Sherri Saum as Vanessa Hart (1997)
|Sunset Beach character|
|Portrayed by||Sherri Saum|
|First appearance||January 9, 1997|
|Last appearance||December 31, 1999|
|Created by||Robert Guza, Jr.|
|Occupation||Journalist at Sunset Beach Sentinel|
|Residence||Sunset Beach, California|
A young journalist named Vanessa entered the world of Sunset Beach when Michael Bourne saved her from death, and then later saved her from a robber. Vanessa had a lot of trouble due to an article she was writing, trying to save RaShonda and Jaleen Muhammad from Jo-Jo Muhammad, who turned out to be Michael's friend. Vanessa found herself hiding from them, and Michael was always there to save her. When the situation had resolved itself, Vanessa decided to leave to Hong Kong briefly, but promised to keep their love alive. Days later, Vanessa returned home, but a chance for love with Michael was a bit challenged. Michael's friend from past, Virginia Harrison, was in love with Michael and she often used her son Jimmy Harrison to get what she wanted. Virginia did everything she could to break up the happy couple. It was later revealed that Michael had accidentally murdered Virginia's husband.
It came to Vanessa's attention that Virginia was more than meets the eye. She was trying to get attention, and Vanessa didn't like it. When Vanessa and Michael left for a romantic weekend getaway in a cabin, Virginia drove to the cabin and set it on fire. Vanessa later realized that Virginia was the one who did it, but Michael didn't believe her. Virginia was jealous because Vanessa started snooping into her life. Virginia researched Vanessa's past and realized that Vanessa had a mother that suffered from Martin's Syndrome, and she decided to use it to her advantage.
She used help from Mrs. Moreau to get a potion that could make Vanessa think she got the syndrome too. Vanessa was frightened and decided to leave Sunset Beach to avoid Michael. Michael was in despair when Vanessa left. Meanwhile, Vanessa was hiding at Tyus Robinson's place. Tyus fell in love with Vanessa, but she didn't have the same feelings for him. Tyus was working on a cure for Vanessa, and everyone was surprised when Vanessa's illness disappeared. Vanessa and Michael finally reunited, but their happiness didn't last long. Virginia made another plot, a sick and crazy plan.
On the night of Meg Cummings' and Ben Evans' wedding, Virginia used a turkey baster to insert Tyus' sperm (which she stole) into Vanessa and impregnated her. Vanessa soon learned she was pregnant. Virginia also staged another scene. She took a photo of Vanessa and Tyus together on the bed, and therefore, they thought that they had sex. Michael soon learned the truth about Vanessa's pregnancy and he was happy it until he learned that Tyus might be the father.
I've been having nightmares about being pregnant for real. Because every day that I'm saying, "I'm pregnant, I'm pregnant," it's transferring into my dreams. I'm not ready for that. I love babies; just don't let them come from my womb and I am a happy camper.
— Sherri Saum 
Vanessa and Michael broke up, and Tyus comforted Vanessa. A few weeks later, Vanessa miscarried. When it seemed like Vanessa and Michael were coming closer again, Virginia had finally lost it. She ended up in a mental institution, and she confessed all of her crimes. Vanessa and Michael were both shocked. Michael then tried to propose to Vanessa. A few months later, after making up and breaking up, on the final episode, Vanessa and Michael finally got married.