Natalie arrived in Llanview in July 2001 and she hid who she was from everyone. She befriended Jessica and gained everyone's trust, and then she surprised everyone with the news that she was Viki and Clint's biological daughter. When Allison Perkins had kidnapped Viki's baby, Jessica, when she was just a few weeks old, she switched babies and returned the wrong child to Viki. Roxanne Balsom had raised Natalie, the real Buchanan heir, in Atlantic City.
Natalie had a difficult childhood, Roxanne was not a supportive or caring mother, and they had little money, so when Allison told Natalie the truth about her parentage, Natalie was determined to get everything that she "deserved."
Natalie came up with a plan to get her former boyfriend Seth back from Jessica and blackmailed Al Holden into helping her. She had seen Al walking when he was supposed to be paralyzed -- he was keeping his recovery a secret so he wouldn't lose Jen Rappaport -- and used this information to convince him to help her. Al stole money from Break Bar and made it look as if Seth had taken it. Then Al pretended to be Seth while talking to Chad's sister, Katie, and said that he was only with his girlfriend Jessica because she was rich. Jessica heard about all of this, and Natalie's plan began to work, Jessica started doubting Seth and told him she didn't want to see him anymore. In the meantime, Natalie was telling Seth that she believed in him and was trying to get closer to him again, but Seth was not ready to give up on loving Jessica, at least not yet.
Natalie's schemes against Seth and Jessica were quickly uncovered, and Natalie managed to alienate everyone yet again. The only person who was friendly to her was Cristian Vega, then on the outs with girlfriend Jennifer Rappaport. Guilt-ridden about her horrible behavior, Natalie told him that Al was faking his paralysis. Cristian became her friend and pointed out the good in her every time she would call herself trash. Slowly, they began to fall for each other, but after nearly having sex at the Bayberry Inn, they decided to stay just friends, since he was reuniting with Jen and she still pined for Seth.
Unbeknownst to all, Viki's split personality, Niki Smith, had returned, and began acting in rude, hostile, very un-Viki ways to Natalie and her recently arrived brother, Rex Balsom. Natalie began to wonder what had happened to the mother she had just started building a strong relationship with. Niki decided to get Nat out of the way by making her think Natalie had DID and her alter was violent. At one point, she even drugged Natalie around the same time Niki had pushed Ben out a window. Niki framed Natalie for the crime. Al, still desperate to be with Jen, decided to make Jen distrustful of Cristian's feeling for Natalie, and made it look like Natalie had started a fire in Jen's room. The blaze got out of control, and Jen nearly died. Jen, Jessica, and Seth all blamed Natalie for both severe crimes, and once again, Natalie had only Cristian to count on for support. He helped her uncover her mother's DID flare-up, and, thanks in part to their efforts, Viki returned. Al also stepped forward as the firebug, and all charges were dropped against Natalie.
Natalie and Cris admitted their love for each other and were ready to tell the whole town. Unfortunately, Jen overheard them saying they had kept their feelings a secret for months, and decided to make them pay. She slept with Al, telling Cris he was the father of her baby. She repeatedly told her "friend" Natalie how hot Cristian was in bed and how in love they were; Jen even asked Natalie to throw her bridal shower. Natalie was devastated and had no one to confide in until she ran into a stranger on the street. His name was Michael Lazarus, and he was a source of comfort and strength. The day of Cris and Jen's wedding, Natalie decided she couldn't bear the pain of being this close to Cristian without having a life with him, and agreed to Michael's demands that they marry.
Soon after Natalie and Michael arrived back in town, Cristian told Nat that Jen had miscarried around the time of the ceremony, and he wasn't going to go through with the marriage or anything else. Natalie and Cris then got into a car accident, and when Michael visited her in the hospital for her minor injuries, she tried to let him down gently. Michael refused to grant her an annulment of any kind. Within a few days, Natalie realized Michael had set her up and was really Mitch Laurence, a long-presumed-dead cult leader and manipulator. Even worse, he had raped her mother, resulting in Jessica's conception. Jessica was his daughter, while Natalie was Clint and Viki's true child. Natalie learned that he had sent her to live with Roxy because he saw her as scum who deserved nothing but the worst in life. He boasted that she would be his wife and his possession until he could make inroads into Jessica's life. Natalie refused to be his pawn and helped Jessica flee Llanview.
