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Melissa stars as "Jennifer Horton" on NBC's soap opera "Days Of Our Lives". Reeves initially dreamed of dancing professionally and commuted into New York City to study dance with Phil Black. She studied theatre at the prestigious Lee Strasberg Institute in Manhattan and soon landed roles in the HBO movie “Somewhere Tomorrow” and the after-school special “The Lakeside High Experiment.” Her first foray into daytime television was on NBC's “Another World.” Landing the role of Jade Perkins on “Santa Barbara” was Reeves's first contract job on a daytime drama. Reeves relocated to Los Angles and graduated from high school while appearing on “Santa Barbara,” but after only one year on the show, she was released from her contract when the Perkins family was written off the canvas. In September of 1985, one month after leaving “Santa Barbara,” she landed the role of Jennifer Horton on “Days of our Lives,” a role which earned her four Soap Opera Awards and a place among television's most beloved heroines. Reeves met her husband, actor Scott Reeves, when he joined the cast of “Days” in 1988. The couple became engaged one month later and they married on March 23, 1990. In 1999, both the Reeves starred in the made-for-television film “Half a Dozen Babies,” which told the real story of the Dilley family and their six little blessings. Scott, who previously starred as Ryan on “The Young and the Restless,” and Melissa currently reside in the San Fernando Valley with their daughter, Emily, and their son, Larry. The Reeves have a menagerie of pets, which includes two dogs named Grace and Coco. Reeves likes to unwind by quilting, sewing, and painting. Melissa was born on March 14, 1967, in New Jersey.
Five Years After A Bitter Breakup, Missy Reeves & Days Kiss & Make Up
In 1995, Melissa Reeves abruptly left DAYS OF OUR LIVES, citing personal reasons. Corday Productions sued Reeves for breaking her contract; the matter was settled out of court and Executive Producer Ken Corday donated the money to pediatric AIDS research. Now, Reeves is back and, according to Corday, there are no hard feelings. "It was five years ago," he shrugs. "It's in the past, bygones be bygones, on we go."
"I feel like the luckiest girl in the world right now," declares Melissa Reeves about her return to Salem. "It has been unbelievable since the first day I've been back. It feels like going home"
DAYS was home for Reeves from 1985- 95, where her portrayal of Jennifer Horton made her one of soaps' most popular sweethearts. But her sudden exit from the show, which left DAYS in the lurch and the actress at the epicenter of unwanted controversy, threatened to bust up the marriage of one of soaps' most beloved characters and the actress who was born to play her.
It turns our, however, that time really can heal all wounds. After five years of being a full-time mom (Reeves has a daughter Emily, 8, and a son, Lawrence, now 3), Reeves was ready to return to daytime and Days was thrilled to have her.
"[My husband] Scott [ex-Reeves, Ryan, YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS] and I had been throwing it back and forth for a little bit and I thought, 'I feel good. I feel like I want to go back to work,' she explains. "It was definitely in the back of my mind that I would call DAYS and if they said no, we would come up with something else and see what happens. I was just so happy that when I called, they said yes, and everything sort of fell into place.
Corday was surprised when he got the call. "I was floored," he confesses. "The last time we spoke was about a year ago when I called and she said she wasn't interested at the time. She finally made a decision to come back to DAYS. I said, 'It sounds good to me,' but I wanted to talk to Tom [Langan, executive producer/head writer]. He thought about it a little and said, 'There's a way of doing this.'
Langan's brainstorm: Plug Reeves into a storyline that was already in the works. "We had a new character in place, a mysterious woman in a mysterious place," Corday reveals. "We thought we could just put Jennifer in this place because it would fit what's gone on in the past with Jennifer. The first time we see her, she is with her daughter, but her husband has left."
There will be other changes, too, says the exec. "We won't see just the sweet, little, vanilla girl-next-door," he previews. "There's more to her character now, having been left by her husband, for lack of a better word. There's some anger and bitterness there. I'm happy because as you'll see in the next year or so, it will open up certain relationships in ways you wouldn't expect them to be opened up."
