Stacy Haiduk as Kristen DiMera
|Days of Our Lives character|
|First appearance||May 17, 1993|
|Created by||James E. Reilly|
Kristen DiMera is a fictional character from Days of Our Lives, an American soap opera on the NBC network. The role was originally portrayed by Eileen Davidson. Davidson joined the cast of Days of Our Lives in 1993, and departed in 1998 after a five-year stint. After a 14-year absence, Davidson returned to the role of Kristen in the fall of 2012. Kristen and her brother Peter were raised but not legally adopted by super villain Stefano DiMera at a very young age following the deaths of their parents; however, their mother Rachel was later revealed to be alive. Davidson's performance has been met with critical acclaim, having earned herself Daytime Emmy Awards and Soap Opera Digest Awards wins and nominations. Davidson departed the series again in late 2013, although she made a brief appearance in early December 2013. She returned on July 28, 2014, for a twelve-week arc which concluded on November 6, 2014; she returned for an additional stint which ran from April 14, 2015, to April 30, 2015. Davidson later reprised the role briefly on November 21, 2017. Stacy Haiduk took over the role in August 2018.
The role of Kristen DiMera is played by soap actress Eileen Davidson. Kristen was introduced on May 17, 1993. During Davidson's run on the soap, she also portrayed four other characters; Susan Banks (1996–98, 2014, 2017), Sister Mary Moira Banks (1997–98, 2017), Thomas Banks (1997) and Penelope Kent (1998). Davidson departed the role of Kristen on April 24, 1998. Davidson's five roles earned her a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in 1998. After five years on Days, Davidson was re-introduced as Ashley Abbott in 1999 on The Young and the Restless, a role she originated from 1982–1988. She took over the role from Shari Shattuck who portrayed the character from 1996–1999. After Davidson's 2006 release from The Young and the Restless, rumors began to circulate that she would return to Days of Our Lives. This speculation was later debunked when it was announced that her Y&R alter-ego would crossover to its sister series The Bold and the Beautiful.
In May 2012, Davidson informed followers on her Twitter page that she had been let go from The Young and the Restless. Davidson further confirmed she did not know why she was let go, but was seeing the positive light from it. It was later announced by Nelson Branco that Sony Pictures Entertainment wanted Davidson on both The Young and the Restless and Days of Our Lives, but that Y&R would not share the actress, leading to Sony terminating her contract with that show. Thus it was announced that Davidson would reprise her roles of Kristen Blake and Susan Banks on the NBC Daytime soap. The Hollywood Reporter later confirmed that Davidson had signed on to return to Days of Our Lives in the role of Kristen, and possibly some of her other characters. In a statement she said, "I'm thrilled to embark on this new adventure at Days and excited to revisit Kristen and who knows who else! Not to mention my old friends in the cast and crew."
Davidson returned on October 11, 2012. In an interview with Megan Masters of TVLine, Davidson discussed what brings her and her Salem alter-ego back to town. She revealed: "I've said in so many scenes, which I've loved, she's had years of intense therapy; a lot of therapy. And she wants to come back now and show the world how she's changed. And how she's grown. And there's also, ah, some business matters in Salem that she needs to attend to."
In July 2013, Soap Opera Digest reported that Davidson had decided to exit the series. In a post on her official Facebook page, Davidson said: "Hello! I just wanted to confirm that I have indeed left DOOL. My last day was July 16 but I will be airing until November. I'm taking some time off to enjoy my family however I am not retiring. Not really sure what's next for me work wise. But I am looking forward to figuring it out! Thanks to all of you for your support and love. I've had an incredible time on DOOL this year....." Davidson exited the role on-screen on November 13, 2013. In late November, it was confirmed that Davidson would return for an episode scheduled to air on December 3, 2013.
On January 28, 2014, Michael Logan of TV Guide announced that Davidson would return to Days with filming beginning in March, with an on-screen return sometime during the summer. Davidson will return for what is described as a "powerful Kristen DiMera story arc". Days co-executive producer Greg Meng added: "The writers have some great things cooking for Kristen and we can’t wait for the fans to see what this will mean for Salem. Must-watch TV at its best!" In June 2014, Davidson announced she signed a two-year contract with The Young and the Restless, but that her contract would allow her to continue making appearances as Kristen on Days, the very type of contract that Y&R had originally refused to allow her to have. Davidson made her on-screen return on July 28, 2014 and concluded her twelve-week stint on November 6, 2014. On November 17, 2014, Access Hollywood broke news that Davidson was on-set of the soap, and reprised the role of Kristen for ten episodes starting from April 14 to 30, 2015. In November 2017, it was announced that Davidson would reprise her portrayal of an unspecified character, and returned as Susan on November 2, 2017. She briefly reprised the role of Kristen on November 21, 2017. In June 2018, Daytime Confidential announced that Stacy Haiduk had been cast in one or more of Davidson's former roles. The following month, Global Television Network announced Haiduk had been cast in the role of Kristen. She made her first appearance on August 21, 2018.
