“Never have two lovers been, more meant to be as one; to find a way to cast aside, the wrongs that life has done. A desperate life of lone remorse, was all that lay ahead, until the time that she appeared, a dancing, lady in red. He wasn’t just what others saw; he had dreams so long denied. And with a strength and sweetness, she unmasked the man inside. Her spirit overwhelmed him, her beauty made him weak. How could he ever possess her love, find the words so hard to speak? But life is filled with wonder, and together their future will be. For their love is ever growing, a thing of destiny” ~Poem by Allison J Waldman, Published in Soap Opera Update
Five year old “Stevie” Johnson had attempted to kill his father Duke by setting his bed on fire; Stevie just wanted to protect his mother (Jo) who was battered by Duke every night. Jo knew that Duke would hurt Steve too if things didn’t change. For his protection, she left Steve and his baby brother Billy up for adoption. At the orphanage, Steve vowed to always protect Billy, no matter what.
Not long after, Billy was adopted. Steve was left all alone at the orphanage and made a friend that he protected from the bullies- Marcus Hunter. Steve was never adopted- he lived at the orphanage until he was a teenager, later joining the Merchant Marine, where he became great friends with Bo Brady.
Kayla grew up in the happy, stable Brady family home; Roman was her eldest brother and Kimberly her older sister. Bo was her baby brother. She was a feisty, compassionate and happy child and her family was beloved in Salem. Her family told stories of how she would take in stray animals, and was always looking out for anyone in need. As a young adult she left Salem to go to nursing school in Cleveland, after failed relationships with Chris Kositchek and David Banning.
The Steve and Kayla Story: 1985- 1990
Steve Johnson arrived in Salem in 1985, seeking revenge against his former Merchant Marine buddy, Bo Brady, who was responsible for Steve losing his eye several years earlier. The two best friends had both fallen in love with Britta England, who turned out to be a Soviet spy. Britta tricked Bo and Steve into getting matching dagger tattoos which turned out to be clues leading to a stash of treasury bonds hidden in Stockholm. She manipulated both men and ended up turning them against each other- until one night, when Bo caught Steve and Britta in bed together and flew into a jealous rage. The result was Steve losing his eye.
Bo was living in Salem and working as a private investigator when he discovered that Savannah Wilder’s video cassette business was actually a front for Victor Kiriakis’ drug smuggling business. Afraid Bo was about to reveal what he knew, Savannah hired a one-eyed man named Steve Johnson to come to town and terrorize Bo and Hope. For a period of time, Steve did just that but in the end was unable to follow through with killing them.
Meanwhile, Kayla Brady was living in Cleveland, working as a nurse, when Steve was hired by Emma Marshall to stalk her and scare her into moving back to Salem. Emma was afraid that Kayla would discover the secret about her sister Kimberly’s kidnapped baby. (Evil Emma had put the baby, Andrew, up for adoption on the black market, and Kayla was unknowingly working for a doctor that was involved in Emma’s scheme). Emma wanted Kayla as far away from Cleveland, and Andrew, as possible. Steve was still determined to seek revenge against Bo, so he was more than happy to terrorize Bo’s beloved sister. (Steve did not know anything about Emma’s plot to kidnap Andrew)
Steve made harassing phone calls and broke into Kayla’s apartment, spray painting the walls and spying on her. Kayla (who never saw her stalker) was terrified and soon returned to Salem, accepting an offer from Dr. Horton to run the Riverfront Emergency Center. Once in Salem, Steve started showng up wherever she went and continued to taunt her; Kayla saw him as a nuisance at first, but as time went on she saw different sides of him that intrigued her.
Bo found out that he was Victor’s son through an affair between his mother and Victor. Bo (and Steve) began working for Victor at Allied shipping, where most of the employees resented the boss’s son. Some of those employees arranged for Bo to be trapped behind some giant crates, in danger of being crushed by a forklift. Steve happened to walk by and see what was happening. He jumped on top of the crates and managed to pull Bo out, just in the nick of time.
Steve hit his head as well, but ignored his own injury as he took Bo to the Emergency Center for treatment (his leg was hurt). It was there that Steve began to feel dizzy and eventually collapsed in Kayla’s arms. She realized that he had risked his life to save Bo, and even though she was still infuriated by his cocky attitude, she couldn’t help but admire his selfless act.
