Five years after her sister Jennifer's death, Kim Stewart was surprised to find a young lady at Jennifer's grave. She was further surprised when the girl, who introduced herself as Melinda Grey, claimed to be Jennifer's daughter. Kim couldn’t believe that her sister would keep secret an illicit love affair that produced a child, so Melinda presented her with proof--a locket that had a picture of a young Jennifer in it, Kim was obviously still skeptical and went to the family pastor, Rev. Booth. Reverend Booth confirmed that Jennifer, who at the time was married to Chuck Ryan, had indeed gotten pregnant and gave her child up, something she never forgave herself for. Because Booth also knew about the locket that Jennifer left for her baby, Kim was certain that Melinda was telling the truth and accepted the girl. Though touched by her aunt's acceptance, that wasn't all Melinda was looking for when she arrived in Oakdale; she wanted the good life. Seeing an opportunity, she got hired as the wealthy Jane Spencer's assistant and found herself attracted to Jane's handsome son, Beau. Although Beau was already married to Kim's sister-in-law, Annie, Melinda refused to let that stop her. She had an ally in Jane, who despised Annie and felt that the social climbing Melinda was a more appropriate woman for Beau. Jane threw Beau and Melinda together at every turn. Meanwhile, Melinda was noticing the tension in the Spencer marriage and took advantage by "accidentally" leaving her slip in Beau's closet, thus giving Annie the impression that she and Beau were having an affair. The plan worked; Annie left and Beau ended up in Melinda's arms.
Melinda ended up causing trouble in another marriage as well--that of Jay and Carol Stallings. Though she wanted Beau for his money, Melinda couldn't help but be attracted to the very handsome Jay and befriended him. Then one night, after he had an argument with a colleague, Jay visited Melinda and they talked all night. When the man Jay argued with turned up dead, a suspected Jay refused to state where he was that night for fear that Carol would think they'd had an affair and leave. However, Jay's attorney, Tom Hughes, convinced him that his best chance for acquittal would be to have Melinda testify, and Jay conceded. Unfortunately, although Melinda told Tom that Jay's story was true, in court she suddenly changed her story and said that they'd slept together! Although Carol didn't believe it, she couldn't forgive Jay's lying about his alibi, and as he feared, she left him.
But Melinda still had her eye on the prize--Beau. When Jane got John Dixon re-instated at Memorial, Melinda's radar went up: why would Jane help someone she couldn't stand? Curious as to what exactly John Dixon was holding over Jane, Melinda broke into John's safe and found Beau's birth certificate. Looking at it, Melinda was shocked by what it revealed--Jane wasn't Beau's mother! At the same time, Melinda learned she was pregnant and threatened to reveal the truth about his parentage to Beau unless Jane got him to marry her. Jane succeeded and Melinda finally became Mrs. Beau Spencer. Although she thought it'd be all over when she suddenly miscarried, to her surprise, Beau vowed to stick by her. Meanwhile, John was anxious to get the dirt on his rival, Bob Hughes,, and blackmailed Melinda, who was Frannie Hughes's baby sitter, into spying on the Hughes family for him. If she didn't, he'd tell Beau that she was once named co-respondent in a messy divorce. Though she agreed, she couldn't go through with it because she liked Bob and didn't want to see him get hurt, so, in a great show of strength, she confessed the entire truth to Kim who was very understanding. Also understanding was a grateful Bob who told her that she inherited her mother's beauty and grace. Unfortunately, Beau wasn't as forgiving and left Melinda and left town.
Soon after, Melinda found herself attracted to the opportunistic Brad Hollister. Unfortunately, here was another man involved with Annie Stewart. Though Melinda succeeded in getting Brad into her bed, it irked her that his heart belonged to Annie. Finally, one fateful night, Melinda got tipsy at a party on Brad’s houseboat and tried to seduce Brad, but he waved her off because he wanted to be left alone. Unfortunately, Melinda didn't take the snub very well and after telling Annie's niece, Betsy, that she and Brad were more than friends, she announced in a loud voice that Brad was an excellent lover. Angry, Brad grabbed her, told her she'd be sorry in the morning for making a spectacle of herself and then took her to his smaller boat to take her home. Tragically, when a groggy-headed Melinda realized they were going home, she jumped overboard! Though Brad dove in afterward, an angry and confused Melinda pushed him away and he was knocked unconscious. The next morning, the police pulled Melinda's lifeless body from the lake.