and Mike were unable to control their feelings and began an affair. That affair would come back to haunt Elizabeth later when Alan (who had been found and brought back to Springfield), learned of the affair and gained full custody again. Unfortunately for Elizabeth, Justin would find out about the affair anyway and initiate divorce proceedings.
In 1980, Elizabeth was ready to marry Mike but then stumbled upon a tape of Justin telling Mike that he knew about Jackie knowing that Phillip wasn't Elizabeth's son! Shocked and feeling deceived, Elizabeth was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and so she left Phillip in the care of the Marlers and left Springfield to reside in Switzerland. However before she left, the Marlers sat her down and told her the entire story behind Phillip's birth and baby switch. Elizabeth went to Dr. LaCrosse, who was on his deathbed and he confessed that he'd switched Phillip with her stillborn child at Alan's instigation and that Phillip was really the son of Justin and Jackie. Elizabeth graciously wanted Justin and Jackie to have custody of Phillip, and the three prepared to fight Alan's inevitable resistance. Elizabeth then would tell Alan's third wife, Hope part of the convoluted story of La Crosse's baby-swapping story and then leave Springfield forever to seek psychiatric treatment in Switzerland.
In 2004, Elizabeth would fail to come back to Springfield for Phillip's funeral. Alan mentioned to his sister, Alexandra that she was still in Europe, but no longer living in Switzerland.