Laura Spencer started out as a young psychiatric intern at Salem University Hospital where she caught the eye of Bill Horton. Laura and Bill would eventually become engaged, but that engagement would be broken off when Bill suddenly left Salem in 1967 after learning he could never be a surgeon due to tuberculosis in his hand. Laura briefly dated Tony Merritt, but nothing serious developed between them. She was in love with Bill and Tony was in love with Bill’s sister, Marie. To cope, Laura dove into her work.
In the summer of 1967, Laura was assigned to evaluate Susan Martin's state of mind for the courts when Susan stood trial for killing her husband David. In the process Laura would spend many days and nights working with Mickey Horton. Eventually, the two would fall in love and marry in December of 1968.
Later that year, Laura would be raped in her office by a drunken Bill. When Bill couldn't remember the details the next day Laura told him she turned him away to prevent any feuds between Bill and his brother Mickey. However, shortly afterwards Laura would learn she was pregnant, and things became more complicated when Tom found out about her pregnancy from a lab report. Tom had also recently learned Mickey was sterile. Laura explained to Tom that Bill had raped her, so in order to protect Mickey, Tom and Laura agreed to keep her pregnancy and Mickey's sterile condition a secret. In her eighth month, Laura was in an auto accident. As a result her unborn child was delivered prematurely by Cesarean on September 28, 1968. Her baby boy was named Michael William Horton.
In 1970, Laura and Mickey's marriage began to fall apart and they separated for a time, but eventually worked things out by the end of the year. However, by 1971 Mickey and Laura would again have troubles after his affair with Linda Patterson was made public. Laura and Mickey would agree to remain married and try to make things work for Mike's sake.
In 1972, Bill and Laura began to fall in love when Laura learned the true reason Bill went to jail. Laura planned to divorce Mickey and marry Bill, but when the two were overheard talking by Mike he assumed they were having an affair and ran out into the street and was hit by a car. Mike survived, and Laura realized she could not abandon her husband and child.
In 1973, Mickey suffered a heart attack after his son Michael lashed out at him for the pain he had caused his mother Laura by having an affair with his secretary. Mickey was rushed to surgery and survived the operation performed by his brother Bill. Though he survived the operation Mickey suffered a stroke which erased his memory. Mickey snuck out of the hospital and left Salem. With Mickey out of the way Laura was free to love Bill, however her marriage to Mickey was still an obstacle, and Mickey could not be legally declared dead for seven years. Fate intervened and, when Mickey was discovered to be alive, he granted Laura a divorce so he could remain with Maggie Simmons.
On December 4, 1976, Bill and Laura were married. A year later, Laura gave birth to their daughter Jennifer Rose Horton on September 11, 1976. However, after the birth, Laura fell into a deep depression, but seemed to have overcome it with the help of her husband Bill and Dr. Marlena Evans. But Laura remained sick and began to sink deeper and deeper into depression when she learned Bill had an affair with a co-worker, Dr. Kate Winograd. Soon Laura began to hear voices and see her dead mother’s ghost. Her mother, Carrie, had committed suicide, and Laura eventually went over the edge and tried to hang herself at her dead mother's wishes. Bill found Laura in time, but she had slipped out of reality. Laura was admitted to Lakewood Sanitarium where she would spend the next 17 years of her life.
In 1993, Kate Roberts began to pay Laura visits at Pine Haven Sanitarium, where Laura had been transferred. Ironically, Laura was very aware of what was going on around her, but remained in an apparent catatonic state because the crooked sanitarium workers were keeping her drugged in order to milk the Horton family of money. When Vivian Alamain was sent to the same sanitarium Laura was in, Vivian took an interest in her. Laura realized that Vivian was her ticket out.
Vivian soon learned that Laura was being kept in a catatonic state thanks to the drugs the nurses were feeding her. Vivian got her servant, Ivan, to pose as a nurse and make sure that Laura was not fed the drugs. Laura slowly began to come out of her catatonic state. When Vivian escaped from the sanitarium to see what was going on in Salem, Kate spotted Vivian and reported it. Because of her breakout, Vivian was scheduled for a lobotomy. However, Laura managed to break out of her room and rescue Vivian. A fire started and Laura and Vivian fled Pine Haven, but the sanitarium burned to the ground. The two hid out at the Alamain mansion until Laura fully recovered.