While her character on The Young and the Restless Ashley is considered a "heroine", Kristen is described as a "villainess". Davidson said that Kristen is written with "a lot of latitude". During her first run, she developed an unhealthy obsession over her love interest, John Black (Drake Hogestyn). Upon her return, she said that Kristen is "more mature and more together" after "lots of therapy" which has been "intense". Of Kristen's rivalry with Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall), she said "Marlena just doesn’t trust her. No matter what Kristen does it seems like she just can’t convince her that she’s definitely changed. So that’s been the biggest hurdle for Kristen to overcome, is getting Marlena to trust her again." For fourteen years, Kristen had been residing in Europe, and returned to Salem as a businesswoman, wanting to show everyone "how she's changed and how she's grown" although "they haven't forgiven and forgotten" her wrongdoing.
In an interview with Michael Fairman of On Air On Soaps, Davidson opened up about the pressure to re-capture the magic she had with the series 14 years ago. She said that she feels "pressure, but in lots of different ways", "not only with the fans who knew me back then, but the fans who don’t know me now, because I had five years to build that character and all the insanity and the drama was so heightened because of what was going on with Marlena and John at that time." Davidson felt that she wasn't sure whether or not Kristen would "have enough of an impact" upon her return, but praised the writers as "terrific" and hoped that audiences would be receptive of her.
On whether or not she would have a "big storyline", Davidson called it a "multi-leveled and complicated story" which would "bring in lots of different characters". She said that Kristen had scenes with Nicole Walker (Arianne Zucker) who thinks "she is so tough" and doesn't know who is she is dealing with in Kristen. The actress has confessed that she is a lot more like Kristen than Ashley Abbott, "except for the evil part".
Kristen Blake first appears in Salem after being attacked by a mugger and she is rescued by a mysterious stranger. Kristen is grateful until she realizes her savior is none other than John Black (Drake Hogestyn), Stefano DiMera (Joseph Mascolo)'s longtime rival. Alice Horton (Frances Reid) notices the attraction between the two and sets it up for the two to continue running into one another. They later end up at the Horton family cabin where they make love for the first time. John soon discovers that Stefano raised Kristen and is a father figure to her, but he is still very much in love with Kristen. However, Kristen had promised her ailing father that she would marry Tony DiMera (Thaao Penghlis). When Roman (Wayne Northrop) and Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall)'s daughter Belle is kidnapped by their oldest daughter Sami (Alison Sweeney), Kristen and John pose as a married couple to help get her back. Stefano quickly breaks them up by revealing that John is actually Belle's father. Realizing John will go back to Marlena, Kristen goes through with the marriage in February 1994 only for John to show up at the wedding accusing Stefano of Curtis Reed's (Nick Benedict) murder.
After Stefano is presumably killed by John, Kristen goes through with the wedding to Tony, who is later revealed to be Tony's lookalike, André (Penghlis). Kristen later travels to the family estate in New Orleans, Maison Blanche, where she is taken captive by a very much alive Stefano forcing John to come to the rescue. She later discovers "Tony's" schemes to impregnate her and moves in with John. She and John are about to marry when it is revealed that John is actually a priest; Kristen, a devout Catholic, returns to "Tony." In 1995, when Marlena becomes possessed by a demon, Kristen assists Father John in her exorcism. Later, John and Kristen are reunited after he is released from his vows and her marriage to "Tony" is annulled. Kristen is diagnosed with a medical condition that will cause her to be infertile and she immediately begins trying to have a child. In November 1995, Kristen goes to Aremid as Peter is preparing to marry Jennifer Horton (Melissa Reeves). While there, "Tony" fakes his death and frames John. Though she believes in John's innocence, Peter forces Kristen to testify against him despite John being exonerated.
