|Matthew Ashford as Jack Deveraux|
|"Days of our Lives"|
|Portrayed by||Joseph Adams (1987)|
James Acheson (1987)
Matthew Ashford (Oct 30, 1987-1993, 2001-2007, 2011-Jul 2012)
Mark Valley (1994-1997)
Steve Wilder (1997-1998)
|Alisases||William Earl Johnson (birth name)|
|Born||June 15, 1962|
|Parents||Duke Earl Johnson|
|Aunts/Uncles||Earl Duke Johnson|
Jack Deveraux Jr.
Victor Kiriakis II
Charming, manipulative, heroic, clever, selfish, arrogant and self-loathing all at the same time, antihero Jack Deveraux is one half of Jack and Jennifer, one of Days of our Lives' most popular supercouples. Although he entered the story as an outright villain wedging himself violently in between another popular supercouple, Steve Johnson and Kayla Brady, Jack eventually grew to establish himself as a core main character in the Days mythos through his passion, outrageous sense of humor, redemption, and undying love for heroine Jennifer Horton.
The character has been a frequent winner of Soap Opera Digest Awards, including Outstanding Villain, multiple wins for Best Love Story (with Jennifer), Best Wedding (also with Jennifer) and Outstanding Comic Performance.
Fictional character historyEdit
Jack has a dark family history of rape. In addition to being a rapist himself, his father and father-in-law are also rapists and his wife, ex-wife and sister have all been raped. Both he and his father-in-law eventually were forgiven by those they had raped, and his father-in-law even ended up marrying his victim.
Jack came to Salem in 1987 where he discovered he was suffering from Hodgkin's disease. Although he didn't know it at the time, Jack was the long-lost younger brother of Steve Johnson, and he had a mother (Jo Johnson) and a sister Adrienne Johnson. Jack's extremely violent biological father, Duke, is dead, having been shot by his daughter after he raped her.
Jack is unaware of all of this, as he had been adopted at a young age by wealthy Senator Harper Deveraux, and was raised in a life of privilege. Jack originally comes to Salem looking for Kayla Brady - who he had fallen in love with in Hawaii a few years back. Kayla and Steve are in love, but when Steve learns Jack is his brother (Billy), he pushes Kayla into marrying Jack to give him the will to fight his disease. Although she disagrees with the idea, she does genuinely care about Jack, and is herself reeling from Steve's sudden and unexpected rejection. Due to her love for Steve, Kayla is not yet able to consummate her marriage with Jack, however. Soon thereafter she gets sick (Harper Deveraux poisons her) and that gives Kayla additional reason to keep Jack at arms length. Kayla intends to eventually sleep with Jack, but is still in love with Steve. Jack is understanding, even though he fears every day that she would never love him back. He even offers to let her out of the marriage if that would help her to get better, but Kayla gently refuses.
Steve becomes suspicious about Kayla's mysterious illness and kidnaps her away from the Deveraux house when he discovers evidence that someone in the Deveraux house was poisoning her. Jack suspects Steve had kidnapped his wife, and angrily confronts him. He is genuinely worried about her welfare, but he is also partly worried that Kayla had run away to be with Steve. For his part, Steve is worried that Jack had been the one poisoning Kayla, so the two are never able to work together.
During this time Kayla angrily demands that Steve tell her why he had kidnapped her when he had acted like he didn't care about her. An anguished Steve finally confesses to her that Jack is his long lost brother and he had broken up with her to give 'Billy' a fighting chance. Kayla and Steve begin to have an affair, unable to keep apart any longer. She wants to divorce Jack, but Steve and Jo Johnson both beg her to stay with him until after his election, fearing that a divorce would ruin his image with voters. Kayla agrees reluctantly to do as they wish, even though she now knows she would never be intimate with Jack. She continues to put him off, telling him that she is still feeling tired from being sick, promising that someday soon, they would be together.
Jack hopes that New Years would be the right time for them to begin their life as man and wife, but Kayla disappears with Steve wearing a dress that Jack had bought her, leaving Jack alone at a party when the new year rings. A reporter named Canby takes pictures of Steve and Kayla that night.