Reeves admits it wasn't the storyline that lured her back to DAYS. "I kind of left it in their hands," she says. "They've been doing this for more time than I have. It's my job to make it work and hopefully, that will happen. I'm so excited." As for Jennifer coming back without Jack, Reeves notes, "It wouldn't make sense if they brought us back happy. It would be sort of uneventful."
Surprisingly, Reeves's return wasn't as eventful as she expected. "That's the weird thing; it doesn't feel like I ever left," she muses. "It was such a nice, comforting feeling and everyone was so welcoming. It was so not deserved, but so very kind."
Corday is hoping to get the same support from the fans. "Let me be honest with you: The fan curiosity factor will be good for a few weeks," he said. "After that, if the story isn't as good as I know it will be, they won't stay. Tom knows that, so his focus is to keep her in story, not just have her standing around."
Melissa Reeves: Better Than Ever
They're not linked romantically on-screen (yet), But Days of Our Lives's Melissa Reeves (Jennifer) and Matthew Ashford (Jack) are re-creating that old Salem Magic.
When Melissa Reeves and Matthew Ashford were paired in 1989, it seemed like an unconventional union. She was the Salem sweetheart; he was a former rapist with a silly side. Nevertheless, their romance was a hit with the viewers. Ashford left DAYS in 1993 and Reeves followed in 1995, but the duo was reunited on-screen in February, 2001. Suddenly, everything old is new again in Salem.
Digest: What was it like to work together again?
Matthew Ashford: It felt the same.
Melissa Reeves: As though no time had passed. It was kind of weird!
Digest: Do you think Jack and Jennifer are still meant to be together?
MA:: Yes. But in what way?
Digest: It's interesting because you are together, but not romantically. Ashford: But then you could also redefine what is romance at the certain point. Half the time they're at each other's throats.
MR: I think that's Jack and Jen's romance. They have turmoil.
MA: I think when we were working on the paper together, we were romantically involved, but we never physically touched or anything like that. There was a romance to the moment. It's in the way something is written -- there's something going on. There's an excitement in the air. It isn't just candlelight and flowers. There's romance in adventure and romance in mystery.
MR: I love that, it's like in the old movies. But it takes more of your skill in acting to make that work. It's such a challenge.
MA: There has to be a connection and something going on all the time. There are a lot of opportunities for that. I think there were times in the past when people thought that I was I wasn't connected to Missy or Jennifer, but I knew where we were coming from.
Digest: Fans call you the "real" Jack and Jennifer. It didn't seem the same when other actors played your roles.
MR: That is so sweet!
MA: We heard that a lot at the fan club weekend [last year]. It's nice that they think that.
Digest: Has Jack changed?
MA: He believes that he is already different. If not, he's going to be different. Jennifer has said to him, "If there were some terrible thing, I know you'd be there." Jack even says, "I'd risk anything for you." These are the kind of lines that I wouldn't have been able to say not too long ago. Now I'm saying them because I want her to remember them.
MR: So, one day he won't have to say them again.
MA: If Jack had to have anybody guarding his right, I think he'd want Jennifer because he can't always put it into words, but he trusts her and has that kind of connection. "Love me or hate me, we have that understanding." It's better to show that to the audience than having to explain it. Just let them see it.
Digest: Jack and Jen reached a turning point when J.T. nearly died last year. Did you feel the same way?
MA: Yes, Jennifer saw a side of Jack that was disconcerting because they're in a different place in their lives, and I think Jack saw the same thing. He saw her level of courage in what she was trying to do. You see things, and it's exciting and scary, and it raises those stakes.
MR: I stressed Scott [Reeves, ex-Ryan, Y&R, her husband] out so bad during those scenes. I was flipping. I had to do something that I've never experienced in my life and make it work. He said, "Oh, honey, that's why they give you those things because they know you'll make it work." I said "That's what you're supposed to say!" He got points for that one. But there is the pressure to perform and to make people say, "Okay, this is why we pay them," or get out.
MA: You've got to sell the stuff.
MR: You've got to earn your keep.