Steve once again put up the front of being an arrogant jerk, and Kayla continued to be frustrated by his behavior. Shortly after, Steve was badly beaten by some of Victor’s thugs and Kayla found him incoherent and bleeding. He refused to go to the hospital so she took him back to his apartment and proceeded to take care of him. While she was cleaning his face she told him she would need to remove his patch in order to finish and Steve begged her not to. She talked to him in a soothing voice and convinced him it would be okay. For the first time, Steve let someone see behind his patch and he was visibly moved by Kayla’s caring touch and the fact that she “didn’t even flinch.”
Both Steve and Kayla started to see each other in a new light, and what began simply as a good girl/bad boy soap romance soon grew more complex, and developed into a classic supercouple saga that the daytime audience would never forget.
Steve had made a bad reputation for himself as a thug in Salem, thanks to his jobs with Kiriakis and Emma Marshall, not to mention his history with Bo, and his attitude; Kayla’s friends and family warned her to stay away from him, but despite her best efforts…there was something about him she couldn’t turn away from.
Their first months getting to know each other included going on the run/escaping from thugs disguised as cops, as well as traveling to Stockholm along with Roman, Bo, Hope and Shane, in an attempt to rescue Marlena ,who had been kidnapped by Orpheus. By the end of 1986, Steve and Kayla shared some close moments, including their first kiss; they began developing a close bond. On New Years Eve, Kayla found out Steve was her stalker in Cleveland, and she emotionally confronted him; later the revelation of the truth actually brought them closer together, as Steve had little else to hide.
In 1987 a woman named Adrienne started to work with Kayla at the emergency center. Steve soon discovered that Adrienne was his little sister, whom he had never known. Steve saw his mother Jo, a battered wife, for the first time since she gave him up for adoption at age 5. Duke raped (virgin) Adrienne and she shot him in self defense. Steve tried to cover for her, since she had no memory of the traumatic event; he took the blame for the shooting and went on trial. Eventually he was cleared.
Kayla slowly learned how tragic and lonely Steve’s childhood had been, and they grew closer. However Steve still couldn’t bring himself to admit how much he cared about her and put up his walls.
Kayla’s old friend Jack Deveraux arrived in town with his father, Senator Harper Deveraux and stepmother Angelica. Jack was suffering from Hodgkin’s Disease and his father hired Kayla as his private nurse. Jack still had feelings for Kayla.
Steve and Kayla went on the run after he was set up for shooting Harper Deveraux. As he was about to be cleared of all charges, Steve and Kayla made love for the first time, on the rooftop of her loft. Steve admitted to Kayla how much he loved her.
Right before Steve was going to propose to Kayla, Jo and Steve learned Jack was actually Jo’s other son, but didn’t tell Jack. Steve knew Jack needed incentive to fight for his life and encouraged Kayla to spend time with him. Desperate to save his brother, Steve dumped Kayla so that she would give Jack a will to live. Kayla married Jack out of sympathy, and because she thought her relationship with Steve was really over this time. It worked- Jack got better.
Thinking Kayla had found the adoption papers that proved Jack wasn’t his biological son, Harper poisoned Kayla. Steve discovered the crime, and kidnapped her from the Deveraux mansion. She ran away when Steve tried to convince her that Harper had done it. She collapsed on the docks, but was found and saved by a quirky scientist. Marcus and Steve found her and made sure she recovered.
Steve told Kayla the truth- that he had given her up to give Jack a will to live. They agreed that she would go back to Jack until his run for political office was over, and then she would ask for a divorce.
When Jack was sent pictures of Steve and Kayla kissing, he was forced out of denial: Kayla still loved Steve. Enraged, Jack raped Kayla and had his goons beat Steve up.
Steve and Kayla went off to the mountains to be together. They had a symbolic wedding in the snow. Later, Kayla told Steve that Jack had raped her. Jack had his goons beat Steve up again, and they left him for dead in a ditch. Meanwhile, Jack kidnapped Kayla and took her back to the loft (where he had raped her). Steve made it out of the ditch, and tried to rescue Kayla. He fought with Jack on the roof. During the struggle, Jack fell from the roof. In order to save Jack’s life, Steve donated a kidney.