The efforts to annul her marriage and point out Mitch as a true menace were hampered when he manipulated Cristian into punching him in front of witnesses. He then had Jen lie in earshot of Judge Fitzwater that Cris was violent. As a result, Cristian was sentenced to a month in jail. Mitch warned Natalie that Cris was very vulnerable in jail. Natalie stood up to his threats until Carlotta ate poisoned cake that was meant for Cris, which almost killed Carlotta. Then Natalie agreed to Mitch's demand that she consummate their marriage. At the last minute, she changed her mind, and Mitch was close to raping her when Cristian, who had been released after Jen confessed, and Viki barged into the hotel room. Mitch was arrested, but Bo, knowing no charges would be filed, could only hold him for a few hours. Viki sent Natalie and Cristian into hiding to keep them safe for a while. Not long after, Natalie and Cris were safe to marry.
Unfortunately, things would take a tragic turn with the arrival of John McBain. An FBI agent posing as a billiard scout for Flynn Laurence, McBain used Natalie and Cris to get the goods on the crime lord. The way to do that was to use Natalie's newfound skills as a billiards champion. Unfortunately, Natalie defied John's orders to throw the game for Flynn and as a result, Flynn kidnapped her. Although Cris and John were able to rescue Natalie, Cris apparently lost his life in the attempt.
At first angry at John's indirect role in Cris's death, Natalie soon developed a friendship with him. After the Music Box Killer nearly murdered Natalie, she and John finally admitted that their friendship was turning into something more. Just as things seemed to be going further, Kathryn Fitzgerald, the sister of John's dead fiancée Caitlin, arrived in town. Jealous of the connection between Kathryn and John, Natalie began spending more time with Paul Cramer. Natalie and John again confronted their feelings for each other, and the two nearly made love, but John wasn't yet over Caitlin. Natalie then began seeing Paul.
Natalie ended things with Paul long before it got truly serious, and once again began falling for John, who by this time was with Evangeline. Just as Natalie was making an active play for John, Cristian showed up in her life again, alive and well. The two began trying to put their lives back together, although Cristian was plagued with gaps in his memory and often had angry outbursts. Natalie was so happy to have Cristian back that she didn't care, although she was concerned when he joined forces with Antonio to take down Tico Santi. After Cristian finally admitted that he was the one who killed Tico, Natalie was devastated, but not nearly as hurt as she was when he told her he wasn't Cristian at all, just a man who'd had plastic surgery to look like him. Despite her anger, though, she couldn't help but feel sorry for him the last time she saw him in jail, when he told her that his feelings for her had never been a lie. She turned her back on him, though, not realizing that he truly was Cristian, but had lied to her so that she would not be hurt.
Natalie and John finally began a romance, but it was short-lived. During the Statesville prison riot, Natalie learned that the man she believed was Cristian's imposter was in fact Cristian and, making matters worse, John had known all along. Natalie was furious with both men for lying to her and making her an adulteress. She immediately demanded a divorce from Cristian and attempted to cut John out of her life.
Over the course of 2006, however, Natalie reunited with John after working with him to prove her uncle Todd Manning innocent of the "murder" of Margaret Cochran, and helping him finger Spencer Truman as the man who had killed John's father. Natalie took a job as receptionist for the Llanview Police Department and soon showed an interest in the forensics program. Working closely with John, her relationship with him deepened; Natalie began to hope for marriage. However, after a horrifying car accident in which John was badly burned and thought dead, Natalie's bond with John began to fray. He became volatile and verbally abusive, unwilling to communicate. Thinking she was protecting John, Natalie tampered with evidence at the crime scene of Spencer Truman's murder; when the truth was revealed, she was dismissed from the forensics program. Her relationship with John disintegrated, as well, but they ultimately parted as friends, with John admitting he should have treated her better.
Moving forward with her life, Natalie ventured into the family business, Buchanan Enterprises. When the mysterious Jared Banks arrived in town in 2007, he and Natalie clashed at once. Jared sought revenge against Jessica for sending him to prison when she was under the control of her alter, Tess. Jared secured a job at B.E. alongside Natalie by blackmailing Jessica and Natalie with the knowledge of Tess's crimes. Although Jared was a skilled executive who revered Natalie's late grandfather, Asa, his arrogant and abrasive personality caused them to butt heads constantly. However, the two were unable to fight their mutual attraction and, while both were in Texas for the reading of Asa's will, they admitted their feelings for each other and fell into a passionate embrace.
That same night, however, Jared stumbled upon the opportunity to pose as Asa's long-lost son. Having idolized Asa since childhood, Jared could not resist, and chose fortune and ambition over love. Now "related" as uncle and niece, Jared and Natalie struggled to distance themselves from each other. In March 2008, Jared revealed the truth to Natalie, who decided to keep the secret to protect the Buchanans from the real heir, greedy con artist David Vickers. Though at first disgusted with Jared for this plot against her family, Natalie ultimately gave in to her attraction, and they made love for the first time in May 2008.
