Paul Ryan spent the first three years of his life being raised by Raymond and Claudia Colfax. A sweet boy in an unhappy home, Paul had no idea that his life would suddenly be uprooted with the arrival of Barbara Ryan and James Stenbeck. At the age of three, Paul was taken away from his adopted family and placed in the care of his real parents, Barbara and James. Unfortunately, the marriage was not a happy one. Soon after, his parents divorced and Paul was denied access to his father. Frustrated, and not understanding why he couldn't see his father, Paul lashed out at his mother's fiancé, Gunnar St. Clair, and blamed him for his parents' breakup. James fueled the fires and convinced Paul that his mother was to blame. Finally, one day, James lured Paul away from summer camp and took him to Cheyenne, WY. When young Paul saw TV reports about his kidnapping, he realized that his dad was a liar, just before Barbara and Gunnar tracked them down. Paul was informed he could never see his father again, so the confused boy blamed his stepfather. When James died, Paul continued to idolize his father and resented his mother's hatred of him.
Years later, James miraculously resurfaced. Now a teenager, Paul was determined to get to know his father and refused to tell anyone, except for his best friend, Andy Dixon, that he'd been in contact with him. Paul refused to believe everyone's claims that James was a dangerous man and continued to see him. Paul's eyes were finally opened when he saw his father try to kill John Dixon. Desperate to save the life of his best friend's father, Paul told James he'd go with him anywhere. Not long after, James perished in a fire. Or so everyone thought. Not long after, Paul, in NYC for his mother's fashion show, received a summons from his father to meet him. However, one of Barbara's employees, a gay man named Hank (who Paul had been very rude and bigoted toward), was concerned and followed Paul to the rendezvous, at a pier in Staten Island. Hank was shot by James as he was trying to take off with Paul. It was at this point that the police arrived and James's helicopter was shot down. The truth about his father finally dawning on him, Paul apologized to Hank for his past behavior. Later, Paul got a summer job working for the slightly older Emily Stewart, to his mother's great annoyance, and he and Emily became close. At the time, Emily was dating a mobster named Brock Lombard and after one of Emily and Brock's big blow-ups Paul came over and found her inconsolable. His comfort led to a kiss ... and another ... until Emily took Paul's virginity. After that, a lovesick Paul started sending Emily flowers and romantic notes, but she told him that what they had was a one-night stand and resumed her affair with Brock. Not long after, James was found alive again! Having been stalking Emily (his former mistress) and Paul for months, an enraged James confronted Emily and attacked her. Luckily for her, Paul arrived. Seeing what was happening, he grabbed a gun (a gun was given to Emily from Brock) and shot his father to save Emily. Jessica Griffin defended Paul at the trial, where he testified that he and Emily were lovers. After he was found not guilty, Paul officially changed his last name to Ryan and dropped out of school to "find himself."
After a few years in Europe, Paul returned to town with a brilliant idea--to form an internet company. In town trying to find backers, Paul, who was still haunted by thoughts of his father, met the sweet Sarah Kasnoff and immediately took a liking her, though she initially found him closed-off and arrogant. Sensing intelligence in Sarah, Paul hired her to be his assistant. Soon, Sarah realized that Paul's arrogance was simply a defense mechanism and softened towards him. The pair began dating and later left town together.
Years later, tragedy struck when Barbara was caught in an explosion. Blaming himself for not protecting his mother and her company, Paul decided to stay in Oakdale to help her regain what she'd lost. Almost immediately upon arriving in town, Paul, who'd long since broken up with Sarah, saw a woman he thought was Lily Snyder only to learn that it was her long-lost twin sister, Rose. Intrigued in this colorful woman, Paul struck up a friendship with Rose who helped him as he tried to keep Barbara’s soon-to-be ex-husband, Craig Montgomery away from BRO (Barbara Ryan Originals). Paul also tried to prove Craig's guilt in the explosion. Though Craig was ultimately exonerated, Paul was grateful to Rose for her help. He constantly reassured her that her brassy ways were endearing, not disgraceful, and were a part of the reason why he cared so much about her. In him, Rose found a man who could love her for herself, not who she looked like.
Unfortunately, Barbara hated Rose at first sight, and tried everything she could to break them up, even blackmailing Rose by uncovering her past a call girl, but Rose told Paul. When Paul told her it didn't matter, she turned the tables on Barbara, threatening to spill her dirty plans to Paul unless she left their relationship alone. Barbara complied, at least temporarily. Rose and Paul became lovers. Then one day, Rose's ex-boyfriend, Vince, dropped back into her life. A series of events convinced Paul that Rose still had feelings for Vince and the pair broke up. Knowing that someone (possibly Barbara or Lucinda) was behind everything, Rose agreed to meet Vince to discuss the situation and, unbeknownst to everyone, she promptly disappeared. Not long after, Paul learned the horrible truth: Rose didn't leave him, she'd been kidnapped by his own parents! Disgusted by his mother's bitterness and willingness to let James manipulate her, Paul swore off both his parents and prayed that Rose would be found. Luckily, Rose finally escaped from the spa where she was being held and reunited with Paul. Unfortunately, their reunion didn't go very smoothly. Horribly disfigured, Rose shut Paul out of her life. However, Paul wasn't willing to let her turn him away and told her that nothing mattered except them being together. Not long after Rose's face was restored, she and her adopted father found their houses ransacked. Learning that a criminal named Cooley was after them for the bill of sale for the family diamond, Rose went to war-torn Avannya. Concerned for her welfare, Paul followed. After a harrowing adventure Paul returned to Oakdale while Rose went to New Jersey to care for her father.
