Sam Bennett is the elder son of former Harmony police chief and his wife. He grew up in Harmony, where his best friend was T.C. Russell. In his teens, he met a young woman named Ivy Crane. The two began a relationship, and Sam took a summer job on her father's boats to save money for a life together. Unfortunately, her father didn't think he would be a good match for his daughter, and kept the two from keeping in contact. Believing he didn't care, Ivy married Julian Crane just weeks after he left town. Upon learning that Julian was forced to marry her, Ivy ran to Sam, and they became lovers on her wedding night. She promised to run away with him, but when her father gave her an ultimatum (money or Sam), she chose the money, and left for her honeymoon with Julian.
After Ivy betrayed him, Sam left Harmony for a number of years. He went to Boston, where, a few years later, he saved a young woman from a fire. They knew nothing about her. A piece of paper with the word 'Grace' on it decided her name. After a whirlwind courtship, the two wed. They soon returned home to Harmony, to move into the house next door to Tabitha Lenox, a woman who had lived next door to Sam's family since before he was born. (It is unknown what happened to his parents but presumably Hank, who was born only a few years before Sam married Grace, lived with them.) Three children soon followed -- a son, Noah, followed a few years later by a daughter, Kay, and a few years later by another daughter, Jessica. Then Grace was told she could have no more children.
Grace and Sam had over twenty very happy years together, until one day, Sam ran into his first love, Ivy. Although he was no longer in love with her and had moved on with Grace, Ivy refused to accept that. She began arranging accidental meetings, forcing her attentions on him. It got to where one of her schemes almost resulted in Grace's death. On the night of her son, Ethan's, engagement party, Sam learned a shocking secret that Ivy had kept from him since their night together more than twenty-five years earlier -- the Crane heir Ethan was actually his son! He barely had time to digest this information when he learned that his wife, Grace, who they had just discovered was pregnant again, fell down the stairs, putting her miracle pregnancy in jeopardy. Grace lost her baby, and when she learned that Charity was sucked into Hell, she blamed both things on Sam.
Luckily for Sam, his wife forgave him when he was able to prove to him that his past with Ivy was in the past. The two were planning for their new house, and to enjoy the rest of their lives together, when David Hastings appeared on the scene, soon followed by a son John, and some convenient proof that he was Grace's husband, and John her son. Sam had been suspicious from day one, but had no idea that Ivy was so obsessed with him that she had hired this man to ruin not only his life, but the lives of his wife and children as well. Seeing Grace's distress, Sam has determined that she truly wants David, and after he caught them in bed together, he decided it was well and truly over.
Grace and Sam were able to make it through that event, because Grace explained that David was ill. Sam thought they were getting everything back on track, not realising that his daughter Kay and ex-girlfriend Ivy were working to destroy his family. Grace was forced to choose between her first love, David, and her second love, Sam, and Grace finally chose to honor the vows she made before God to be with David. Grace inevitably left town with David, which drew Ivy and Sam closer together, and it wasn't long before Ivy was esconced in Sam's home as his lover. Sam and Ivy nearly broke up when Sam learned that Ivy knew his daughter Jessica was sneaking out and partying but had kept quiet, but eventually the two found their way back together and got engaged.