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Character Profiles > Max Hoyland Stephen Lovatt

Maxwell 'Max' R. Hoyland 2002-2007
Lived: 32 Ramsay Street
Born: 1965
Parents: Robert [Bobby] and Rosie Hoyland
Siblings: Isabelle
Marital Status: Claire (deceased), Stephanie Scully (2004-2007; divorced)
Children: Boyd, Summer and Charlie
Family Tree: Hoyland
Occupation: Oil Rigger, Lou's Place Co-owner, Scarlet Bar Co-owner

Max was sent to boarding school at an early age, when his mother, Rosie, decided to go off on a quest to "find herself". This resulted in Max feeling abandoned and resentful towards her. Max married Claire and together they had two children, Boyd and Summer. When the children were still only young, Claire died suddenly from a heart condition that had gone undiagnosed. This affected Max deeply, leading him to make the decision to go away and work on the oil rigs of East Timor. He left Boyd and Summer in the capable hands of Rosie. Max paid regular visits to Rosie and the kids, but never stayed long. However, upon hearing about that Summer had been diagnosed with long QT syndrome, he returned with the intention of staying a bit longer than usual. Rosie noticed how delighted the kids were to have Max around, convincing him to rent Number 32 for the three of them.

Having jacked in his job on the rigs, Max quickly spotted a good business opportunity in Erinsborough. When he learnt that Lou had put his pub on the market, Max was quick to make an offer. After a few weeks of persuasion, Lou agreed to sell him half the business. However, Max made it clear from the start that he wouldn't be a sleeping partner. He had big ideas for improving things and attracting a younger crowd; installing air hockey to replace the pool table, buying new tables and chairs and bringing in trendy youth-marketed products like alcoholic Jelly Drops. Rosie and Harold were not keen on these being sold in the pub, but Lou could see that they were helping to improve business and Max was adamant that they continue to sell them. However, an incident where Summer almost ate some of the alcoholic jelly convinced Max that he was in the wrong.

Max's relationship with Rosie was strained upon his return to Erinsborough. While Rosie disapproved of Max abandoning his kids, he felt it was hypocritical of her to say anything. They were on civil terms with each other, but Max was not comfortable around his mother, finding it difficult to express his feelings. It wasn't until Rosie was threatened with a transfer to Byron Bay that they managed to come close to reconciling. When Harold and Summer started a petition to keep Rosie as vicar, Max didn't sign it. Rosie noticed this and was hurt, thinking Max wanted her out of the way. Max also reacted coolly when he heard that his mother was to stay, but managed to smooth things over with a small party back at Number 32 with Boyd and Summer. While Max and Rosie are still not close, things are improving...

Spending time with his children also brought back memories for Max. While moving into Number 32, he found a photograph of him with Boyd, taken by Claire while she was pregnant with Summer. While he could barely look at it, Summer wanted to hang it on the wall, making Max realise that his kids were coping well with the loss of their mother and that he had to be strong for them. Max was determined to be a good father and make up for the time that he had missed and so he encouraged his children to get involved with extra-curricular activities, signing Boyd up for the cricket team and arranging piano lessons for Summer. Neither child was very enthusiastic. Max made a great deal of effort to help Boyd improve his cricket skills, not noticing that Summer was beginning to feel neglected. Summer began to develop a friendship with neighbour Steph Scully, something Max disapproved of. He was particularly angry when Steph took Summer for a ride on her motorbike without any consultation and got angry with Steph when she tried to give him parenting tips.

After he had made up with Summer, Max tried to understand how she was feeling. He allowed her to spend time with Steph and even began looking to Steph for advice, something Libby took as meaning there were romantic feelings between the two of them. While Max denied this, he seemed to enjoy having Steph around, constantly asking her over to watch the cricket and motor racing. When Steph agreed to help Summer with a mother-daughter fashion show, Max was touched and bought her some perfume. After hearing Boyd react angrily to Summer's match-making attempts, he promised Boyd that he wasn't looking for a replacement for their mum. However, Max couldn't deny the growing attraction between himself and Steph, even Rosie had begun to notice it. So, during Karl and Susan's wedding at Lassiter's, Max decided to keep the gossips quiet by asking Steph out on a date.

