Jennifer came to Llanview from boarding school in Switzerland. She almost went back because of her family's fighting, but they convinced her to stay. She then became embroiled in the mess surrounding Colin's death, because he helped her once when she caught her mother having an affair. Colin proceeded to hold this over her head, telling her she was responsible for her parents' divorce. She took a liking to Cristian Vega, who helped her through being a suspect.
But Lindsay, once cleared of suspicion in Colin's death, disliked Cristian and thought him unsuitable for her daughter. With the help of Chad, a bartender at Break Bar, Lindsay set up a website featuring Cristian prancing around in his underwear, and did several other nasty tricks to undermine the relationship. It worked for a while, and Jen moved back in with Lindsay. Eventually, the truth came out, and Jen was furious when she found out what Lindsay had done.
Cristian was working undercover for the police to get evidence to put R.J. Gannon away. Lindsay found out and told R.J. what Cris was up to, and R.J. set a semi-crazy hit man named Keith on him. When Cris evaded him twice, Keith went after Jen. Jen thought Keith was just another friendly student on campus, but she began getting suspicious when he kept on popping up everywhere she went. Cris was alarmed, and decided to break up with Jen to protect her.
Jen knew nothing about any hit man and was heartbroken, thinking Cristian just decided to dump her. Al, who loved her, was standing by her the whole time, and the two made love at the quarry. The sex was a comfort bandage for Jen, but had big meaning to Al. When Keith cornered Jen at the modeling agency in New York City, Cris rescued her and told her the truth, thus Jen left Al and returned to Cristian.
Jen missed her period and thought she was pregnant, thanks to Lindsay changing the results in another attempt to break up Jen and Cris. Since it matched the time she was with Al, she and Lindsay went to the Family Planning Center, and Lindsay arranged for Cristian to be there. Cris was hurt and upset, and left in a rage to find Al. Jen found out that she wasn't pregnant, and blamed Lindsay. However, Lindsay weaseled her way out and got Jen to believe her.
Cris and Al fought and Al accidentally fell over the edge of a cliff at the quarry. Al ended up paralyzed from the waist down. Because it was her they were fighting over, Jen swore she would stand by Al until he could walk again. Unknown to her, Al really could walk, he was just faking paralysis so she wouldn't go back to Cristian and Al could have her instead. She and Al were living at the Carriage house. She was still in love with Cristian, but she was trying to get over her feelings, until Al was not "paralyzed" anymore.
Later, Jen hastily married Rex Balsom. However, the marriage was short-lived because of her affair with Joey Buchanan, a minister in training. Although Jen pleaded for a divorce, Rex refused to grant it-until Kevin Buchanan offered him a bribe. Jen and Joey wed almost immediately after her divorce was finalized, but Jen was not thrilled with the life of a minister's wife. She also wasn't happy to be pregnant, but Joey was thrilled to be a father. When Jen miscarried, she tried to keep the truth from him. He got over the loss, but it only frayed their union even further. She slept with Rex. As hard as she tried to keep the tryst a secret, Joey found out. He realized their relationship was beyond repair and in December 2003, took a leave of absence from the rectory to once again visit Clint in London. The end of her marriage shattered Jen and she took to drinking to cope. Surprisingly, she got support from Rex and they became close again-that is, until she caught him kissing her own mother!
Jen's relationship with her mother remained strained after Lindsay continued her affair with Rex. Jen concentrated on her studies, but she was failing several classes, thanks to her partying earlier in the year. Along with Riley, Marcie, Shannon McBain, and other Llanview University students, Jen was given a second chance to make up her classes from University president Viki Davidson. President Davidson enlisted the students to rebuild the community center that had burned down in a fire. The group of students lived together in Viki's cottage (nicknamed "The Love House") and spent their days working on the community center. The experience brought Jen and Riley closer, and the two embarked on a romantic relationship.
Their romance hit a bump in the road when Paul Cramer blackmailed Jen with a sex tape of her mother and Rex, offering the tape in exchange for sex with Jen. Jen faked affection for Paul in order to get him drunk and get the tape, but Paul caught on and continued to harass her. Later, when Paul turned up dead, Jen topped the list of suspects. Rex was convinced that Jen was responsible for the crime, and did everything in his power to get her off the hook. When a security tape revealed that Rex planted the murder weapon in Dorian Lord's office, he was arrested, and admitted to Jen that he hid the gun to clear her name. Rex's undying loyalty created tension for Jen and Riley, as did Riley's father playing a key role in the investigation against Jen. That didn't change Jen's love for Riley, though, and the two moved in together.
Shortly after Jen and Riley moved in together, the evidence began piling up against her faster and faster. Jen broke things off with Riley, whom she couldn't believe truly trusted her, and began getting closer to Rex again. She found Daniel Colson in the parking garage going through her car, and realized he was planting evidence against her. She tried to get away to tell someone, but Daniel suffocated her, then placed her in her car to make it look like her death was a suicide.