Billy Abbott, son of the deceased Jabot Cosmetics founder John Abbott, was a drunken rich playboy screw-up before he met and married Victoria Newman, the pampered daughter of billionaire business mogul, Victor Newman. The Abbotts and Newmans had been rivals in business and romance for generations, mostly between Victor and Billy's half-brother, Jack. So Victor made it his business to break up the marriage of Victoria and Billy by any means possible.
Although Victoria and Billy each had a child of their own who lived with their ex-spouses, after Victoria was unable to have a baby with Billy and adoption seemed impossible, Billy paid two million dollars to a baby broker for a newborn baby girl they named Lucy. But the illegal adoption was discovered, and Victoria was devastated when Lucy was taken away from them. Feeling guilty for screwing up Victoria's life, Billy began drinking again and disappeared from their home in Genoa City.
Going by the name Liam, Billy turned up in Myanmar, a country in Southeast Asia, hanging out, usually drunk, in a surfer bar where Chelsea Lawson was a bartender. Chelsea was part of a group who were paid by the police to fill their arrest quotas by regularly drugging innocent westerners to be accused of crimes and imprisoned. And although she had a soft spot for Billy, she let them do the same to him, and Billy ended up in a foreign prison.
Back in Genoa City, Billy's daughter, Delia, was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, and needed a bone marrow transplant to recover. Everyone in Genoa City was tested with no matches, and hoping that Billy could save Delia's life, Victor went to Myanmar. Finding Billy in a dirty prison cell, Victor made a deal with Billy to negotiate his freedom if he promised to never see Victoria again. Billy told Victor to go to hell. Victor got Billy to agree by telling him about Delia's condition, and that Billy might save his daughter's life if he were a match. Victor returned home with Billy but kept Victoria from knowing that Billy was there and had been the donor who saved Delia's life. Sneaking into his own house, Billy was disappointed to find divorce papers signed by Victoria on the coffee table.
Billy convinced his friend Cane to help him clear his name and get his life back by finding Chelsea Lawson. Cane left for Myanmar, and found the surfer bar, but an attractive female bartender said that she didn't know Chelsea. But later when Cane received her photo from Billy, it was of that female bartender. When Cane returned to the bar, the owner told Cane that she had taken money from the till and had disappeared.
Victoria became convinced that Billy was in trouble and unable to contact them, so she and his mother Jill decided to go to Myanmar and find him themselves. Inquiries and bribes at the American consulate disclosed that Billy had been imprisoned for illegal drug trafficking, but was no longer there. Cane convinced Jill and Victoria that he had followed them there, and they boarded a plane back to the U.S. together. Victoria got bumped from her connecting flight in New York City, and Cane and Jill went on ahead.
Meanwhile, Billy escaped from Victor's goon in New York City who had been ordered to take Billy to a monastery in New Deli, India. Victoria and Billy found themselves both waiting for flights in Finn McGee's airport pub. Victoria spotted him and hugged and kissed him, excited that he was alive, and asking where he had been since his release. Billy told her that he was setup in Myanmar, and admitted that it took him awhile to get there, but that all he wanted was to come home to her and Delia. Billy later admitted that he had returned to Genoa City and had donated the bone marrow that had saved Delia's life; and he told her about the deal he had made with the devil - Victor.
Flying home together, Victoria readied herself to give her father hell. Billy tried to confess about the girl in Myanmar, but Victoria told him that it if he truly wanted to be with her, they could get past it. Later, Victoria confronted Victor who claimed that keeping Billy from her was for her own good, and that perhaps she should ask Billy what he had done in Myanmar. Victoria told Victor that she had forgiven Billy, and that their love was something Victor would never understand. Because their divorce had been finalized, Billy and Victoria remarried and took a second honeymoon in Jamaica.
Chelsea Lawson showed up just after they arrived home on New Year's Eve, claiming that Billy, going by the name Liam, had raped her in Myanmar. She showed them that she was pregnant and claimed that it was his. Billy told Victoria that he had been picked up by Chelsea in a bar where he had gotten very drunk. He admitted that they had danced together with him dreaming of Victoria, and that they had kissed. Then Chelsea had spiked his drink, and he woke up surrounded by police with heroin planted in his bag, and had been taken to prison. Billy claimed that he and Chelsea did not have sex, and that she was just trying to con him. Chelsea wanted a DNA test as proof. Billy admitted to Victoria that he didnít remember everything from that night, but if the baby turned out to be his, he had not raped her. Victoria said that she believed him.