Jared and Natalie's duplicity was revealed to the family, however, when Dorian Lord exposed Jared as a fraud during a B.E. stakeholder meeting and announced that she had bought controlling interest in the company. As a result of Jared and Natalie's lie, a deal Jessica's husband Nash had struck with Jared to buy his winery and save it from greedy investors also was doomed. Jared and Natalie subsequently got in a heated argument with Jessica and Nash, who accidentally fell to his death.
Jessica and Natalie's father Clint were furious at Natalie for keeping Jared's secret, and Natalie and Jared soon quickly found themselves on the outs with the family. Little did they know that Jessica, in her grief and rage, had reverted to her alter ego, Tess. To get back into Clint's good graces, Jared agreed to go to Colombia and retrieve Langston Wilde's uncle Ray Montez, who was serving time for murder, as part of a plan by Clint to regain ownership of B.E. Natalie and Jared argued about the plan just before Jared departed, but the couple quickly made up. When Jared was out of the country, however, Tess drugged Natalie and locked her up in a secret, soundproof room beneath Llanfair. Jessica forced Natalie to write Jared a "Dear John" letter saying that she was breaking up with him and had left town. Natalie was then forced to watch from a closed-circuit television as Tess attempted to make Jared forget about Natalie.
Natalie then discovered that Tina knew she was locked up and was livid that her aunt did nothing to free her. Jared suspected that Tess was behind Natalie's disappearance, and finally got definitive proof when he ran into the contractor who had built the secret room at Rodi's Tavern. Jared played dumb around Tess, hoping to get the better of her. Tina finally revealed to Jared that Natalie was in the basement and gave him the key to get into the room. But once Jared found the room and unlocked the door, reuniting with Natalie, Tess walked in and locked them both inside the glass cage. Then she set a bomb to go off, only she didn't let Natalie and Jared know how long they had until the bomb would explode. Tess began to experience abdominal pains, and Natalie tried to convince her to let them out so they could get her to the hospital. But once Natalie mentioned Nash's name, Tess reconsidered and left them to die. Natalie and Jared tried to make the most of the time they had left, even making love as the ticking time bomb waited to go off.
Viki and Charlie eventually discovered Natalie and Jared. Charlie managed to grab the bomb that Tess had set to go off and got it outside, just before it exploded, and Natalie and Jared were freed. Natalie confronted Tina and told her to leave town at once in exchange for Natalie keeping quiet about Tina's role in keeping Natalie and Jared captive. Tina admitted everything to Viki and was banished anyway. Natalie and Jared, meanwhile, tried to make peace with what Jessica's alter had done to them. They began caring for Bree and the new baby Jessica had supposedly given birth to, named Chloe Brennan, while Jessica committed herself to St. Anne's psychiatric hospital to get well. What they didn't realize was that baby Chloe was in fact Starr and Cole's child, who had been switched with Jessica's stillborn baby by Jessica's alter Bess. Jared, meanwhile, proposed to Natalie on Christmas Day, and she accepted.
Jessica believed she had a breakthrough when she had a conversation with Bess, who told her that Jessica let Tess out all those months before because she wanted Natalie and Jared to die. Jessica admitted this to Natalie and Jared, who were understandably upset. Jessica, no longer under the influence of Bess and Tess, was discharged from St. Anne's and returned to Llanfair to discover that Bree felt closer to Natalie than Jessica, since Natalie had been raising Bree and Chloe in Jessica's absence. Natalie challenged Jessica's ability to be a mother, but Jessica pushed back and told Natalie to back off. Natalie, however, got suspicious when she discovered a parking ticket in Jessica's wallet from the night of Chloe's birth that revealed that Tess had gone to Llanview Hospital. Based on the time stamp on the ticket, Natalie knew that the visit occurred after the baby had been born, which raised her suspicions even more. Enlisting Rex's help, Natalie found security camera footage from the hospital that revealed it was Bess, not Tess, who had visited the hospital.
When Natalie and Jared learned that Starr and Cole's baby hadn't died from Rh disease as they had been told, they put the pieces together and figured out that a baby switch had most likely occurred. They gathered DNA evidence from Chloe -- fingernail clippings -- and Hope -- the hair Starr kept in her locket -- and had hospital lab technician Kyle Lewis run tests, which confirmed that Starr and Cole's baby was, in fact, Chloe. Natalie and Jared were torn over what to do, and at one point almost told Jessica the truth, but then they decided that the truth would be too much for Jessica to bear and resolved to keep the secret forever. Jessica seemed to be getting on with her life and was falling for Brody Lovett, but then everyone learned that Brody had slept with Gigi, and Natalie went over to Brody's apartment and punched him in the stomach for hurting her sister.