Less than two weeks later, the night Jack wins the election, Canby confronts Jack with pictures of Kayla with Steve. It is obvious from those pictures that something is going on between Steve and Kayla and the dress she is wearing makes it clear that the pictures had been taken on New Years. An enraged Jack confronts Kayla when she gets home, and when she couldn't deny that those pictures had been taken during their marriage, he rapes her, insisting that he is taking what is "rightfully his".
Jack is plagued by guilt about what he did to Kayla, but his pride and anger causes him to keep redirecting his guilt as malice against Kayla and Steve. He refuses to let Kayla out of their marriage and hires someone to beat Steve up. After Kayla confesses to Steve that Jack had raped her, Jack and Steve fight on a rooftop. Jack falls off the rooftop and damages his kidneys. He needs a new one, and the best match is Steve's. Initially Jack refuses the kidney, but Dr. Mike Horton convinces him to accept it. Steve's donation does not change how Jack feels about Steve and he embarks on a campaign of harassment against Steve and Kayla. Having finally had enough, Kayla presses charges against him for rape. Jack agrees to plead guilty to assault, but he maintains he was only doing it because he is being railroaded.
Jack tries to hurt Steve by helping Adrienne find long lost brother Billy, hoping that this Billy would have resentment against a brother who stayed with his family. Billy and Steve had been placed in an orphanage by a desperate Jo because she felt sure her husband Duke would one day kill the children. Baby Jack had been adopted but the older Steve grew up in the orphanage.
When Jack breaks into Steve's apartment he finds a baby picture of himself. Eventually he discovers that he is "Billy", and he is horrified. Not long after, his adoptive father Harper is revealed as the Riverfront knifer, who had been killing prostitutes because they reminded him of Kayla, whom he hated because of what she had done to Jack.
Kayla develops a case of hysterical deafness/muteness during this time due to the stress of what Jack had done and was continuing to do, and what Harper had done. Jack feels guilty for hurting her and he very sadly grants her a no contest divorce. To his dismay, Kayla marries Steve. Meanwhile, Jack had been having a relationship with Melissa Anderson, who is so deeply in love with him that she is oblivious to his faults. He gets engaged to Melissa, but she leaves him at the altar and leaves town when she realizes he had been cheating on her and using her to help clean up his name to further his political career.
Jack cannot not let go of his hatred of Steve and he resents his biological mother for giving him away. He refuses to accept the Johnsons and continues to harass Steve and Kayla, although his behavior is less menacing than before.
Jack eventually stops harassing Steve and Kayla and starts reluctantly traveling a hero's journey. He wants to transform himself into the kind of man his brother was, but he is wracked with guilt over what he had done, and filled with resentment at people's inability to give him a second chance.
Eventually, he is able to accept full responsibility for the things he had done, and is able to (somewhat) integrate himself into the Johnson family.
Jack begins to work with college intern Jennifer Horton at The Spectator, a newspaper that he now co-owns with Diana Colville. He had originally purchased a controlling interest in the paper to stop her from running an expose on his corruption (including the dumping of toxic chemicals into a river in Salem) and he discovers a love of the business.
Jennifer, Melissa's cousin, is extremely wary of Jack in the beginning. They bond, however, while Jennifer tries to help a jailed mother by fostering her newborn baby, and soon Jennifer begins to have faith in Jack. Jack is clearly attracted to her and attempts to throw monkey wrenches in Jennifer's budding relationship with Emilio Ramirez. Jennifer doesn't initially return the romantic interest, as she still couldn't completely trust him, but she is intrigued by him and spends much of her time at work verbally sparring with him. Their banter would eventually become the staple of their relationship.
