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Comment > Golden Couples: Libby and Steph by Callum

Karl & Susan, Madge & Harold, Scott & Charlene, these are just a few of Neighbours most iconic pairings, however unlike the subjects of our previous Golden Couples articles, these two aren’t a couple, at least in the romantic sense. This duo are complete opposites who have graced our screens & Ramsay Street for over a decade each, ironically brought together because of their love for the same person and their grief at having them taken away and their struggle to find love without drawing comparisons to that they lost. However, there’s not a jelly belly in sight as we celebrate ten years of Libby & Steph, who have proved that good neighbours, really can become good friends...

When Libby Kennedy arrived in Ramsay Street back in 1994, she quickly made friends with Brett Stark & after a little crush, Luke Handley. Ever the girly girl, studious & outspoken, Libby had never really had a close female friend, other than her mother, Susan and often found herself becoming rivals with the fellow members of her gender instead. So when tomboy, biker chick Stephanie Scully moved into the street in 1999 and set her eyes on Libby’s boyfriend, Drew, it looked like she was about to make another enemy.

As Steph settled into her new life in Ramsay Street, she & Libby quickly became good friends, despite their obvious differences. Off-screen, a similar friendship was beginning to blossom. Carla Bonner, who had taken over the role of Steph from Emma Roche after three weeks of filming, faced having to learn & film 18 scenes on her first day, so when one of the producers told her that if she had any questions, Kym Valentine lived up the road from her, Carla soon found herself giving Kym a call. The rest as they say is history.

On Ramsay Street, however, trouble was beginning to brew for Steph as Libby’s nemesis, Geri Hallett, quickly noticed her attraction towards Drew & began spreading rumours that she was having an affair with him. However, secure in her relationship, Libby chose not to take heed and Steph, being a true friend chose not to act on her feelings.

With Libby’s wedding to Drew approaching, Steph took her on a camping trip & was honoured when Libby asked her to be her bridesmaid. However, as they made their return to Erinsborough on Steph’s motorbike, tragedy struck when Brendan Bell, the abusive, estranged husband of their neighbour, Tess, accidentally ploughed his car into them in a fit of rage having found out that his wife was out with colleague & housemate, Daniel Fitzgerald. Whilst Steph escaped with only torn ligaments, Libby was left fighting for her life, leaving Steph blaming herself, but was relieved when Libby recovered. The relief was to prove short-lived, however, as Libby was told that as a result of the accident it was unlikely that she would ever carry a baby to term and even if she did, would put both the baby & herself at significant risk.

As the pair tried to recover from the events of the accident, they both found themselves making life changing decisions. Steph became extremely depressed, and began having nightmares about the crash, throwing out her leathers and announcing that her biking days were over. Meanwhile, Libby broke up with Drew, believing that he wouldn't want to marry her now that she couldn't conceive, causing our golden couple to have their first major fight. As Steph told Libby she was being stupid and ruining Drew’s life, Libby insisted that it was none of Steph's business, prompting Steph to take Drew's side over that of her best friend.

In the months that followed, Steph and Drew became much closer, with her falling deeper in love with him, but knowing that Drew only had eyes for Libby, Steph started trying to avoid him. However, when she heard that Drew was thinking about leaving Erinsborough, Steph resolved to tell him how she felt. Despite her friend, Toadie's attempts at talking her out if it, he too having realised what was going on, Steph went to see Drew at the garage, but was interrupted and opted out of confessing all. However, when Drew mentioned to Toadie that Steph had been to see him at the garage, Toadie mistakenly thought that Drew now knew about Steph's feelings for him, and stunned him when he asked how he felt about Steph being in love with him. Confronting Steph, Drew told her that he was flattered, but was still madly in love with Libby, prompting Steph to put her own feelings aside and storm over to the Kennedy house to tell Libby that she was being foolish to let Drew go back to Oakey when she was still in love with him, finally leading the couple to renew their engagement.