Kyle Lewis figured out what was going on after Starr and Cole submitted their own samples, and he concluded that the hair they had submitted couldn't have been from their baby. He summoned Natalie and Jared to the hospital and told them to pony up $100,000 within 24 hours, or he would tell everyone the truth. On the eve of their wedding, Natalie and Jared learned that Starr and Cole were having Hope's body exhumed so they could find out the true cause of her death. Realizing that the truth was about to be revealed, they decided to elope and got a priest at St. James to perform the midnight ceremony. When Natalie and Jared returned to Llanfair, they caught Brody Lovett walking out the front door of the house and confronted him. Jessica rushed to his defense and admitted that they were seeing each other, although she didn't tell Natalie the truth that Brody and Gigi had never slept together.
All hell broke loose when Jessica realized Chloe had been kidnapped. Natalie and Jared, worried that Kyle might have kidnapped Chloe for ransom, told the family that he could have been behind it but didn't go into details at first. After Jessica and Brody left for the police station, where Kyle Lewis was being held, Natalie and Jared admitted to Viki, Clint, and Charlie that the baby Jessica had delivered had died and had been switched with Starr and Cole's baby. When Jessica and Chloe were reunited at the hospital, Bess emerged and escaped with Chloe before Jessica could learn that the baby wasn't hers. Natalie blamed herself for keeping the truth from Jessica, but Charlie said she and Jared had done what they thought was best. They then revealed to Charlie, Clint, and Viki that they had gotten married. Natalie was relieved when Jessica reemerged; Natalie stood by Jessica as Jessica gave the baby back to Starr and Cole.
Gigi admitted to Natalie and Jared that her sister had forced her to break up with Rex to supposedly save their son, and she asked them to drop the charges they had filed against Kyle so she could find out the identity of Shane's real blood donor. Natalie and Jared dropped the charges, pressuring Kyle to reveal the name of the donor. Kyle claimed to have forgotten the donor's name but took Natalie and Jared to the clinic where the donor was. When they arrived, they discovered Natalie's grandmother, Renee, in the room where the donor supposedly had been. Renee said she was getting cosmetic surgery and asked Natalie and Jared not to say anything to anyone. Natalie and Jared then learned that the donor had died several months before, and Kyle admitted that he had drawn extra blood and given it to Roxy. However, when they arrived at Roxy's hair salon, they found Roxy on the floor and the blood gone, stolen by a nurse from the clinic where the donor had been. Rex eventually retrieved the blood from Stacy.
Natalie began to worry when Jessica claimed that someone who appeared to be Nash was stalking her. At Buchanan Enterprises, Natalie and Jared received a DVD that had images of the night that Nash had fallen through the skylight and died. They gave the DVD to Brody, and they all agreed that the person who had sent the DVD was the same person stalking Jessica. The police determined that someone who worked at the company had made the delivery. Natalie and Jared then got a second DVD, this time of the stalker saying he was going to get revenge on them for killing Nash, although the stalker's voice was distorted and his image was masked.
As Natalie was visiting Jessica and Brody at the hospital, Jared was jumped from behind in his office. He then showed up at the hospital, bloodied and bruised, having driven there after fighting off the attacker. Jared claimed he hadn't seen the person's face or any identifying features. When John McBain started questioning Jared as a suspect, rather than a victim, Natalie told John to back off, but John said he was just trying to figure out why Jared had been attacked. John found an image of the stalker on footage from David Vickers' reality television show and showed it to Natalie and Jared, but neither said they recognized him. Little did Natalie know that Jared had been in contact with the stalker, who it turned out had been in prison with Jared. Natalie was shocked to discover Jared leaning over the stalker's bloody body on the patio outside Llanfair.
Jared claimed he didn't know the dead man, but when John McBain arrived, he pulled out the man's cell phone and dialed the last number, which rang Jared's phone. Jared was arrested after financial transactions from Jared to the stalker were discovered on Jared's computer. Natalie refused to believe he was guilty, even after Jared admitted that he had been lying to her. Jared confessed to Natalie that he knew the stalker, Wayne Landers, all along and had arranged for Wayne to stalk Jessica and even beat him up. Before Jared could explain further, he got a text message and left Natalie behind at Llanfair.