In 1996, the mysterious Woman in White comes to Salem and moves into the DiMera mansion with Kristen, John and Marlena. Kristen soon discovers she is pregnant and Marlena agrees to move out due to her pregnancy being very high risk. The Woman in White is soon revealed to be her presumed dead mother, Rachel. Realizing John would always love Marlena more than her, Kristen helps Stefano fake her death in a plane crash. John discovers Marlena is alive and goes to rescue her in Paris forcing Rachel and Kristen to follow. In August 1996, Kristen is hospitalized after an explosion kills her mother and she miscarries her child. Stefano soon reappears in Salem and hires Kristen's lookalike Susan Banks (Davidson) to carry a child that Kristen would raise as her and John's. With the help of her father and Peter, Kristen fakes her pregnancy. When Susan goes into labor, Kristen disguised as a nurse is forced to watch as John marries Susan, believing she is really Kristen. Kristen gets custody of the child long enough to name him John Black, Jr. and Susan soon returns to claim her child and husband. Kristen enlists Vivian Alamain (Louise Sorel) and Ivan in keeping Susan locked in a secret room but Marlena puts the pieces together and Kristen is forced to lock her away. When Susan discovers the truth, sick of Kristen's manipulations she locks Kristen inside the room and attempts to marry John until Laura Horton (Jamie Lyn Bauer) confronts her at the wedding. After being rejected by John due to her scheming, Kristen's failed attempt to kill Marlena lands her in jail. After being released on bail, she attempts suicide after hearing about John and Marlena's engagement. She then reveals Marlena's presumed dead husband, Roman Brady (now Josh Taylor); John and Kristen then pretend to marry to keep Roman becoming suspicious. When John and Stefano ruin her attempt to get back Susan's son, Elvis (aka John, Jr.), she reveals that Roman and Marlena have been seeing one another.
Kristen's attempt to force Susan into giving the child back ends with the death of Susan's identical sister, Penelope Kent. Fearing she'll be charged with murder, Kristen pretends to be Susan and is forced to marry Susan's boyfriend, Edmund Crumb (Adam Caine). In the meantime, "Susan" and Edmund go on a honeymoon and Laura is arrested for Kristen's murder. Edmund admits to Kristen's "murder" and they soon run into the real Susan who explains that Kristen sold her into a harem; it is then revealed that the dead person was Susan's other sibling, Penelope Kent. To get revenge against Kristen, Susan exchanges her freedom for Kristen to be sold to the harem.
Stefano visits Kristen in Europe, where she has been living thanks to Stefano's help. He pleads with her to return to Salem in order to mend the DiMera family. She instantly rejects the idea. After some pushing, Kristen finally agrees to return to Salem for Stefano's sake, however, they agree that she should return alone with Stefano following later. Upon her arrival, she reunites with several Salem residents including her brother EJ (James Scott), John, Marlena and meets and connects with her other brother Chad DiMera (Casey Jon Deidrick).
Despite her repeated attempts to make amends, John and Marlena put on a united front against her. EJ becomes Kristen's closest confidant. After numerous one-on-one encounters with John and after saving his son Brady Black's (Eric Martsolf) life following a mugging, their opinions of her change. Marlena is the only one still suspicious, which leaves her looking paranoid. Kristen and Brady start a secret affair, which Marlena discovers and keeps from John. Once exposed, Kristen reveals to John that she's taking Brady away to break his heart. Brady sides with Kristen, which estranges him from those closest to him. John, Marlena, and Nicole Walker (Arianne Zucker) come up with their own plans to break Kristen's hold on Brady to no avail. Kristen convinces Brady to move into the DiMera mansion, and suggests marriage. After overhearing John and Marlena plotting against them, Brady proposes to Kristen. Brady also starts adoption proceedings. John intends to seduce Kristen and have Brady catch them in the act in order to destroy the relationship. Unbeknownst to him, Kristen has the same plan.
Kristen is blackmailed with a photo by the mugger she hired to attack Brady. Kristen tries to hunt it down. Just as she thinks the photo has been destroyed, Marlena gets her hands on it. Kristen and John meet in a hotel room, sticking to the plan of having sex and getting Brady to catch them. Instead, Kristen discovers that she actually does love Brady and calls it off. On the eve of their wedding, Marlena shows the photo to Brady. The wedding is called off. Furious, Kristen sets her sights on destroying Marlena by having her way with her son Eric Brady (Greg Vaughan). Kristen disguises herself and drugs and has sex with Eric, capturing it on camera. She saves the video on a flash drive. Before she's able to make it public, Brady decides that he wants to work things out between them. Kristen chooses to save the flash drive for leverage. Kristen learns that the drugs she gave Eric may not have rendered his memory erased. Kristen attempts to find and destroy the evidence collected proving that Eric was poisoned. Kristen has a pregnancy scare. She is relieved when she discovers that it's just a false alarm. Brady proposes once again. Marlena and Victor Kiriakis (John Aniston) team up to bring Kristen down before the wedding. Flash drives are accidentally switched. The drive is found by Marlena who gives it to Victor to decrypt. Victor's hacker puts the video file contained on the drive onto a DVD, which Victor presents to Marlena without telling her that it's Eric on the video with Kristen. Marlena plays the video at the wedding. Kristen tries to tell Brady that Eric seduced her. He doesn't buy it, nor does he buy Eric's explanation that he was drugged. After learning what Kristen did, Nicole pays Kristen a visit, telling her that she's going to jail. Kristen makes a run for it. A deadly game of cat and mouse ensues causing both Kristen and Nicole to get into car accidents. Kristen's car is found badly damaged and upside down. Kristen is not found in the car, and a torn piece of fabric from the wedding dress she was wearing is found away from the vehicle. Brady later receives a DVD from Kristen that she made before their wedding and before he announced the details of their honeymoon. He stops watching it midway through and destroys it. Later, Dr. Chyka is seen talking to Kristen on the phone, assuring her that no one will know that she drugged Eric, thus further suggesting that Kristen did indeed survive the car accident.