Chelsea began parading her belly around town to anyone who would listen, including Victoria's half-brother and black sheep of the Newman family, Adam, who was blind. Billy booked her a hospital room and arranged a DNA test, which proved that Billy was the father. Chelsea admitted to Billy that she had worked in Myanmar helping the police fill their quotas, and claimed that she and Billy had had consensual sex. Luckily Billy thought to tape her confession, and played it for Victoria. Billy proposed that he fight for custody of the baby, and Victoria agreed that she would rather raise a child who was Billy's, since she didn't seem to be able to have one herself. When they saw Chelsea ordering a burger and a beer, they asked her to live in their garage apartment where they could make sure ate right to look out for the baby. Chelsea readily agreed, then made a phone call assuring someone that "the rich suckers had taken the bait".
Chelsea began spending more time in the house with Victoria than in her apartment, and was continually upsetting Victoria about her family's brushes with the law, her inability to conceive, and the fact that neither of them had custody of their own children. But finally Chelsea appeared to realize that she wasnít going to break the bond between Billy and Victoria. So one day, after they witnessed her ultra-sound, and were told that she was having a boy, Chelsea broke down and told them she wanted them to raise her baby after he was born. Minutes later, Chelsea's mother, Anita, arrived at the door and began working her con, claiming that she and her husband were missionaries. Although Victoria and Billy saw through the con, they suggested Anita move in with Chelsea to watch them both. Once in the apartment, Anita told Chelsea that she was taking over the con, and that this baby was going to make them rich.
Anita went to see Victor, but he had her thrown off the property and banned, reminding her that he had given her a phone for communication with him. Anita told Chelsea that they would be getting no more money out of Victor. But since Billy had paid two million dollars for Lucy who wasn't even his, she knew they could get even more out of Billy.
Detective Paul Williams and Billy confronted Anita and Chelsea with Paul's discovery that Anita was a grifter who had been involved in scams since she was a kid. Her first arrest in 1978 was for writing bad checks, with others since for mail, wire and credit card fraud, conspiracy, forgery, impersonating a police officer, and felony theft. Anita had also used the aliases of Anita Barrett, Amelia Larson, and dozens of others. Paul found that Chelsea had been scamming people since the age of ten, but had less of a criminal record.
Chelsea later told Victoria that they had met Victor when he had shown up in Myanmar and freed Billy. Then Chelsea had contacted Victor when she found herself pregnant, and he had brought her and Anita to town, giving them a lot of money and promising Chelsea that she could have Billy if she was successful in breaking up his marriage to Victoria.
Billy put Chelsea on the spot by asking Anita to leave, making her choose between staying with them and leaving with Anita. Chelsea, who obviously did not get along with Anita, sided with Billy, and Anita packed her bags and left. Anita later showed up at Gloworm and got a waitress job. When Anita first laid eyes on Jeffrey Bardwell, she dropped her things when she recognized him. Anita later asked Jeffrey, did he not remember her? Jeffrey, who was suffering from amnesia, told her that he had some memory problems. She later told her daughter Chelsea that she had located her father, but that she wouldn't tell Chelsea who he was.
Attorney, Michael Baldwin, drew up settlement and termination of parental rights papers and reminded Billy that prenatal custody agreements were not ironclad. Chelsea signed the papers after Billy and Victoria assured her that she would remain known to their child. They assured her that they were also giving her financial assistance so their son could be proud of his mother.
Adam and Chelsea ran into each other at the Athletic Club bar and commiserated about trying to escape their pasts. Chelsea helped Adam to come out on top in a business deal when she spotted a prospectus on the floor that he was unable to see and read it to him. Upon returning from his business meeting and updating Chelsea on his success, Adam began experiencing pressure in his eyes which turned to flashes which indicated that his vision was returning. His doctor told him it could only be explained as a miracle when Adam regained his sight.