Unable to deal with being bridesmaid at the wedding, Steph told Libby that she wouldn't be around for the ceremony because she was planning to tour Australia on her bike. But when Drew pleaded with Steph to reconsider her decision for Libby's sake, she reluctantly agreed. Eventually though, things came to a head when Drew told Libby about Steph's feelings for him. Despite Steph assuring Libby that she would never do anything to jeopardise her relationship with Drew, the atmosphere between the two friends became so awkward, they both agreed it would be best if Steph wasn't bridesmaid after all. However, proving that it takes more than a man to come between Kennedy & Scully, they made up just in time for Steph to be bridesmaid at the wedding.

The best friends soon found themselves as housemates when following the revelation that Steph’s sister, Felicity had been having an affair with her fiancé, Marc Lambert, Libby & Drew offered her a refuge. Steph was soon in for another shock when criminal, Mitch Foster, returned to Erinsborough, begging her for help. Much to Libby & Drew’s horror, she decided to let him stay with them and Libby & Drew’s new born son, Ben, at Number 22. Reading about an armed robbery in the paper & suspecting Mitch, Libby decided to report him to the police. As Mitch held up MOCO, Steph’s place of work, telling her to give him the money from the till, kissing her as fled, Steph found herself spending a night in a cell. After being released, Steph confronted Libby over the police's involvement, leaving the friends arguing, with Libby accusing Steph of being an idiot for constantly falling for no-good guys, causing Steph to move back to her family home at Number 26.

Not long after, the friends were overcome with grief following the shock death of Drew, having fallen from a horse, however whilst Libby could grieve in public, Steph was forced to keep the strength of her feelings inside. Eventually, in an emotional outburst, Steph told Libby about her love for Drew. Not before realising the true extent of these, Libby forgave her, explaining that she was a true friend as she hadn't acted upon them.

Steph soon found herself falling in love again, this time with neighbour, Max Hoyland. As Libby ribbed her best friend about her new man, Steph agreed to go on a date with Max, which ended up being really awkward. Deciding to leave things as they were, she was soon devastated when, upon realising her true feelings she discovered to find him with her friend, Joanne Blair, little knowing that he was about to tell Jo that he wasn’t interested.

Deciding to move on, Libby took her best friend down to the pub & Steph decided to ask out the first guy she saw. Unfortunately, it was Libby’s cousin, Darcy Tyler, so they settled on the first stranger, who happened to be the new barman, Alex Argenzio. Soon, Steph was saying goodbye to Libby & her family as she headed off to travel around Australia with Alex, however Libby planted seeds of doubt in her friend’s head when she asked if she’d really rather be with someone closer to home. Sadly despite asking Max is he knew of a reason she should stay, Steph was disappointed again as he stood back & let her go.

A few days later, Steph was canoeing with Alex when the canoe capsized. Becoming trapped under the water, she managed to free herself, but found herself calling for Max as she surfaced. Learning that Libby had taken up a teaching post nearby, she left Alex & called in on her friend at her new cottage. Libby was confused by Steph's sudden arrival, without Alex, and asked her if she'd actually managed to stop thinking about a certain man for a second. Realising what she had to do, Steph headed back to Erinsborough to tell Max how she felt & soon after moved into Number 32 with the Hoylands.

Not long afterwards, Steph found a lump under her arm. Going to see her GP, Karl & having a scan at the hospital, she was given the news that she would need to have a biopsy, to investigate some abnormal cells. In the midst of all this, Max’s sister Izzy had arrived in Erinsborough and moved into the Hoyland house. She immediately made Steph feel awkward in the house, so when Steph was given the news that she had breast cancer, the strain became unbearable. With Max & the kids already having lost a wife & a mother and her own mother suffering from post-natal depression, Steph turned to Libby for support.

