She was the product of a love affair between one of the most popular supercouples in soap opera history — not just on Days of Our Lives. While her parents were do-gooders — dad Shane Donovan was an agent with the International Security Alliance and her mom, Kimberly Brady, a therapist — Jeannie Theresa was a schemer of the highest order, no doubt taking a page out of big (half) sister Eve’s playbook.
Although she was only onscreen a relatively short period of time, Theresa certainly left an indelible mark on the memory of Days of Our Lives viewers — thanks in no small part to actress Jen Lilley’s truly inspired performance.
In the Beginning
Jeannie “Caroline” Donovan (later retconned Theresa) was born on September 3, 1990, but Kim’s excitement at welcoming her baby girl was tempered due to the fact that Jeannie’s paternity was in question.
In her heart of hearts, Kim believed that Shane was the father but ne’er-do-well Cal Winters – a man who had terrorized Kim and committed murder — was also a potential papa.
Blood tests and a confession proved Kim’s suspicions correct and she, Shane, and Jeannie made the move from Salem to California. Proving that she acquired her taste for bad men early in life, a teenage Theresa fell in love with a man named Mateo whom she learned was a murderous drug baron.
Years later, Jeanie “Theresa” returned to Salem and immediately established a rapport with JJ Deveraux after learning he could keep her supplied with marijuana and other illegal substances. In a bit of irony, she would end up working for JJ’s mother Jennifer at Salem University Hospital.
Theresa’s use of recreational drugs continued to escalate and she overdosed on ecstasy one night while sharing a romantic clinch with JJ. Her parents attempted to force her to return to Los Angels but Theresa refused, but Shane and Kimberly relented on the condition that Theresa attends Narcotics Anonyms meetings.
While there, Theresa made the acquaintance of Brady Black, a fellow addict who had no intention of going straight. For the next few weeks, the twosome engaged in a dangerous cycle of co-dependent anarchy where they indulged in their craving for booze, pills, and sex.
Later, Theresa managed to convince Brady to marry her in a Vegas chapel — though it wasn’t hard considering the groom was drunk. Upon returning home, Theresa was greeted by her new father-in-law, John Black, whom she hit upside the head with a fireplace poker when he got her on tape promising to divorce Brady in exchange for a million-dollar payoff.
Not surprisingly, a sober Brady divorced Theresa when the whole sordid mess came to light but she thought she had another golden opportunity to get her man when a pregnancy test came back positive.
However, a second test was negative. A confused Theresa had no idea that a crazed Kristen DiMera had worked with a shady doctor to remove Theresa’s embryo and have it implanted inside of her!
A Final Adventure
In time, the truth about Theresa’s baby was exposed and after a battle with Kristen, the baby was returned to his rightful mother. Theresa and Brady lived with baby Tate and played happy family for a time, but Theresa was forced to suddenly leave town when Mateo tracked her down.
Theresa was imprisoned by her ex (in exchange for his letting her family live) alongside another familiar Salemite: Chloe Lane. Xander Cooke, who once was a violent threat to her life suddenly turned good and helped Theresa escape.
When she returned home, she found that Brady had moved on with Eve so Theresa initiated a particularly nasty custody battle and wound up with custody of Tate. Mother and son exited Salem and headed back to California so Theresa could care for her mother, whose leukemia had returned. Days of Our Lives airs weekdays NBC. Check your local listings for airtimes.