As fellow town pariahs, Chelsea and Adam became friends. After Chelsea told him that her mother had located her father, but wouldn't tell her who he was, Adam did some research and gave her a gift of her birth certificate indicating that Jeffrey Bardwell was her father. Adam accompanied Chelsea to Gloworm where she confronted Jeffrey, but he denied it. Jeffrey told his wife Gloria that his memory did not extend past her, but he thought that he had never met Anita before she began working at Gloworm. A DNA test was done which proved that it was true. Gloria had Anita fired. Jeffrey claimed the test was false, that Chelsea's father must have been his dead twin brother William. But it was disclosed to viewers that Jeffrey was lying and had paid off Anita to disappear and to keep secret that he and Anita were still legally married.
When Billy had to leave Victoria and Chelsea alone when he went to Los Angeles on business, Chelsea got into a fight with Victoria for hovering over her life, and left. Adam became concerned and went looking for her. Knowing her favorite spot to get away, Adam went to Lake Concord and found that Chelsea had fallen through the ice. Risking his own life, Adam managed to pull her out of the lake and took her to a nearby lake cottage when she started to go into labor. Adam did his best to get Chelsea warm, delivered her baby boy, and left them to go for help since his cell phone was getting no reception. Meanwhile Billy arrived home, and he went looking for Chelsea. Victoria had gone to Victor for help, and he allowed her to use his helicopter. They located the cabin, and Victoria found Chelsea delirious and alone with the baby. Billy arrived as Adam returned. But Adam never showed himself or took credit for saving their lives, just walked away alone knowing that Chelsea was in good hands. Chelsea and the baby were fine, and she signed over her parental rights to Billy. After much consideration, Victoria thought to name the baby John, after his grandfather, and she began calling him Johnny. Adam asked Chelsea not to tell anyone what he had done, but when Victoria began badmouthing Adam again, Chelsea disclosed that Adam had been the hero who saved her and her baby's life. Billy and Victoria began to see Adam had indeed changed, and thanked him. Feeling guilty, Adam disclosed to Victoria that her father had actually paid Chelsea to setup Billy in Myanmar.
Nikki overheard Victor admit to Chelsea that he had paid her to setup Billy in Myanmar. Although getting pregnant had not been part of the deal, Chelsea had been a bartender at a surfer bar, and Victor had her spike Billy's drink, seduce him, and take pictures. So that her friends wouldn't know that she had fallen for Billy, Chelsea let her friends plant the drugs on him and accused him of rape.
Victor crashed a family party at Victoria and Billy's to welcome Johnny home. After Billy asked everyone to please leave, Victoria accused Victor that if not for Delia's illness, Billy may have died in prison there, then told him to leave and never return. Later Victoria admitted to Billy that if not for Victor's machinations, they actually may never have gotten Johnny, and Billy agreed that it had all been worthwhile. Chelsea stuck to her word, and with Adam's emotional support, allowed her parental rights to be terminated, and Victoria to adopt her baby. But after the adoption hearing, Chelsea fell weeping into Adams arms, and Chelsea and Adam became lovers. Later Victor offered Chelsea ten million dollars to leave town, but she declined his offer.
In her quest to become a better person, Chelsea let Billy and Victoria off the hook, telling them that she was staying in town to be with Adam, but that she would find a job and pay her own bills, and wouldn't meddle in her their lives. Adam asked Chelsea to share his room, and she moved in. Intent on being something other than a con artist, Chelsea began studying to get her GED
The time for the annual gala came around, and Adam surprised Chelsea a beautiful expenses cocktail dress. As they were leaving for the gala, Adam received a call that the event had been canceled. Rather than disappoint her, Adam took her to the athletic club bar and they played like it was after the prom. While Adam went to the restroom, Chelsea got chilly and put on his jacket, finding an engagement ring in the pocket. Upon Adam's return, Chelsea accused him of intending to propose at the gala in front of Sharon and Victor to taunt them, not because he really cared for her. Chelsea ran outside. Adam followed and convinced her that he really loved her. He proposed and she accepted in the pouring rain.
Since their engagement announcement to the Newman clan was not well-received, Chelsea and Adam tried announcing it to Jeffrey, but were interrupted by Anita who showed up at Gloworm, supposedly after hearing about Chelsea's engagement. Gloria was delighted and reminded them that Gloworm hosted weddings, and Jeffrey pointedly congratulated his niece. Anita interjected that whether Chelsea's daddy was Jeffrey or the late William, she did recall that he had a heart-shaped mole on his inner thigh. Gloria, who had been married to both, was then able to identify Jeffrey as Chelsea's father. Later Jeffrey took Anita aside and she threatened to tell everyone that they were still legally married, if her support checks did not resume. Chelsea later got word that she passed her GED in the 97th percentile.