Finishing with Max & quitting her job at the garage, she decided to move in with Libby, whose support she was finding invaluable. Eventually, she told her brother, Jack too, but despite encouragement from Libby, refused to tell Max and the rest of her family. However, as Libby was offered a job teaching in Adelaide, she decided to take it, but felt awful for abandoning her friend when she needed her most, but Steph understood that Libby needed a fresh start & reminded her that she had Jack to help. Eventually though, Max found out after seeing Steph at the hospital whilst he was there with Boyd and not long after she moved back into Number 32.

In the months that followed, Libby was disgusted to hear that her father had, in her eyes, abandoned her mother & moved in with Max’s sister, Izzy. When her job in Adelaide came up for renewal, she decided to turn down the offer of a two-year contract & return to Erinsborough to support her mother. Steph was thrilled to see Libby back, despite the circumstances and the pair soon set to bitching about Izzy, who Steph didn’t get on with either, much to Max’s annoyance.

As Steph’s wedding to Max approached, she was thrilled to realise that her period was late. Worried that she might be getting excited about nothing, she told only Max about her suspicions, but before long found herself confiding in her best friend. Sadly however, she soon discovered that she wasn’t pregnant.

Meanwhile, Libby had a surprise of her own as one day whilst waiting for an electrician to arrive at the Kennedy house; she convinced Steph to answer the door as Mr Macauley was a bit of a creep and snuck out of the back door to feed Casserole, her pet sheep. As Steph appeared, she explained that the electrician seemed really nice and wanted to speak with Libby. Reluctantly heading inside, she was shocked to find her ex-boyfriend, Darren Stark on her doorstep.

Things with Darren progressed rapidly and soon he & Libby were attending Steph & Max’s wedding together, however as Darren was accused of stealing from the building site of Steph’s brother, Jack, Darren was devastated when even Libby began to doubt his innocence & upon being cleared, left town, but not before telling Lou that he had planned to propose. Telling Libby, Lou urged her to go after Darren, but she was too late, catching up with him just as he signed the papers finalising the sale of his business, but despite her pleas, she was devastated when he told her he couldn’t stay with her because she didn’t trust him completely.

Soon after though, after going on a date with Brazilian soap opera star, Alessandro Cortes & spending the night with him, she revealed to housemate, Sindi Watts that she regretted it as she was still desperately in love with Darren and couldn’t contemplate getting involved with anyone else. No sooner had she realised her feelings than a bouquet of flowers were delivered to the Kennedy house from Darren with a card for Libby telling her he missed her. After some prompting, Libby decided to give Darren a call and he admitted that he still loved her and wanted her and Ben to join him in Shepparton. Libby struggled to make her mind up, but after a heart to heart with Susan, Libby decided to make the move. Despite being happy for her best friend, Steph was devastated at the thought of losing her mate, but wished her luck.

Three years later though, Steph was thrilled to hear from Toadie that Libby was back in town and as Libby paid her a visit at Charlie’s it was clear that their friendship was still as strong as ever. Off-screen, in an interview at a party being held to celebrate Neighbours’ back to basics relaunch, Carla Bonner was evidently elated at the return of Kym Valentine, something that came across on screen in their first scenes together.

Indeed, it was Steph who first realised that something was wrong with Libby’s relationship, noticing her evasiveness on the subject of Darren and she was shocked to learn that Darren had once again cheated on her. As Darren arrived in town & explained that he'd felt like he was always competing with the memory of Drew & hearing Libby talk about Drew, even mentioning that she couldn't ever remember having an argument with him, Steph realised that perhaps he had a point & tried to convince Libby that she needed to move on. At first, Libby was angry with her friend's interference, but soon realised that perhaps she was right, and her obsession with Drew had been part of the reason why Darren had looked elsewhere, deciding to give things another go.