Back in town, Paul was convinced that Marshall Travers, who was running for D.A., was helping his father evade justice and sought to prove it. Looking into Travers's background only got a young woman named Brandy killed and Paul on trial for her murder. Though he was exonerated when it was discovered that James killed Brandy, Paul bitterly resented the fact that Rose wasn't there for him. Though the pair was able to work through their problems, they found trouble in the form of Paul's old friend, Dusty Donovan. Very glad to see Dusty, Paul ignored Rose's concerns that he was a less than noble man and welcomed Dusty's friendship. Unfortunately, Paul would find himself betrayed by everyone he cared about. Mere weeks after Rose encouraged Paul to invite his mother to their wedding, Paul learned that Rose was involved in a plot to Kidnap Barbara in order to keep Carly Tenney from losing her job at Monte Carlo. Shocked by his fiancée’s duplicity, Paul was further shocked when Dusty confessed that Barbara was paying him to break up him and Rose! Disillusioned and bitter, Paul left town with his father on his mind. Later, his family would learn that his plane had crashed--Paul was presumed dead!
Like his father, Paul would resurface. After being cared for by a kindly fisherman, Paul decided to let his family believe he was dead and disappear forever. However, James lured him back to Oakdale by having Rose kidnapped. After, rescuing Rose from immediate death (but with her too weak to realize it was him), Paul confronted his father who urged him to strike back at his enemies instead of hiding from them. Soon after, Paul revealed himself to his family and made it his goal to keep his kid sister, Jennifer and their teenaged brother, Will, away from Barbara. What followed next was a game of one-upmanship between Barbara and Paul beginning with Paul bringing in Jennifer's former gold-digging European boyfriend and setting it up so that Jennifer would see Barbara paying him to leave town. Though Jennifer temporarily turned away from Barbara, Barbara was able to convince her that Paul was the one who set the whole thing up. In the meantime, Paul's feelings for Rose unexpectedly changed. Although at first he ignored her and appeared indifferent, he suddenly started pursuing her and decided to get her away from Dusty by discrediting him. After planting bugs in Dusty's new club, Paul set it up so that Rose would find Dusty alone with Molly McKinnon. However, he then had an "attack of conscience" and confessed his misdeeds to Rose, who quickly forgave him. After Paul declared his love for her, Rose, despite Dusty's warnings that Paul was only using her to get revenge, agreed to marry him and move to Paris so they could begin a new life together. However, Dusty was still convinced that Paul hadn't forgiven Rose, especially when he learned that Paul never bought an apartment in Paris as he claimed. Though Rose didn't want to leave Oakdale, Paul convinced her that in order to make a fresh start they had to leave the town behind. Though Rose wanted to believe that Paul was being honest with her, the doubts kept growing until a threat was made on her life.
Receiving harassing telephone calls, Rose tried to put up a brave front but was clearly spooked. Touched when Paul offered to hire a bodyguard for her, Rose started trusting him even more despite his suspicious behavior (such as initially suggesting they invite the people who hate them to their wedding). Eventually, Rose learned that Paul was the one who had been harassing her! Horrified, Rose confronted Paul who admitted that he wanted to test her. Confused, Rose went to Lily who, though not condoning what Paul did, encouraged her to give the marriage a try, while Dusty warned her to stay away since she was in danger. Not wanting to believe that her love for Paul had been a lie, Rose went through with the wedding. It was on then that Rose found out Paul's true motive. At the altar, when the minister asked for objections, Paul let loose with a tirade against Rose, totally humiliating her. Immediately after, Rose collapsed! Rushed to the hospital, it was learned that she'd been poisoned. Near death, Rose told Paul that she believed he did this to her. Though he denied it, she didn't believe him and died. Already filled with guilt, Paul found himself a suspect in Rose's murder, especially when someone set him up to be caught red-handed with the evidence.
Paul was convinced that Barbara had killed Rose, a suspicion seemingly confirmed when Barbara confessed. Confronted by Paul at the police station, Barbara made it clear that she did what she did to protect her son. Despite Barbara's confession, Dusty was certain that Paul was the killer and found evidence--computer files from Paul's computer that showed him visiting websites devoted to selling the drug, Methanol. Eyeing the files, Paul made a horrific discovery and went to locate Barbara, who had escaped police custody. After locating Barbara and Will at a helipad preparing to leave town, Paul revealed that he knew who killed Rose--Will. It was then that Will admitted to poisoning Rose, not with the intent to kill her but to merely make her sick so the pair wouldn't leave Oakdale. While sickened by the revelation, Paul assured Will that he still loved him and drew him in a hug. However, Paul wouldn't let go since he didn't want him leave with Barbara, since it was Barbara who had poisoned Will against Rose in the first place. With Paul refusing to let go of Will, Will was put into police custody and finally sent to a state psychiatric facility.
