|Portrayed by||Kate Vernon|
|First appearance||Close to You|
|Home||Los Angeles, CA; formerly a suburb outside New York, NY|
|Residence||formerly a large estate outside New York City|
|Significant other||formerly Samuel Sullivan|
Vanessa Wheeler is Samuel's long-lost love. After being abducted by Samuel years after their relationship ended, Vanessa was taken to the Sullivan Bros. Carnival where she once again connected with him. However, the carnival life was not for Vanessa and she returned to her life in L.A, breaking Samuel's heart.
A much younger Samuel Sullivan practices using his ability outside of the carnival. Joseph Sullivan approaches him and Samuel states that people will come to see him but Joseph tells him he only wants Vanessa to visit. Samuel tells him to shut up but Joseph continues, telling his brother that they will never see her again.
Samuel uses ink to draw a picture of Vanessa, which gets later torn during a battle with Sylar. After the fight is done, Samuel uses tape to repair it and puts it gently in a drawer of a desk in his trailer, where lots of other pictures of Vanessa can be seen.
Looking for Samuel Sullivan, Noah and Lauren manage to locate Vanessa, who grew up with him. They also find recent footage from a security camera showing them together. Noah calls Vanessa, saying that he's trying to find Samuel, but Vanessa claims she doesn't know anyone by that name. When Noah points out that Samuel grew up on her family's estate, she hangs up.
Noah takes Matt to the auditorium in Los Angeles where Vanessa is rehearsing with her orchestra. Noah approaches her and she tries to deny knowledge of Samuel, but he points out that he has photos of them together. Matt reluctantly influences her mind, making her decide to trust them and talk. She explains how Samuel's family worked for hers, and how Samuel used to write her love letters when they were young, but one day she came home and discovered that the Sullivans had moved away. They were later reunited during her college years, when he turned up at her room and they began a relationship. After a couple of weeks, he asked her to marry him and come to the carnival, but she refused. Noah warns that Samuel has become more dangerous since then, and Vanessa admits that Samuel has been trying to contact her recently, talking about how much he misses her and how they'll be together again. Noah asks Vanessa to call him the next time Samuel shows up.
Noah and Matt place a tracking chip on Vanessa and watch from outside her home as she waits for Samuel to arrive. But Samuel slips in through the back and Eli's clones cause a distraction. When Noah and Matt catch up with Samuel, Vanessa is already gone.
At the carnival, Eli watches over Vanessa until Samuel brings her some tea. She asks to go home and feels she has been kidnapped. Samuel admits that he had envisioned that everything would be perfect when she arrived, but believes Noah got to her first. Vanessa has no idea what he's talking about and points out that Samuel is the one keeping her captive. When she tries to leave, Samuel grabs her. He claims he has something beautiful to show her, and promises to take her back to California after she sees it, if she still wants to go.
Vanessa wakes up at the carnival inside Samuel's trailer. She finds him outside and accuses him of kidnapping her but Samuel reminds her of a time when they were children when he broke her record player. Vanessa wishes to be taken home but Samuel says after breakfast. Vanessa tells him it always starts like that but he never actually takes her home. Samuel promises to fix things and Vanessa agrees to breakfast.
Vanessa goes to an ice cream parlor with Samuel where he orders a strawberry milkshake for her, remembering that it's her favorite. Vanessa tells Samuel it has been a long time but he continues to reminisce asking if she remembers when he crashed into her dorm room or when she described her dream home. Vanessa tells Samuel he is being romantic but she knows she will never have that dream cottage. Samuel asks her if she ever looks back on their time together with fondness and Vanessa admits that she does, but only a little. The two then share the milkshake.
Vanessa returns to the carnival with Samuel, who recites with great detail her dream home. Vanessa begins to recite it as Samuel shows her a drawing he made of the cottage, leaving Vanessa is impressed. She kisses Samuel and the two go into the now flower filled valley. Vanessa sees that Samuel has made her dream cottage and is invited to stay there with him forever. Vanessa admits to Samuel that she cannot live there and never believed Samuel could do it. As Samuel states he did it for her, Vanessa reminds him that it is his fantasy, not hers. She leans in to kiss him again but he pulls away. Vanessa then makes her way home, smelling a flower that she got from Samuel.
- Vanessa was mentioned, seen in pictures, and heard in audio form before her first actual scene.
- Vanessa plays the cello with the LA Chamber Orchestra, a real orchestra.
- According to the Federal Inter-Agency Database, Vanessa's Social Security number is 998-68-3066. Her primary address is 6209 Moulton Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90031, and she has lived there since 2003. Vanessa's phone number is 323-555-0128, and her email address is Vwheeler@finderspyder.com. Vanessa grew up at 27438 Lakeshore Drive in Canandaigua Lake, NY (from 1973 to 1989). From 1989 to 1995, she attended Yale University in New Haven, CT. From 1996 to 2003, Vanessa lived at 2693 Franklin Ave. #4, in Los Angeles. (Close to You)
- For other uses of Vanessa, see Vanessa (disambig).