Jack becomes embroiled in an attempt to help Steve and Kayla when Steve's long-lost wife Marina comes to town. Jack tries to make up for tearing the two apart, and while they don't trust his motives, he throws himself wholeheartedly into trying to get Marina out of Steve's life by finding a key that Marina and her sister Isabella wants to find. Jack had rescued Isabella from Bay View Sanitarium and Isabella trusts Jack completely. Her trust for him sparks a warm friendship between the two and helps Jack along his path towards becoming a better person. Slowly Jack begins to try to make up for the things he had done to hurt Steve and Kayla and they begin to slowly consider that he might actually be changing for the better.
Slowly, Jennifer realizes how much she loves Jack and that there is more to him than most of the town sees. Jack starts pushing Jennifer away during this time when he realizes how dangerous the hunt for the key is. He also fears that if Jennifer and he got together, he would ultimately hurt her as he did Kayla and Melissa.
Although Steve and Kayla don't trust him, Jack keeps trying to find the Key. During this time, Victor, who also wants the key, kidnaps Kayla. Steve finally lets Jack help him rescue Kayla, and by the time the adventure is over Jack and Steve had the beginnings of a fraternal relationship. In a gesture of good-will and acceptance, Steve asks Jack to be is best man for his second marriage to Kayla (their first marriage was not legal once Marina came to town). Kayla had agreed that Steve could do this, and Jack is deeply touched by their gesture. The wedding is sidetracked when Kayla is arrested for the murder of Marina Toscano. Jack works hard at turning public opinion Kayla's way after she is found to be guilty. During this time, Stephanie Johnson is born. Eventually it was found that Kayla is innocent.
Jack and Jennifer embark on the famed "Cruise of Deception" during which time Isabella Toscano is found to be Victor Kiriakis's daughter. Ernesto Toscano had killed his wife when he found out she was unfaithful, and he tries to kill everyone on board the cruise. He fails, and they all end up on his island. During this time, Jennifer finally convinces Jack that their love made sense and that she trusted him not to hurt her, and they consummate their love — a first for Jennifer. Jack is haunted by the thought that he would end up like Harper or Duke - evidenced by his own rape of Kayla. He is still wary of a relationship with Jennifer after they are all rescued by Steve and Shane.
Jack accidentally kills escapee Harper as he tries to kill Steve on the day of his third wedding to Kayla - an event in which Jack was, once again, to be best man. Labeling himself a rapist and now a killer, Jack once again pushes Jennifer away. Eventually Jennifer gets fed up with him and embroils herself in a large deception whereby she tries to convince Lawrence Alamain that she is his arranged-bride-to-be Katarina Von Leuschner - Jennifer's friend from boarding school, whom she knew as Carly Manning. Jack tries to get Jennifer to abandon her ruse, fearing what Lawrence would do to her. He admits his love to her and promises never to push her away again. Jennifer accepts his apologies but insists on seeing her plan through.
As part of a long-standing vendetta against Bo Brady, Lawrence has Steve killed, breaking Jack's heart. Jack and Kayla bond a little through this grief, but Jack couldn't stay in town - he had to go back to rescue Jennifer.
Lawrence then blackmails Jennifer into marrying him by revealing that her former boyfriend, and Carly's younger brother, Frankie Brady, is his prisoner. Lawrence knows she isn't Katarina and he himself had had an affair with Katarina ears ago, but all he wants is the VL fortune. Jack, who had traveled to Europe with Jennifer and others, is imprisoned the day of the wedding, and is unable to meet with Jennifer as planned near the elevator in Lawrence's bedroom. Lawrence meets his bride in his bedroom the night of his wedding and confuses her in his mind with Carly. Jennifer tries to explain her presence in his room by telling him she was waiting for him. Things get out of control and she tries to get away, but he overpowers and rapes her. Jack escapes his prison a little too late, and tries to get Jennifer to leave. Traumatized by the rape, and unable to tell him about it because of his own past, she coldly tells him she is married and that she is going to try to make it work. Help arrives in the form of Shane, Bo, Carly, Kayla and Julie, who are all trying to either gather evidence about Steve's death, or rescue Jennifer and her Gran, Alice Horton, from Lawrence's grasp. With her friends and family as support, and an impassioned challenge for her to declare who she really is and who she really loves, Jack convinces Jennifer to escape with them.