Blaming Barbara for Will's condition, Paul set out to destroy his mother. Spouting forgiveness, Paul convinced Barbara that he wanted to put their former animosity aside and work with her in resurrecting BRO. Although insisting to Jennifer that his intentions were pure, that he truly wanted to put the past aside for Will's sake, in reality he was plotting against his mother. Meanwhile, Paul found out who set him up to be framed for Rose's murder--Craig! Eager to get revenge, when Paul learned that Craig's adoption of his and Rosanna's baby, Cabot, was illegal, he happily supplied that information to the authorities, not thinking of how that would affect Rosanna, who had become his best friend. In short order, Cabot was taken away and Rosanna left town. Meanwhile, behind Barbara's back, Paul offered Carly a job at BRO--with the assertion that she could be heading Barbara's company. Although uncertain as to whether she wanted to be in the fallout of a takeover, Carly couldn't help but be intrigued by this amazing opportunity and accepted the offer. However, things would get confusing very quickly. Although warned to keep quiet about her working for BRO (since Barbara couldn't know about it), Carly told Jack and Rosanna, who had since returned to town after discovering that Paul was responsible for her losing Cabot. By this point, Rosanna had severed ties with Paul and forced Carly to choose between working for Paul or having Rosanna in her life, Carly chose Rosanna. It was then that a shocked Carly received an offer to work with Barbara from Barbara herself! Wary of Barbara's motives, Carly went to Paul who was as confused as she was, yet believed his mother's offer was sincere. So, with Rosanna's unexpected encouragement, Carly became a partner at BRO.
In addition to being confused about Barbara's sudden turn-around regarding Carly, Paul was also very suspicious of Barbara's new assistant, Jordan Sinclair. When Barbara started behaving erratically and gave purchasing power to Jordan, Paul was convinced that he was being set up to be ousted. Angry at the betrayal, the night of Barbara and Carly's fashion show, Paul cruelly confronted Barbara in front of everyone and told them he was in charge and cancelled the show! Then Paul finally told his mother that he'd never forgiven her for what she did to Rose and his plan all along was to ruin her and steal her company. Although Barbara refused to believe that Paul had lied to her for weeks, he provided her with proof--a contract he rushed her into signing that made BRO his. However, Paul's victory would turn bittersweet. During the altercation, Barbara seemed to be looking past Paul, and couldn't even grab the contract that he was holding right in front of her. Finally angry and hurt, Barbara rushed out to get away from Paul and tumbled off the walkway. At that moment, Paul made a stunning realization-- Barbara couldn't see! With nothing left to lose, Barbara admitted that she had a brain tumor that was causing periods of blindness; that was why she hired Carly and gave Jordan purchasing power. Her secret out, and the show seemingly cancelled, Barbara checked in to the hospital for radiation treatment. Meanwhile, a shocked Paul was left at the office contemplating what he'd done and wondering if his mother's tumor was malignant. Chagrined, he visited her at the hospital, where she surprised him by finally taking responsibility for everything that had happened to Rose. Wanting to put the past behind him, Paul accepted her apology and allowed the fashion show to go on with Barbara in attendance.
At the same time, Rosanna was pleading with Jordan to marry her! Apparently the only way she'd secure custody of her adopted son, Cabot, was if she married Jordan. Although neither Rosanna nor Jordan knew why he was being singled out, it was obvious that someone was pulling the strings of his life and in an attempt to help Rosanna, he married her. Meanwhile, Barbara found herself being contacted by James. Trying to figure out what was going on with James, and Jordan and Rosanna, Paul and Barbara came to a sudden realization--Jordan could be James's son! Convinced he was right, Paul confronted James; at the same time Jordan learned that James was the one who contacted Rosanna and went to confront him. With Paul convinced that that his theory was right and Jordan in the room, James was forced to confess the truth--he was Jordan's father. Not long after, Paul redeemed himself to Rosanna when he saved Cabot from a fire. Soon the friendship turned to something more and she found herself falling in love. However, James wasn't about to let his master plan go up in smoke and he put forth another demand--she and Jordan needed to consummate their marriage. Although Rosanna was willing to do anything for James, Jordan wouldn't. Not long after, with help from Barbara, James escaped and kidnapped both Rosanna and Cabot. Although Paul came to the rescue, Rosanna knew there was a bomb planted and urged him to get Cabot. Paul didn't and though he saved Rosanna, Cabot seemingly died in the explosion. Furious, Rosanna turned away from Paul and turned to Jordan for comfort. . Needing time to get away, Rosanna went back to Emma's farm to regroup. Later, after spending weeks helping out at the farm, she and Paul started to reconnect and she started to soften towards him. At the same time, Paul's relationship with Barbara soured again since he couldn't forgive her collusion with James and he plotted to wrest BRO from her. Although he fully expected Barbara to be sent to jail for helping James escape, instead she escaped and crashed into the same mental hospital where Will was.