At first, Steph thought he'd been joking, but after meeting in the street early one morning, she took the plunge and asked him out that night. However, things didn't exactly work out for their first date at Lassiter's restaurant. When Max found out that Boyd's friend Daniel was being abused by his father, he went round to the Clohesy house and helped Daniel collect his stuff. This made him late for the date, but even then things went badly. She spoke about her ex, Marc, who used to manage the restaurant, he mentioned that the last time he wore that suit was to his wife's funeral. They agreed to just stay friends.

Steph's friend, Joanne Blair, began taking an interest in Max almost as soon as she met him and tried many ways to get closer to him. She asked for his help in finding cricket gear for her son, Sean, and Max also helped Sean score a place on the cricket team. Steph's jealousy was obvious, but Max didn't really want anything but friendship from Jo and he told her this when she invited herself over for a barbeque. Max had also recently caught Boyd and his friend, Daniel, looking over Harold's fence into the Scully bathroom. When Max looked over, he saw Steph in the shower and was caught by Joe. Max was forced to apologise to Steph and this led to him telling Jo that he wasn't interested in her.

He headed off to the pub, intent on telling Steph his true feelings when he realised that Steph had already moved on - to Alex, the new barman. Max's jealousy was obvious as they went off on a date at the aquarium and he realised he'd missed the boat yet again.

Max found it increasingly difficult to cope with seeing Steph dating someone he worked with and even walked in on them kissing in the pub office at one stage. He found things difficult as Alex asked him for advice on the relationship, but managed to retain his cool most of the time. Max's attentions were soon occupied elsewhere when he found out that Boyd and Summer had been behind a recent spate of prank phone-calls. He punished them by making them apologise to everyone they called, on top of doing household chores for all the victims.

When Max heard that Alex was leaving soon to travel around Australia, he breathed a huge sigh of relief, believing that this would certainly be the end of his relationship with Steph. However, Max was amazed when Alex asked Steph to join him. As Max tried to put Steph off, reminding her of her work and family commitments, he was upset when Steph decided to go. However, he couldn't help but be slightly pleased when he heard that Steph and Alex had split up and were only going on the trip as friends. Max decided that this could be his only chance to tell Steph of his feelings, but when the moment came, and she asked him for a reason to stay, he couldn't go through with it. Max could only watch helplessly as the woman he loved rode out of Ramsay Street on her motorbike - possibly forever.

He tried to move on from Steph, and helped Boyd arrange an after-formal party, but his heart wasn't really in anything and so he was amazed and relieved when Steph returned to Ramsay Street and declared her love for him. While Max was thrilled, Boyd was horrified by his father's new romance and was determined to put an end to it however he could. First of all he scuppered their plans for a day at the beach by faking a migraine, then he told Steph he didn't want her spending the night with his father on a trip to the local wineries. Max was shocked when Steph explained this to him, but when he lost his car keys, they were forced to spend the night away anyway, leaving Boyd less than pleased. However, his mood changed after a roasting from Summer and the Hoylands and Steph set off for their trip to the beach. Max was delighted as Steph and Boyd finally seemed to be getting along. He later told Steph that he loved her, and she told him the same, both unaware that an unhappy Boyd was listening in.

When Rosie contacted Max to say that one of the kids could join her for a holiday in Fiji, he was forced to make a tough choice. In the end, he decided that Summer should go, as he didn't want Boyd to miss too much school. This decision proved very unpopular and Max was shocked when Steph revealed that Boyd had decided he wanted to go to boarding school.

Max was convinced that this rebellious phase would pass, however, and tried not to be too hard on Boyd. However, things got worse, culminating in Boyd crashing Toadie’s stolen car. This led to Max finally getting through to his son and speaking about the pain they both felt when Claire died. Meanwhile, Summer returned from Fiji with a new misson in life – to become a priest and help people. However, Max was more preoccupied with trying to get Steph to move into number 32. After several weeks of skirting around the issue, things finally came to a head when Steph was involved in an accident on her bike, witnessed by Max, Boyd and Summer. Afterwards, Max revealed that he couldn’t cope with losing her and that he wanted her to move in and give up the bike. She eventually agreed and moved across the street. Max was thrilled, but slightly worried when he tasted her first family meal.