Natalie told Jessica, Brody, and John about Jared's confession, then went with John to the Buchanan lodge after she got a call that someone had tripped the security alarm there. Natalie was horrified to stumble upon a murdered Pamela Stuart, whose deceased brother was Jared's stepfather. Jared was nowhere to be found, but John later found his wallet near Pamela's body. Natalie enlisted Rex's help to find Jared before the police did, and the trail led them to Napa Valley in California, where Nash's first vineyard was located.
After they arrived in California, Natalie and Rex were stunned when Jessica showed up, explaining that a caller who sounded like Nash had led her there. After Rex was called away to his aunt's house in Michigan, Natalie got a text message that she assumed was from Jared and went outside to meet him. After Natalie failed to return, Jessica went after her and found herself face-to-face with Jared, who admitted that he was the one who had called her. Jessica ran away from Jared and ran into an abandoned greenhouse, where she was horrified to discover her dead husband Nash's body. With Jared watching from outside, Jessica then located an unconscious Natalie inside a closet.
After Natalie came to and saw Jared, she let Jared in the room and then embraced him. As Jared proclaimed his innocence, an all-too-familiar figure emerged from the shadows to claim responsibility: Mitch Laurence. Mitch said he had faked his death years before and was back to rekindle his relationships with daughter Jessica and ex-wife Natalie. Jared was shocked to learn that Mitch was behind everything, and then Mitch revealed that he had gotten Jared to participate in his evil plan by blackmailing him with the truth that Charlie had killed a man. As John stormed the scene, Mitch took out a gun and grabbed Natalie. He then threw Natalie toward John and fired his gun, hitting Jared in the chest. In the hospital, Natalie told Jared that he would be fine, but Jared knew his time was up and flat-lined before a grief-stricken Natalie.
Natalie lashed out at John for blaming Jared for the murders and ultimately causing Jared's death, but later found comfort in John's company. At Jared's funeral, Natalie was horrified when Mitch emerged from Jared's coffin and revealed that all charges against him in California had been dropped. Mitch was taken into custody in Llanview, but Natalie feared that he would walk free. She returned to work at Buchanan Enterprises and had a heated exchange with Kimberly Andrews, Clint's new executive assistant, who claimed to have been hired by Jared before his untimely death. Natalie found a Christmas present Jared had purchased for her, a book of baby names, and a note in which Jared expressed his hope that they would have a child together. Filled with sadness and anger, Natalie took the letter opener off Jared's desk and marched to the police station, where she found John in his office with a handcuffed Mitch. As John's back was turned, Natalie took the letter opener and plunged it into Mitch's chest. Realizing what Natalie had done, John acted quickly to hide the letter opener and planted his own letter opener at the scene, claiming that Mitch had taken it and stabbed himself.
No one that knew Mitch thought he would try to commit suicide, and Brody shared with Jessica his belief that Natalie had stabbed him. To get back at Natalie and John, Mitch named John as his assailant and later arranged for newly elected Mayor Dorian Lord to receive Jared's letter opener, which had his blood and John's fingerprints on it. Natalie admitted to Bo and Nora that she had stabbed Mitch, but after Dorian forced Bo to resign on orders from Mitch, Nora presented evidence that pointed the finger at other suspects, forcing new police commissioner Stanley Lowell to drop the charges against John and drop the case entirely. Natalie admitted to her parents that she had tried to kill Mitch, who was walking free in Llanview, and Viki urged her daughter to not seek revenge again.
After John was arrested on trumped-up charges of assaulting Mitch, John and Brody set up an elaborate ruse to break John out of custody, and Natalie drove the getaway car. The trio searched for Mitch's whereabouts after Mitch kidnapped Jessica, but they ran off the icy road. Brody headed off to search on foot while John freed Natalie, who was pinned beneath the steering wheel, just moments before the van exploded. Natalie and John found shelter in a cabin. Natalie believed that John was her dead husband, Jared, and John went along with it, even to the point of kissing Natalie and telling her that he loved her. When Natalie later came to, she realized what John had done, and John admitted he still had feelings for her. They began kissing again when Marty showed up, having walked a mile in the snow to find them. Marty was angry at John but tried to move past it.
Natalie tried to stay away from John, but they shared another passionate kiss at Llanfair. John indicated to Natalie that he didn't want to give her up. After Bree knocked over Marty's purse, Natalie found a pregnancy test inside that revealed Marty was pregnant. Natalie later congratulated John for getting Marty pregnant, unaware that Marty hadn't yet told him. When John told Natalie he was moving Marty into his apartment because Marty's pregnancy was considered high-risk, Natalie vowed not to get in the way.
