|The Bold and the Beautiful character|
|Portrayed by||Joanna Johnson|
|Duration||1991–94, 2009, 2011, 2012–13, 2014|
|First appearance||December 11, 1991|
|Last appearance||April 18, 2014|
|Created by||William J. Bell|
|Residence||New York City|
Karen Spencer is a fictional character on the CBS soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful. After Joanna Johnson's character Caroline Spencer Forrester was killed off the show, Karen was created to bring back Johnson to the Soap Opera. She first appeared In 1991 and remained until 1994. Johnson briefly returned to the role on April 28, 2009, and again in July 2011 for a several week brief story-arc.
Johnson was announced to be returning to the series in March 2012 with her daughter, Caroline. In April 2012, it was announced that Crystal Chappell would join the cast of The Bold and the Beautiful as Caroline's "other" mother and Karen's wife, Danielle.
In one of the show's earliest retcons, the late publishing heiress, Caroline Spencer Forrester, proves to have an identical twin sister named Karen. In the revised history, she is kidnapped as an infant and taken away to Texas, where she lives as Faith Roberts. She was raised by waitress Bonnie Roberts.
Faith Roberts worked as a waitress and had been raised in Starlight, Texas by Bonnie Roberts. Meanwhile, Ridge Forrester had been married to Caroline Spencer Forrester, who died of leukemia, and was now married to Taylor Hayes. Taylor's ex-husband, Blake Hayes, wanted Taylor back and discovered that Caroline had an identical twin sister who had been kidnapped as a baby. He found Faith in Texas and revealed to her that she was really Karen Spencer, heiress to the Spencer Publications conglomerate. Blake dyed Karen's hair to make her look like Caroline so she could lure Ridge away from Taylor. Karen's father, Bill Spencer, Sr., was stunned to see Caroline's twin and confirmed Karen's identity by comparing her fingerprints to those taken from her crib as an infant. Ridge was shocked to see this woman who looked just like Caroline, but ultimately only wanted Karen as a friend. A furious Blake bound and gagged Karen when his plan failed, but she managed to get to a phone and called Bill, who rescued Karen with the help of Ridge's brother, Thorne Forrester. Thorne, who had also been married to Caroline, was equally amazed by Karen's likeness and began dating Karen after Blake left town in defeat.
Thorne asked Karen to move in with him at the same time Thorne's estranged wife, Macy Alexander, wanted a reconciliation with Thorne. They all agreed to live in separate bedrooms in Thorne's apartment. But when the Three's Company arrangement wore thin, Karen and Macy got into a huge food fight while preparing Thanksgiving dinner. Thorne admitted he had feelings for both of them and couldn't choose, but Karen won out after Thorne mistakenly believed Macy had taken up with Jake Maclaine. Karen's new life included losing her virginity to Thorne and a leadership position at the ailing Spectra Fashions, in which Bill had just invested a huge amount of cash.
Karen befriended Brooke Logan, who was running Forrester Creations with attorney Connor Davis at her side. After Thorne went back to Macy, Karen also developed a friendship with Connor. Brooke's liaison, Sheila Carter, wanted more power in the company and plotted to get rid of Connor by taking a picture of him kissing Karen at the Bikini Bar. Sheila's plot was foiled when Karen convinced Brooke that Connor was just a friend. Karen enjoyed her time with the Spectra gang, and joined in getting Fabio to make an appearance at Sally Spectra's bachelorette party.
In 1994, Karen started seeing Connor romantically, and insisted he get an HIV test. Connor tested negative, but Karen still wasn't ready to make love, so Connor gave Karen a few extra drinks to get her into bed. Connor felt bad and admitted to Macy that he hadn't used a condom. When Karen heard this from Macy, she decided to teach Connor a lesson by telling him she was pregnant, even though she had used a diaphragm. Connor responded by throwing Karen a surprise wedding. They went as far as exchanging vows before Karen confessed she wasn't actually expecting. Connor wanted time to think before signing the marriage certificate, which would make their union legal, and went on a date with Darla Einstein. Karen was upset and talked to her adoptive mother, Bonnie, who wanted her to come back to Starlight. Karen left Los Angeles, but not before making peace with Connor and restoring Spectra Fashions to Sally.
Karen returned to Los Angeles in April 2009. It was revealed that Karen had been working at Spencer Publications. Stephanie called her to offer her condolences about the death of her father Bill Spencer, Sr.. She was present for the reading of her father's will where in it; he bequeathed 50% of Spencer Publications to her and the other 50% to her half-brother Bill Spencer Jr. She and Bill Jr. were also named the successor Co-CEOs of Spencer Publications. Although Karen was hesitant to assume the role, Stephanie assured her she would do a fine job. Karen then decided to stay around town and befriended, Nick Marone. Karen attended her half-brother's wedding to Katie Logan in November 2009. She left town again shortly after and currently runs the East Coast division of Spencer Publications in New York City.
In 2011, she came to town briefly for the renewal of the vows between Katie and Bill. Karen decided to stay in town and work at Spencer Publications in L.A. But however, decided that her life was in New York and returned there. Karen later returned in March 2012 with her daughter, Caroline, for a meeting with Brooke for a position at Forrester Creations. In May 2012, Karen invites Caroline and her boyfriend, Thomas over. She continues to tell Caroline she's not ready to tell everyone about their family's situation. Caroline convinces Karen to tell Thomas that the family friend, Danielle, is Karen's partner. Karen warns that she doesn't want Bill to find out about her private life fearing that he, like their father, would disapprove.
Caroline later reveals to Thomas that Karen's father Bill Spencer, Sr. wanted Karen to marry a junior executive at Spencer Publications but she refused. When he found out about Karen's relationship with Danielle he refused to acknowledge Danielle or the fact that Karen had a partner and forced Karen to keep it a secret from everyone, including Bill Spencer, Jr. Caroline also reveals that she had only met her grandfather twice, once on New Year's and once on the Fourth of July.
On July 2, 2012 Karen finally admits to her brother Bill about her being gay. At first he believes that she is kidding but quickly realizes that she isn't. Unlike their father, Bill tells Karen that he loves and accepts her for who she is, which she greatly appreciates.
When it's revealed that her brother, Bill, had an affair with his sister-in-law, Brooke Logan, Katie divorces Bill and, as part of the settlement, Katie receives 1% ownership of Spencer Publications. Karen and Katie combine their stock, fire Bill from Spencer Publications and make Katie CEO of Spencer Publications. Then, Karen returns to New York.
- Logan, Michael. "Joanna Johnson returns to The Bold and the Beautiful". TV Guide.com. 2011-07-01.
- "Joanna Johnson Returning". TV Guide. 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
- InsideTV.EW.com (2012-04-11). "Lesbian Storyline Coming to Bold and the Beautiful". Retrieved April 11, 2011.