In short order, Barbara was committed, while Will was declared fit to be released. Not long after, Paul was pleasantly surprised to learn that Rosanna had hired Will to work on the Snyder farm. Although she tried to keep her distance, it was becoming clear that she was softening towards Paul. After a while, Rosanna realized that she loved Paul and asked him to marry her. Although he initially declined, since he wasn't sure if this was what she really wanted, he later accepted. Soon after Paul married Rosanna, Rosanna became haunted by visions of Cabot. Soon, it went beyond visions--someone was taunting Rosanna by taking Cabot's things out of storage. Although both Paul and Will initially suspected Barbara, she made it clear that she couldn't have done it since she was under house arrest and wearing an ankle monitor. Although she tried to deny it, Rosanna suspected that it was Will. Then one night, Will came downstairs to see someone in the house carrying Cabot's doll. He confronted the person, only to learn that it was Emily! As Emily ran out, Will was caught red-handed with the doll. Knowing no one would believe him, he kept quiet about Emily and decided to investigate the matter himself. When confronted, Emily could remember nothing, but an investigation by police unnerved evidence that Emily was behind the stalking and she was arrested. Though the evidence proved she was responsible, Emily could not explain her actions or even remember them. Through some prodding by Paul though, she figured out that she may have been drugged by "her good friend" Barbara. In the end, Paul and Emily found evidence of what Barbara had done and she was arrested. Although, at Will's urging, she was all set to sign a confession, Barbara unexpectedly refused and was released from jail when Rosanna suddenly admitted that she drugged Emily and set up her own stalking. Confronted by Paul, who was still convinced that it was Barbara, Rosanna confessed to what she'd done. She then told him that she hated him for what he did to Cabot and then left town, leaving Paul confused.
As a devastated Paul tried to deal with this revelation, he was comforted by Emily and the two became closer as she tried to get him to move on. In the meantime, Paul had to deal with the revelation that Jennifer was pregnant with Craig's baby! Everyone agreeing that Craig was not fit to raise a child, Paul and others conspired to get Craig out of town on trumped up charges. Later, Rosanna came back in town, When Paul asked Emily not to press charges against her for fear of dredging up such painful memories. Emily agreed but was concerned that Rosanna’s return might damage the progress Paul had made in getting over her. The next day, a furious Paul was shocked when Rosanna told him the real reason she'd left--James had faked Cabot's death and kidnapped Cabot! The only reason she left was so she could be with her son. Touched by her story, Paul seemed all set to resume their relationship, until he learned that Rosanna had told the entire story to Craig in Bangkok in exchange for his help. Hurt that Rosanna trusted Craig to help her but not him, Paul bitterly wrote her off and then urged Emily to press charges. Later, after arguing with Hal about it, Emily went to Paul and, after venting her frustrations to him, the pair made love. Meanwhile, Craig, who married Rosanna in order to get custody of his baby, got Paul to drop the charges by threatening to press charges against him for running him out of Oakdale. Soon after, Jennifer prematurely gave birth to a baby boy, the same day as a teenage girl named Gwen Norbeck gave birth to hers. Within a day, Jennifer’s baby tragically died, though she insisted that wasn’t the case. Soon after, another tragedy occurred—Rosanna was run off the road by Craig right before calling Paul and pleading for him to meet her. Paul arrived at the scene in time for Rosanna to tell him “wrong foot” before she slipped into an irreversible coma. Craig was sent to jail for vehicular manslaughter as Paul was left with a mystery of what Rosanna was trying to tell him.
Remembering Jen’s rants about her baby being alive, Paul did some rummaging through Rosanna’s things and found a file of Gwen’s baby’s footprints and suddenly realized the truth—it’d been Gwen’s baby who died, not Jen’s! However, now Paul had a dilemma—should he tell Jennifer the truth? Believing that she’d be better off without Craig’s child (since Craig would definitely re-enter her life), Paul kept his secret. Although Emily quickly figured out the secret, Paul convinced her to keep quiet. Meanwhile, with Rosanna in a coma, Gwen decided to get her baby back. Realizing the further away the child was, the better off the chances of Crag staying away, Paul approached Gwen and offered to pay her legal fees—as long as she moved away from Oakdale afterwards. Meanwhile, the apparent loss of her child drove Jenifer to use drugs to ease her pain. Finally her habit landed her in the hospital, and a guilty Paul wanted to reveal the truth. However, this time, it was Emily who convinced him to keep quiet since they’d already lied for months and concealed the evidence. Later, with Jennifer still insisting that her baby was live, Dusty did some digging and uncovered evidence that suggested that Craig could have switched the babies (so he would have adopted his own son). Knowing that Dusty enlisted his lover, Meg Snyder, to secretly conduct a DNA test on Gwen Norbeck’s baby, Paul approached her and, using her fear that Dusty would leave her for Jennifer, he convinced her to keep quiet about the truth. As the weeks went by though, Meg couldn’t live with the guilt and hinted to Dusty the truth. Using Meg’s clues, Dusty confirmed that Jen’s baby had been switched and was indeed alive! When Will and Jen learned what Paul did, they both disowned him and Paul ended up in jail for falsifying evidence. Out on bail, he and Emily made plans to get married but remembering Jen’s words that he do something selfless for once, Paul told Emily that he couldn’t marry her because he couldn't let her ruin her life for him. Already stressed beyond the limit due to the lies of the last few months, an enraged Emily impulsively shot Paul in the back! Emily then covered her tracks by tossing Paul over the cliff.
