Natalie Bannon met young lawyer Tom Hughes when she sought the services of Lowell, Hughes, & Colman to help her with a legal problem. Natalie was Tom's first client and he helped clear her of grand larceny charges. Despite the fact that he was married, Tom found himself drawn to the sultry, mysterious Natalie. In short time, Tom and his wife, Carol, decided that they married too young and parted ways amicably. That would pave the way for Natalie to become Mrs. Thomas Hughes. However, before that could happen, she had to contend with a deep dark secret. Though she secured a job with Tom's mother, Lisa, at her bookstore, Lisa still had some vague suspicions about Natalie's character. Then one day, in front of Carol, a customer recognized Natalie as Mrs. Ralph Porter. At the same time, Natalie learned that Carol's boyfriend, Jay Stallings, was having an affair with Susan Stewart and warned him to have Carol keep her mouth shut or she'd tell Carol about his indiscretion. However, Jay refused to cow to Natalie's threat since he knew her secret too. Seeing no choice, Natalie confessed the truth about her past to Tom--that her first husband, Ralph Porter, had died of a drug overdose. Touched by her sensitive history, Tom asked her to marry him. Meanwhile, Jay and Carol eloped.
Though both married, Natalie and Jay found it difficult to resist their feelings for each other. Making it difficult were Tom and Carol who, still friends, wanted to hang out together. Jay and Natalie's attraction was growing while their spouses were oblivious. Though both Tom and Carol were content in their lives, Jay and Natalie both wanted more out of life than a mundane small town existence. Finally, Tom noticed how uncomfortable Natalie was around Jay and called her on it. Not wanting to endanger her marriage, Natalie covered up her feelings of lust for Jay and told Tom that Jay had designs on her. However, when Tom confronted Jay, he laughed it off by saying that Natalie totally misread him. Then one day, Jay and Natalie found themselves alone. Their urges overpowering them, Jay pulled Natalie into a smoldering kiss that she didn't resist. Later, the truth about Natalie's history was finally revealed when a customer told Lisa that he hoped Natalie would pay for the pain she caused. Curious, Lisa did some digging and learned something startling--Natalie's first husband didn't die of a drug overdose, he committed suicide after she had an affair with his married brother! Not knowing what to do, Lisa confided in Bob who then went to Natalie urging her to tell Tom the truth. She did and although Tom understood, he couldn't condone the fact that she only told the truth because his parents told her to and he left. Distraught at what seemed to be the end of her marriage, Natalie turned to a willing Jay and the two finally gave in to their passion.
Unfortunately the next day, Tom came back and he found out about Jay and Natalie's affair. Angry, he got in a violent confrontation with Jay. Afterwards, Jay begged Tom not to tell Carol, and, not wanting to see Carol hurt, Tom agreed. However, he did divorce Natalie, while remaining silent to Carol about why he hated Jay so much. Meanwhile, Jay was desperate to keep Carol happy and agreed to adopt a child. At this point, Natalie left town but couldn't get Jay out of her system and kept calling him and hanging up. Finally Jay pleaded with Tom to intercede and Tom located Natalie and told her to stop calling. Natalie demurred, then returned to Oakdale and blackmailed Jay into giving her a cushy job at his construction company or she'd tell Carol everything.
Though Jay complied, he still couldn't get Natalie out of his system and again, when Carol was out of town, the two began a fully fledged affair when Natalie convinced Jay that Carol was still in love with Tom. Then Tom learned that Carol and Jay had been moved up the adoption list. Wondering if he should tell Carol about the previous affair, so that an innocent child won't be brought into a doomed marriage, his decision was made for him when Natalie told Lisa! Being told by Natalie that the truth wouldn't hurt as much if it came from her, Lisa told Carol about Jay and Natalie. Devastated, Carol threw Jay out. Although Jay appealed to Tom's father, the fair-minded Bob, to convince Carol to give him another chance; it did no good and she initiated divorce proceedings. Later, Jay was critically injured after heroically saving Annie Stewart from a cave in. Natalie, noticing how Tom was comforting a frightened Carol, visited Jay at the hospital and told him that Carol was seeing Tom. Jay however, refused to take the bait. He also received visits from Carol, who agreed to work for him again. Although Jay hoped that this would be a new beginning for them, Carol made it clear that while she didn't hate him, she no longer loved him. However despite her words, her heart felt otherwise and she later agreed to take him back.
At that point, Natalie learned she was pregnant! Knowing that Jay wouldn't leave Carol, Natalie asked Jay for money for an abortion. However, Jay didn't believe in abortion and refused. Not knowing what to do, Jay confided in Kim Dixon who convinced him to be honest with Carol. To his surprise, Carol understood and suggested that since Natalie didn't want her baby, she and Jay could adopt it. Natalie agreed on the condition that Jay help her set up her own real estate firm. However, soon a greedy Natalie decided she wanted more and hit up Jay for $ 10,000 to ensure that she'd go through with the adoption. Meanwhile, Jay's business was floundering while Natalie was in debt as well. When Jay refused her demand for more money, Natalie vowed revenge. After getting the money from Carol (who was afraid to upset Natalie out of fear that she'd renege on the deal), Natalie double-crossed the Stallings and left town! Months later, Natalie unexpectedly wrote Carol to announce that she'd had a baby girl and later deposited the girl at Carol's doorstep. In debt and his marriage seemingly over, Jay suggested giving the child up, but Carol wouldn't hear of it and even stopped divorce proceedings to guarantee that they'd get to adopt the child, who was named Amy. Though the Stallings resolved to make a go of their troubled marriage, not long after, Jay tragically died in a mining accident.
A few years later, Natalie, now living in California and married to wealthy movie mogul Ari Triandos, was surprised to see Carol again, but kept herself unseen. Curious, Natalie asked her lover, Cody Sullivan, to go to Oakdale to check on Carol and her daughter. Later, she asked Carol, who was now married to Steve Andropolous, if she could see Amy but Carol refused. However, Natalie refused to be turned away, and went to their home when she knew they were out and convinced the baby-sitter to let her in by claiming to be Carol's cousin. Unfortunately, before she even had a chance to see Amy, Annie Stewart arrived and kicked Natalie out of the house. The next day, Steve confronted Natalie and demanded that she leave them alone or else. Vengeful, Natalie tried to blame him for the theft of her necklace. Finally, Natalie secretly saw Amy by bribing the baby-sitter with a bit part in Triandos's new movie. However, Carol and Steve arrived home early and were outraged to find Natalie there. Finally, Natalie revealed that the reason she wanted to see Amy so badly was because her new husband made her agree that they'd have no children. Having spent years herself yearning for a child, Carol understood. After seeing Amy one last time, Natalie left Oakdale and returned to her life in California.