Natalie confided in Brody that she still had feelings for John and believed that they would be together if Marty hadn't gotten pregnant. Marty overheard and confronted Natalie, who told Marty point-blank that John wouldn't be with her if not for the baby. Natalie later went to Marty's office to apologize, but Marty blew past Natalie after having a heated argument with Todd. Natalie followed Marty into the hospital stairwell, only to find John leaning over Marty's unconscious body. Marty lost the baby, and Natalie was shocked to learn that someone had pushed Marty down the stairs. After Marty pointed the finger at Natalie, John questioned Natalie, but she denied doing it and was angry at John for even suspecting her.
Natalie decided to move to London, but Roxy convinced her to give John one last chance to choose her over Marty. Natalie wrote a letter telling John to meet her at midnight, or else she was leaving for good, and left the letter on John's desk. Marty intercepted the letter before John could read it, however, and it was past midnight before Marty confessed and showed John the note. A drunken Natalie saw Marty and John kissing, with the open letter in full sight, and figured John had made his choice. She went to Brody's apartment to say goodbye, and a drunken Brody told her that he had just lost Jessica forever after pressuring her to remember that Mitch had nearly raped her.
Natalie and Brody consoled each other and ended up having sex. When Natalie went to the airport to catch her flight, John showed up and told her that Marty had broken up with him, and that the kiss Natalie had witnessed had been a goodbye kiss. John pledged his love to Natalie, and they reunited. Natalie was stunned to learn that Jessica had gotten her memories back the same night Natalie and Brody had sex, and Natalie and Brody agreed not to say anything to Jessica or John about what had happened.
Natalie took back her old job at the Llanview Police Department as a forensics technician, and she and John seemed to be on the right track. But in July 2010, Natalie learned she was about two months pregnant and was unsure if the father was John or Brody. Making matters more complicated, Jessica also had just learned she was expecting. Not wanting to interfere with Jessica and Brody's happiness, and afraid of losing John if the baby turned out to be Brody's, Natalie confided in Gigi that she was considering having an abortion. Natalie later decided to keep the baby, hoping it would turn out to be John's. Natalie told John she was pregnant and asked John to keep the news a secret for the time being, saying she didn't want to jinx the pregnancy.
Natalie told Brody she was pregnant and that the baby could be his. Brody wanted to tell Jessica, but Natalie convinced him to keep quiet or else they would both risk ruining their relationships. Natalie confided in Dr. Vivian Wright that she was unsure who had fathered her baby and learned she would have to wait until later in her pregnancy to get a paternity test performed. Natalie was stunned when Jessica told her that she didn't know if Robert Ford or Brody was the father of her baby, but Natalie continued to hide the truth about her own questionable pregnancy. Brody told Natalie he was struggling to keep the truth from Jessica, but they agreed to keep quiet after Jessica was diagnosed with high blood pressure and put on bed rest.
Natalie was stunned when Greg Evans told her that Téa was alive, and Natalie realized Eli could be holding Téa hostage along with Dani, Starr, and Hope. Natalie raced to the warehouse to tell John about Téa, but Brody wouldn't let her past the security barricades, out of concern for her and the baby. When Natalie later refused to let Marty through the blockade to find Cole, Marty threatened to start asking questions about why Brody was so interested in Natalie's unborn baby. The confrontation took a back seat after Marty learned Cole had been injured in an explosion and ran off to see him. Natalie later found Marty standing near Eli's dead body, and she confessed to having shot him. At the police station, Natalie told Marty the ballistics tests confirmed she was not Eli's shooter and that Cole's fingerprint had been found on the trigger. Marty pleaded with Natalie not to turn over the evidence, saying Cole would be sent away for life, but Natalie came clean to John. Natalie tried to apologize, but Marty lashed out at Natalie and said Natalie would regret ruining Marty's family.
Natalie decided to get a paternity test, and Brody gave her a copy of his genetic profile that she could compare against the baby's. When John called Natalie to find out why she was at the hospital after Marty mentioned she was there, Natalie lied that she was only there to get vitamins. When Brody saw Natalie's name on the sign-in sheet, he went into the exam room and held Natalie's hand as she had the amniocentesis performed. Later, Natalie was stunned when John confronted her about her appointment, saying he had heard from Marty that she'd had an amniocentesis performed. Natalie claimed she'd had the procedure done as a precaution, since John had lost one child already and she wanted to make sure nothing was wrong with the baby. John told Natalie she needed to be honest with him going forward. Later, Marty confronted Natalie and John with a copy of Natalie's medical file regarding the procedure, which she said proved Natalie was a liar. But John refused to look at it, saying he had already talked with Natalie.
