Max Holden came to Llanview in 1987 and as soon as he got there, he became involved in a love triangle with two women, Tina Lord Roberts and Gabrielle Medina. Max decided he wanted Tina. They were going to get married, but during the wedding Tina said Cord Roberts name instead of Max's. Max realized Cord was the only man for Tina, and called off the wedding.
When Gabrielle heard that Max and Tina were going to get married, Gabrielle went after Max's brother, Steve Holden. After Steve was hit over the head and went into a coma, Gabrielle seduced Max when he was drunk. They became inseparable. Steve recovered from the coma, but was later killed by an exploding wedding cake. Later in 1989, Max had a relationship going with an actress, Megan Gordon. That relationship soon ended when Max said under oath that he still loved Gabrielle.
In 1990, Max was shot by some people that had kidnapped Al, Max's son. As Max was about to die, Gabrielle swore to God that she'd give her life to the church if God would let Max live. By some miracle, Max recovered. Gabrielle went to the convent, but Max soon rescued her from there and their relationship continued. Max and Gabrielle planned to get married, but Max was involved in a car crash and was thought to be dead, burned beyond recognition. Gabrielle mourned his death, but another miracle happened, Max was really still alive. His face was scarred horribly by the fire though.
Soon Max returned, but with a new face and a new name, Matt Kingsley. Max won Gabrielle's heart again. When Max at last told Gabrielle who he was, they got married. Max divorced Gabrielle after he found a video of her making love with a priest named Tony Vallone.
Max then became interested in Lee Ann Demerest. It didn't last long, though, when Lee Ann went for Kevin Buchanan instead. Max left town and returned a few months later. When he came back, Max met two new women who he loved. The first was Blair Daimler Buchanan. The other Luna Moody. Max and Luna went to Atlantic City and won a whole lot of money. Max kept trying not to think of Blair. Max soon married Luna. The next year Luna gave birth to twins Leslie and Frank. Max's life was perfect, but then Luna was killed by a Llanview gang member.
In 1996, Max discovered that his son, Frankie was deaf. Also in 1996, Maggie Carpenter arrived in town. Max started to have romantic feelings for Maggie, but Maggie was a nun. Max and Maggie tried to forget about their feelings towards each other, but they couldn't. Maggie renounced her vows and they could finally be together. There was a warehouse that Max wanted, but he didn't get because Maggie bought it to use for her clown school. To try to convince Maggie to sell him the warehouse, Max broke the boiler, but instead of flooding the cellar as he intended, he accidentally set the building on fire. When Maggie found out what Max had done, Maggie left town. About a year later Max was together with Blair again, but that didn't last long.
Max then became involved with Kelly Cramer, but he still loved Blair and when Blair found out about Max's aneurysm, the two decided to scam Kelly out of cash by having Max marry her. It didn't work when Kelly left Max at the altar for Joey Buchanan.
Max and Blair's next scheme was to make Max look like he was Asa's son. Asa and Renee had a long lost son and Max decided to pretend to be him. Max and Blair got married secretly. Asa and Renee believed Max was their son, but Asa wanted Blair out of Max's life, so Max and Blair had to be together secretly for a while.
Max couldn't keep his relationship with Blair a secret from Asa or Renee any longer, in fact he walked out on them and threatened not to return unless he could bring Blair back with him, and it worked. Max enjoyed having Asa and Renee as family, but he couldn't keep the truth from Renee. He confessed the whole truth to Renee and she slapped him, causing his aneurysm to explode! Max was in a coma for weeks and finally woke up on Thanksgiving. To keep being Asa and Renee's son, he faked having brain damage, which eventually lead to helping Asa finally get Ben's medical license revoked.
One of the many stunts he pulled to convince the world he had brain damage was to sleep with Skye Chandler, and also to keep her quiet since she knew the truth that he was faking, but the truth came out anyway and Asa and Renee learned the truth. In fact, Asa was proud of him for faking his brain damage because Max's excuse was that he was helping Asa to take down Ben Davidson.
Blair was so furious with Max for sleeping with Skye and faking brain damage that she had a computer virus made that would tell the world the truth that Max is not Asa's son. But Max convinced Blair to come back to him, so she went to Todd for help disabling the virus. Todd planted the virus on Asa's computer for Max to see, and when he saw it he told Blair they were over for good and went to sleep with Skye. Blair saw Max with Skye and saw red, literally, and shot Max in the back to get revenge. Todd helped Blair cover up her involvement in Max's shooting and planted evidence to make it look like Skye was guilty. Max came up with a plan to make Todd turn on Blair and reveal her to be the shooter. The night before Blair and Todd's wedding, Max drugged Blair and made sure Todd saw he and Blair together in a bed. Todd did expose Blair's guilt the next day during their wedding ceremony, but he also exposed something else, the fact that Max was not Asa's son, Ben Davidson was. Max could have gone to jail for fraud if Asa had pressed charges, but Max blackmailed Asa with the information that Asa put a hit out on Ben Davidson. Now that Max was finally free to be with her, Skye decided he was not the man she wanted after all and dumped him.