The domestic bliss continued when Max’s sister, Isabelle, suddenly arrived in town, wanting to spend more time with her family. Despite the strained atmosphere between Steph and Izzy, things seemed to be fine – until Steph suddenly announced that she’d be moving out. Max was horrified, especially as Steph could give him no real reason for her decision. He was adamant that he wouldn’t fall apart afterwards, remaining hopeful that Steph would realise her mistake and return to number 32. But when she returned to collect the last of her things, Max began to fall apart, practically forgetting about Boyd and Summer, and attacking a man in the pub. Fortunately, after his kids shouted at him, he came to realise that they were the most important thing in his life and he pulled himself together. Shortly afterwards, in a fit of rage, Boyd smashed the lights on Steph’s bike, and some glass cut his eye. While at the hospital getting this seen to, Max spotted Steph with her parents on the way up to oncology. Leaving the kids in the car, he followed them up there and found Steph in the midst if her first course of chemotherapy. She opened up to him and he promised he’d be there for her. Although hesitant at first, Steph agreed to let him back into her life. But as time went on, Steph became embarrassed by her body and her hair falling out and tried to push Max away, and he realised that their next journey was going to be a difficult one…

Max realised that Steph needed some space, so he didn’t pressurise her into moving back to number 32. However, as time went on, Steph began spending more time at the Hoyland house, even staying over for the occasional night. Although there were other distractions in the house – namely Summer deciding to take up boxing – Max confided in Izzy that he had decided to propose to his girlfriend. Unfortunately, Summer overheard the conversation and immediately went and told Lyn, who in turn, told Joe. After Summer confessed to telling Lyn, Max quickly went to ask Joe’s permission, which he gladly received. Everything seemed perfect, but when Steph came home and started telling Max how she didn’t think marriage was always the best way to demonstrate your love, he realised that she knew everything. She confessed that she’d overheard her parents talking and explained that she wasn’t ready to put the burden of her bad health on the family. She told Max that she just wanted them to enjoy what they had in the present and he accepted her decision.

Max was elated when Steph found out that her cancer had gone into remission and then she decided to move back in to the Hoyland house. However, as Christmas arrived, a chance remark from Steph about kids sent everything slightly off course again. Max was forced to admit to Steph that he didn’t want any more kids, but she admitted that the cancer had made her decide that she wanted a family. They decided to put the issue on hold for a while and celebrate Christmas, with Steph preparing a seafood buffet for the Hoyland family, as well as Lyn and Valda.

With Christmas over, the issue of children reared its ugly head once again. When Lyn decided to poke her nose in and speak to her future son-in-law, Max made it clear that he wouldn’t listen to her, and that the problem was between him and Steph. However, Steph’s attempts to remind him of the joy he felt when bringing up Summer and Boyd took effect, and he agreed to start a family with Steph. Although Izzy tried to convince Summer that she’d be forgotten about with a new baby in the house, the rest of the family soon came around to the idea.

Unfortunately, trouble wasn’t far away, when Mal Kennedy returned to town and announced that he’d be selling number 32. Due to a few run-ins with Izzy, Mal made it clear that the Hoylands would have to bid at auction like everyone else. Max and Steph knew they’d be stretching themselves financially, but were determined to buy the place. Meanwhile, Max got a surprise when an old work-mate from the rigs, Gus Cleary, arrived in town. Max explained to Steph that he’d been forced to sack Gus after one of his mistakes caused a huge oil spill. He told Steph how Gus had always been unable to hold down a job and how guilty he’d felt when he was forced to sack his mate. However, it seemed that Gus had moved on from the incident and wanted to be friendly with the family. When the day of the auction arrived, Summer mentioned in passing, while Gus happened to be in the room, that her dad’s limit at the auction would be $350,000. As the bidding began, it seemed that Max was about to win the house for less than his top limit, until a mysterious phone bidder started to push him further and further over. Max’s determination to own number 32 led to him spending $30,000 more than he had planned to, while the intentions of the mystery bidder – Gus himself – started to become clear…