However after discovering that Darren had cheated again, this time with Steph’s one-time daughter-in-law Janae Timmins, Libby decided to call it a day with Darren & move back to Erinsborough. With a lot of her belongings still in Shepparton, Libby asked Steph to accompany her there for the weekend to pack up and tie up one final loose end. As Lynda, the woman Darren had an affair with turned up on the doorstep, a frosty exchange occurred but Lynda helped Libby achieve some final closure on things by telling her that Darren had always loved her, but just always felt he was never going to match up for Drew. Having packed up, Steph convinced Libby to go with her down to the local pub, where they got the pulses of the mainly male punters racing by dancing on the bar ala Coyote Ugly.

Following Steph’s break-up with Toadie & a short spell in a mine shaft, which left her with an injured arm, Steph asked Libby to move into Number 32. Soon the girls were having late-night gossips on the sofa, pigging out on chocolate or having food fights with ice-cream each time a relationship disaster headed their way & perving on their new housemate, Ty Harper as he mowed the lawn with top off. Whoever had the idea for Steph & Libby (or Scully & Kennedy as they call each other) to share a house deserves a Logie, at least in my opinion, but judging by the reaction of fans at the time, I’m not alone in thinking that.

Things aren’t always pjs & pillow fights though, when Libby & Steph have an argument the aftershock can be felt all the way in West Waratah and none more so than when Steph embarked on a relationship with married man, Greg Michaels. With her friend’s reputation on the line, son Charlie injured & perhaps with the best of intentions, Libby decided to warn Greg off by highlighting Steph’s failures, giving up two careers & choosing idiot after idiot, little knowing that Steph was right behind her. Soon Libby found herself out on her ear as Steph threw her out; however it did lead her to move in with fiancé, Dan Fitzgerald and didn’t stop Libby from defending Steph as she was attacked by Greg’s wife, Veronica Olenski shortly afterwards.

Weeks later though, following Greg’s departure to work in Darwin for three months, Steph & Libby made amends as Steph discovered that the baby that Dan’s ex-wife, Sam was carrying wasn’t his and knowing the trouble it had caused between the couple, given Libby’s inability to carry a child, spilled the beans to her best friend and soon after they were arranging to meet up for coffee, however the subject of a baby soon reared it’s head again as Libby announced to Steph & Susan that she wanted to give Dan a child.

Not long after, Libby was thrilled to discover she was pregnant, but just as she & Dan decided to name the baby Grace, after Susan’s mother, she miscarried & due to complications, Dan had to make the difficult decision to consent to an unconscious Libby having a hysterectomy. Upon receiving the news, Libby struggled to face Dan, feeling that she failed as a wife by not being able to give him a child and annoyed that he took away their last chance of having a baby and again, it was her best friend, Steph that she turned to for hugs & support.

In perhaps the greatest show of friendship that Ramsay Street has seen since Harold Bishop donated a kidney to Lou Carpenter, having seen Libby’s pain upon her return from visiting brother, Billy & his partner, Anne who had just become the proud parents of twins, Steph offered to be a surrogate mother for Libby & Dan. Libby was thrilled & after much convincing Dan agreed. Unfortunately Libby & Dan’s happiness was to be short-lived as her father, Karl, forced Steph to reveal that a pregnancy may increase the chances of her cancer returning. This time it was Libby’s turn to make the grand gesture, telling Steph by refusing her offer & telling Steph that she had chosen her over the chance of having a baby. Much crying & hugging ensued.

Ten years on, Steph & Libby or Stibby as they have been dubbed, an honour usually reserved for the couples of Ramsay Street are stronger than ever and whenever they have a chance for a really emotional or comedic scene, you have to wonder just how much acting is actually going on. Indeed, just as Steph rushes to the hospital whenever Libby has a medical drama, Carla rushed to the hospital when Kym went into labour with her daughter, Millana and even ‘Bon Bon’ & ‘Kymmie’ as they affectionately call each other admit that sometimes they have difficulty in drawing a line between where Libby & Steph and Kym & Carla begin in their own friendship. So where next for Libby & Steph? Carla Bonner has said that she can imagine the pair of them staying on the show until they’re “funny old women, like the female versions of Harold & Lou” – we can only hope, but if this article is anything to go by, they’re already most of the way there.