Fortunately, who should stumble upon Paul but Meg? Although Meg wanted to get Paul to a hospital, Paul refused since he felt guilty for what he'd driven Emily to do. Instead he ended up offering Meg one million dollars to nurse him to health. Though she still insisted that he belonged in a hospital rather than a very non-sterile cabin, she agreed. It didn’t take long for the pair to fall in love. Later, Paul decided that perhaps it'd be best if he was "dead.” Since he was facing jail time if he ever returned to town, Paul got Meg to help him stage his suicide. However, Paul couldn't resist himself and attended his own memorial service. There he saw a devastated Jennifer and realized that she felt guilty about how she treated him before his "death.” Now feeling even guiltier, Paul impulsively hired a psychic to convince Jennifer that she was in communion with Paul. At the risk of being discovered, Paul continued to skulk around Jennifer. Finally, he decided to test the waters by having the psychic suggest that Paul wasn't really dead. Afterwards, Dusty discovered the truth and confronted Paul, telling him Jennifer was better off thinking he was dead. After a scuffle, Paul went off to reveal himself to Jennifer. After their reunion, the police finally apprehended Paul and he was put in jail.Meanwhile, Dusty had gone missing.
Now in jail, Paul received a visit from Emily who shocked him by asking him for another chance. Although sorry for the pain he'd caused her, Paul declined, telling her they weren't good for each other. Not long after, evidence suggested that Dusty had been murdered. Thinking that Meg had done it, Paul confessed to the crime. Soon after, Emily convinced Hal to search Meg's room where he found bloody gloves. Meg was then arrested as a co-conspirator in Dusty's murder. Meg was placed in the cell next to Paul and after some discussion they realized that neither one of them killed Dusty. But who did? Remembering Emily's visit, and her vindictive attitude toward Meg, Paul realized it was Emily. He also wondered if Dusty was alive and being held captive. To get the answers, Paul had to get to Emily. Paul told Emily that Meg betrayed him. He said that Emily was right, warning him about Meg, and he apologized for not believing her. He declared that the biggest mistake of his life was not marrying her. Privately, Paul revealed to Emily that he didn’t kill Dusty, but he did deserve to go to jail for the way he treated her. Emily. stated that maybe there’s a way to get him out of this mess, but it all depended on Paul, and whether he could prove his love for her - by marrying her. Paul agreed. After the wedding, a photo of Dusty with the current day's paper was sent to Jennifer, proving that Dusty was still alive. Paul immediately recanted his confession.
However, there was still the issue of his previous crimes. Convinced that Paul knew where Dusty was, Jennifer agreed to drop the charges so he would lead them to Dusty. However, in order to do that Paul had to prove his loyalty to Emily and he did that by seducing his new wife. Later, Paul confessed to Jen his belief about Emily and got Jennifer to tell Emily that she'd heard from Dusty. As expected, Emily went to the farmhouse where she was holding Dusty. By this time, Dusty got the upper hand and escaped; so had Emily. Realizing Emily was still a danger to Meg; Paul frantically went searching for her and found her on the same cliffside where she shot Paul. Distraught, Emily seemed set to jump when Paul found her and pleaded with her to trust him. However, that went out the window when Meg and Dusty came as well and a frantic Emily ended up stepping off the cliff. Luckily, Paul was able to revive her and Emily was sent to the hospital for her injuries. Then came a startling revelation--Emily was pregnant with Paul's baby. Meanwhile, Jennifer’s son, Johnny, became ill and was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer. While Emily was trying to decide whether to proceed with her pregnancy (since she didn’t want Paul to raise the baby with Meg), it was discovered that stem cells from Emily's fetus could save Johnny's life. However, it was risky; Emily's baby could die. Emily took the risk and not only did her baby survive the procedure, but Johnny recovered as well.
Grateful, Jennifer wanted leniency in Emily's sentencing and continually asked Dusty to either not testify against Emily or ask the court to go easy on her. However, Dusty continually refused. Not long after, tragedy struck when Jennifer was stricken with complications from viral pneumonia. Guilt-ridden, Paul was afraid to say goodbye to a dying Jennifer and was immensely relieved when she told him she forgave him for everything. After Jennifer’s death, Emily tried to remind Paul and Dusty that Jennifer wanted her to go free so their children would know each other, neither man would budge. At her trial, Emily was advised to plead guilty when salvation came from an unlikely source—Dusty! He’d had a change of heart and refused to testify against Emily. Though a desperate Paul tried to have charges brought up for Emily shooting him, it was much too late. Emily was free. Convinced that Emily was still a dangerous woman, Paul was determined that she would never raise that her child. Paul’s obsession with Emily distressed Meg and she declined his marriage proposal but later reconsidered. Later, upon learning that Meg and Paul were engaged, Emily made plans to flee the country. Unfortunately for Emily, Meg got word from Henry and tried to stop her from leaving. However, Emily ignored all of Meg's pleas. While they argued at the Snyder farm, a freak snowstorm hit Oakdale. To keep a stubborn Emily from going out in the storm, Meg locked her in the barn. At that moment, a hysterical Emily went into labor. As Meg was trying to help Emily, the barn caught on fire. Luckily, the pair was rescued by Paul but, tragically, Emily’s baby died during childbirth. Though Paul and Meg were free to marry, Meg backed out at the last minute when Emily informed her that Paul had tried to smother Craig with a pillow at the hospital.