In 2014, Daniel Jonas (Shawn Christian) is lured to a hotel room in St. Louis by Kristen who has her henchman knock him unconscious and tie him to a chair. When he comes to, Kristen emerges and reveals to him that she has been keeping tabs on Brady, including his relationship with Theresa Donovan (Jen Lilley) and his father's coma. After Daniel refuses to cooperate in her plan to get Brady to St. Louis, Kristen tortures him to get him to agree to take part. Without her present, Daniel manages to untie his restraints and knocks one of Kristen's henchmen unconscious. Upon her return, Daniel manages to take Kristen captive; rendering her his own hostage. He then hides her in the hotel supply closet and ties her up. Later, Daniel takes her back to Salem where she is arrested. EJ refuses to be Kristen's lawyer because of what she did to Sami's brother Eric. Kristen is charged with an array of different counts, including assault, battery, rape and the use of restricted pharmaceuticals. After she pleads not guilty to the charges, Kristen is released on bail and is forced to wear a tracking device. In an attempt to win back Brady, Kristen gives Daniel and Kayla Brady (Mary Beth Evans) part of a formula for a miracle drug that could possibly awaken John from his coma. In exchange for the full formula, Kristen tells Marlena that she will need to talk Eric out of testifying against her in court. Both Marlena and Eric agree to Kristen's terms, resulting in charges being dropped, and Daniel and Kayla receiving the full formula for the miracle drug.
When John begins to show some response to the drug, Kristen attempts to use the news as leverage to mend her relationship with Brady. Kristen also butts heads with Theresa, and begins to suspect that she was the one to put John into his coma, and not Brady, as originally believed. When John backs the theory that it was Brady who hit him with the poker, Kristen makes it her ultimate mission to prove Theresa's guilt. Kristen bugs both Theresa's sister, Eve Donovan (Kassie DePaiva) and her co-worker Anne Milbauer (Meredith Scott Lynn), in the hopes of catching Theresa in her lie. When she achieves her goal, Kristen presents the audio recording to Brady, who accuses her of tampering with the audio for her own personal gain. In her grief, Kristen turns to Daniel for solace, resulting in the two ending up in bed together. When Brady arrives at Daniel's apartment to make amends, he discovers both Daniel and Kristen in the throes of passion. In the absence of Brady, Kristen and Daniel stop short of having sex, both agreeing that it would be wrong. Brady later confronts Kristen at her hotel room. While he admits that she was telling the truth about Theresa's wrongdoing, he's furious at what she did with Daniel. and makes it known that there is no hope of reconciliation between the two of them. An enraged Kristen heads to the park to calm down, only to overhear Theresa revealing to Anne that she's pregnant with Brady's baby. Kristen, in an act of revenge, orders for Theresa to be kidnapped. Kristen makes one final phone call to Brady letting him know that as she leaves Salem, she's going to be carrying a part of him inside of her. An unknown procedure is prepared for Kristen and an unconscious Theresa by doctors.
