Throughout soap opera history, there have been spoiled, wealthy women who do as they please. They don’t often mature into loving, matriarchs, but that’s just what Vanessa Chamberlain (played to perfection by Daytime Emmy winner Maeve Kinkead) from Guiding Light did.
Vanessa made the scene in Springfield in 1980 along with her father, Henry Chamberlain, whom she loved deeply. She reconnected with ex-flame Ross Marler and dissed his love interest “Little Evie” Stapleton. Vanessa went to visit Ross wearing nothing but a fur coat but failed to re-win his heart.
She impulsively faked a suicide attempt and became involved with Dr. Ed Bauer, who helped save her life. Alas, Vanessa’s duplicity ended her budding romance with Ed and later, her fling with blue-collar Tony Reardon.
Bastards And Billy
Vanessa learned that Henry had had an illegitimate son, Sean AKA Quinton McCord. Initially, she felt displaced, but she eventually grew to accept her brother. Next, Vanessa fell for oilman Billy Lewis, but Alan hired Billy’s ex-wife, Reva, to come to Springfield to break them up so he could have Vanessa for himself. Reva switched sides and Billy and Vanessa had an impromptu marriage ceremony at the country club during a party honoring Alexandra Spaulding.
Babies And Dolls
Vanessa had Billy’s son and wanted to name him Christopher, but then acquiesced to Billy’s wish that his son continues his name – Harlan Billy Lewis, III. Overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood, Vanessa got hooked on pills and accidentally backed her car over a pregnant Reva.
Later, Vanessa remembered she’d caused Reva’s miscarriage. Vanessa got sober and asked Ross to help defend Billy from an attempted murder charge. Soon, Vanessa was reunited with Dinah, the lovechild she had with Ross Marler. Billy and Vanessa divorced. A year later, Vanessa broke her engagement to Alan, and she and Little Billy joined Billy in Venezuela.
The Next Act
Vanessa came back to Springfield and Guiding Light when she and her father became involved in shenanigans at Spaulding. Reva’s death threw Billy’s life into a tailspin. He blew off re-marrying Vanessa and, instead, married opportunist Nadine Cooper. Still, Billy supported Vanessa after her pal Maureen Bauer died in a car wreck and proved bad guy Jack Kiley once tried to rape her.
The Peter Principle
Billy and Vanessa re-married and adopted little Peter, the son of Hart Jessup and Bridget Reardon. Billy went to jail for shooting Roger while Vanessa and Bridget eventually agreed to share custody. Next, Vanessa shared a secret romance with Matt Reardon, Bridget’s brother, but she didn’t care who knew after she saw that Matt had survived a fire on Fifth Street.
Dinah, Poison, And Matt’s Past
Vanessa was furious at Dinah for marrying Roger and staging her own kidnapping. Matt and Vanessa wed, but the honeymoon was short after Matt’s past as a callboy came to light. But Matt was there for Vanessa after Henry died. Next, a dying Vanessa faked her death and moved away to spare Matt additional pain. She went into remission and returned home to Matt.
Matt and a pregnant Vanessa argued over her carrying her baby to term, fearing it would cause her disease to return. Fortunately, Vanessa gave birth to a healthy baby girl she named Maureen after her late friend — Matt’s aunt. Matt’s feelings for Beth Raines caused friction in his marriage to Vanessa. After Dinah accidentally killed Hart, Vanessa sent her daughter to a convent in Europe.
Vanessa left town in order to aid a pregnant Dinah, who later miscarried. Vanessa returned many times to Springfield for events including Josh and Reva’s wedding and for Ross’s funeral. Vanessa and Matt had a final split over money.
Billy re-entered her life and the two wed at the country club, surrounded by family and friends – the sophisticated businesswoman and the brash oilman were once again husband and wife on Guiding Light.