Laura finally got her revenge on Kate when she walked into the murder trial of Curtis Reed and accused Kate of lying. Kate was called to testify about her relationship to Curtis, but she claimed that she did not know him. However, Laura revealed that she was married to him. Later that year, Vivian and Laura also slandered Kate at a Titan business dinner. Vivian revealed that Kate's "dead" husband was alive when Kate married Victor, which nullified their marriage. Laura also revealed that Kate slept with her husband, Bill, and gave birth to his son Lucas.
In 1994, an exhausted Laura tried to recover from all of the drama in her life since being freed from her catatonic state. But she soon became dependent on prescription drugs and would often steal them from the hospital. Once discovered, Laura moved into Jennifer’s house along with Mike, who recently returned from the Middle East. He helped his mother wean herself from the pills and he also helped her study to get her medical license back.
Later that year, Laura Horton spotted Jennifer’s boyfriend Peter talking with a man on the docks. However, Peter feared that Laura would eventually learn that the man was a drug dealer and enlisted the aid of Daniel Scott to gaslight Laura. Daniel dated Laura and even had her office repainted. But the paint was toxic and it caused Laura to become drowsy. Using a speaker built into a souvenir bust in Laura's room, Peter made Laura believe that he was planning on killing Jennifer.
To her loved ones, Laura looked like she was going insane and was going to have to be re-committed to an asylum. Afraid, Laura ran away and hid out with Vivian. Peter's plan eventually failed when Jen fell asleep in her mom's office and became convinced that foreign troops were invading America. Jen had actually heard a story on the radio and became confused. Laura returned to the hospital after Jen was admitted. When she was spotted, Laura fled and ended up trapped on a faulty fire escape. Jen went after her mother and ended up trapped as well. Peter eventually rescued the two and came off looking like a hero. Mike had Laura's office analyzed and they blamed Laura and Jen's hallucinations on the paint. Daniel looked like the guilty party and left town, and Peter decided that Laura was no longer a threat.
Laura went to "The Meadows" to recuperate. There, everyone had to use a pseudonym to ensure patient privacy. While using the name Monica, Laura met and fell in love with a man named “Clarke.” However, she didn’t know that Clarke was actually her ex-son-in-law Jack and the two made love. Only when Jack and Laura returned to Salem did they discover the truth. Things were made more uncomfortable when Jack moved back into the house he had shared with Jen. He still owned half of the house and therefore had a right to live there. Meanwhile, Jen decided to try to find the man her mother fell in love with at the Meadows, not knowing it was Jack.
For Jennifer’s sake, Jack and Laura decided to keep their brief affair a secret. But Laura had fallen in love with Jack and she secretly hoped that, once Jen married Peter, she would end up with him. Jack had other plans and tried to break up Jen and Peter. However, his last attempt failed when Peter learned about Jack and Laura’s affair. Laura was upset and Jack went into her room to comfort her, but they soon ended up kissing. Jennifer was horrified when she walked in on them and they were forced to admit to their affair. A crushed Jen turned to Peter for support and, in 1995, Peter and Jennifer went to Aremid to be married.
In June of 1996, Marlena was kidnapped by Stefano DiMera. Peter’s mother, Rachel, felt that she may know where Stefano took Marlena and Laura put her under hypnosis. While under, Rachel revealed that Peter was involved with criminal Jude St. Clair. Laura confronted Peter about this, but she decided to keep it to herself in order not to hurt Jen.
Later, Peter and Jennifer flew to Paris when they learned that Kristen and Rachel were caught in an explosion. Jack went as well, hoping to help his friends and find dirt on Peter. Laura also went to help. While there, Jack and Jen decided to try to find Stefano's underground lair. They did and, just when Jack found some books with Peter's name in them, Peter set off charges to destroy what was left of the tunnels not knowing his wife was in them.
Jack and Jen were caught in the explosion, but managed to escape. However, he learned that Daniel Scott was also in Paris and lured him into a high-priced poker game. When Daniel couldn't pay his debt, Jack paid it for him in order for the goods on Peter. Daniel confessed everything and Jack told Jen the truth. Jen didn't believe Jack, but Laura came forward with what she knew about Peter as well. Eventually, Jen learned that Peter had gas-lighted Laura, which sent Laura into shock and disrupted her life. Jen eventually left Peter.
