Jennifer Richards’s life was changed forever in April 1980 when her car collided with Mike Bauer's car. Though she and her teenage daughter, Morgan, were unhurt, her husband, Walter, was killed instantly. Mourning the loss of her husband, Jennifer, who was on her way to Springfield to become Lucille Wexler's household manager, settled into her new job and new home at the Wexler estate and accepted the friendship of the Bauers. As Jennifer and Morgan continued to live at the Wexler estate, some Springfield citizens were investigating a woman named Jane Marie Stafford who had a youthful affair with the wealthy Alan Spaulding. Meanwhile, settling into their new lives, Jennifer and Morgan were at odds over Morgan's impulsive behavior. In August of that year, Jennifer was livid to find birth control pills in Morgan's bedroom. After an angry confrontation, Morgan ran away. With help from Mike, whom Jennifer was now dating, and Morgan's friends, Kelly Nelson and Tim Werner, Jennifer tracked Morgan down to a nightclub in Chicago. At first, Morgan told the group to get lost, but when one of the patrons, at Duke's "club", started to getting rough with her and her mother, Morgan agreed to come home. Unfortunately, the two patrons who roughed up both Morgan and Jennifer started threatening Mike, Kelly and Tim and started to pick a fight with them. Soon after, Mike contacted the Chicago Police Department and they came and finally closed down Duke's "club" since it was, in reality, a prostitution ring. A grateful Morgan, who had up to this point been very unfriendly to Mike, began seeing him as a father figure.
Meanwhile the mystery of Jane Marie Stafford was continuing. For months, Jennifer went to great lengths to avoid meeting Alan Spaulding, who was settling into married life with Hope Bauer, Mike's daughter. Soon, Jennifer discovered that $25,000 had been mysteriously deposited to her account. When Mike offered to investigate, he was surprised by Jennifer's evasiveness. At the same time, Lucille was surprised to find that her new employee had musical talent just like her adopted daughter, Amanda. In the meantime, attorney Ross Marler located Logan Stafford and his son, Chet, who admitted that Jane Marie was alive but missing. Chet told Ross that Jane Marie had a distinctive birthmark on her arm. By now, Jennifer was forming such a close bond with Amanda that Lucille was becoming insanely jealous of their relationship. Lucille also knew that Jennifer had caught on to her scheme to separate Ben McFarren and Amanda. A deranged Lucille began terrorizing Amanda with anonymous phone calls and hanging up whenever Amanda answered. She also began to remove items from her mansion so that she could frame Jennifer for theft.
The stage was now set for Lucille's ignominious downfall. Lucille spotted a picture in the hotel room of Chet Stafford -- who had come to Springfield to look for his missing sister -- and recognized her as Jennifer. Raving mad, Lucille rushed home and confronted Jennifer by screaming “Jane Marie Stafford!". Lucille lunged at Jennifer with a gold plated letter opener. As the two struggled, Lucille fell on the blunt instrument. When Amanda heard the commotion and rushed in, Lucille weakly murmured that Jennifer had tried to kill her. Lucille died on the operating table, and Jennifer was booked for murder. Due to DA Ross Marler’s relentless questioning, Jennifer became frazzled on the stand and confessed to the crime. She was then convicted of second-degree murder.
Fortunately, new evidence came forth suggested that Lucille wasn’t as innocent as she appeared and a new trial was called. Another matter that left many confused was that whenever Jennifer was in a place where Alan Spaulding was about to appear, she would run and hide. They also wondered why both Alan and Lucille investigated a woman named Jane Marie Stafford. Doing some digging, Mike suspected he had the answer and, while Jennifer was on the stand, he had both Alan and Chet Stafford walk into the courtroom. When Jennifer saw both men in the courtroom, she realized that she’d been found out! It was then that Jennifer revealed the whole sordid tale: Born Jane Marie Stafford, Jennifer was the teenaged lover of Alan Spaulding, who was also sleeping with her sister, Janice. When Alan’s father, Brandon, learned that Jennifer was pregnant, he forbade her to tell Alan and forced her to give the child up. She did and ran away from her family, changing her name. Brandon then gave the child to his employee, Lucille Wexler, to raise. Decades later, when Lucille learned that Jennifer was Jane Marie, she attacked Jennifer so that Amanda would never know the truth. Though she was now cleared, Jennifer’s revelation lead to the end of her relationship with Mike.
Now working at Spaulding, a lonely Jennifer began seeing the younger Mark Evans, a very handsome man who could sweet talk his way into any woman's bed. Mark soon proposed to Jennifer and they married. Amanda, now named President of Spaulding Enterprises, was a bit suspicious of how quickly her mom had married Mark, but wasn't suspicious enough. Soon, after he had married Jennifer, Mark sweet talked Amanda in giving him a position at Spaulding Enterprises. Unfortunately for Jennifer, Mark’s entire reason for marrying her was to get close to her daughter. It didn’t take long for Mark to seduce Amanda and the two began an affair. It wasn't long before Mark became verbally abusive to his baffled new wife. Mark Evans's ultimate plan was to kill both Alan and Amanda and make Spaulding his own! Meanwhile, Amanda was torn between her love for her mother and her intense attraction to Mark. Though both Alan and Morgan knew about the affair, they remained evasive to a suspicious Jennifer about what they knew so Jennifer started to believe that Mark was having an affair with Trish Lewis. Trish was shell-shocked when Jennifer accused her of having an affair with her husband. When Amanda's divorce from Ben McFarren became final, her affair with Mark became more heated and passionate. In the meantime, Morgan finally told Jennifer of Mark's affair with Amanda. Under stress, Jennifer left town and gave birth to a son, Matthew. Not long after, Mark died after struggling with his former lover, Mona Enright.
In 1987, when Amanda briefly returned to town, it was learned that Jennifer's father had passed away but that Jennifer, Matthew and Morgan were all doing well and living in New York. However, at some point, Amanda and Jennifer must have broken off contact with each other. In 1997, the Spauldings would learn something startling: Amanda wasn’t Alan’s daughter, she was Brandon’s! Unfortunately, since Jennifer had broken all ties with the Spauldings, no one knows the details of the relationship. Although Amanda had tried to contact her mother, she couldn't locate her--all she knew was that Jennifer’s last known address was in Paris, France.