Alex Olanov first appeared in Llanview in 1990 when the FAB agent was sent to assist Bo Buchanan when his wife, Sarah, was kidnapped by Carlo Hesser. Alex learned that Sarah was actually being held in a FAB safe house, the head of the agency had made a secret deal with Carlo to keep Sarah from testifying against him in return for information from Carlo. But before Alex and Bo could get to Sarah, she was taken away on a plane which crashed, and Sarah was presumed dead. Alex fell in love with Bo and hung around town, hoping that Bo would return her feelings. But instead, Bo fell in love with Cassie Callison. Alex's behavior became more and more erratic and eventually she even kidnapped Cassie and tried to drown her in a lake in an effort to get Bo for herself. Alex was arrested and taken to Mountainview Clinic.
But she didn't stay there for long, Alex escaped and found Bo's former wife Sarah, whom he believed was dead but had really not been on the plane that crashed and was being held by Carlo's men. Alex brought Sarah to Llanview as a "gift" to Bo at his and Cassie's wedding reception. After succeeding in spoiling Cassie's wedding day, she was captured and sent back to the mental institution.
After somehow getting released from the mental institution, Alex next returned to town in 1992 as Carlo Hesser's wife. But their happiness was short-lived when Carlo was apparently shot to death by his niece, Stephanie Hobart. Alex decided to take control of Carlo's mob empire, and even went so far as finding Carlo's twin brother, Mortimer Bern, to impersonate Carlo.
This worked for a while, but when Mortimer decided to leave Llanview, Alex set her sights on Asa Buchanan, the wealthiest man in town. Asa resisted Alex as long as possible, but Alex eventually won him over to her. In 1994, they had a huge Egyptian-style wedding in Central Park. In the fall of 1995, Alex was elected the mayor of Llanview. Carlo Hesser returned back from the dead and Alex and he secured a divorce, then Alex re-married Asa in 1996. But the entire time she was married to Asa, she and Carlo continued sleeping together. An indignant Asa found out, and spread the news of their trickery all over town.
Asa and Alex divorced each other, and as Carlo and Alex (going to be remarried) went down the aisle, Asa announced to the gathering that Alex was faking her pregnancy and slashed open the stomach of the wedding dress, revealing a large pillow strapped to her stomach. Carlo called off the wedding and threw Alex out of his life.
Carlo was later murdered in 1997 and Mortimer Bern, Carlo's twin, testified that he saw Alex do it. Alex was arrested for the crime, but not before she kidnapped Andy Harrison and held her hostage. Alex made a deal with Todd Manning, she would tell him the full story for The Sun in return for his paying for her legal fees. Todd hired Téa Delgado to defend her, who found enough technical loopholes in the case that the charges against Alex had to be dropped. Alex left town with Mortimer, but it was suspected that it was really Carlo she left with and that Mortimer had been the one who had been killed.
Alex returned to Llanview in 2001 when Asa found her where she was working as a stripper and convinced her that he wanted to marry her again. It was all a diversion, though, and Asa really married Gabrielle Medina (to get back at Max Holden) and locked Alex in a hotel room during the ceremony.
Alex next returned a few months later when Asa faked his death and Alex was named in the will. Alex fully expected to be given money. Instead, Asa gave her a little pouch of stripper gear. Alex was furious. She was, however, determined to find out who had killed Asa, believing, along with everyone else, that Max Holden and Gabrielle Medina had murdered him. She tried helping Bo with the case, but he refused to let her. Finally, Alex went and stole Asa's "ashes" from the Buchanan mansion and flew to Saint Blaizes Island. There, she discovered Asa alive and well. Alex blackmailed Asa into marrying her, but Asa tricked her into marrying a janitor, who, with Asa's help, had changed his name to Jeb Stuart (the fake name Asa was using). Bo and Hank eventually tracked down Asa and Alex and Asa was hauled back to Llanview.
When Asa died for real in August 2007, Alex returned to Llanview to pay her respects. Alex overheard butler Nigel Bartholomew-Smythe tell Max Holden that David Vickers was Asa's secret illegitimate son, and she began a search for David. A few months later, Alex found David working at a rehabilitation clinic; acting the part of a wealthy widow with a sex addiction, Alex preyed upon old acquaintance David's greed to convince him to marry her, never mentioning his true parentage. They wed that month and Alex brought her new husband to Texas, where Asa's will was being read. Desperate to protect the family and keep the secret that con-man David was a Buchanan, Nigel turned his own inheritance - St. Blaze's Island - over to Alex in exchange for her silence. Alex annulled her marriage to David, who was still unaware of his paternity, and Nigel reluctantly conspired with Jared Banks to pass off Jared as Asa's son. After Dorian was caught sleeping with David at the ranch, Clint broke up with her. Dorian sped off from the ranch, running over Alex's foot in the process.
In January 2009, Dorian fled Llanview to avoid being arrested for drugging Viki's boyfriend, Charlie Banks, and plying the recovering alcoholic with liquor. She ended up at St. Blaze's, unaware that Alex owned the island. Dorian met Alex there and learned from her that David was in fact Asa's son. Dorian went off to find David before he learned the truth, leaving Alex to enjoy her island in peace.
In March 2011, Bo Buchanan and Rex Balsom flew to St. Blaze's Island on the trail of David Vickers, who had been locked up by Clint in a Moroccan prison several months earlier but had recently disappeared. It turned out that Alex had helped Clint relocate David to St. Blaze's. Alex had David tanned and manicured and supplied with beautiful Asian women to make it appear that David had been on the island for months. But Bo and Rex were onto the scheme from the start. Bo seduced a willing Alex in an effort to get the truth out of her, but Rex located David before Bo had to finish the deed.
In November 2011, Alex arrived in Rio de Janeiro at the office of plastic surgeon Dr. Fascinella, demanding to see the doctor and complaining about her recent surgery. Cutter Wentworth happened to show up with Gigi Morasco, who believed she was actually Gigi's sister Stacy, and recognized Alex as his deadbeat mother, who had abandoned him and his sister Kimberly Andrews when they were young. Cutter confronted Alex, who denied it until Cutter revealed that his father Billy Jo had committed suicide after Alex had left him and stolen all of his money. Alex tried to apologize and said she hadn't been a good mother, but Cutter nearly strangled her to death until Gigi made him stop. After Rex and Aubrey showed up, trying to track down Cutter and Gigi, Alex agreed to pretend to be the woman Cutter had tried to pass off as Gigi so they could escape. Alex gave Cutter her business card before departing, saying she wanted to keep in touch. After Cutter was arrested on an outstanding murder charge, he phoned Alex from his jail cell in Anchorage, Kentucky, hoping she would help bail him out.