Gus’ machinations continued to cause problems in the Hoyland household. When Max caught Boyd and Sky together, just after they lost their virginity to each other, he reacted badly. Boyd chose Gus to confide in about his problems. Then, on the day that Max and Steph were due at the hospital for her check-up, Max and Gus were out at the pub, celebrating the latter’s birthday, when Gus slipped a tablet into Max’s drink. The tablet suddenly came into effect as they were driving to the hospital, as he passed out and almost crashed the car. Max and Steph were forced to put it down to the potency of Connor’s new beer at the pub. The near-miss, coupled with Steph being given the all clear, led to her suddenly proposing to Max. He was only too happy to accept and the couple had an engagement party at the pub to celebrate. When Summer then started talking about getting a puppy, Max told her that it would have to wait until after the wedding, once things had settled down. In the ensuing argument, Max fell off a ladder whilst changing a lightbulb, hurting his back in the process. When he later collapsed in agony at the pub, Karl told him he had slipped a disc, and would need complete bed rest for the next few weeks. Of course, Gus was only too happy to offer his services, filling in for Max in the house and generally helping with his recovery.

Steph then announced that she’d agreed to go on a tour of schools in the country to talk about her cancer experience. With Steph gone for three weeks, Max was left entirely in Gus' care, and soon after, he collapsed in the hallway. After some tests, it emerged that Max had ingested a huge amount of sedative. Gus was desperate to cover his tracks and planted some in the pub kitchen, telling Max an elaborate tale of how they must have belonged to one of the kitchen hands. Max accepted this story, but soon after, Karl discovered that Gus had a history of mental illness. Max asked Gus to leave, but was slightly concerned over the following weeks as the house mysteriously tidied itself. His fears were confirmed when a cable TV guy came to install the system in the Hoyland house. The man claimed to have spoken to a Max Hoyland, and Mx showed him a photo of Gus, asking if that was the person he spoke to. Max then had all the locks changed, and sent Summer off to stay with Rosie for a few weeks. However, Gus got his hands on the spare keys which Max had kept for Steph and got his own copy.

When Steph returned, everyone was confused when her bike was magically cleaned overnight. Max realised that this was Gus’ doing and called his cellphone to talk to him. However, when the phone began ringing on the driveway, Max confronted Gus, who had been hiding out there. Gus attempted to escape, and Max chased him to a building site. The confrontation resulted in both men falling from some rafters, with Gus disappearing again, while Max was taken to hospital, where he was given the all clear. Gus was eventually found when he tried to talk to Izzy in the Coffee Shop, and was taken to a mental home. Max decided not to press charges, and agreed to go and visit Gus, where he was alarmed when his old friend started asking to see Izzy urgently. Izzy assured Max that she didn’t know why Gus wanted to see her, fully aware that he knew about her pregnancy. She visited Gus and told him that the baby wasn’t his, before Max went back to the home to find out the truth. Fortunately for Izzy, Gus didn’t reveal anything about the baby, and Max said goodbye to him before he was transferred closer to his family in Perth.

Max was in for a shock when he found out that Izzy was expecting a child with Karl. However, he made sure to support his sister, but was surprised when Steph began to voice her doubts about whether Karl really was the father of the baby. After several weeks of disagreements about the situation, they decided to agree to disagree, and concentrate on their upcoming wedding. However, Lyn and Valda quickly managed to take over the planning, and Max had other things to be concerned with when Steph suspected that she may be pregnant. After a few days of worrying about the situation, he eventually went out and bought a home testing kit, but it was too late as Steph had her period and they realised that they weren’t about to become parents. Putting this behind them, they tried to get into the wedding spirit, but found they had little to do and Lyn and Valda organised a big lavish wedding and reception for them. As the eve of the wedding dawned, Max realised that he was only going along with things to make Lyn happy, and he woke Steph up at 4am, suggesting that they elope. The couple then took Summer and Boyd and went off to a small country town, where they convinced the local celebrant to marry them, with the butcher and baker from the town as witnesses. However, a quick phonecall from Lyn was all it took for them to be tracked down, and, just as the ceremony began, all of their family and friends arrived. After the simply wedding, everyone was surprised when Steph’s grandfather Charlie proposed to Valda and the two were also married, at the venue that had been booked for the Hoylands. After both wedding, the happy couples left for their honeymoons, Charlie and Valda in a limo, Steph and Max on a motorbike…