Adam took Chelsea to a bed and breakfast in his hometown of Leavenworth, Kansas, to elope, surprising her with the traditional something old, new, borrowed, and blue and a selection of wedding dresses. When Sharon found out, she took the next plane there too, telling Victor that she was going to New York City to talk to Noah about Victor's offer for her to move in with him. Instead, Sharon was at Hope's farm when Adam arrived alone. She told Adam that she still loved him, and tried to talk him into ditching Chelsea for her. Adam refused, saying that Chelsea was the only one who "got him", the hick from the farm. As an homage to Hope, Chelsea and Adam were married in Hope's kitchen the next day. Meanwhile the sale of Genevieve's mansion to Adam was being finalized, and he was able to shock Chelsea by taking her home to the 16 acre, 10 bedroom mansion on lake, with its own private airstrip. Jeffrey and Anita dropped by, obviously schmoozing to cash in, and Chelsea threw them out.
Chelsea thought she may be pregnant, but the test proved she was not. Adam was so disappointed, that they began trying to have a baby. Meanwhile Adam and Chelsea worked on the new TagNGrab website venture with Chloe and Kevin, and Sharon married Victor, which Adam called insane. Weeks later at Gloworm, Chelsea excitedly broke the news to Adam that she was pregnant, and was overheard by Sharon, who wished them well, then went home to the ranch and tore up the place. Chelsea later had a nice visit with Jeff, talking about Vegas and cons. He gave her a $100 bill to buy something nice for the baby.
Adam decided to get out of town by taking his pregnant wife on a surprise honeymoon. As they drove to the airport, his niece Summer who was upset and driving recklessly, ran into their car causing Chelsea to miscarry. Both were devastated, but Adam was unable to face it and left home. He ran into Sharon who was getting drunk after being accosted with hatred by every Newman in town. Adam shared that he felt losing his own child was retribution for his taking faith from Sharon. Meanwhile Chelsea sat at home alone with her mourning, named the baby Riley, and wondered why Adam had abandoned her when she needed him most.
Chelsea confronted Adam, wanting the truth of where he had been spending so much of his time, and Adam lied that he had been trying to get into Newman with Jack. Chelsea didnít believe him and left. Sharon appeared and told Adam she was not going to ruin his marriage, that he needed to tell Chelsea that he was hiding her out. Sharon left to tell Victor what she had done. Finding Jack in Victor's office, he thanked her for driving Newman into the ground, to allow his hostile takeover. Adam arrived and whisked her away to the cabin again where she ranted about being a failure at everything and begged Adam not to leave her. Adam got Sharon some help, and she eventually went home to Noah and Faith, and Chelsea and Adam reconciled. Because Adam was still at her beck and call, Chelsea threatened Sharon to stop, or Chelsea would tell that Sharon had burned down the ranch. After consultation with her doctor, Sharon called things off with Adam, saying that she was done interfering with his life.
Chelsea and Chloe became close, and they came up with the idea of Chelsea working at TagNGrab instead of Adam. Adam got mad that he was not consulted and decided to pull his 15 million dollar investment, and sold his stake in TagNGrab to Tucker McCall who bought out Kevin and Chloe. Chloe bounced back with a great idea for Chelsea to become a designer and start a company together.
Nikki surprised Victor with the redecorated penthouse and played the baby grand for him. They threw a cocktail party to celebrate their new home. Victor invited Adam as bait for Nick and Victoria to fight for Newman, while Victor needled him about Jack's incompetence. Sharon arrived uninvited to confess and apologize. They gave her such a hard time that she freaked out, and Victor yelled at her to leave. Adam followed her, leaving Chelsea behind. Hoping to get Sharon out of Adam's life, Chelsea told Victor and Nikki that Sharon had burned down the ranch. Nikki confronted Sharon, and Victor told Sharon that she needed to seek treatment elsewhere. Later he suspected that Adam had been covering up for Sharon by setting the other fires. Adam found out that Chelsea told them, accused her of betraying him, and left to spend the night at the club. Since Chloe was her only friend, Chelsea went to stay with her and Kevin.