Meanwhile, Craig usurped Worldwide right out from under Lucinda Walsh. Lucinda recruited Meg to help oust Craig and Meg went to Paul for help. Pretending they were on the outs, Meg got close to Craig while Paul “confessed” that was having visions about Johnny. Meg then spun a tale about Paul being unhinged. Paul then came up with the idea of Alison Stewart impersonating Rosanna in order to “haunt” Craig. Unfortunately, that idea didn’t work because of Alison’s drug problem. Realizing Craig might be on to them, Paul urged Meg to drop the vendetta against Craig but she refused. Things took a complicated turn when Meg agreed to marry Craig in order to get WorldWide back. Despite his misgivings, Meg assured him that she knew what she was doing and urged him to wait for her. Though Paul raced to stop the wedding, Lucinda wouldn’t let him. Unfortunately, Craig was on to Meg all along and after drugging Meg arranged for Paul to meet him near a steep cliff. Craig confronted Paul with a gun. As the pair struggled, Paul fell over the cliff and was presumed dead. However, in reality, he was in a hospital in British Columbia. Paul languished in a coma for a month until he came to after dreaming of Rosanna. When he recovered, Paul visited Rosanna at the hospital pretending to her husband. When the doctors told him about an experimental drug that could revive her, Paul gave them permission to use it. The drug worked and Rosanna woke up. After filling Rosanna in on some of what she missed over the past two years, Paul brought her home to Oakdale.
Upon his return, Paul was hurt to learn that Meg was still married to Craig. Believing she must have enjoyed her new lifestyle too much to give it up, Paul turned his back on Meg. He then worked with Rosanna to help her Craig’s crimes so he could be put in jail for the baby-switch and the car crash. Paul’s old feelings for Rosanna began to resurface. Though she told Paul that she remembered everything, Rosanna later recanted and told the court that she had no memory of that last night before her coma. Later, he realized she’d lied to the court. After assuring Rosanna that he loved her, not Meg, Paul quickly decided to marry her. However, no matter how hard he tried, Paul could not deny his feelings for Meg and when he found her at the cabin, they made love. Though Paul declared his love for Meg, she realized he still had a vendetta against Craig and walked away. Later, Meg went to Paul and informed him that she was ready to end things with Craig. He planned on ending things with Rosanna as well. However, before he had a chance, he was rocked by Craig’s announcement that Meg was pregnant. Believing the child was Craig’s, Paul turned away from Meg again and quickly married Rosanna. Meanwhile, Meg insisted that her baby was Paul’s and asked for a DNA test which Paul agreed to. The stress of the situation became too much and Rosanna briefly slipped back into a stress induced coma. Though she quickly came out of it, doctors warned that stress could aggravate the situation. In the meantime, Meg informed Paul that she was wrong: Craig was the father. Weeks later, an on edge Craig revealed to Meg that her DNA test had been altered. He made it clear that he wasn’t responsible but Paul was indeed the baby’s father. Meg immediately went to Paul and while they were celebrating, she remembered that Craig’s hostility toward her baby didn’t occur until after she saw him speaking with Rosanna. Rosanna must have altered the test.
Paul immediately ended things with Rosanna. In the heat of anger, Rosanna wished Craig had killed Meg’s baby. Paul demanded to know what she meant and she admitted that Craig planned on giving Meg a drug to induce a miscarriage but backed off at the last second. Paul angrily confronted Craig. The pair got in a vicious fight and when Meg tried to break it up, Paul shoved Meg which caused Meg to fall and lose her baby. Though Paul tried to reach out to Meg, she blamed the loss of her child on his intense rivalry with Craig. Blaming Craig and Rosanna for the loss of his son, Paul had Rosanna charged with altering the DNA test. Faced with time in prison and a life without Paul, Rosanna slipped back into a coma. In the meantime, Meg returned Worldwide to Lucinda who, unexpectedly, turned the company over to Paul. Meanwhile, Paul begged Meg to take him back, but Meg couldn’t live with what Paul’s quest for vengeance had cost her and refused.
