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Lisa Trusel as Melissa Horton
|Days of Our Lives character|
|Portrayed by||Joseph Trent Everett (1971)
Matthew Bowman (1971)
Kim Durso (1975–76)
Debbie Lytton (1977–83)
Lisa Trusel (1983–88, 1994–2010)
Camilla Scott (1990–91)
|First appearance||October 18, 1971|
|Last appearance||June 28, 2010|
|Created by||William J. Bell|
|Introduced by||Betty Corday|
Melissa Horton is a fictional character from the NBC soap opera, Days of Our Lives. She was played by child actors Joseph Trent Everett from October 18 to November 29, 1971, Matthew Bowman from December 16 to 29, 1971, and Kim Durso from April 15, 1975, to June 25, 1976. A teenaged Melissa was portrayed by Debbie Lytton from May 31, 1977, to April 17, 1980, and March 16, 1982, to November 29, 1982. Lisa Trusel played an adult Melissa from May 12, 1983, to November 8, 1988, with returns from June 28 to July 4, 1994, November 1 to 15, 1996, May 30 to June 3, 2002; January 14 to 19, 2010, and June 18 to 28, 2010. Camilla Scott played the role from February 14, 1990, to June 13, 1991. Trusel's run as Melissa earned her various nominations and a Daytime Emmy award nomination.
Born to Jim and Linda Phillips, Linda claimed that Mickey Horton was Melissa's father, but when Mickey's wife Laura revealed to her in private that Mickey was sterile (a fact that Mickey did not even know about as Laura had been keeping it from him so that he wouldn't discover that he was not the father of Laura's son Mike), Linda reluctantly admitted that Jim was Melissa's father.
Melissa later took the name Anderson following Linda's marriage to Bob Anderson. Melissa became a teenager (as a result of SORAS), running away from her private school, unable to deal with her trouble-making mother, Linda who wanted her back in order to get her hands on Anderson manufacturing. Melissa ends up in Mickey and Maggie's home, having begun several years before to consider Mickey and Maggie surrogate parents. When Linda discovers her there, she tries to have her removed physically, and Mickey and Maggie decide to fight for custody of her. At the hearing, Linda does not show up, and the judge grants custody to the Hortons. Melissa and her cousin Hope Williams became good friends and Melissa also became good friends with Hope's boyfriend Bo Brady. In 1984, Melissa became involved with gang member Pete Jennings. That relationship had its series of ups and downs, and when Linda returned to town, she tried to sabotage the romance by pretending to have slept with him. She tried to make Melissa think that she was going crazy so she could get her hands on Melissa's Anderson manufacturing stock. Her scheme failed, and Linda decided to leave town, making a last attempt to make amends before departing, which Melissa begrudgingly accepted. Melissa and Pete married in 1986 but later divorced when Melissa, an aspiring dancer, fell for her mentor Lars Englund. Melissa's relationship with Lars eventually fell apart after Melissa was injured. The injury also put an end to Melissa's promising dancing career.
Melissa eventually fell in love with Jack Deveraux but was heartbroken when he married Kayla Brady instead. Melissa was eventually accused of being behind Kayla's poisoning but was cleared. In 1988, Melissa was one of the few people who stood by Jack after Jack committed marital rape against Kayla. To the horror of her family and friends, Melissa made plans to marry Jack after his divorce from Kayla came through. Shortly before their wedding, Melissa saw Jack with another woman and discovered that Jack was only using her to make himself look good. She called off the wedding and denounced Jack to the rest of Salem before leaving town.
Melissa returned two years later in 1990 and immediately realized that her cousin Jennifer Horton had fallen in love with Jack, who by this time was genuinely trying to become a better person and make amends for his evil behavior. Melissa tried to discourage her cousin from getting involved with her former fiance and encouraged Jennifer's boyfriend Emilio to propose. However, Melissa and Emilio eventually realized that they were attracted to one another and got together while Jack and Jennifer were away on the Cruise of Deception. Melissa and Emilio were free to be together after Jack and Jennifer returned and revealed that they had become a couple on the cruise. Unfortunately, the relationship was short-lived as Melissa accidentally believed to have killed Emilio in a struggle. Melissa eventually left Salem with her adoptive sister Sarah Horton in 1991. The two settled in Nashville. In subsequent visits to Salem, it has been revealed that Melissa has married again and had a child but the name of her husband remains unknown to the audience. In June 2009, Melissa's son, going by the name of Nathan Horton, arrived in Salem as a first year medical intern at Salem University Hospital eager to follow in the footsteps of his great-grandfather, Tom.
On January 14, 2010 Melissa returned for Mickey's funeral. At the memorial, she spoke about the opportunities Mickey and Maggie have given her. She was also able to reunite with her son Nathan and the rest of the Horton family.