After Adam confessed he wasn't sure how he felt about her and Sharon anymore, Chelsea asked for a divorce. Adam offered Chelsea half his income made during their marriage. She told him she loved him, but he could not buy her off to sooth his conscience. Rebuffed by Sharon, Adam tried to reconcile with Chelsea, but she mistook his sincere effort as being second choice, and told him she would agree to the divorce settlement. Chelsea told Chloe that thanks to the settlement, they didn't need any investors in their new company. But all that changed on New Year's Eve when they got back together with Adam promising they would move away from Genoa City. But later when Adam told Chelsea they would have to put off leaving town because he was still needed at Newman, she threw a fit accusing him of putting business before her, told him they were through, and demanded a divorce.
Intent on taking Adam for all she could, Chelsea let Chloe know that she was ready to start their business, and they purchased the Restless Style building from Billy with Chelsea's half million dollar settlement. When Billy saw their designs, he promised to put in a word with Jack about them becoming a local collaborator for the new Jabot fashion division. Cane began spending a lot of time with Chelsea encouraging her that she could rise above her past as he had, and follow her dreams in fashion design. Chelsea, Chloe and Gloria made a presentation to Jabot and they were hired as a team of collaborators for Jabot Cosmetics fashion division.
Food began making Chelsea nauseous, and a pregnancy test confirmed that she was pregnant again. When she finally decided to tell Adam, she found him with Sharon at his house, so instead she gave him her wedding ring and left. Chelsea made several other attempts to tell Adam, but was always interrupted by Sharon's presence.
Chelsea was helped by newcomer Dylan McAvoy when her car had a dead battery, and they enjoyed each other. Then weeks later, after being yelled at by Adam, and her hopes for telling him about the baby were dashed, Chelsea fell into bed with Dylan. Both agreed it was just a one-night stand, and Chelsea knew it would be convenient if she ever had to claim her baby was not Adam's.
Sharon called Chelsea to let her know that Adam was in the hospital after heroically taking a bullet meant for his father during Victor and Nikki's wedding reception. At Genoa City Memorial, Dr. Costner removed the bullet from Adam, finding bone fragments from a shattered rib which had damaged a lung. In the waiting room, Chelsea lit into Victor, reminding him that he and Adam had both grown up without their fathers, and how Adam was routinely shunned. Following surgery, only one person was allowed in to see Adam, and Chelsea magnanimously allowed it to be Sharon. Adam told Sharon to take charge of Newman for him, then went into a coma. Chelsea told Adam about her pregnancy while he was in a coma, But after seeing Sharon with him when he woke up, she declined to tell him again. After dropping her bag in front of Sharon, exposing a bottle of prenatal vitamins, Chelsea had to admit that she was pregnant, but claimed it was not Adam's. Sharon told Adam, he confronted Chelsea in front of Dylan, and Chelsea told them that the baby was Dylan's. Tearing up, Adam told Chelsea he was happy that she was finally having a baby, but apparently it did not matter with whom.
Lily came up with a Jabot Face of Fashion marketing campaign called "Dare to be Different" for Chelsea's designs using unknown models, and it was approved with Lily working with Tyler. Tyler suggested Summer as their model. Chelsea forgave Summer for the death of her unborn child, saying that they were both getting a second chance.
After the shock wore off, Dylan assured Chelsea that he would not abandon his child, which Chelsea told him would be due around Thanksgiving. The next day, Adam delivered their finalized divorce decree, reminding Chelsea of her huge settlement that he assumed she accepted while pregnant with another man's child, and called her a con to the very core. Chelsea's mother, Anita, was disappointed in Chelsea's choice when she could have used the baby to win back a rich man like Adam, warned her that everything will blow up in her face when Dylan found out he was used, and suggested she get out of it before it was too late. Chelsea felt guilty the more Dylan got into the idea of becoming a father, and invited him over to tell him the truth. But when he surprised her with plans to build a baby cradle, she backed out again. They began spending a lot of time together, enjoying each other's company while Dylan began designing his new digs in a converted warehouse, including a nursery.
Seeing how advanced Chelsea's pregnancy was and remembering her continual attempts to "tell him something important", Adam confronted Chelsea that her baby had to be his. Chelsea denied it. But Victoria told Chelsea she knew the truth, and was willing to help her keep it from Adam for both their sakes.
Dylan bought Crimson Lights coffee bar, and as they made plans to change its name and personality to make it successful again, Chelsea realized she was falling in love, and she spent the night.