Lawrence sets off explosives as they try to escape through the tunnels under his villa. The entire group nearly dies, but finally makes it out and back home to Salem. At this point, Alice Horton is firmly in Jack's camp as far as his relationship with Jennifer is concerned. Jack himself is finally able to commit to his feelings for her and begins to believe that, despite his ugly deeds in the past, the two of them could have a happy life together.
However, Jennifer is deeply traumatized by the rape and once home, she flinches and pulls away every time Jack tries to get close to her Jack begins to believe that her behavior, which reminds him of Kayla in the days before the rape, means that she is in love with Frankie. Her decision to have Frankie as a roommate after turning down Jack's offer that they live together further push him towards this belief, and he becomes more and more insecure about her feelings about him. He asks her to marry him in a grandiose and romantic fashion and, although she initially says she couldn't say yes just yet, she finally relents when he comes to her dressed as Santa Claus (purportedly coming on 'Jack Deveraux's behalf.)
She still freezes up whenever he tries to get close, however. Lawrence Alamain comes to Salem seeking to continue his revenge against those who had crossed him, and this only increases Jennifer's general sense of terror. Jack tries to help her by bringing her to a cabin so that they could get away from Lawrence. He tries to get her to tell him what is going on, and when she is unable to even speak to him after his impassioned pleas, he grabs her and tries to kiss her. This triggers a flashback to the rape, and she breaks free of him, slapping him and calling him a rapist. She is immediately horrified and apologetic, but Jack is unable to hear her words.
A heartbroken and angry Jack pushes himself away from Jennifer and marries Eve Donovan to secure inheritance money so that he could save his paper, which he is in jeopardy of losing to Lawrence. Finally during yet another escapade, Jennifer admits to Jack about the rape. His reaction is initially to run away from her, believing that after her experiences he is the last thing she'd need or want. Eventually, however, Jack realizes that she does need him, and he fights his own guilty demons in order to support her as she presses charges against Lawrence.
Very shortly after Lawrence was convicted of fifth degree rape, Jack marries Jennifer in July 1991. Their marriage hits a snag early on when Jennifer is duped by a conman named Hawk which eventually causes them to lose the majority of Jack's wealth, and puts their marriage in jeopardy, although they manage to work it out.
Jack and Jennifer conceive their first child on the set of a gameshow during One Stormy Night, Days of our Lives first primetime special. Jennifer gives birth to a daughter, Abigail, in October 1992. While still an infant, Abigail is diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia, caused from exposure to water from the river Jack's company had dumped chemicals in. Although Abigail recovers, a guilt-ridden Jack abandons his family and Salem altogether in 1993, feeling they'd be better off without him.
After leaving Jennifer and Abby, Jack suffers a nervous breakdown and checks himself into a mental health clinic called The Meadows. The Meadows' theme is to leave the past self behind, and while there everybody takes on invented names as a healing technique. While there he becomes acquainted with an attractive, middle-aged woman (also a patient) with whom he forms a friendship. Trying to forget their troubles, Jack and the woman begin sleeping together. Eventually, with the clinic's help, Jack recovers and begins to feel that he could now be the kind of husband and father that Jennifer and Abby deserve. He then returns to Salem in 1994.
When he gets there, his family is not exactly where he had left them. Jennifer had met and begun a relationship with Peter Blake and they married not long after Jack's return. To make matters worse, Jack learns that the woman he had met and had a relationship with at The Meadows is Jennifer's mother, Laura, whom he had never met before. Jennifer denounces Jack, and seeks comfort in the arms of her new husband. Jack, however, thinks something is not quite right with the all too perfect seeming Peter. He works tirelessly to prove his hunch that Peter is up to no good, but Jennifer writes off Jack's claims as the pathetic schemes he had become all too known for. However, eventually Peter proves Jack right, when he kidnaps Jennifer and Abigail. After Jack rescues them, Jennifer divorces Peter (who is sent to prison) and Jack, Jennifer and Abigail leave town to live in Africa (where Jennifer's father, Bill, works as a volunteer doctor) in 1998.