In the meantime, Craig left town, but not before trying to kill Paul with a car bomb. Luckily, Paul survived and, while at the hospital, he formed an unlikely friendship with Sofie Duran, the biological mother of the baby that Will adopted. Lonely, Sofie befriended Paul and the two quickly bonded to the point where Paul asked Sofie to take him home when he released himself from the hospital. Paul’s friendship with Sofie did not go down well with Will who looked upon it as a betrayal since, weeks earlier, Sofie had tried to kidnap her daughter. Paul, however, stuck to his guns and defended Sofie. At the same time, Paul learned that Emma Snyder was selling the family farm. About this time, Emma Snyder decided to sell the family farm. When Paul heard about the sale, in an attempt to get close to Meg, he made an offer on behalf of Worldwide. Since Mike Kasnoff, Paul’s former brother in law, had already pitched an offer on behalf of the company he worked for, Meg convinced her mother to listen to both offers and it was decided that both companies pull their resources and work on the project together. Remembering how Paul had hurt Jennifer, Mike took an immediate dislike to Paul and distrusted him. However, Meg was beginning to soften towards Paul again. As the weeks went by, Paul constantly begged Meg to take him back, but she was reluctant since she’d been hurt before. Mike continually warned Meg about Paul, and even went so far to convince Meg to seek a restraining order against Paul when it seemed that Paul was harassing her. While Meg was enjoying Mike’s company, Paul was enjoying Sofie’s. Soon, Barbara recognized that Sofie had talent as a jewelry designer. Recognizing that Sofie had talent, Barbara and Paul decided to subsidize her new business venture.
Finally, one night, alone and dejected, Paul slept with Sofie and was caught in the act by Meg. Afterwards, Sofie professed her love for Paul. Though Paul tried to convince Sofie that what happened between them was a mistake, Sofie was adamant that they belonged together. Meanwhile, despite her words, Meg found herself softening towards Paul, especially when he confided that he’d just learned that Barbara had cancer. Recognizing Sofie’s obsession with Paul, Barbara decided that Meg was the better match and decided to reunite the pair by hiring Meg as her private nurse. Though Paul offered to let Meg out of her obligation since it might make her uncomfortable, Meg stayed on as Barbara’s nurse.
In the meantime, Sofie was becoming more and more obsessed with Paul and Paul was forced to eject her from his life. When Paul left the room, Sofie trashed the room at Fairwinds and later lied to Mike that Paul raped her. Mike informed Meg who refused to believe it and wholeheartedly supported Paul. Believing that Sofie was delusional, Meg was determined to prove that Sofie was lying and, with Mike’s help, caught Sofie in a lie regarding her education. Though Paul was charged with rape, Sofie later admitted that she’d lied. Paul and Meg were forced to contend with an obsessed Sofie, who went as far as to switch Barbara’s medication so that Meg would be blamed for it. Soon, in front of his mother, Paul asked Meg to marry him and Meg said yes. Soon after, Sofie rocked Paul with the news that she was pregnant. Recognizing what a liar Sofie was, Paul demanded that she take a pregnancy test immediately. When the test came back positive, Paul still doubted that he was the father and demanded a sonogram. Though Paul wanted to tell Meg the truth, Barbara insisted that he had to marry Meg first. When the sonogram showed that conception occurred on the night she and Paul had sex, Paul decided he had to tell Meg. Unfortunately, Mike found out and alerted Meg before Paul had a chance. At the same time, Paul went to speak with Sofie and found her nearly unconscious. Seeing a syringe nearby, Paul asked Sofie who did this to her. Before dying, Sofie implicated Meg. Desperate to protect Meg, Paul wiped away all the prints and secretly carried Sofie's body to Fairwinds where he buried her in the back yard. Later, Paul mentioned Sofie's death to Meg who was shocked. Since Meg was obviously not the culprit, Paul’s suspicion fell on Barbara. Determined to protect his mother, Paul continued to keep Sofie’s death a secret.
Meanwhile, Paul and Meg decided to marry ASAP when Barbara led them to believe that she didn’t have much time left. With no time to notify Meg’s family, the pair married alone at the rose garden at Fairwinds with only Barbara in attendance. Unfortunately, their wedded bliss wouldn’t last for long. Suspicious about Sofie’s sudden disappearance, Mike suspected foul play and went to Jack with his suspicions. Though there was no real evidence, Jack questioned Paul and Meg. Unfortunately, their answers failed to put his mind at ease and Jack decided to ask for a search warrant to dig up the rose garden. Though Paul attempted to transport Sofie’s body once more, he was caught in the act by Jack and promptly arrested for Sofie’s murder. Later, Barbara denied murdering Sofie and enlisted the help of Rick Decker to prove Paul’s innocence. Before getting fired by Paul, Rick reported that whoever killed Sofie was a professional in the use of needles. Not long after, Cole returned to town and manipulated Barbara into believing that she did kill Sofie. Soon after blackmailing her for money, Cole kidnapped Barbara and prepared to hold her for ransom. Luckily, Paul rescued her and Cole was uncovered as Sofie’s murderer.
