John Black on DAYS OF OUR LIVES has quite a complicated history so we’re here to untangle some of it. Originally introduced as The Pawn, John was then believed to be Roman Brady, but then suspected he was an Alamain or a DiMera! But whatever he was being called, the character has always been played by actor Drake Hogestyn since his introduction in 1986. And no matter what John has gone through, he always seems to come out the other side stronger than before!
Introduced as The Pawn, he was an amnesiac covered in bandages from facial reconstruction surgery. The deadly spy later named himself John Black after a name he read on a war memorial and fell in love with Dr. Marlena Evans. As their connection deepened, the pair began investigating John’s true identity and soon came to believe that he was actually her presumed-dead husband, Roman Brady. Resuming his life in Salem, John rejoined the police department but his happiness was shattered when Marlena was kidnapped and believed killed by Roman’s old enemy, Orpheus.
Continuing to live as Roman, John fell for and became engaged to Isabella Toscano. Things got complicated when Marlena returned to Salem very much alive, and even more complicated when the real Roman Brady showed up as well! John was shaken to discover that he was really a soldier of Stefano DiMera who had been brainwashed into believing he was Roman Brady. He went back to calling himself John Black and resumed his relationship with Isabella as Marlena reunited with Roman. John then learned that he was actually Forrest Alamain, brother of the evil Lawrence Alamain, who had been brainwashed by Stefano as part of his vendetta against the Bradys. John struggled to find his place in the Alamain family but married Isabella, who sadly died of cancer soon after giving birth to their son, Brady Black.
John’s feelings for Marlena resurfaced and the two had a torrid affair that resulted in the birth of Belle, who was originally thought to be Roman’s daughter. When the truth came out, Roman divorced Marlena, and feeling guilty, John struck up a relationship with Kristen DiMera. She broke it off after John learned that he was a priest, but after he performed an exorcism to save Marlena’s soul, he was released from his vows and Kristen came back to him. After miscarrying his baby, Kristen feared losing John to Marlena and hired her pregnant look-alike Susan Banks to stand in for her and marry John in her place. She planned to take Susan’s child and raise it as her own but naturally, when Kristen’s crazy scheme was exposed, John split up with her.
In 1999, John and Marlena were finally married, but he disappeared during their honeymoon and was brainwashed by Stefano into sleeping with Hope Brady. Hope got pregnant and John was believed to be baby Zack’s father until the truth was revealed that the child was Bo’s. When Marlena was suspected of being the Salem Stalker, John tried to defend her and she died in his arms after being shot by the police. Seriously injured, John became addicted to painkillers and found comfort in the arms of Roman’s ex, Kate Roberts. But Marlena and her “victims” were really alive on an island as part of another DiMera plot, and John and Kate called off their engagement when Marlena and Roman returned to Salem.
Marlena suffered amnesia and discovered that Dr. Alex North was her presumed-dead first husband, making her marriage to John invalid. Marlena felt obligated to Alex, at least until John discovered he was a fraud who was plotting to marry and then murder her! Their reunion was cut short, however, when Stefano had EJ DiMera shoot John! He eventually came out of his coma only to die in Marlena’s arms after being hit by a car! Luckily, John was really alive, having been reprogrammed by Stefano into a super-soldier to commit crimes for him. John was ordered to kill Colleen Brady, but discovered he was Colleen’s son with Santo DiMera, making him Stefano’s half-brother! John struggled to get his life and memories back, but his therapist was actively working against him. When Dr. Charlotte Taylor tried to kill Marlena, she drugged John instead. He awoke with his memories back, but paralyzed. John and Marlena were remarried in the hospital before they flew to Switzerland so he could seek treatment.
In 2011, after two years away, John returned to Salem with Marlena fully recovered. He was arrested for embezzling money from his company, Basic Black, but when the evidence was found to be doctored, John was set free. Then, Hope and John found out that while they were both brainwashed by Stefano, they’d gotten married, and went to Alamania to get a divorce. Kristen returned to Salem and while John initially believed her claims of turning over a new leaf, when she began dating Brady, he was determined to get her away from his son. He even pushed Marlena away and tried to seduce Kristen! Upset at his scheming, Marlena and John filed for divorce and he left on another ISA mission.
In 2014, John discovered that he was not the son of Colleen Brady and Santo DiMera, so his true identity was once again in question. He grew concerned over Brady’s drug use and relationship with Theresa Donovan so he tried to split them up. After some time in Europe on business, John returned to Salem to repair his relationships with Marlena and Brady. He rejoined the Salem P.D. and then learned that Paul Narita was his son from a long-ago relationship. John then went back to work for the ISA in the hopes of learning who he really is.
John then learned that he was born John Robicheaux in rural Louisiana, who was adopted by the Alamains, who named him Forrest. But his father, Timothy Robicheuax, had not really died during the war and instead had turned into the villainous Yo Ling. He located his son and took him from the Alamains, brainwashing him and turning John into Stefano’s henchman who they could manipulate as they saw fit. John eventually faced off against his evil father, who died when they were rescuing Paul from his clutches.
Dismissed from the ISA, John opened a detective agency with Steve Johnson called Black Patch. But he then disappeared for a time and upon his return, it was revealed he had gone back to the ISA to work deep undercover. John helped Marlena rescue some of the younger Salemites, including Paul, who had crashed on a deserted island. Everyone was confused when John began acting out of character and even slowly poisoned Steve, causing his friend to go blind! It turned out that ISA director Pamela Van Damme was blackmailing John by threatening his family.
John and Marlena planned to remarry, but she was shot during the ceremony and nearly died. After temporarily being replaced with look-alike Hattie Adams to keep anyone from pulling the plug, Marlena recovered and she and John were finally wed. The return of his ex, Diana Colville, caused some drama, especially when she claimed Leo Stark was his son, but that was later revealed to be a lie. Then, Hope was brainwashed into acting as Princess Gina again, and she began pursuing John. After a year passed in the blink of an eye, Marlena was finally growing suspicious of Hope’s closeness with John and together they discovered that Hope was working with Stefano, who had implanted his consciousness in Steve’s brain!
Although Gina and Stevano plotted to separate John and Marlena and make them believe the other was dead, their evil scheme was foiled and the pair came back together stronger than ever before. Despite Stevano planting a microchip in Marlena’s brain and attempting to marry her, John intervened and Steve was captured and restored to his old self. Another past villain resurfaced when Orpheus returned to Salem looking for revenge, but John and Steve were able to subdue him. Inviting Claire Brady to live with them after she was released from Bayview also led to some conflict as John and Marlena found themselves caught up in their granddaughter’s drama.
When John got mixed up in the custody battle over Allie Brady‘s baby, he angrily lit into Sami about her manipulations until he suddenly collapsed from a brain aneurysm! He then found himself unable to control his temper, even strangling Jan Spears at Belle and Shawn’s wedding! And later, after a rage blackout, feared he might have killed Charlie Dale! Under hypnosis, he cleared his own name but implicated Belle until it was finally revealed Jan was the murderer.
After traveling to Zurich with Marlena to help Shane with a case, John returned to Salem and was concerned about Johnny DiMera‘s plans to make a movie about Marlena’s possession by the devil!
Stay tuned to DAYS to see how John’s wild and crazy story continues to unfold!