Kayla pressed charges against Jack, but accepted a settlement. She then filed for divorce, though Jack would not sign on the dotted line. He wanted to make Steve and Kayla as miserable as possible. He even tried to take down the Community center where Steve and Kayla worked, and tried to destroy their reputations.
Kayla was attacked by the “Riverfront Knifer” in the basement of her apartment building. When Kayla tried to escape, the killer tripped over a can of gasoline, causing the basement to explode (Harper Deveraux was later revealed to be the Riverfront Knifer). Steve came to the rescue. Kayla was left deaf and mute and had no recollection of what had happened. She and Steve learned sign language.
Kayla had surgery to repair her hearing, but she still couldn’t speak. After surgery, she accepted Steve’s proposal. During their wedding ceremony, Kayla regained her speech in time to say, “I do.”
Steve and Kayla honeymooned in the Orient and found a lost deaf boy named Benjy. When they couldn’t find his parents they brought him back to Salem. Steve received a message from Benjy’s mother, Ellen, telling them to hide Benjy from his evil father, Stefano. She was later found dead. Benjy was returned to his grandfather, Orion, and they left for Europe.
Steve found Nick Corelli, who had been badly burned in an accident and was unrecognizable. Steve took pity on the burned man, because he knew what it was like to be isolated from the world because of physical scars.
Nick appreciated Steve and Kayla’s kindness so much; he gave them an old mansion he owned. When Steve and Kayla moved to the mansion, they found an old chest of civil war uniforms, and a previous tenant’s diary…the diary of Emily Matthews. It told of her love story with a man named Gideon Wyatt during the civil war. The two were on opposing sides of the war, but fell in love anyway. As Steve and Kayla read the diary, Stephen and Mary Beth played the parts of Emily and Gideon in *flashback* scenes.
Steve’s best friend Marcus started having flashbacks of his childhood in South Carolina and was drawn back to find out what happened there. When a religious revival troupe came to Salem, Marcus knew they had some connection to his past. Steve and Kayla traveled with Marcus (on location scenes) to South Carolina to find out the truth about his past. They brought along the Emily and Gideon diary, and the love story continued on location in South Carolina.
They discovered that the religious revival troupe was a scam, and Steve went undercover to investigate the organization. To do this, he had plastic surgery to put in a glass eye. He took on the identity of Daniel Lucas.
Not long after his work there was done, Steve’s ex-wife (who Kayla did not know about) came to Salem. Marina Toscano made it clear she wanted Steve back, but she also wanted a secret treasure her mother had left behind.
Steve and Kayla were estranged when she found out about Marina. Steve agreed to help Marina find the key that would lead her to the treasure if she would leave him and Kayla alone. They went to Italy to find the key. Meanwhile, Kayla found out she was pregnant. She went to Italy to tell Steve, and caught him in what she thought was an intimate moment with Marina. She returned home to Salem.
Steve got in a fight aboard a yacht in Italy, a fight over the key for the Toscano family treasure. In the fight his eye was re-injured. This time the glass eye could not be replaced, and he put the patch back on.
Steve and Kayla’s marriage went through hard times, but slowly they found their way back to each other.
Kayla was kidnapped by Victor, who also wanted the key, but was soon rescued. Steve and Kayla planned to remarry. Marina was found murdered. During the ceremony, Kayla was arrested for murdering Marina.
During the trial, Kayla gave birth to Stephanie Kay. Soon after giving birth, Kayla was convicted and sent to prison.
Stephanie was kidnapped by the nanny Steve had hired, and Kayla escaped prison to search for her. Isabella remembered killing Marina, her sister, accidentally in self defense (clearing Kayla’s name). Steve and Kayla, along with Bo, found Stephanie in Australia and returned to Salem.
Steve and Kayla remarried.
Tragically, Steve was caught in an explosion meant for Bo. He was badly injured, but recovered. Someone put something in his IV, and he flat-lined. At his funeral, the coffins were switched…and no one but the viewing audience saw it happen.
Kayla went on to have a failed romance with Shane Donovan, her ex brother in law, and then left for California with Stephanie Kay in 1992.
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