John Black and Marlena Evans
|John and Marlena|
|Introduced by||Betty Corday, Ken Corday and Al Rabin|
John Black and Marlena Evans are fictional characters and a supercouple from the American daytime drama Days of our Lives. John is portrayed by Drake Hogestyn and Marlena is portrayed by Deidre Hall. In magazines and in advertising, as well as on Internet message boards, the couple is often referred to by the portmanteau "Jarlena" (for John and Marlena) or "Jolena" (for John and Marlena).
John and Marlena became a supercouple in 1986 on the American soap opera Days of our Lives. Drake Hogestyn (John Black) joined the show that year and his chemistry with Deidre Hall (Dr. Marlena Evans) was undeniable. At the time, Hogestyn's character was an amnesiac named John Black. However, information (later proved false) suggested that he was really the missing, presumed dead Roman Brady (Marlena's husband), with extensive plastic surgery to explain the difference in appearance between the old Roman and John Black. John (as Roman) and Marlena were then married until she "died" in a plane crash in 1987.
The pair's romance in the 1980s was short-lived, but it left an indelible mark on Days of Our Lives fans and the soap opera world.
In 1991, Hall returned to Days of our Lives, and returned to her role as Dr. Marlena Evans. It was revealed that Marlena's supposed death in the plane crash was not true and Marlena had spent the previous four years in a coma. Soon afterwards, Wayne Northrop, the original portrayer of Roman Brady also returned to the show. In a stunning turn of events, Drake Hogestyn remained on the show through a piece of storytelling that revealed that his character was an impostor programmed with the memories of the real Roman Brady, and was a dangerous assassin. As a result, the fake Roman reverted to the name John Black. While Marlena attempted to reconcile with the real Roman, she and John could not deny their mutual attraction, and eventually the two had an affair that produced their daughter Belle, and led to Marlena and Roman's divorce.
This was not to be the end of their turmoil, because soon afterwards Marlena was possessed by a demon called Sucubus. John, who due to Stefano's manipulations now believed that he had been a priest in his former life (in 1999 this was found to be untrue), was able to perform an exorcism and Marlena was saved. However, the two could not resume their relationship at that time, and after John left the priesthood he fell into yet another affair with Kristen Blake, a former lover who was the adopted daughter of John's worst enemy, Stefano DiMera, the man who had brainwashed John to believe that he was Roman. Kristen eventually grew insecure about her relationship with John and cooked up one scheme after another to keep him away from Marlena. However, Kristen was exposed and John and Marlena were finally able to reunite.
In 1997 the two reunited after Kristen's lies were revealed and John asked Marlena to marry him. However, the wedding was interrupted when Kristen came in with Marlena's ex-husband Roman, who was believed to be dead. Roman returned to Salem and Kristen had told him that he and Marlena were still married and John and her were a couple. Because Roman was believed to be dying, John and Marlena had to hide their feelings for one another again. After he received a cure for his disease, Roman eventually found out that John and Marlena were together and he was not happy. Roman tried to win Marlena back, but it couldn't be done, her love was with John. He decided to let John and Marlena finally be together and became engaged again. However, it would took them two more years to finally get married due to Sami being convicted of murder and sentenced to death. After Sami was acquitted, John and Marlena wed on July 5, 1999.
The couple faced many obstacles in their married life that included (Hope) (who believed she was Gina) brainwashing and seducing John and becoming pregnant with his child (later discovered to be Bo's), Brady's newfound hatred for Marlena (later resolved), Marlena being brainwashed into believing she was a serial killer, and Marlena becoming pregnant with Roman's child and losing the baby after falling down a flight of stairs. Due to the fall, Marlena develops amnesia.
In 2005, amnesia specialist Alex North came to town, claiming to be Marlena's real husband from college. Marlena became torn between Alex and John and, due to John's raging jealousy and Alex's manipulations, especially his drugs, Marlena chose Alex. However, John did not give up on his love and did everything to try to win her back. However, even when it seemed that he was making headway, his drugs and manipulations enabled Alex to keep winning. The struggle continued to Morgan Island during Alex and Marlena's honeymoon in May 2006, after they had renewed their vows. During a fight on Morgan Island, Alex died.