Soon after, came disheartening news—the Snyder land was contaminated. Due to the vast amount of contaminated soil, the company that Mike worked for backed out of the housing project. Unfortunately, without that money, Emma was in serious danger of losing her home. Determined to save the Snyder farm, Paul decided to fund the contraction project himself. Unfortunately, the cost of decontamination was unbearably high. Low on funds, and not wanting to go to Barbara for help, Paul went to a loan shark, Derek Coburn, and promised that he would pay back the loan in a month from money gained from the housing project. At the same time, Emily did some investigating and learned just how extensive the contamination was. It didn’t take long for her to print an article in the paper condemning the construction project since there was no way Paul had the necessary funds to decontaminate all of it. Emily’s article made Coburn very nervous. Believing that the loan was now high risk, he demanded his money back. Though Paul went to Lily for financial help, she declined since was unconvinced that the housing project was a good investment. At the same time, a stressed Paul was shocked to learn that Meg was pregnant. Finally, Paul went to Barbara for help only to discover that her money was gone! That same day, who should reenter his life but James who was inexplicably out of prison. Paul immediately accused James of stealing Barbara’s money, an accusation that James denied. However, James knew all about Paul’s recent money problems and offered a solution—for a price. All James needed was for Paul to dig up the money James buried at the Snyder farm. It didn’t take Paul long to realize that James contaminated the Snyder farm himself in an attempt to stop the construction so it wouldn’t be discovered. Paul confronted his father and apparently killed him in a struggle.
In the meantime, Paul was becoming irrationally jealous over Meg’s friendship with Dusty. When Paul encountered a woman who looked like Jennifer, he used her to get Dusty away from Meg. When Meg discovered what Paul had done, she promptly divorced Paul which sent him into a tailspin. An unstable Paul kidnapped Eliza but promptly returned her to Meg. As the weeks went by, Paul’s jealousy and anger towrd both Dusty and Meg continued to grow and he became hell bent on destroying them both. Finally, Paul kidnapped Eliza again and ended up at a co-op farm where he saw a familiar face—Rosanna. Paul called Barbara and told her he would bring Eliza home if Barbara could get Meg to agree to sign an affidavit stating that Meg had allowed Paul to take Eliza out of state. Meg agreed and, to Dusty’s chagrin, refused to press charges against Paul. Meg gave Paul an amended custody agreement that enabled him to have supervised visitation with Eliza and the potential for much more contact. However, Paul was still intent on destroying Dusty and attempted to orchestrate a feud between him and Damian Grimaldi. The plan resulted in Paul getting caught in a bomb explosion. In surgery, the doctor removed a microchip that had been implanted in Paul's brain, similar to those used in experiments for mind control. Barbara suspected it had been put there by James.
Dusty pleaded guilty to planting the bomb that injured Paul, but Paul, despite having complete amnesia, testified on Dusty's behalf at the hearing, saying he had provoked Dusty to an extreme degree and deserved what he had gotten. Afterwards, Paul encountered Emily, and having no memory of her, began a flirtation that resulted in them making love. He also agreed to finance Emily’s new newspaper. Soon after, Paul came face to face with his father! Paul’s memory came rushing back the minute he saw James. Paul immediately kicked Emily out of Fairwinds. Emily and Paul fought about his financing of her newspaper, but they ended up making love and realized that they were a good match. Meanwhile, James was finally apprehended by the police. At the same time, everyone was shocked to learn that Henry Coleman was James’ illegitimate son. Meanwhile, James died in custody. According to James’ will, Henry was the sole heir to his fortune. Though Barbara wanted Paul to fight for his inheritance, Paul wanted nothing to do with his father’s money. Instead, he wanted to focus on his happiness and married Emily.
Meanwhile, Meg was going through some emotional problems following a disastrous affair with Damian Grimaldi. Eventually, Meg threatened Lily with a glass shard—which led her to being committed to a psychiatric hospital. Though Meg managed to escape, Paul found her and convinced her that she needed to get help. Meg complied and asked Emily to take care of Eliza while she sought treatment. Weeks later, Emma checked her daughter out of the hospital and brought Eliza to the farm without Paul’s knowledge. With Emma’s encouragement, Meg fought for joint custody of Eliza. However, Paul wasn’t convinced Meg was ready for that and fought to retain full custody. One day, when Emily chased down a story lead with Eliza in her car, Emily was accosted by a criminal. Emily away, but Eliza disappeared. Paul, Emily, and Meg discovered that a patrolling police officer had taken Eliza to the police station. Worried that he could lose full custody of his daughter, Paul berated Emily for her carelessness.
Later, it became apparent that someone was drugging Meg to make her appear crazy. Though the evidence pointed to Emily, Paul had a hunch that Meg was medicating herself in an attempt to get rid of Emily. To test his theory, Paul set it up for Meg to believe that he suspected Emily. As Paul predicted, Emily confronted Meg who wound up brandishing a gun. Luckily, Paul saved Emily and a dejected Meg was led out by her mother and some orderlies. Before being transferred to a facility in Washington, Meg was visited by Paul who told her that while she did save him, he was just not good for her. Though Emily threatened to leave Paul over his reckless plan, the couple soon reconciled and raised Eliza together as a family.
At the same time, Barbara was having an affair with Henry that turned into love. However, when the couple announced their engagement, Paul refused to support it since he was convinced that anyone with the Stenbeck genes would only hurt her. However, when it became apparent that Barbara loved Henry and was going to have a private wedding anyway, Paul broke down and arranged for Barbara to get married with her family present. Later, Paul and Barbara mutually decided to dissolve BRO so that they could focus on their marriages.