MA: It's exciting because everything pinpoints on that. MR: It's fun for us, too. I love doing all the crazy stuff.... Remember the train wreck, where we were all wrapped in those wool blankets? I love that adventure stuff. I could do that every week.
MA: Just pull that train out of retirement.
MR: I love all that crazy adventure stuff and disguises and accents -- it's so fun. We've been lucky to have such great stories.
Digest: How do Jack and Jennifer live such a nice life with no paychecks coming?
MA: I think that there's a little bit of trust fund money that Jennifer's been living on because we've got this house.... MR: We always have enough means to get by.
Digest: Missy, should Jen get a job?
MR: I told Kristian [Alfonso, Hope] that I want to do CHARLIE'S ANGELS with her.
MA: They've got the shoes and the boots.
MR: We're always in our heels and our sleek pants, and we would be girl detectives. Bo and Jack wouldn't know where we are at night, and we're out getting in trouble and totally blowing the case. Kristian and I have it all thought out in our heads.
Digest: What's the best thing being here?
MA: Working with her,
MR: Yeah, working with him, and wardrobe and makeup and hair are the best.
MA: It sets a pretty high bar, though, because then you leave and think....
MR: What am I gonna do at home? My clothes are ugly. My makeup is ugly. I really do.... I feel so at home here. I love it.
MA: So many people have been here for many years and they're comfortable enough to say something that they appreciate in a scene.
MR: The goal is to make the crew react because they see us every day. If anyone is sick of listening to us, it's them. So, when they laugh or go, "Good scene," you're like, "Yeah!" You must've been good because they actually watched.
Melissa Reeves: Getting Personal
An interview with Melissa Reeves (Jennifer Horton) on why Jennifer finds the path to true love so difficult. The Jack and Jenn fans will like this one. Why?
SOD: Is there someone in Salem who is her match?
Oh, yea. I'm sure that Jack is. I think Jack will always be the perfect man for Jennifer, once they grow up a little and turn into adults.
You'd think smart, attractive singles wouldn't need any help landing a date, but some of soaps' most eligible characters stand a better chance of getting arrested than getting some action. Fortunately, they can count on the matchmakers at Digest to improve their romantic odds with personal ads that tell it like it is.
Singular Sensation : Jennifer Horton (Melissa Reeves)
Sweet-yet-adventurous single mom with strong family ties looking for stable man with a life plan to spend her days with. Must have a solid career and good sense of humor. Doughnut lovers a plus. Wishy-washy Aussie/Irishmen need not apply.
Desperately Seeking Somebody- with Melissa Reeves
SOD: What makes Jennifer a good catch?
MR: She comes from a close family, and that's always a good thing. I think she's sincere in her motives and actions, and she has a great daughter!
SOD: What romantic advice would you give Jennifer?
At this point, Jennifer needs to talk to her grandma Alice because she is getting a little out of sorts. I don't know what's going on with her. She's doing things that Jennifer would never do. Grandma needs to get her going in a new direction.
SOD: What is Jennifer's idea of a perfect date? What's yours?
She would like a romantic night, of course, but she would probably like it if something went wrong out of human error because that's what makes the story so great. There would be lots of laughing and talking. Scott (Reeves, ex-Ryan, Y&R, her husband) knows that my perfect date is a great Italian dinner and then a super-long movie- a good three-hour movie- and then probably Starbucks coffee after that. When we come home, the kids are asleep in bed, so we have the rest of the night at home, alone! That is a perfect evening.
SOD: Is there someone in Salem who is her match?
Oh, yea. I';mm sure that Jack is. I think Jack will always be the perfect man for Jennifer, once they grow up a little and turn into adults.
SOD: What do you think of her taste in men?
She has wonderful taste in men, but at this point, it is out of her control. She met Brandon and thought he was sweet, and then Colin came in the picture. It seems like she's surrounded by all of these men- she could take her pick, but it's really timing that put this circumstance together. I think she's attracted to nice guys, but deep in her heart, she's fooling herself because she loves Jack.
SOD: What's her biggest stumbling block in relationships?
She believes in love that comes very quickly and easily. She wants what Alice and Tom had, an I think she searches for that.