Newly clearheaded, Marlena realized that Alex had been abusive during their marriage. She decided that she needed a little time to get back on her feet. Without any hard feelings, and with their love as strong as ever, Marlena chose to separate from John for a while, and she took a job in New Jersey. When it was discovered that Marlena was missing, however, John began to search for his love. With the help of Abe Carver, John rescued Marlena from a trunk in which she'd been held captive, in early October 2006. The couple's next obstacle, in December 2006, was fighting against Stefano DiMera's son EJ DiMera, who was sent by Stefano to kill John.
John and Marlena married for the third time (their first legal marriage) on December 5, 2006. However, none of the couple's children ( Eric, Sami, Brady or Belle) could attend. After being presumably shot by EJ, John fell into a coma. Marlena remained by his side, praying that he would wake up; he did wake up in May 2007. Also, John discovered that he was the son of Colleen Brady and Santo DiMera, thus making him the half-brother of his worst enemy Stefano DiMera. On October 17, John was a victim of a hit and run case, with the culprit remaining a mystery. John was taken into emergency, but apparently died peacefully in the arms of Marlena, his greatest love of all time. It was later discovered that his death was faked by Stefano.
Once again, John came back to Salem as Stefano's pawn and had no memory of his love for Marlena or his family(January 2008)
The couple endured a divorce due to John's inability to regain his memory and decision to live a life below Marlena's moral standards. When John regained his memory after a traumatic incident that left him temporarily (at least) paralyzed, John and Marlena reunited and were remarried before leaving the show on January 23, 2009.
John and Marlena (Drake and Deidre) returned to Days of our Lives on September 26, 2011 to celebrate the re-opening of the Horton Town Square. However, shortly after their arrival, John was arrested on embezzlement and corporate fraud charges. At first, John believed he was innocent but due to strong memory flashes, he quickly second guessed himself unaware that Stefano's son EJ has framed him for the crimes. When a rogue ex-cop fires shots into the Brady Pub where John, Marlena, Roman, Bo, Hope, Sami, Rafe, Caroline, and the kids are all present and when Johnny goes missing, John decides to plead guilty. On November 23, 2011, John is sentenced to 50 years in prison without the possibility of parole, equivalent to a life sentence. On December 23, 2011, Carrie and Rafe managed to find the evidence that would clear John's name. He was released and John and Marlena were reunited.
Reception and impact
In December 2008, Days of our Lives announced Deidre Hall (Marlena) and Drake Hogestyn (John) were departing from the series. Soap Opera Digest reported that the news "not only rocked the daytime world, it made headline in the mainstream press." In the week of their departure, the magazine published a collector's edition issue which featured the Hogestyn and Hall on the cover. Inside, the fan responses were printed as well as the story of the actor's dismissal and a time line of the fictional pairing's storylines. Fans of John and Marlena purchased a full-page ad in this issue thanking Hogestyn and Hall for twenty-years of portraying the pairing as a couple. Many fans stopped watching the show because this amazing supercouple left and many also said they would not return until they were back on the show.
Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn were nominated for a Soap Opera Digest award for "Hottest Romance" in 1998 and won a Soap Opera Digest award for "Favorite Couple" in 2005 for their portrayal of Marlena and John.
- West, Abby. "17 Great Soap Supercouples: John and Marlena". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
- Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn: SOAP OPERA DIGEST talks with Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn about their on-screen relationship, Soap Opera Digest. Retrieved on 2007-09-07
- "The Diedre Hall Nobody Knows". Soaps In Depth. 1998-08-04.
- Soap Opera Network summer advertising campaign
- Sloane, Stephanie (12009-01-27). "Final Bow". Soap Opera Digest. pp. 43–51.