Kristen, who is living in Italy, gives birth to Theresa and Brady's baby. The baby, named Christopher, is born with an autoimmune deficiency and requires a bone marrow transplant. Kristen orders that Brady and Theresa's blood be drawn in order to find a suitable donor. Melanie (Molly Burnett) begins investigating and eventually fits the clues together and reveals to Brady that Theresa was pregnant, he is the father, and that Kristen has stolen the baby. Kristen is informed that Theresa is a suitable match for the baby and orders her henchman, Clint (Lucas Kerr) to bring her to her. Brady sets out to find Kristen. He gets her location from Victor. Despite his objections, Melanie decides to stowaway on Brady's private plane, providing backup in his confrontation with Kristen. When Brady confronts Kristen with the allegation that she's stolen his child, she vehemently denies it. Brady searches the castle and leaves empty handed. Melanie sneaks into the castle and finds the baby in a secret room. Kristen catches Melanie and uses her to lure Brady back to the castle. Kristen presents the baby as Daniel Jonas'. Unsure if Kristen is telling the truth, Brady demands a paternity and maternity test. Kristen takes Brady and Melanie captive. Thinking that she's being taken on a luxury vacation, Theresa arrives at the castle with Clint. Kristen drugs Theresa and has her taken to the baby's room for the bone marrow procedure. Kristen gives Brady one last look at his child and leaves him with Melanie to be executed. Kristen goes to leave the castle with the baby and finds Marlena, who accidentally grabbed hold of the wrong address to find Paul (Christopher Sean) and John, at her doorstep. Melanie and Brady manage to subdue and kill Clint. Theresa overpowers Dr. Mandrake. Marlena senses that Kristen is up to no good and is determined to find out what she's hiding. Kristen pulls out a gun and the two end up fighting for it. Brady barges in and Kristen, now distracted, is catapulted by Marlena through a glass window several feet above a bay. Despite a body not being found, Kristen is presumed dead by Brady, the Italian police and the entire citizens of Salem.
In November 2017, Kristen appears in Memphis, Tennessee still alive. She secretly slips into Will Horton's bedroom at Susan's home. Laughing to herself, she taunts the thought of Susan tricking Will into believing he was EJ, when she could have had the real EJ the entire time. Months later, Kristen (Stacy Haiduk) returns to Salem — disguised as Susan — and turns up for John and Marlena's wedding. A drugged and barely coherent Sami exposes Kristen's true identity at the ceremony. Kristen gives Sami a gun, and offers to tell her the whereabouts of EJ, provided she shoots John. Eric rushes for the gun, causing it to fire, leaving Marlena critically wounded. It was later revealed that Marlena was shot by another gun. Kristen lures Brady to a hotel room only to be tracked down by Eve (Kassie DePaiva), Sami, and Paul. A fight breaks out between Kristen and Paul. The pair end up crashing through a window resulting in Paul confined to a wheelchair and Kristen on the run. Kristen turns to her brother Stefan (Tyler Christopher) for help. Stefan hides her in the tunnels located beneath the DiMera mansion. Kristen visits Marlena in the hospital intending to end her life once and for all. She quickly discovers it's Hattie Adams (Deidre Hall) and not Marlena in the hospital room. Kristen convinces Brady to run away with her and the two head to Nashville where she's been running a secret facility for Dr. Rolf (William Utay) to conduct his experiments of bringing the dead back to life. When a fire breaks out at the Nashville facility, Kristen decides to stay behind. One of the patients, EJ DiMera, is rescued by Sami. A firefighter reports that no survivors were found.
Kristen, alive and well, returns to Salem donning a mask, disguising herself as Nicole Walker (Arianne Zucker). She is helped, once again, by Xander Kiriakis (Paul Telfer) in carrying out her plan, which involves trying to seduce Brady while also using Nicole's identity to manipulate Stefan into giving her a place in the family business. Kristen talks her brother Tony, who is alive and still in love with his former wife Anna (Leann Hunley), into marrying her as Nicole in a scheme to take back DiMera Enterprises from Stefan (Brandon Barash) and Gabi Hernandez (Camila Banus). Her scheme and true identity is exposed at John and Marlena's wedding anniversary celebration. While in custody, Kristen admits to Brady that Nicole and her daughter Holly are alive. After making a deal with the D.A., Kristen is set free. She once again sets her sights on getting back with Brady. Kristen discovers that Sarah Horton (Linsey Godfrey) is pregnant and has decided to have an abortion. With the assistance of Dr. Rolf and Xander, she decides to steal Sarah's embryo and implant it in herself, in an attempt to pass the baby off as her own with Brady. Rolf informs Kristen that she is already pregnant after sleeping with Brady while impersonating Nicole, thus making the procedure on Sarah both unnecessary and impossible. However, due to complications, the baby is stillborn. A year later, Kristen is shown living as a nun in the same convent as Lani Price (Sal Stowers), who she attempts to help cope with the pain she feels for calling off her wedding.
Davidson has received a number of honors for her portrayal of Kristen, including a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 1998, winning the award in 2014. Davidson also earned Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in 1997 and 1998. Kristen's return storyline was also voted the best of 2013 in several soap publications, such as Daytime Confidential.
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- André at the time was pretending to be Tony and Kristen assumed she had married Tony.
- Kristen at the time was pretending to be Susan and Edmund assumed he had married Kristen.
- Kristen at the time was pretending to be Nicole Walker.