Adam Chandler grew up in poverty in Pigeon Hollow, WV, the archrival of Palmer Cortlandt. He arrived in Pine Valley in 1984 and became obsessed with Erica Kane, whose movie, Raising Kane, he was producing. He persuaded her to marry him after sending her prior suitor, Mike Roy, off to Tibet, and promising that she could star in the movie.
The next Mrs. Chandler was journalist Brooke English, whom he met when he was attempting to open a gambling mall. Their marriage collapsed when, believing that Brooke could never give him the heir he so desperately desired, he fathered a child with their servant (and Palmer Cortlandt’s niece) Dixie Cooney. The scheme was to adopt the boy without Brooke knowing of his paternity, but the plan was revealed and Brooke left him.
Mrs. Chandler number three was Dixie Cooney, followed shortly by number four, Natalie Hunter. The fifth Mrs. Chandler was Gloria Marsh, who had been Adam’s brother Stuart’s fiancé. Their marriage broke apart after Adam inadvertently caused the death of their baby, sending Gloria to a mental institution and Adam off to wife number six, Liza Colby.
The marriage to Liza was originally agreed upon simply to make Brooke jealous, but the two were well matched and soon fell in love for real. The marriage fell apart when Liza discovered that Adam was in part responsible for the crash of Flight 149. Liza, meanwhile, wanted a baby and arranged to be artificially inseminated, and Adam secretly maneuvered to be the donor rather than Jake Martin. Adam and Liza were remarried, but that marriage also collapsed when it was revealed in court that Adam was baby Colby’s biological father.
Adam was determined to form a happy family with Liza and Colby, but Liza was out for revenge, particularly after she discovered that Adam had hired Leo du Pres to break up Stuart and Marian’s marriage. She wrested control of Chandler Enterprises from Adam and, with Tad’s help, had him committed to a mental institution.
Stuart came to visit Adam at the institution and Adam confessed to the plot to destroy his marriage to Marian. Stuart denounced Adam and claimed they were no longer brothers. Wandering aimlessly, Stuart was struck by a car (driven by Hayley’s mother Arlene) and vanished with amnesia. Meanwhile, a charred corpse, belonging to a bum who had stolen Stuart’s belongings, was found at the Chandler cabin, and Stuart was presumed dead.
His spirit completely crushed by the loss of his brother, Adam married wife number seven, Arlene Vaughan, in an attempt to alienate Hayley and the rest of Pine Valley. This worked for a while, and Adam and Arlene together schemed to bring down Liza and Tad's project, the Col-Mar Tower. This worked out quite literally when COl-Mar collapsed on Liza and Adam. Adam, critically injured, was near death when Stuart returned and persuaded him to live. Renewed, he swore to be a "new man", ditch Arlene and pursue once again a life with Liza and Colby. This plan, starting off so well, has hit a snag - Arlene's pregnant!
Adam has two adult daughters, Hayley and Skye.