Days Of Our Lives: 12 Most Controversial Moments EverPublished on January 10, 2018. Updated June 23, 2020
The land of daytime drama can be quite scandalous. There are love triangles, affairs, illegitimate babies, and plenty of scheming. Soap operas can also dive into real-life issues and sometimes walk that fine line of controversy to relay an incredible story. Days of Our Lives (DOOL) is notorious for its over-the-top plots but has also had its fair share of controversies over the years too. In fact, below are 12 of the most controversial moments in DOOL’s history.
12. Sami And E.J.’s Love Affair
When E.J. returned to Salem in 2006, he was quite smitten with Sami Brady. However, Sami was in love with Lucas Roberts. Although the two were neighbors and became friends, she became leery of him shortly after his arrival to the little town. There was one occasion where Sami felt he tried to rape her and then in December of 2006 he forced her to submit and have sex with him in order to save Lucas’ life. The two had this weird love-hate attraction and despite the terrible things he did when it came to having his way with her, Sami ended up falling in love with E.J., marrying him, and having two children with him. Many DOOL fans can agree that E.J. had a very twisted way of showing Sami how fond he was of her and vice-versa.
11. Carly Is Buried Alive
When Vivian Alamain buried Carly Manning alive in a coffin six feet under to fake her death with a radio to taunt her, ratings for DOOL skyrocketed. The buried-alive storyline is an iconic one that came with a little controversy as well. The idea of being in an enclosed coffin, buried in a graveyard, with your friends and family thinking you are dead (but you aren’t really) was a nightmare to some of claustrophobic DOOL fans out there and watching the story unfold was hard. There had never been a horrific soap storyline told like this one before, and never one seen again, except for the time Vivian tried to do it again to Maggie Horton in late 2010.
10. Salem Stalker – Part One
The 2003-2004 storyline that saw a slew of fan favorite DOOL characters — including Abe Carver, Jack Deveraux, Maggie and Alice Horton, Caroline and Roman Brady, as well as Kate Roberts — get the proverbial ax was quite controversial back in the day. The angle was written by James Reilly in an attempt to increase lagging rating for the show and fans were in an uproar about the fact that these staple characters were gone for good. While fans were upset, it was reported that Reilly was given direct orders to fix the situation and fix it right away.
9. Salem Stalker – Part Two
So, Reilly hit the ground running in the early 2000s and did a little rewriting on the entire Salem Stalker angle, and Melaswen Island was born. This was an island where all the supposedly-dead DOOL characters went, revealing that they were very much alive. Who was to blame? Well, the DiMeras of course, they are the root of all evil in Salem after all. Getting to Melaswen Island still created a ton of controversy. Before producers revealed to audiences that Alice, Abe, Roman, Jack, and others were alive, they pinned the murders on heroine number one, Marlena Evans, which caused an additional uproar from avid DOOL viewers. Then there was also the fact that many Days‘ viewers were angry with the fact that the show had messed with their emotions by killing all these staple characters, and then brought them back with such a lame storyline.
8. The Love Between A Brother And A Sister
Nobody wants to see a brother and sister engage in a relationship, which is just wrong on so many different levels. However, this was the case in 1968 when Marie Horton and Dr. Mark Brooks were in love…well, sort of. Brooks ended up being Tommy Horton, a veteran of the Korean war suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), who also had a reconstructed face which meant that Brooks (a.k.a. Tommy) was actually Marie’s brother! While the story was not only controversial because of the underlying incest angle, it was also before its time in soaps, as it also touched upon PTSD, a subject most daytime dramas hadn’t covered yet at that point.
7. Sami Walks The Transgender Line
In 2005, Sami became a cross-dresser by the name of Stan who sold drugs as part of a scam for revenge. For months during Sami’s alter-ego storyline, the character was played by a male actor, Dan Wells. DOOL is infamous for its crazy storylines, but this one was not only ridiculous, it was also quite controversial. Hats off to Wells though, he was able to nail Sami’s mannerisms perfectly.
6. Marlena Loses A Baby
In DOOL’s history vault, there is a storyline that involved Marlena losing her three-month-old baby to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in 1976. This was the first time a soap opera ever dealt with SIDS and while the storyline did increase awareness, it was a very hard watch for some fans with young children or who had experienced the same situation.
5. WilSon Gets Hitched
Soap opera fans currently live in a time where same-sex relationships are explored on daytime drama and celebrated. After all, love is love and it’s a great thing to be able to represent all viewers on the soap opera platform. A huge milestone was crossed when Will Horton married the love of his life, Sonny Kiriakis. The two became the first same-sex relationship ever on DOOL, and in early April 2014 when Sonny and Will got hitched, they also became the first male-male wedding to be shown on air in American soap opera history. While there was a little controversy over this, for the most part, the general public has accepted this couple and simply adore WilSon’s love story.
4. Marlena’s Exorcism
Marlena being possessed by the devil in 1995 was a tad ridiculous, but the storyline itself made a lot of waves on the daytime drama. Why was it so controversial? The entire concept was terrifying to some viewers and the special effects were creepy, but a lot of what possessed Marlena did was outright scandalous for that time. Thankfully it ended up that John Black was a priest and the entire debacle was canned months later right before Easter.
3. Max Brady Dates His Nieces
Max, the adopted son of Shawn and Caroline Brady, had quite the crazy dating spree in 2005 and decided to keep it all in the family. He dated two of his adopted nieces in one year. While they weren’t related by blood, the fact that Max engaged in a relationship with his adopted siblings’ children was just wrong. He may not have grown up with Chelsea (Bo’s daughter), but he’d known Stephanie since she was little, and the entire storyline left a bad vibe with many of DOOL’s fans.
2. Lucas And Cassie Hook Up
There must have been something in the water in and around the early 2000s in Salem because the writers had a brother and sister (almost) hook up. Lucas and Cassie had quite the flirty relationship going on when the beauty strolled into Salem in 2002. In fact, the two were very close to making love before her twin brother burst into the room, thankfully stopping them before anything happened. After they found out they were brother and sister the relationship fizzled, of course, but the very storyline creeped many DOOL fans out.
1. Interracial Love
Much like same-sex relationships, the love between couples of different races is now the norm on soap operas, which is a good thing. Sadly, this wasn’t the case in the late 1970s. Vanessa Williams currently plays the role of Dr. Valerie Grant; however, back in the day, the character was played by Tina Andrews. Grant was one-half of soap opera’s first interracial couple, side-by-side with David Banning. It has been reported that the twosome was set to get married, but that racist hate mail caused the writers to back out of the storyline. Grant was then written off the show in 1977.