Asa was the wrong man to mess with. He plotted to take down Max by marrying his ex-wife who had popped up in town again, Gabrielle Medina, and adopted Max's son, Al. Max was helpless to do anything about it, but Asa still wasn't through with him. He, along with Gabrielle hatched a plan where he, Asa, would fake his own murder to frame Max. Gabrielle would help by having an affair with Max, and that would be the "motive" for the "murder." Max fell right into this little plot, but then Gabrielle started to have feelings for Max. The two planned on turning the tables on Asa, and really killing him.
Asa beat them to it. He went ahead with faking his death, and made it look like he was poisoned to frame both of them. Max and Gabrielle were under a cloud of heavy suspicion after Asa's "murder." Finally, Max had an idea. He and Gabrielle would head for St. Blazes Island, which had no extradition treaty. They flew there, where they discovered Asa, alive and well, along with his ex-wife, Alex Olanov and butler, Nigel. Bo and Hank Gannon had flown down after Max and Gabrielle, so all seven of them had a rather unhappy reunion. Asa told Max that Gabrielle had originally planned on framing him, and Max split up with Gabrielle over this. Al later had Asa sign papers that made him no longer Al Buchanan, he was Al Holden again. Al and Max began bonding again, but Max was still angry at Gabrielle for trying to set him up. He took over running Break Bar, since he bought out R.J. Gannon's half.
As Al turned down an increasingly dark path which included lies and faking paralysis, Max tried to help him see the destructive consequences of his actions. Al repeatedly shunned his father's help, being hostile and abusive. Max had followed Al to Las Vegas and after an especially nasty fight, got drunk out of his mind and ran into a former fling, Roxanne "Roxy" Balsom. Roxy was a hard partier and helped Max guzzle away his troubles. The next morning Max woke up in bed with Roxy, and to his horror, saw matching wedding bands. Roxy had tricked him into a quickie marriage, prenup, and even had a video of the whole thing! In the sober light of day, Max despised the trashy, slovenly, pathetic Roxy, and went out of his way to be cruel to her in hope she would divorce him. His and Al's various attacks on her spirit went nowhere, but suddenly luck was on Max's side when Roxy up and vanished one day. She tried calling him, but he hung up on her each time, feeling only slight pangs of remorse. A few days later Max found out that Roxy had been held hostage and nearly killed by Allison Perkins, but was more interested in keeping Roxy out of the way a bit longer in order to claim abandonment and win a fast divorce with fortune intact. He showered love on his bride and tried to keep her away from the courthouse long enough to win his freedom. But Roxy showed up, exposing his lies, and Judge Fitzwater gave her the opportunity to dump Max and take everything he owned. To Fitzwater and Max's surprise, Roxy chose Max over the cash. Although relieved, Max continued to shun Roxy, even making a deal with old enemy Asa to help Asa escape his sham marriage to Rae if, Asa would do the same with Roxy. Then Max tracked Roxy down to Philadelphia, assuming she was cheating with Asa. Instead, she was visiting her vile, hateful mother, who passed up no opportunity to make Roxy feel like garbage. Max stunned both himself and Roxy by barging into the room to defend her. Max realized that he was falling in love with Roxy and called the deal off with Asa. But Rae had already figured out the plan and manipulated Roxy on every level, even flinging herself on Max so Roxy would catch them in a compromising position. Roxy's heart was shattered and she could no longer trust Max. In spite of his fervent pleas, Roxy divorced him and was awarded everything he owned.
Now completely emotionally and financially depleted, Max fell into a bottle and retreated into memories of Luna and the twins he had never given himself the chance to raise. He moved into the spare bedroom in R.J.'s apartment, but when R.J. thought that Max had made moves on R.J.'s then-girlfriend Liz Reynolds, Max was tossed out on his ear. With no one left to turn to, Max accepted Andrew Carpenter's kind offer to stay at the rectory until he could get his life back in order. Unfortunately, as Max was getting his life in order, Al's was falling apart. In an effort to do better in school, a college-aged Al turned to drugs. Although he was eventually able to lick his drug problem, it left his liver irreparably damaged and he died. Devastated by his son's death, Max left Llanview to be near his surviving children.
Upon hearing of Asa's passing, Max returned to Llanview briefly to be with Renee during her time of need. While he was visiting, Max asked Blair to return with him to Argentina to start a life together, but she declined. Before returning to Argentina, Max learned from Nigel that David Vickers was really a Buchanan.