Five photo collage of Days of Our Lives' Jack with Jennifer; Jack with Steve and Kayla; Jack with Abigail and JJ; and a Matthew Ashford headshot
Credit: Gary Null/NBC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection; Jill Johnson/JPI

From villain to lovable hero.

Diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease, Days of Our Lives‘ Jack Deveraux first appeared in Salem on April 10, 1987, to seek medical treatment. Over the next three decades (and then some), he went from hated to loved and sometimes hated again, with a few actor swaps along the way.

Upon Jack’s initial arrival, he promptly fell for his nurse, a.k.a. Salem’s sweetheart, Kayla Brady. Despite being in love with Steve, Kayla married an ailing Jack, but she cheated on him with her true love. In a jealous rage, Jack raped her.

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Stephen Nichols, Mary Beth Evans and Joseph Adams pose on a stark white background.

The early days when Joseph Adams played Jack.

Credit: Bernard Boudreau/NBC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection

That should have put an end to any root-ability factor Jack had, but as with many seemingly irredeemable characters before — and after — him, the writers transformed him into a goofy, yet upstanding journalist and family man. He wasn’t without his flaws though, as Jack had a penchant for abandoning said family and was known to pull a well (or poorly) laid out scheme or two.

Jack’s redemption was aided by the fact that he was actually Steve and Adrienne’s biological brother. Plus, Salem’s other sweetheart, Jennifer Horton fell in love with him, which set the couple on a decades-long quest to find happily ever after. Which they seemingly have, as they are recently re-married and running a newspaper together in Boston.

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Black and white posed photo of Jack and Jennifer on their wedding day. Days of Our Lives

Matthew Ashford and Melissa Reeves’ Jack and Jennifer.

Credit: NBC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection

Before they got there though, Jack “died” a couple of times, got involved with other people (including Jennifer’s mother), was held captive, faked his death when he came down with another life-threatening disease, had two kids with Jennifer, ended up on Melaswen Island, had one kid he didn’t know about until she was an adult, did dastardly things with Eve when he had amnesia, sat by Jennifer’s side (and slept with Kate) while she was in a year-long coma, and so many other soap opera-y things we don’t have room for.

Actor Joseph Adams originated the character, but only lasted until July of 1987 when James Acheson was recast in the role. However, he too was short-lived, as Matthew Ashford took over just a few months later in October. Ashford’s casting stuck and he played Jack until 1993 when Jack left town, blaming himself for his daughter Abigail’s own medical condition, aplastic anemia.

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Posed photo of Mark Valley and Stephanie Cameron as Jack and Jennifer on Days of Our Lives

Mark Valley and Stephanie Cameron as Jack and Jennifer.

Credit: NBC/Courtesy Everett Collection

Of course, he couldn’t stay away and returned in the form of Mark Valley for a couple of years when Jennifer was played by Stephanie Cameron. Then, Steve Wilder took on the persona for a bit, and then it was back to Matthew Ashford, who has popped in and out of Salem as Abigail, JJ and Gwen’s father since 2001. Jon Lindstrom (Kevin Collins/Ryan Lavery, General Hospital) was even a stand-in for Ashford due to COVID when Lindstrom’s wife, Cady McClain was playing Jennifer.

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In the Horton living room, Xander clasps Jack shoulders. They grin wildly at each other. Days of Our Lives

Best mates.

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

Tell us what you want to see happen for Jack in the comments and then…

Check out the photo gallery below of the most recast characters in daytime.