After a family honeymoon at a resort, Max and Steph returned home to the reality of married life. Max struggled to understand when Steph supported Jack as he began to grow more and more out-of-control on drugs. However, when he was involved in a car accident and required an emergency operation, Max stood by his new wife, and understood when she took Jack away for a few days in the country to clear his head. It was while Jack and Steph were being honest with each other, that she admitted that she really wanted a baby, but felt that Max wasn’t so keen. Jack confronted Max about this, telling him how much Steph wanted to have a baby, and as the natural methods weren’t working, she wanted them to see a specialist. Max reluctantly agreed, but was becoming annoyed with other people sticking their noses in. When the tests revealed that Max had a low sperm count, he was shocked and tried to ignore the problem. His frustrations increased when Lyn returned from a trip to Bendigo and moved into number 32 whilst the Scully house was fumigated for wasps. As Max’s feelings of inadequacy grew stronger and he brushed off all of Steph’s attempts to get around the problem, including IVF and sperm donation, she decided to leave town for a while. She told him that if he was honest, he didn’t really want to have a baby with her. When Lyn heard about this, she accused Max of being selfish, and he finally snapped, telling Lyn to take Jack and Oscar, and leave his house…

Max decided that he had to speak to Steph, and managed to get the address from Lyn. He headed up there for an honest chat, but by the end of it, it looked like the marriage was over. As Max left Steph and drove off, he suddenly changed his mind, and decided that he couldn’t live without her and agreed to try IVF. As the treatment got underway, Max found he had other things to worry about when Boyd became involved in some poster wars. Max only got to hear about it when things were already out of control, and soon after, a Molotov cocktail was thrown through the kitchen window of number 32. As Boyd tried to get his revenge on his enemy, Travis Dean, Max was frantic with worry. Fortunately, the police found Boyd in time, and he managed to get evidence on his video phone to prove Travis threw the bomb. With that drama over, it was time for the Hoylands to find out that results of Steph and Max’s first attempt at IVF. Unfortunately, Steph wasn’t pregnant, but their plans for a baby continued and as Christmas came, Steph thought that their second attempt at IVF had been successful.

With Christmas over, the Hoyland family suddenly found themselves deluged with problems, and Max was left wondering what they’d done to deserve all of it. As Izzy’s day dawned, Max was surprised to find out that Gus had returned to the area. He quickly vanished, as did Izzy, who had decided to jilt Karl at the altar. However, she returned, but their reception turned to chaos when a fire was deliberately lit at the pub. Max ended up being injured when he tried to retrieve Madge’s recipe book for Harold. Meanwhile, Steph found herself under suspicion when her grandfather, Charlie, died after a long illness and she was found holding a pillow by his body. To top it all off, a body was found in the burnt out pub – Gus – and Max, along with Boyd and Izzy were suspects when it was discovered that he’d been murdered. Just when it seemed that things couldn’t get any worse, Lou admitted that he’d under-insured the pub and Max began to wonder whether it was worth starting up another business with a man he barely trusted.

In the end, Max agreed to go into business with Izzy, leaving Lou free to open a general store with Harold. With Steph receiving a guilty verdict – and a suspended sentence – and the police finally giving up their harassment of the family over Gus, things started to return to normal. However, when Steph brought up the subject of Max’s temper, he was forced to look at his behaviour and whether he was providing a poor example for his kids. With Boyd having given up on school to work in a gym and Summer admitting she was afraid of her dad sometimes, he decided to go to life coach Lyn for help. After several group counselling sessions, Max felt like a different person and so was happy to accept an offer of six weeks’ work on the rigs, realising how vital the money would be to the family.