Natalie confirmed with Dr. Wright that Marty had most likely stolen the medical file, and Brody revealed that he had surveillance footage showing Marty rifling through Dr. Wright's office and taking the file. Brody and Natalie warned Marty that they would have her medical license revoked if she said anything to John. Natalie was devastated when the test results proved that Brody was the father of her baby. She lied to Brody that John was the father, but confided the truth to Gigi. Natalie later learned from Rex that Marty had a copy of her test results, which proved that Brody was the father of her baby. Natalie pleaded with Marty not to say anything to John and was relieved when Marty relented.
In December 2010, John surprised Natalie by proposing marriage. Natalie quickly agreed, although she worried what Marty would do when she found out they were engaged. John suggested they marry quickly, to get out of the way of the pending nuptials for Jessica and Brody. They secured a courtroom and judge on New Year's Eve and, with Jessica and Brody serving as witnesses, exchanged vows as fireworks exploded in the distance signaling the start to 2011. But moments before the judge could declare them husband and wife, Marty interrupted the ceremony with the intention of telling Jessica the truth.
Jessica began having labor pains and had to go to the hospital before Marty could tell her. During an argument with Natalie, Marty slipped and hit her head, knocking her unconscious. Natalie took Marty to the Buchanan lodge and threatened Marty with a loaded rifle, later explaining that she planned to leave Marty there as Natalie returned to Llanview to tell John the truth about the baby. But then Natalie went into premature labor and was forced to rely on Marty's help to deliver the baby.
When John arrived, Marty presented him with a healthy baby boy but had suffered a psychotic breakdown and believed that the child was the son with John she had lost nearly a year earlier. Natalie took advantage of the situation and told John that Marty had forced her to drive to the lodge and had held her at gunpoint. At the hospital, Marty broke free from the restraints and tried to take off with Natalie's baby, but John intervened and got the baby away from her. Marty was taken to St. Anne's for treatment and Natalie believed that her secret would stay hidden forever. Natalie was overjoyed to learn Jessica had given birth to her own baby the same night. John and Natalie named their baby Liam Asa, while Jessica and Brody named their son Ryder Asa.
John and Natalie prepared to marry on Valentine's Day in a double wedding ceremony with Brody and Jessica. On the day of the wedding, Brody learned that Marty had escaped from St. Anne's and debated telling Jessica the truth, but Natalie begged him to keep it a secret. Before the couples could exchange vows, one of Clint Buchanan's employees interrupted the wedding and announced that he had changed the paternity tests for one of Clint's daughters. The test that was changed was Jessica's, meaning that Ford was the father of her baby, not Brody.
When John realized that Natalie had undergone a paternity test, too, he demanded the truth and forced Natalie to admit that Liam was the result of a one-night stand with Brody. Natalie begged for forgiveness, but John walked out on her, and Jessica raged at Natalie for stealing her life and lying to her. When John didn't return home that night, Natalie tracked him down at a sleazy motel on the outskirts of town. Natalie saw Kelly walking out of the shower, and John acknowledged that he and Kelly had had sex. Natalie was livid and pleaded with John not to throw everything away, but John told her to leave.
Natalie remained hopeful that John would come around, but he refused to acknowledge Liam as his son and sought solace in Kelly's arms. Natalie was unnerved when Marty showed up at Llanfair, supposedly to apologize for her previous actions, and was angry to learn that she had been released from St. Anne's after John vouched for her. Natalie discovered that John still had one of Liam's sonograms and angrily ripped it up, telling him that he could visit and see Liam in person instead of looking at a photograph. Natalie then returned her engagement ring, telling John that they were over. As Jessica escaped into her alter, Tess, Natalie and Brody bonded over Liam and their lost loves.
After discovering that Marty had told her psychiatrist something about Natalie, Natalie stole the tape recording of the session and was shocked to learn that Marty had switched Liam's paternity tests and that John was the father of Natalie's baby. Natalie raced to the Angel Square Motel to tell John but instead found Marty on the roof, planning an intimate dinner for her and John. Natalie told Marty that she knew the truth, and Marty then came after her with a bloody knife that she had just used on Kelly. The two struggled and Marty slipped off the roof, hanging on for dear life. Natalie pulled her to freedom, only to have Marty push her off the roof. Natalie fell three stories but an awning broke her fall, so she survived with only a few broken ribs. However, Natalie had temporary amnesia and couldn't remember having listened to the tape recording. Natalie was frantic when she learned that Marty had disappeared with Liam. Liam eventually was found unharmed in Todd Manning's pool house, but Marty managed to leave the country undetected.
