If Leo Stark on DAYS OF OUR LIVES looks familiar, it’s probably because portrayer Greg Rikaart also stars on THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS as Kevin Fisher! The actor made the move to DAYS and first appeared as Leo in March of 2018. He appeared to be killed off in July, but like many Salem residents, he was back alive by the end of the year to stir up even more trouble before exiting again in March of 2019. Rikaart reprised the role for an April Fools episode in 2020 and again in 2021 for the limited spinoff series BEYOND SALEM and the DAYS Christmas special. Then the actor returned to the soap proper in Feb 2022 for another run!
After finding himself alone when Will Horton and Paul Narita ended up together, Sonny Kiriakis decided to check out a dating app on his phone and began exchanging messages with a guy named Leo. And while things were going great, it turned out that it was really Vivian Alamain on the other end of the phone! But eventually, Leo showed up in the flesh to meet Sonny face to face. The only problem was that he was actually working for Vivian to help her steal Titan Industries. (And later Kate, when she found out about the scheme and disposed of Vivian to take over!)
After getting close to Sonny, Leo slapped him with a sexual harassment lawsuit threatening to destroy him and the company if he didn’t pay up. Although urged to settle out of court, Sonny insisted on fighting back against the charges, and enlisted Will and Paul to dig up some dirt on the guy. With John Black‘s help, they discovered Leo’s real name was Matthew Cooper, and that he was a prostitute with a criminal record. Insisting that he really did love him, Leo urged Sonny to marry him in order to keep him quiet and save the company. But when Will interrupted and exposed his true identity, Leo attacked him. Pulling Leo off, Sonny sent him falling into the fireplace where he hit his head and fell down dead! Sonny and Will scrambled to cover up their crime, but things began going wrong right from the start and they later found themselves blackmailed by Ted Laurent after the body went missing.
However, in November, Sonny and Will were absolutely stunned when Leo showed up on their doorstep very much alive! Threatening to expose that they tried to kill him and dispose of the body, Leo blackmailed Sonny into marrying him so he could enjoy a life of luxury with the Kiriakis fortune. Seeing no other alternative, Sonny agreed to the wedding but wanted nothing to do with his new husband. While Leo was distracted trying to get hunky Xander Kiriakis into bed, Sonny and Will plotted to locate his mother in the hopes it would get the con man out of their lives for good.
Leo was horrified when his mother, Diana Cooper, showed up on his doorstep and surprised to find out that she had a history with John Black from back when she was going by the name Diana Colville. She treated him like dirt and accused him of being a sociopathic killer, but he countered that he did the world a favor getting rid of her husband because he was an abusive pig!
However, it was then revealed that John was really Leo’s father and Marlena helped John run a DNA test to confirm it. But after Diana was arrested for trying to murder Marlena, she admitted she’d altered the paternity test. Furious, Leo lashed out at his mother and then turned his back on her forever. He did try to keep the lie going as he wanted more money from Sonny to annul the marriage, but Will revealed the truth and Leo signed the papers and slinked away from Salem after putting the “evil eye” curse on Will!
In 2021, Leo resurfaced to get mixed up in the mystery surrounding the Alamanian peacock and its priceless gems. He helped Will, Sonny, and Chad enter a drag competition at a gay bar to win the emerald, but when he tried to sneak off with it himself, Shane Donovan appeared to take it from him. However, it wasn’t Shane, but his twin brother, Drew, who planned to use the peacock for its true purpose, to send deadly lasers to blow up major cities around the world! Luckily, the device didn’t work because only five of the six gems were real — Leo had kept the real emerald and given up a fake!
In February 2022, Brady and Chloe were stunned when Craig Wesley introduced his new boyfriend and it turned out to be Leo! Despite everyone’s best efforts to convince Craig he was being used (Chad DiMera even pretended to try and seduce Leo to cheat on his beau!), the doctor ended up popping the question! Leo reconnected with old friend Gwen Rizczech and they decided to have a double wedding. But at the ceremony, neither knot was tied as Abigail Deveraux exposed Gwen’s crimes and Chad revealed Leo was already married!
Out for revenge, Leo “outed” Chad in a tabloid newspaper and drugged Sonny to make it appear they’d slept together. He also moved into the DiMera wine cellar which made him a prime suspect when Abigail was murdered upstairs! (Especially when he fenced some of her jewelry to Clyde Weston.) Leo was arrested for the murder and tried throwing BFF Gwen under the bus for the crime. But Leo became the prime suspect after he discovered Sonny with a knife in his back and everyone thought he’d stabbed him! Eventually, it was revealed that Cylde was the guilty party and Leo finally apologized to Craig, who turned down his attempts to reconcile.
In a strange turn of events, Leo and Sonny actually became friends, and Sonny even invited him to move into the Kiriakis home while he got back on his feet. After failing to get a job as a gossip columnist for the local paper, Leo agreed to pose as the clown kidnapper so Xander could rescue Bonnie and clear his own name. When Will returned home, he was decidedly not happy to see his husband living with Leo. Sonny tried to defend Leo, but after Will overheard Leo talking to Sloan about the crime, the jig was up. Will immediately told Sonny who confronted Leo and threw him out of the house, never wanting to see him again.
Stay tuned to see what happens next!