In Africa, Jack, who had lost his paper and his fortune, becomes obsessed with the idea of making his money back and begins to involve himself in get-rich-quick schemes, many of which Jennifer finds impractical and shady. To make matters worse, these business ventures would often cause Jack to disappear, sometimes for weeks at a time, without so much as a phone call to Jennifer. Eventually deciding nothing had changed, Jennifer packs up her stuff and leaves with Abby one night while Jack is away. They go first to Ireland and eventually back to Salem.
On a tip from Jennifer's grandmother, Alice Horton, Jack learns that Jennifer is to be in Paris for the coronation of Princess Greta Von Amberg. Jack, who is in Italy at the time, gets to Paris before Jen could, and ambushes her at the coronation. There they have it out, Jennifer blasting Jack for his antics in Africa and for his stubborn refusal to grow up, while Jack expresses his outrage at Jennifer's just leaving with their daughter without so much as a word. Eventually, they agree to return to Salem where they would attempt to work out a custody agreement of Abby. Jack, however, has much more in mind. In his latest attempt to win Jennifer back, he suggests the three of them all move in together under one roof, as neither of them had a place to stay. Jennifer protests, but Jack goads her into it by suggesting that if he was able to put Abby before their personal differences, she should as well. While the arrangement is initially confrontational, with Jack and Jennifer constantly verbally sparring with each other, but Jack rekindles her love for him when he rescues her after her car goes over a bridge. Jennifer begins to entertain the idea that perhaps Jack is really, finally, changing into the kind of man she thought he was when they were married.
Meanwhile Jack uses the attractive Princess Greta Von Amburg, with whom he had recently become friends, to make Jennifer jealous, which Jennifer sees immediately through. However, when Jennifer begins to date Brandon Walker, Jack is determined to continue, especially after he interprets his plan as working. The plan hits a snag when Greta develops real feelings for Jack. He tries to let Greta down gently, but when she realized she is being rebuffed, she begins crying. Wanting to spare her feelings, Jack tells her he is gay. After a few complicated months of trying to make Jennifer think Greta and he are involved while trying to make Greta think he's gay, eventually the truth comes out to Jennifer. She is livid at Jack for playing both her and Greta for fools, and plots to seduce Jack in the shower in an effort to catch him in his own lie. Jennifer's scheme, however, does not go according to plan as Jennifer finds herself unable to resist him. When Jack stops the interlude just short of sex, Jennifer finds herself surprisingly disappointed and very confused.
Not long afterward, Greta finds out that Jack is straight and leaves town in a rage, and Jack is left distraction free in his, now more honest, pursuit of Jennifer. The relationship between Jennifer and Brandon eventually fizzles and Jennifer begins dating Colin Murphy, a mysterious Irishman she met in Africa who she had originally gone to Ireland to meet. While this relationship continues, Jennifer eventually realizes she is still in love with Jack, and attempts to end things with Colin. Colin, however, reveals he wasn't going to take no for an answer, and threatens Jack's life unless Jennifer sleeps with him. A devastated Jennifer has no choice but to submit. When Colin is murdered just a few days later, both Jack and Jennifer suspect each other, and Jack even turns himself in to deflect suspicion off of Jennifer. Eventually, however, they are both proven innocent. In May 2003, Jack and Jennifer finally remarry.
In October 2003, Jack begins working with police officer Abe Carver, leading to both men supposedly being murdered by the Salem Stalker (Marlena Evans). Jennifer is forced to disconnect a brain dead Jack's life support, but she is comforted by the fact that she is now pregnant with Jack's second child.
