Adam Hughes was born into controversy. Though his mother tried to pass him off as Tom Hughes's son, the truth quickly became known that Hal Munson was his father. Hal was furious when he learned the truth at Adam's christening, yet out of respect for Tom and Margo, he agreed to let Adam be raised as a Hughes. When Adam was about ten years old, his parents told him the truth. Adam took the news surprisingly well, and relished the chance to get to know his biological family.
Adam's world came crashing down, however, when he was about 15. When Tom Hughes cheated on Adam's mother, Adam took it as a personal betrayal and bitterly disowned his adoptive father. When the stress of his parents' marital breakdown became too much, Adam went to stay with his biological father. However, after Alec Wallace nearly drowned and sent Tom into a coma, Adam sat by his bedside. The two renewed their close bond when Tom woke up.
Adam had a relatively normal life until various personal problems sent Barbara and Hal's marriage into a downward spiral. Adam moved back in with Tom and Margo. When Hal moved back into Barbara's to take care of the kids, due to her comatose state, Adam shuffled between both homes.
Adam befriended Abigail Williams early in 2000 and their friendship deepened as he, a major paranormal buff, helped her investigate Molly's claims of ghostly visits. Adam told her he could relate, since his mother had seen the ghost of Alec. At prom time, Adam was Abigail's date, worrying over the sorry state of his tux, not knowing Abigail was similarly distress over her dress. As soon as they saw each other, they were too busy catching their breath to care about their clothes. Adam later shared another chance to be Fred to Abigail's Ginger in Mabel's Red Hots, when he volunteered to give her a few impromptu lessons in ballroom dancing (he had been forced to take lessons as a child).
On July 4, 2001, the duo snuck onto a rooftop, which gave the best view of the fireworks. Jennifer and Bryant were also there, and quickly excused themselves to make out on another part of the roof. Watching them as she and Adam fumbled with nervous conversation, Abigail impulsively pressed her lips to his, which was their first kiss. Unfortunately the couple's happiness wouldn't last very long. Abigail's friendship with Nick Scudder unnerved Adam, who didn't trust the man. Adam's distrust of Nick, and Adam's seduction by a woman named Brandy, drove Abigail away.
Later, Adam's feelings about Nick were justified when Abigail learned that he was only using her to get money from Molly. Soon after that revelation, Nick wound up dead and Abigail was unconscious. Though she couldn't remember what had happened, Adam was sure that she was innocent of Nick's murder and decided to help her prove it. Adam and Abigail ran away during her trial, and even considered getting married so that he wouldn't have to testify against her, but decided to return to their parents instead. Soon after, Abigail was cleared and Mary Dolan was implicated for Nick's murder, but in the melee, Abigail's stepfather, Jake, was shot and killed. Adam tried to comfort Abigail during this difficult time, but there was a distance between them.
Adam was accepted into USC Film School, probably getting a job as an intern at a station in Los Angeles thanks to his step-grandmother, Kim. At Jake's funeral, he asked Abigail to go with him, but Abigail had realized she only loved him as a friend. She gently turned him down, and they agreed they would always treasure their feelings for each other. A few weeks later, at Paul and Rose's engagement party, Adam said his final goodbyes to Abigail, Margo, and his fathers before departing for USC.
A few years later, Adam received devastating news--Hal had been killed in a shoot-out. Returning home to attend the funeral, Adam, a successful record producer, decided to stick around. One of the first new people he met was Jade Taylor, and the pair struck up a friendship. He was also impressed with the singing talents of Will's wife, Gwen, and offered her a record deal. The problem was that Gwen hated Jade and was leery of working with anyone who was friends with her, since Jade had almost broken up her and Will's marriage. Ultimately, Gwen opted to work with Adam, anyway.
Unfortunately, Gwen was inexperienced and her lack of professionalism irked Adam. That put him in conflict with Gwen, as well as Will and Casey, who defended her against Adam's criticisms. When Gwen finally recorded her demo, the pair finally softened to one another. That all changed though when Gwen discovered Adam and Jade in the record studio fresh from love-making. She blasted Adam and refused to work with anyone who was involved with Jade. Not wanting to lose the talented Gwen as a client, Adam agreed, but continued to see Jade in secret. Meanwhile, he began to get more and more impressed with Gwen.
After a successful appearance in Los Angeles, Adam spontaneously kissed Gwen, but she shrugged it off. Unfortunately, \ Gwen's mother saw the kiss and later mentioned it to Jade. Jade lashed out at Adam, and Gwen confessed the kiss to Will and then decided to quit the record business to work on her marriage. Adam later tried to downplay kissing Gwen to Will, but, later, took full responsibility, and convinced Will to get Gwen to stick with her career. However, Adam became more and more interested in Gwen and wasn't above hurting Will to get her. Adam tried to convince Gwen that Will was out to sabotage her career.
Meanwhile, Casey was struggling with a gambling addiction and stole money from Will to pay his debts. Though he found out, Adam kept quiet and, with help from Iris, set it up to look like Will faked the burglary. When Casey learned what Adam had done, he tried to convince Adam that they had to clear Will, but instead Adam convinced him to keep quiet, becase Will wouldn't get in trouble for stealing from himself. Adam's infatuation with Gwen finally became too much for Jade and, after dumping him, she told Will that Adam set him up in order to seduce his wife.
Knowing that he could be facing some jail time, Adam tried to hightail it out of town and Gwen confronted him. She quickly realized that he set up Will. Unable to resist, Adam forced Gwen into a kiss, but Maddie Coleman stopped him when she struck him on the head with a shovel. Maddie and Gwen both thought that Adam was dead, and they worried that the Hughes would hate Maddie for killing Adam. The girls panicked, but Gwen took charge, deciding they should bury Adam. They dug a shallow grave, put a blanket over Adam's face, and put him in the ground.
Unbeknownst to the girls, Adam was still alive and remained in hiding for several weeks, sending Gwen mysterious packages. Finally, he showed himself to Maddie and Gwen and attacked them. Also at the scene was Jade, who begged Adam to leave with her, but Adam was too focused on Gwen and tried again to rape her. This time, Will stopped him and had to restrain himself to keep from killing Adam. At that point, Casey arrived and both he and Will ordered their brother to leave town.
Over two years later, the Hughes family received word that Adam had been killed in a bombing in Afghanistan. At the same time, Riley, a mysterious young man claiming to be Adam’s friend, insinuated himself into their lives. Though Margo instantly welcomed Riley into their home, Casey was suspicious. Later, after Margo was shot in the line of duty, Riley rushed to her side and called her "mom"--revealing that he was Adam! Margo confided in Casey who confronted his brother. According to Adam, he'd been in a bombing in Afghanistan and had to have facial grafts that had changed his appearance. Adam had used the opportunity to return to Oakdale to seek forgiveness from his family. Casey was angry that Adam had lied to his family yet again, but for Margo's sake, agreed not to tell Tom. Unfortunately, at this point, Tom became suspicious of Margo's interest in Riley and suspected that something was going on. Though Casey continually harped on Adam to tell the truth, Adam was unwilling to reveal himself. However, when Tom tried to get riley to leave town, Margo finally confessed that Riley was Adam. After a furious Tom confronted his son, Adam turned himself in to the police. Thanks to testimony from Maddie, stating that her having buried him alive may have led to his violent behavior, and a plea of leniency from Tom, the case against Adam was dismissed. Unfortunately, Adam disappointed his family again by skipping town without saying goodbye.