Some weeks later, word finally got through to Max that Boyd had been taken ill and he needed to come home. Upon his return, Max found out that Boyd had been ill for weeks and, although he’d originally been diagnosed with schizophrenia, it had later been discovered that he had a brain tumour. At first, Max was furious with Steph for not telling him sooner, but he soon realised what a difficult position she’d been in and concentrated on looking after Boyd, who had slipped into a coma following an operation. Just as it looked like all hope was gone, Max received a call from Izzy to say that Boyd had woken up. Max rushed to the hospital with the rest of the family, but was horrified to find his father, Bobby, was the person who had been there when Boyd woke up. Max made it clear that he didn’t want his dad around, but would put up with him for a couple of days as the finally celebrated Boyd’s recovery. However, when Bobby then offered to help out at the bar, Max confided in Steph that his dad would simply get everyone’s hopes up, then disappear, leaving him to pick up the pieces. It looked like Max could be right when Bobby left the bar one night and failed to set the alarm properly. As Max confronted his father about this, he finally lost his temper and told Bobby to get out of his house. However, the bond between father and son gradually returned as they were finally honest with each other and particularly when Bobby saved Boyd’s life, risking his own, during a horse-riding accident.

When Steph appealed her conviction for murdering Charlie, and was finally cleared of all charges, the couple started to think about adopting. First, however, Max had to deal with his father, whose true colours were beginning to show again. Max was shocked to realise that Bobby had given his mobile phone to Summer and told her to get rid of all of his women callers. As it became clear that Bobby was stringing most of Erinsborough along, he made plans to leave for an engineering job in Malawi, even taking money from Izzy before he went. Max managed to catch him at the bus stop before he left and warned him never to come back. Meanwhile, Max and Steph were delighted when they began the adoption process and were successful almost immediately, with a young girl named Kayla Thomas offering her unborn child. As it became clear to Max and Steph that Kayla wasn’t coping on her own, they broke the adoption rules and allowed her to stay with them. Kayla wasn’t so sure, but eventually agreed and started bonding with Boyd as she spent time at number 32.

When Kayla went into labour, Max reluctantly allowed Boyd to go with her as far as the hospital. However, once there, Kayla wanted him to stay and so he gave a false name and stayed by her side through the birth of baby Ashley. However, as Boyd grew closer to mother and child, he told Max and Steph that they were being cruel by taking Kayla’s baby away when the young mother didn’t really want to go through with it. Once Max and Steph were finally allowed to visit the hospital, they confronted Kayla who said that Boyd was wrong and she still wanted to give them her child.

Max and Steph were in for a huge shock when, only a few days later, they visited Kayla and Ashley and found Boyd already at the hospital. The young couple explained that they were going to raise Ashley together and the baby was no longer up for adoption. Although Max was astonished, he was torn between his loyalties to Steph and Boyd. As Max allowed Boyd, Kayla and Ashley to move into number 32 until they could afford something else, it put an enormous strain on his marriage and Steph almost left him. She soon came to terms with the situation, however, and things gradually settled down. In the midst of it all, Summer was offered a place at a music school in Wangaratta and she reluctantly left her family in their state of unrest. The following week, Peter Reece, from the adoption service, turned up demanding to know why the Hoylands had allowed Kayla to stay with them at various stages of the adoption process. Max and Steph were devastated as Peter told them that they’d been permanently removed from the adoption list, but were in for a shock when a guilty Kayla disappeared, leaving Ashley behind.

Although Max wanted to contact the police, Steph and Boyd convinced him to wait and allow them to try and find Kayla, as involving the police would inevitably leave Ashley in care. After visiting Kayla’s mother, they eventually found Kayla at the home of her boyfriend, and Ashley’s dad, Anthony Johnson. Kayla had led the Hoylands to believe that Anthony had thrown her out when he found out she was pregnant, so they were surprised when she admitted that Anthony actually knew nothing about the child. When she finally owned up, Anthony was delighted with the news, and the Hoyland left the happy family behind. Max and Steph slowly came to terms with the fact that they would never have a child of their own, but as Max’s 40th birthday approached, Steph’s secretive behaviour caused concern. She admitted to Max that she’d been feeling unwell and was scared that her cancer had returned. As his birthday arrived, Max joined Steph at the hospital for the test results, and Karl announced that while the tests for cancer were clear, it looked like Steph might be pregnant. Following an ultrasound, the news was confirmed and the happy couple apprehensively prepared for parenthood once more.