Late that year, Peter attempted to kidnap Jen, but Jack came to their rescue and Peter was killed in a struggle. However, Jack was arrested and sent to jail for the murder. Salem gathered for Peter's funeral. After the funeral, Laura saw Peter’s sister, Kristen, adjusting her pregnancy pad when she thought nobody was looking. Laura ran back into the church to tell Marlena, who had suspected something was amiss with Kristen, but she ended up coming face to face with Stefano and Peter.
Stefano revealed that the body in the casket was Daniel with a latex mask of Peter on. Stefano kidnapped Laura and took both her and Peter to the Blake house. Peter was very ill still and he forced Laura to care for him. Kristen eventually stumbled upon both Laura and Peter. Stefano wanted to take Laura with her when he and Peter left the country, but Kristen and Peter asked if there was another way to solve the problem. Stefano eventually had one of his scientists zap Laura's mind with a laser that would remove her memory for the last few days. Stefano placed Laura out in Salem Park on a bench, and he and Peter skipped town.
After being found, Laura began to sleep walk and slowly started to remember what happened to her. To prevent her from fully regaining her memory, Stefano hired Lynn Burke to act as Laura's private nurse and to secretly drug her with pills that would suppress her memory. Still, Laura soon found herself drawn to the Blake House and began to remember what happened there. While visiting, Kristen showed up and knocked Laura out. Unfortunately, when Laura remembered everything, nobody believed her.
Laura eventually informed Lynn that she no longer needed her services or the pills because she had finally regained her memory and was determined to prove that Peter was alive by having his coffin exhumed. Upon learning what she was doing, Kristen convinced Vivian and Ivan to help her dig up the coffin and have the body cremated. Kristen covered by saying she had found papers of Peter's saying he wished to be cremated. Laura went over to confront Kristen and ended up breaking down, thanks to being over medicated by Lynn.
Laura ended up in the hospital and Lynn continued to drug her which kept her unconscious. However, not having heard from Stefano in awhile, Lynn asked Kristen if she should keep drugging Laura, unaware that Susan was posing as Kristen. Susan told her to stop. Soon afterwards, Lynn learned that Stefano was back in town and was going to kidnap Marlena and Laura. Lynn felt sorry for Laura and helped her flee the hospital.
While impersonating Kristen, Susan Banks had planned an Elvis themed wedding for herself and John, which the real Kristen and Marlena were forced to watch from the secret room in the DiMera Mansion. Desperate to stop the wedding, Kristen tried to dig through the wall and ended up hitting a gas line, which knocked them unconscious. Dressed as a waiter, Stefano showed up and planned to escape with Marlena, but Laura showed up and accused Kristen of kidnapping Marlena. Laura slapped Kristen/Susan and her fake teeth landed in Vivian's glass of champagne. Susan confessed everything and John managed to save Kristen and Marlena from the secret room. In the end, the real Kristen’s lies were fully exposed and John and Marlena were reunited.
Peter returned from the dead in the fall of 1998 and hired Trent Davis to abduct Jennifer. When she was kidnapped, Jack broke out of prison and rescued her, and Laura helped them escape Salem. Jack and Jen ended up joining the Ward's World Famous Circus, owned by Jasper Ward. Jack confessed his problems to Jasper, who understood and gave Jack a job as an animal keeper. Jen got in on the act and replaced the woman who Ernesto threw daggers at. Even Abby joined the circus as a clown. However, Peter would not stop looking until got what he wanted.
Peter returned to the DiMera Mansion and Stefano helped him try to locate Jen and get a cure for his jungle madness. Stefano came up with the idea of planting a listening device on Laura, who they suspected knew where Jack and Jen were. Laura, Maggie, and Celeste Perrault all went to the Salem Spa for some relaxation. Peter disguised himself as a masseuse and planed to plant the device on Laura, but almost killed her during another Jungle Madness attack.
Later, Laura set a trap for Peter by inadvertently hinting that Jack and Jen were in Dayton, Ohio. Kristen overheard Laura, who told Peter. Peter raced to Dayton, as did the police who Laura tipped off. Unfortunately, the circus Jack and Jen were hiding in was in Dayton. Jasper covered for Jack and Jen. When Peter returned home Stefano warned him the entire thing was a trap.
