Julia was sent from San Antonio, Texas by her parents to live in Pine Valley with her sister Maria Santos because of her scandalous affair with her former lover and married man, Bobby Lee. Julia had always confused sex with love until she fell in love with a young man, Terrence Frye. This affair made an enemy of Taylor Roxbury Cannon, who was secretly in love with Terrence. This enemy would haunt her forever.
During the tornado that rocked Pine Valley, Julia was struck by a falling chandelier, which severely cut her face. She was stitched up emergently by her sister, Maria. Since Maria is a neurosurgeon and not a plastic surgeon, Julia was left with a disfiguring scar. Julia ran away to Center City where she was saved by Noah Keefer. She was raped in Noah's apartment (where they were living platonically) by known drug pusher, Louie Greco. Noah chased, caught and accidentally killed Louie for which he was found guilty of murder. Julia, now in love with Noah, helped him to escape to Jamaica, where they were pursued by jealous policewoman, Taylor Cannon and the new D.A., Jackson Montgomery. After much chasing and danger on the island, Julia and Noah escaped to Pine Valley in coffins (presumed dead, but in a voodoo trance). Julia was even presumed dead after Taylor pushed her over a waterfall! Noah was proven innocent and he and Julia had a Cinderella wedding complete with glass slippers. They are presently trying to live a normal life -- she as a Pine Valley Hospital student nurse and waitress at a coffee shop and Noah as a bartender at Hal's and free lance photographer for Tempo magazine.
In the fall of 1996, when Noah's mother returned to Pine Valley, Julia found herself twisted up in a murder plot. Julia's life was nearly taken when a hired gun took a shot at her in a motel parking lot. The same thugs tried to kill Julia by cutting her car's brakes. Unfortunately for them, Julia was not driving the car. Instead Hector, Julia's father, lost his life as he drove Julia's car and it crashed off the road.
Julia and Noah had to flee Pine Valley after their run-in with Grady and his henchmen. They enrolled in the Federal Witness Protection program and set up a new life with news names in the San Francisco Bay Area. They were not allowed to make contact with anyone from their past---including their loved ones.
Julia resurfaced briefly after Maria's death. She warned Mateo that the plane crash may have been sabotaged. She could not say anything more and with that she was taken back to her life in the Federal Witness Program
Julia made another brief return 5 years later when she received permission to visit Wildwind to see the recently-returned-from-the-dead Maria. Julia helped Maria conceal the presence of her fugitive friend Aidan Devane. Although Maria could not remember Julia, the two women became close very quickly, and Julia assured her they would always be sisters in Julia's heart, no matter what.
Julia returned to town years later, grieving the death of her beloved husband, Noah. With Di Henry's help, she was able to take down the man who was responsible for Noah's death, a criminal mastermind named The Dragon (Garret Williams), and resume her life in Pine Valley. After failed romances with Ryan and David, Julia was determined to just work on getting her life back together as a nurse, but soon found herself interested in a younger man -- Jamie Martin. At about the same time, Julia became the legal guardian of Kathy Mershon, a young girl whose parents, good friends of Julia, had been killed in a car accident.
Things didn't work out between Jamie and Julia, and Julia decided to take a nursing job in Australia. Before leaving Pine Valley, Julia attended Jesse and Angie Hubbard's wedding. The wedding was interrupted when Robert Gardner (Ray Gardner's brother) burst into the reception and fired off a shot at Aidan Devane. The bullet missed its mark and struck Julia. At the hospital, Joe Martin informed Julia that the bullet had lacerated her liver. Julia knew her chances of surviving were not good, even with surgery. Julia didn't want Kathy to see her die, and refused to let Krystal get Kathy for a final goodbye. Before she passed away, Dixie's spirit appeared and thanked Julia for watching over her Kate (Kathy). In her hospital bed, in the presence of Joe and Krystal, Julia tearfully slipped away.