As Steph was determined to stay active throughout her pregnancy, she found work fixing up bikes at home and, with Izzy working for Paul at Lassiter’s, Max found himself running the bar almost single-handedly. When he mentioned to Izzy that they’d like to buy her out, she reacted by selling her half of the bar to a complete stranger, then losing his deposit cheque. Max was horrified by his sister’s actions, but Paul smoothed things over and explained to Max that Izzy was recovering from an addiction to prescription drugs. However, Max had already had enough and could barely even speak to his sister any more. Things quickly changed when Izzy was involved in a plane crash during a joy flight as part of the hotel’s 20th anniversary. Upon returning to Erinsborough, Izzy was a changed woman and told Max that she’d be giving up her job with Paul to help out at the bar on a permanent basis. Her promise didn’t last long though, and Max was soon as busy as before.

Meanwhile, Steph began to suffer from a series of dreams about her former love, Drew Kirk, who had died in 2002. Reluctantly, she told Max about the increasingly strange dreams, in which Drew tried to take her baby, and he tried to calm her fears that they were a warning about the baby’s health. After a few weeks, the dreams ended with Drew trying to take Steph away from her marriage to Max, and, when Boyd and Max mentioned her being strong, and beating cancer, she had a sudden realisation. After checking, she broke the news to Max that she’d found another lump – her cancer was back. When tests confirmed their worst fears, Max and Steph were told that the cancer treatment would probably not harm the baby, so far into the pregnancy. Steph, however, was determined not to even put Charlie, as the baby had been named by them, in any risk and refused treatment until after the birth. Max and Lyn desperately tried to make her see sense, but she wouldn’t listen. Fearful of burying another wife, Max turned to lawyer Toadie for advice, and brought up the subject of trying to claim that Steph was mentally incompetent. Toadie refused to have any part in it, but Max still managed to set the wheels in motion. However, when he brought Dr Helen McNamara to the house to assess Steph, she was furious and threw him out, realising that she could no longer trust him.

After a few nights sleeping in the office at the Scarlet Bar, Max began to realise what a mistake he’d made. However, a chat with neighbour, and policeman, Stuart Parker soon had him changing his mind. After seeing his wife, Sindi, sent to a psychiatric hospital, Stuart was only too keep to help Max and convinced him that it was better to be safe and catch the problem before it developed any further. Max was unsure, and when Steph disappeared one day with her little brother, Oscar, she began to realise what she’d been putting everyone through and allowed Max to return home. However, as she spoke to him about feeling unable to make any decisions for herself, Max spoke to Stu and arranged for Steph to be taken to the hospital, against her will, for a 72-hour assessment. However, at the last minute, he had a change of heart, but it was too late, as Stuart and two other officers arrived at number 32 and took Steph away.

Although Max quickly realised what a massive mistake he’d made, it was too late, as Steph told him that she could no longer trust him and their marriage was over. Once she’d been released from the psychiatric ward, she went away with Lyn to spend some time at a health retreat in Queensland. Max, meanwhile, struggled to cope on his own, taking his anger out on those around him, particularly Boyd. Things came to a head when Steph returned, but refused to let Max into the house. Boyd tried to warn his father to give her some space, but Max barged in. Steph had little sympathy at first, and they agreed that he should move out, but an infuriated Boyd finally confronted them, accusing them both of acting like stubborn idiots for giving up on such a great marriage so easily. Finally, Max and Steph were reunited, but it wasn’t plain sailing, as Steph confided in Susan and Karl that her cancer symptoms were returning and she was faking good health to put Max and Lyn off the scent. When Max suggested that he and Steph go on holiday for a few weeks before the arrival of their baby, Steph knew she wouldn’t be up to it, and managed to talk him into spending a few nights at Lassiter’s instead, so she could be close to the hospital. Max agreed but as they spent the evening enjoying room service, he realised that Steph was running a temperature, and he confronted Karl, asking if Steph was really as well as she was making out. Karl refused to break his Hippocratic oath, but when Max returned to the room, Steph was all dressed up and Max’s fears were soon forgotten. The next morning, however, he had something new to worry about when Rosie called from Fiji with news that Summer was suffering from Dengue fever. Steph convinced Max that she could cope on her own for a couple of weeks, and Max set off to visit his daughter.