Sadly, the circus was on the verge of going broke. Jack convinced Jasper to take the show to Salem to make money, and where he could trap Peter. Jasper agreed but, upon arriving in Salem, Peter tipped the FBI off to where Jack was hiding and he was arrested. Peter then kidnapped Jen, but she escaped shortly afterwards in Jasper's car. Peter took off after her, but was shocked Jen's car eventually went off the road and exploded. Peter stopped at a phone booth and found Jasper calling the police to report news about Jennifer, but Peter attacked him and put him in a coma.
Laura visited Jack back in prison and told him that she had bought a gun and was going to take care of the DiMeras. Later, Abe came to see Jack to tell him that a woman's body was found in the car Jen was driving. Jack refused to believe it was Jen, until they showed him a necklace Peter had bought for her that was found in the wreckage. The necklace had an inscription from Peter to Jen. Jack and the rest of Salem were forced to admit that Jen was dead.
Jack was let out of jail to attend Jen's funeral. Laura slipped out of the church to find Kristen and make her pay. Peter showed up with a shotgun and started shooting. Suddenly, Jen's spirit rose from her coffin. Jen convinced Peter to turn himself in. Jack was released from prison immediately. Jen told her that Jasper was supposed to tell them all that her death was faked, but Jen wasn't aware that Jasper was in a coma. Peter was taken to jail, but Stefano managed to get Peter placed in a white-collar-crime prison instead and he would be up for parole in a few years.
In February of 1998, Kristen was found dead. A funeral for Kristen was held at St. Luke’s and all of Salem attended. Laura attended, wearing a bright red outfit. During the service, Laura recalled going to the Blake House the day of Jen's funeral and shooting at Kristen.
Abe and Roman learned from the coroner that the drug in Kristen's system was Placiden. Upon hearing this, Marlena told Roman that Placiden is the drug that she prescribed for Laura. Marlena and Roman went to the Blake house and searched it. They found Laura's prescription bottle. The case was reopened and Laura became the number one suspect.
Marlena Evans confronted Laura and asked her if she killed Kristen. Laura said no and was appalled by her best friend's accusation. Abe and Roman got a search warrant to search Laura's house again and they found the coat she was wearing the night of "Kristen's" murder. A button matching the ones on her coat was found at the Blake house, but Laura had sown one on where she had lost one. . Laura was taken to the hospital and soon after was arrested for Kristen's murder.
Marlena learned about Laura's arrest and went to the station, but Laura blamed Marlena for her arrest. However, she admitted that she went to the Blake house and shot at Kristen, but because Kristen didn't die of a gun shoot wound, she was innocent. However, Abe suggests that when she didn't kill Kristen with her gun, she drugged her instead. Laura insisted that she lost her prescription long ago and Kristen must have found it and been using it. Marlena decided to have Kristen's body exhumed to see if Kristen how long the Placiden had been in Kristen's system.
Meanwhile, Celeste began to remember more and more about the night Kristen was killed, after Stefano administered the cure for her Jungle Madness. Laura was put on trial for killing Kristen. Mickey pleaded with her to take an insanity plea, but she refused. Luckily, Stefano showed up with Celeste, whose story cleared Laura. Celeste remembered seeing Laura shoot at Kristen, and that Kristen fell down, but once Laura left, Kristen got up.
However, Laura was convicted of attempted murder and was ordered to be institutionalized pending a psychiatric evaluation. Marlena pulled some strings to allow Laura to come home as an out-patient. Laura was touched by Marlena’s actions and they reconciled their friendship. With the support of her family and friends, Laura began to focus on her recovery and was eventually well enough join Jack, Jennifer, and Abby in Africa.
Laura returned to Salem briefly for Jack and Jennifer's wedding in 2003. On June, 15 2010, Laura arrived in Salem with Bill to say goodbye to Alice, who was slowly dying. She was happy to reunite with Jennifer, but not so happy to see Kate when she showed up with flowers for Alice. Laura tore into Kate for showing up, but Bill tried to maintain the peace between the two old foes. Laura flaunted that she had arrived with Bill. However, when Kate asked, he noted that he and Laura had not reunited – they had met at the airport and drove together to Alice’s house.
Laura remained at Alice’s with her family. She shared warm memories of Alice as well as joined in baking her famous doughnuts. Sadly, Alice passed away on Wednesday, June 23, 2010. Laura was there to mourn with her family and support her children.