In May 2004, it is revealed that Jack and all of Marlena's victims are alive and being held on a tropical island by Tony Dimera, who had faked all of the murders. Jennifer eventually finds her way to the island, and gives birth to a son named Jack Jr. While escaping Tony's island, Jack is again presumed dead after a tsunami. This is, again, not the case. Jack, and a few others including Cassie Brady, are being held in a castle in Europe. During this time, despite possible temptations on either side by Patrick Lockhart and Cassie for Jack, both manage to be one of the only couples (of many) dealing with fake dead spouses who stay true to each other. In April 2005, Jack leads another escape from the castle and he and Jennifer are reunited at the injured Abigail's bedside, and Jack gets to know his infant son, Jack Deveraux Jr.
In June 2005, Jack receives news that he is dying of a rare blood disease and only has about three months left to live. Instead of trying to find out more about his illness, Jack works to set Jennifer up with her old boyfriend, Frankie Brady in order to protect her from the aforementioned Patrick, who he is sure would be after her the moment Jack was gone. Jack is again presumed dead after a car accident, although his body is never found. Jack had decided to stage his death, since he didn't want his loved ones to watch him die.
In actuality, Jack is dying in a hospice in Cincinnati, and had no intention of returning to Salem. Jennifer had learned of Jack's devotion to the idea of her marrying Frankie and, wanting to grant his final wish, is (fairly unenthusiastically) preparing to marry him, despite Abigail's strong objections. This is the third time in as many years that Jack had been presumed dead, and Abigail isn't buying it (and is frustrated that Jennifer is). Jack's plans change when one of his hospice workers turns out to be his presumed dead brother Steve Johnson. Steve has no memory of who he was and is living under the name Nick Stockton. 'Nick' is amused by the other man's insistence that they are brothers, and he finally agrees to give the man his dying wish and took a DNA test. He is stunned to find out that the DNA test proves they are brothers. Overwhelmed that the brother he had lost had now returned to him, Jack begs Steve to go back to Salem, trying to tell him all about the wonderful life he had once had. Jack speaks so highly of Kayla that Steve says it sounds it like she had been Jack's wife, not Steve's. Jack awkwardly avoids the issue. Steve says that he would only go back if Jack went back too, so that he could say goodbye to his family. Despite his own desire to stay away from Salem in his final days, Jack knows he owes it to the brother and ex-wife he had wronged so many times to bring him back. Jack agrees to do one final good deed, and the two brothers return to Salem.
The duo return to Salem in spring 2006 during Jennifer and Frankie's wedding ceremony, and the brothers are reunited with their widows. Jennifer's opinions are mixed because, although she is elated to find out the man she loves is alive, she is as angry at him as she'd ever been for letting her think he was dead when he wasn't. Jack's health worsens and Jennifer is unable to break away from her commitment to Frankie, despite not truly being in love with him. She feels guilty about hurting Frankie, who represents the stability and steadiness she had always wanted and which Jack had never really provided for her, and wary about any possibility of a future with Jack.
Frankie discovers a drug trial that could help Jack, and it works; Jack, Jennifer and Frankie are now caught up in an uncomfortable triangle. Soon after, Jack and Jennifer are kidnapped while Jack was investigating the recent murder of a cop. After escaping their captors and getting lost in the woods, Jennifer vents some of her anger out at Jack, and they eventually make love. Jack collapses soon afterward from cold and hunger. Jack recovers, however, and he and Jennifer are reunited for what is currently the final time. Jennifer gently lets Frankie know that she cares deeply about him, but does not love him. Finally realizing that Jennifer never would be his, a heartbroken Frankie eventually leaves Salem.
Jack and Jennifer are both offered dream jobs in London. Wanting a fresh start, they leave for Europe with J.J. while Abigail, who supports her parents move but doesn't want to leave her school and friends, remains in Salem with family.
In April 2007, Jack returns to the States, to take Abby on a spring vacation to New York City. In between tours of Time Square and getting her an autograph from Gwen Stefani, Jack finds time to talk to Abby about her burgeoning relationship with Max Brady, warning her against getting involved with a man much older and more experienced than her.
Jack died during the "Daysaster" of July 2012 while trying to save his daughter Abigail from being trapped in an elevator. Jack, with the help of Cameron Davis, was able to free Abigail from the elevator, however he became trapped himself and crashed to his death when the elevator cables gave out.