Natalie and Brody bonded over their connection to Liam as Jessica continued to escape into the mind of her various alternate personalities. Natalie flirted at a reconciliation with John, but after a brief kiss he let her know he couldn't get past the fact that she had a child with another man. As Brody gave up hope of ever getting Jessica back, Natalie decided that they should pursue a relationship. After a passionate night of love making, Natalie and Brody were shocked when Jessica barged into the bedroom and found them in bed together. Jessica lashed out at them, but Brody and Natalie blamed her for allowing Tess to come out and thinking that nothing would change. Jessica was devastated when Natalie and Brody decided to pursue a relationship, even though she was back, and move in together.
Natalie grew frustrated at not being able to remember what happened on the roof with Marty. She knew they were arguing over the tape she had stolen, but she couldn't remember what was on the tape and why she had raced to see John after listening to it. The tape recorder surfaced after Gigi's untimely death, but the tape had been wiped clean. Natalie gave the tape to Delphina, who told her that her Uncle Todd knew what was on the tape. Natalie told Brody about Delphina's reading and Brody talked her out of confronting him, although later Brody admitted to Natalie that he confronted her uncle and he claimed to know nothing about the tape.
Brody surprised Natalie with a sudden marriage proposal. Natalie was still harboring feelings for John, however, and went to Rodi's to see him. But when she got there, she overheard John tell Roxy that he didn't love Natalie anymore. Natalie rushed back to their house and told Brody she would marry him. When Jessica learned about the proposal, she and Natalie got into a brutal fight that left both of them injured. Jessica later apologized to Natalie and Brody and wished them well. The family was stunned when a man bearing Todd's original face surfaced and claimed to be the real Todd Manning; later it was explained that the man everyone believed was Todd was actually Todd's twin brother, Victor Jr. After Victor Jr. was killed, his secretary told Natalie that he and Brody had gotten into an argument shortly before his death. Natalie kept the news to herself but John later learned about the altercation. Brody's gun was tested and proven not to be the murder weapon, and Natalie breathed a quiet sigh of relief.
Natalie agreed to let her Aunt Tina serve as her maid of honor. Tina questioned whether Natalie was really in love with Brody but Natalie insisted that she was over John. The day before the wedding, Jessica told Natalie that a DNA test proved that John was Liam's father. But Natalie refused to believe her after Jessica was unable to produce the evidence. As the wedding was underway, Tina burst into the church with a copy of baby Liam's DNA test results, which her dog had found among Victor Jr.'s possessions. The results proved that Liam was John's son, not Brody's. Brody admitted that he had known since hearing Marty's confession on the tape recorder and pleaded with Natalie to forgive him, but Natalie called off the wedding and raced to tell John the news. Natalie stopped John just before he was about to board a plane for Seattle and told John that he was Liam's father. John was overjoyed and they went to Llanfair to see Liam, only to discover that Brody had knocked out Nigel and kidnapped the baby. John and Natalie tracked Brody down at his family's home in Michigan, and Brody agreed to return the baby. John was happy to be a father, but Natalie refused to forgive him for failing to admit that he still loved her and not stopping her wedding to Brody.
After Gigi turned up alive, John and Natalie realized that they were squabbling over nothing and the two shared a long-overdue reunion. Natalie was kidnapped by Mitch Laurence, who had escaped from jail during a mass prison break, and Jessica agreed to meet Mitch so he would let Natalie go. John shot Mitch after he refused to release Natalie. When Mitch came to and tried to tackle John, Natalie fired several rounds into Mitch, killing him once and for all. Natalie and Jessica made their peace after both Viki and Clint suffered near-death experiences at the hands of Allison Perkins, who shocked the family by revealing that Jessica was Clint's biological child after all.
In March 2012, John traveled to Port Charles, N.Y., on the hunt for Todd Manning, who had skipped bail on charges of killing his brother Victor and gone to see his daughter Starr after learning that her boyfriend Cole and their daughter Hope had been killed in a car accident in Port Charles. As the months wore on, John remained in Port Charles and developed a close relationship with a private detective named Sam Morgan. John and Sam kissed on one drunken night, but quickly decided that their relationship could go no further because they were both in love with other people. A woman working for Todd Manning took a picture of the kiss and gave it to Todd, who mailed it to Natalie. When John returned home to Llanview, he found the picture and discovered that Natalie had taken their son and left him. Natalie filed a restraining order to keep John from coming anywhere near her or Liam. John took a permanent job in Port Charles as a police officer, hoping to strengthen his case for paternal rights.