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David is the son of Jake Hanson and Colleen Patterson. He was born after his parents had separated, living with his mother before she remarried. Four and half years later, Jake learns of David's existence when Colleen shows up to ask him to give up his paternal rights. Jake begrudgingly does so because he believes Colleen's husband will provide better for David than he would. In his first appearance, David was largely portrayed as a thoughtful and opinionated young man.
Four years later, Jake goes on a road trip after getting left at the altar by Alison Parker and reconnects with both Colleen and David. Jake and David bond and David reveals to him that he knows he's his father. After some more time together, Colleen encourages Jake to return to Alison and David says goodbye.
A few months later, Jake and Alison are married when Colleen shows up with David on Jake's doorstep. Once Alison sees the bond between Jake and David, she comes to grips with the fact that she can't have children and feels like she is breaking up a family. She fakes falling back into alcoholism and pushes Jake towards Colleen. At the end of the fifth season, Jake departed Melrose Place to live with Colleen and David in Ojai.