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The role was first portrayed by twin infants Dana and Lauren Schankman in 1979, followed by Claire and Elizabeth Schoene until 1982. In 1993, the character returned as a teenager portrayed by Conci Nelson, daughter of former head writer Kay Alden. Nelson departed after a year in 1994.
In 2007, it was announced that Bloom, a newcomer to daytime television, would join the cast as an adult version of the character. She made her first appearance on July 13. In 2009, speculation arose that Bloom was preparing to vacate the role, but all rumors were denied. In March 2010, Bloom announced her exit from the soap opera to pursue other career opportunities, as confirmed in a statement from her publicist. Riegel was then announced to be replacing Bloom in the role, after declining to return to her iconic role on All My Children. Bloom made her final appearance on April 6, 2010, with Riegel taking over on April 20.
Heather returned to Genoa City in July 2007 to assist district attorney William Bardwell (Ted Shackelford) after he suffered a stroke. However, William dies shortly after and she is assigned all his cases, including the case against Jana Hawkes (Emily O'Brien), Phyllis Newman (Michelle Stafford), and one against opposing counsel Michael Baldwin's (Christian LeBlanc) brother Kevin Fisher (Greg Rikaart) and his friends, Daniel Romalotti (Michael Graziadei) and Amber Moore (Adrienne Frantz). Hoping to establish a connection with his daughter, Paul offers to assist her and decides to tell Heather the truth after much support from Maggie Sullivan, even though April doesn't want him to. Just before Paul tells her the truth, Heather learns of his involvement in the case against Sheila Carter (Kimberlin Brown), but she decides to forgive him and they slowly start to establish a connection as father and daughter. Heather is later surprised to learn that her old college professor, Adrian Korbel (Eyal Podell), is in town. She is then assigned to prosecute tycoon Victor Newman (Eric Braeden) for the murder of Ji Min Kim, who constantly berates her for going up against him, even after the case is dropped and subsequently loses her job by Victor's orders. Heather contemplates leaving town, but is convinced by her father to remain in Genoa City. She gets a job at Jabot Cosmetics and starts a relationship with Victor's son, Adam Newman (Chris Engen).
In September 2011, after returning onscreen from a maternity leave, it was announced that Riegel would be leaving the role and exited on November 4. Seven months later, Landon became the second recast for the role and made her debut on June 7, 2012. However, after less than five months with The Young and the Restless, it was announced that Landon was to exit reportedly due to budgetary cuts. Onscreen, the actress departed without a proper exit on November 2, 2012.
Seven months later in June 2012, Heather returns to town at the request of Michael, who offers her the position as assistant district attorney. Originally skeptical about the job, she later accepts it and moves back to Genoa City. In her new position, Heather takes on the case of the disappearance of Daisy Carter (Yvonne Zima) and suspects her husband, Daniel Romalotti, as the culprit, but later exonerates him. She still holds a grudge against Ricky, though when her father Paul becomes increasingly concerned that Ricky is dangerous, she thinks nothing of it. Heather becomes frustrated with her father when he shoots and subsequently kills Ricky, who was threatening to hurt Eden Baldwin (Jessica Heap). After an ongoing flirtation with Daniel, the pair begin an affair, despite his marriage to the missing Daisy. Heather later becomes frustrated when Ronan takes the lead in the case against her father. She spends the majority of her time looking for a way to exonerate Paul, while still maintaining her relationship with Daniel. When Daisy is found at a psychiatric hospital, Heather bows out of any romance with Daniel, but when Daisy disappears yet again, they reunite. In November 2012, Heather and Paul's ex-wife, Christine Blair (Lauralee Bell), travel to Los Angeles to find evidence to prove Paul's innocence. Heather is later have said to met up with Daniel in Chicago, and when he briefly returns, he announces that he is moving to Savannah, Georgia and Heather is moving with him. Both Heather and Daniel also lived in Europe, before returning to Savannah.