Amanda Browning and Brock Reynolds were lovers while working together as missionaries in India. They split up when Amanda wanted to return to the states, but Brock felt his calling was helping the needy in India. Amanda did not find out she was pregnant with her daughter Mackenzie until long after she returned to the states. Rather than burden Brock with a choice between them and his calling, Amanda chose not to tell him.
In 2001 Amanda arrived in Genoa City looking for her daughter Mackenzie after Mac's last name was exposed in the Glow by Jabot website chat room. Mackenzie had run away from home in her early teens, tracked down her grandmother Katherine Chancellor, and was living with her and her father at the Chancellor estate. Mackenzie had run away because Amanda's husband, Ralph Hunnicutt, was molesting her. When Mackenzie finally told her mother, Amanda would not believe it, so Mackenzie felt her only option was to run.
Amanda eventually realized the sort of person Ralph was, divorced him and disappeared. Penniless and homeless, Amanda began looking for Mac to ask her forgiveness, hoping for a real relationship with her daughter again. Meanwhile Ralph was on her trail as well.
Eventually, Amanda met Mackenzie and the two of them worked through their past problems to become somewhat close again. Amanda also finally met Brock again. After all the years of deception, missing the life of the daughter he never knew he had, Brock was not pleased to see Amanda at all. But Mac assured him that she wanted the chance for a relationship with her mother again, so Brock backed off.
Amanda got a job in the lunchroom at her daughter's school, trying to make enough money for an apartment so she could leave the shelter. She started keeping company with reformed ex-con Larry Warton and even attended a formal dinner at Katherine Chancellor's estate with him. Enter abusive husband Ralph, who tracked Amanda to Genoa City, and began stalking Mac. He coerced Amanda into stealing from the Chancellor's for him after she accepted Kay's offer to move in. Amanda let him into the mansion while all were at the prom, but Mac returned home unexpectedly and much to her horror, was met by Ralph. Billy arrived on the scene as Ralph was about to molest Mac again, confronted him, and whacked Ralph over the head with a fireplace poker. Thinking he had killed Ralph, Billy took Mac to hide out in their special place, the old Abbott playhouse. Thinking they were doomed, Billy and Mac realized they still loved each other. Ralph kidnapped Kay after she returned from chaperoning at the prom, and tied her up in a motel room. Ralph, disguised as a cop, talked Raul into telling him places where he might find Billy and Mac. Meanwhile Larry Warton found and rescued Kay. Ralph showed up at the playhouse, too late, but found them at a campsite where Raul and Billy used to play as kids. Ralph knocked out Billy by whacking him over the head with a rock and grabbed Mac, but our hero Larry showed up in time to rescue her. Larry and Ralph fought, and just before the police arrived, both ended up going over a cliff to the lakeshore below. The next morning Ralph came to and tried to kill an unconscious Larry with a rock. Scared away by the arrival of the police, Ralph disappeared into the bushes. Larry recovered with minor injuries and major thanks from Billy's mother Jill for saving her son's life. Because Jill had video evidence that Amanda had stolen her jewels, and after nearly getting both her own daughter and Jill's son killed, Amanda agreed to leave town if Jill would drop the charges.