Valerie was introduced in 1975 as the love interest for David Banning and created a stir as daytime’s first interracial romance. When the character first appeared, she was played by Tina Andrews, but in 1977, Rose Fonseca took over the role. During this time, Valerie’s family took in David after a car accident and she fell in love with him. But their romance was derailed by his infidelity and when David got Trish pregnant, Valerie accepted a scholarship to medical school and left town.
James Reynolds (Abe) and Diane Sommerfield (Valerie) in 1981.
(Photo Credit: Ron Tom/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Valerie returned in 1981 with Diane Sommerfield in the role, and while working as a medical intern at the hospital she began a romance with Abe. But her lingering feelings for David complicated things, and the character was written out of the soap a year later.
In October of 2016, actress Vanessa Williams assumed the role of Valerie when the cardiologist was brought to Salem to help save an ailing Abe’s life. The couple rekindled their romance, despite his son Theo’s disapproval. News of David’s death brought her son Eli to town for the memorial, and he was furious with his mother for not telling him who his real father was.
Williams as Valerie with James Reynolds’ Abe in a scene from February 2017.
(Photo Credit: XJJohnson/jpistudios.com)
Williams is best known to television viewers as Rhonda Blair from the first season of FOX’s primetime sudser MELROSE PLACE. She also appeared on MURDER ONE and CHICAGO HOPE, and her role as Maxie Chadway in Showtime’s SOUL FOOD earned her an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series. Before joining the cast of DAYS, Williams appeared as Iris West’s mother, Francine, on THE FLASH.
Williams is married to Andre Wiseman and they have two sons together, Haile and Omar. Also, she is not to be confused with the former Miss America sometimes credited as Vanessa L. Williams!
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