Adrienne had quite a dramatic history on DAYS OF OUR LIVES and fans can’t quite believe that it’s really over! The character first appeared in December of 1986 played by Judi Evans, who continued to play Adrienne on and off over the years. Denise Warner portrayed the role for a month before Evans stepped in but the character’s face was never shown. And a young Alison Sweeney once played Adrienne in flashbacks in 1987 before joining the cast of DAYS as Sami Brady! However, following the soap’s shocking time jump one year into the future, everyone was reeling from Adrienne’s death!
Adrienne Johnson was an abused teenager who ran away from home and found herself in Salem where she befriended Kayla Brady. The two moved in together and Adrienne soon realized that Kayla’s boyfriend, Stephen “Patch” Johnson, was actually her older brother! Their mother had given him away to save him from their abusive father, Duke. Tragically, Duke came to Salem in search of his daughter and beat and raped Adrienne. Following the attack, Adrienne found a gun and shot him dead. Steve took the blame for their father’s death and went on trial for murder. Adrienne confessed to save her brother, and after explaining what had happened, served no jail time.
Meeting Justin Kiriakis, Adrienne fell head over heels for the construction worker and was upset to learn he’d been deceiving her and was really a wealthy playboy. But she was truly in love and the couple was married in Greece. However, she didn’t approve of Justin’s ties to his uncle Victor Kiriakis’ shady business dealings, and after the stress caused her to miscarry their child, made her husband choose between her or Victor. Ultimately, Justin chose Adrienne, and they moved out of the mansion. But when Victor was shot, Justin returned… without his wife. Justin took up with Anjelica Deveraux and Adrienne began an affair with Emilio, the Kiriakis stable hand. Furious, Justin schemed to kill Emilio, but was caught in his own trap and paralyzed!
Justin’s paralysis brought him and Adrienne back together, and even after Anjelica revealed her son, Alexander, was really Justin’s, the couple continued to work on their marriage. But when Anjelica planned to marry Victor, Justin stopped the wedding and set her up in a lavish apartment. Fearing she was losing her husband, Adrienne took Victor’s advice to pretend to be pregnant, but naturally, that backfired! However, they soon found their way back together and after Angelica failed to kill Adrienne in an explosion, she fled Salem.
After remarrying, Justin and Adrienne struggled to conceive a child, so they were delighted when their housekeeper offered to let them adopt her twins. After a custody battle with the babies’ father, Justin and Adrienne became parents, naming them Joseph and Victor Jr. She was delighted when she finally became pregnant and gave birth to Justin’s son, Jackson. Before leaving town with their son, Adrienne and Justin reconciled with Victor.
Adrienne was absent for the ’90s but returned in 2007 at Kayla’s request to help Steve regain the memories he’d lost. She also purchased a local bar named The Cheatin’ Heart, but the following year moved with her family to Dubai where Justin had landed a new job.
In 2010, Adrienne returned home and thought her marriage was in jeopardy because Justin had developed feelings for Hope Brady. Hope didn’t return his feelings and instead urged him and Adrienne to reconcile. Although Adrienne and Justin divorced, they ultimately found their way back to each other and remarried in Vegas. Jackson, now going by the name Sonny Kiriakis, returned to Salem himself and came out as gay. Adrienne and Justin had known for a while but helped him tell the rest of the family.
Adrienne didn’t like Sonny dating Will Horton, because she wasn’t crazy about his family, and even got Sami Brady arrested for murder! Justin was furious with her meddling, but once Sami was exonerated, he forgave his wife and even Sami and Adrienne learned to be civil with each other. When Justin’s work sent him to Dubai for extended periods, Adrienne began spending more time with Lucas Horton and though they developed feelings for each other, both knew they couldn’t act on them. Justin returned and immediately picked up on the tension, so he decided to work on his marriage. But when Adrienne learned he’d been having an affair, she quickly fell into bed with Lucas!
Although Adrienne and Lucas tried to have a real relationship, Justin interrupted their wedding to spoil their happiness. Then, Anjelica returned intent on revenge, and swapped Adrienne with her doppelganger, Bonnie Lockhart! The plan was to have Bonnie dump Lucas and go back to Justin, then break Justin’s heart so Angelica could swoop in and steal him. But Angelica died unexpectedly so Bonnie went and seduced Victor, instead! When Adrienne was finally rescued from the jail in which she’d been imprisoned, she set about putting the pieces of her life back together. And that meant reuniting with Justin.
Adrienne continued to support Sonny, especially when he was blackmailed by Leo Stark, and in October of 2019, Justin popped the question and Adrienne happily agreed to become his wife again. However, just after she and Justin tied the knot in a double wedding with Jack and Jennifer, the soap flash-forwarded one year where it was revealed that Adrienne was dead! Will was in prison and blaming himself for her demise, refusing to see Sonny, while Justin had moved on with Kayla.
Will’s guilt caused him to push Sonny away (and into Evan’s arms!) but Victor confessed to Gabi that it was actually someone else who was responsible for Adrienne’s death! And in flashbacks, it was revealed that Adrienne was run off the road while rushing Sarah to the hospital and later died of her injuries at the hospital. But while Will assumed it was his fault for looking at his phone, Maggie Horton was also on the same road, driving while intoxicated!
Stay tuned as more of the truth is revealed, and for more DAYS features, keep reading the CBS edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.