Joshua showed up in Salem as a military man being treated at the emergency room for recurrent malaria. He soon became friends with the nursing student who was there to help him out, the young Jessica Blake. Joshua had come to Salem looking for answers to his past, and a reason to explain why he was such an angry young man. He soon learned that Todd Chandler was his half-brother, and that Kellam Chandler, a respected businessman in Salem, was the man who drove his mother to suicide many years earlier. Joshua couldn't stand knowing that Kellam was so popular in town, and was grateful for Jessica's friendship, as it helped him deal with the pain. Joshua dated Marlena a few times, but the two soon realized they were better off as friends. Around this time he opened up a health club called The Body Connection with a good friend, Chris Kositchek.
Joshua was always very protective of his friends, and when he learned that Kellam Chandler had raped Marlena, all the rage he had felt toward the man came boiling to the surface, and during the confrontation, when they went over not only what had happened to Marlena, but what Kellam had done to Sunny years earlier. Josh pulled out a gun, but when push came to shove, he was unable to shoot Kellam, and dropped the gun. Kellam was ready to shoot him, but Todd, who overheard everything, came in, demanding to know if it was all true. A struggle ensued, during which Todd and Kellam fought for the gun, and Kellam ended up dead. Joshua went to Marlena and asked him to intercede on his half-brother's behalf, and thanks to Marlena's intervention, Todd went to an alcoholic treatment center with a temporary insanity plea rather than to prison.
Joshua and Jessica began to grow closer, but there wasn't an actual relationship. Jessica was having problems of her own. The stress of learning that her mother was Marie Horton and that her father was Alex Marshall had resulted in Jessica suffering from multiple personality disorder. A good girl by day, by night Jessica was waitressing at the Twilight Bar, where she met and got involved with Jake Kositchek. Luckily, Hope (who had dated Jake previous and was jealous of his relationship with Angel) clued Marie in to Jake and Angel running off to get married, and Jessica returned to Salem for therapy, where she was supported by her family and Josh. Josh knew he was in love with Jessica, but even after integrating her personalities, she stayed with Jake, and the two ended up getting engaged.
Joshua had a whole new problem to deal with now though...a number of women in town had been found murdered, and he and Jake were the primary suspects, because they'd both known the victims through The Body Connection, where they both worked. Jake used this an excuse to keep Joshua and Jessica apart, and the cops were very suspicious of the silk scarves found in Joshua's locker, and the fact that he had no alibi for when the women were killed. Around this time, Jessica broke things off with Jake for good, because she realized that she still had feelings for Joshua. Learning Jake was the Salem Strangler pushed Jessica back over the edge, but with Marlena and Joshua's help, she was able to finally rid herself of the destructive Angel personality once and for all. With all their ghosts behind them, the two married in a huge Horton family wedding, and later moved to Ohio to get a fresh start on their lives together.