In Max’s absence, Steph’s condition worsened drastically, and she was hospitalised, with Karl warning her that her cancer was spreading and she needed to start treatment soon. With Summer’s condition returning to normal, she and Max were finally given permission to fly back to Australia and were put on standby for any available flight. Steph, meanwhile, had realised that she wanted to be around to see Charlie grow up, after having a dream in which he was a teenager and she was no longer there for him. She phoned Max and preparations were made for her to have a C-section. However, as Max arrived back in the country and Boyd collected him and Summer from the airport, Steph suddenly went into labour. The doctors were concerned that a natural birth would be too much for her to cope with but, when Max returned, she suddenly found the strength to go through with it. Max was ecstatic to be back in time to witness the birth of baby Charlie and was soon proudly showing him off around Erinsborough. But it was also a bittersweet time, as Steph was rushed into surgery to remove the cancer and everyone anxiously awaited to see what sort of recovery she would make.

In the weeks that followed, Lyn attempted to make herself useful by moving in with Max and Steph, but Steph quickly made it clear that both her husband and mother were smothering her with attention. Although Lyn moved out, she still tried to get involved and was upset to learn that baby Charlie wasn’t going to be christened. Although Max and Steph compromised by arranging a naming day, Lyn feared that her grandson would suffer without some kind of religious ceremony. Relations between Lyn and Steph hit an all-time low, with Max caught somewhere in the middle. It wasn’t until Lyn saved Charlie from a gas leak at number 22, when Izzy was supposed to be looking after him, that things started to change. When Lyn’s boss, Paul, then caught sight of a tool belt that Steph had adapted to carry all of her baby paraphernalia, he saw the opportunity to mass market it. With Lyn’s encouragement, Steph signed a contract, but when Max looked over it, he realised that Steph had agreed to only 5% of the profits. Although they managed to get Paul to increase it to 7%, Steph was still unhappy with her mother for seemingly selling her out. There was some good news, however, as Steph finished her course of intensive radiotherapy and was given the good news that it had been a success and she was cancer-free.

However, in the weeks that followed, it became clear that Steph had been deeply scarred by her cancer operation. After confiding in her mother, she eventually admitted to Max that she was scared of being intimate with him again. He told her that he didn’t care about her scars, but was proud of her and proceeded to organise a romantic date to help cheer her up. He soon had other things to worry about, however, as Boyd announced his engagement to Janae. Max was determined that the wedding wouldn’t go ahead and that a Timmins would never be a part of his family. His plans to nip the engagement in the bud, by inviting Janae to move in and showing them the realities of living together, failed and Max’s beliefs about the Timmins clan were only consolidated when Janelle and Kim’s re-wedding ended badly, as the groom was forced to flee from the police. Max warned Boyd that, if he didn’t call off the engagement, he could move out. And so, Boyd and Janae ended up living at number 30 where Toadie was happy to take not only their rent money, but a little extra from Max to cover rent and food.

As Boyd and Janae started handing out wedding invitations, Max still refused to believe that it would happen. However, his lack of interest only succeeded in making Boyd and Janae decide to elope, and Max was shocked to get a call from Summer, who’d returned for the occasion, at the town hall, explaining that the wedding was happening. Max arrived, along with Janelle and Steph, to find the proceedings coming to a conclusion, but refused to join in with the congratulations. He did, however, later turn up at the reception, having found out that Janae used a fake birth certificate in order to marry without Janelle’s permission, and warned the newlyweds that their union wasn’t even legal. But Boyd told him that it was still a marriage in their eyes and he wouldn’t split them up. They then headed off on their honeymoon, with Max refusing to accept it and only succeeding in pushing his son further away. Upon their return, Max was still suspicious of Janae and, when he saw her chatting to a strange man in West Waratah, he became convinced that she was having an affair. However, it turned out to be a letting agent, Thomas Griggs and, when Max found out the truth, he felt guilty and approached Thomas. But his attempts to put in a good word for Boyd and Janae backfired when he let it slip that Janae was only 16. This latest drama looked set to destroy Max’s relationship with his son, but, the following day, he and Boyd found themselves locked in the bar, as the complex was in lockdown due to psychotic Robert Robinson being on the loose. As Steph and Janae joined them, the four of them finally worked things out and sat down to a meal together, toasting Janae, the latest addition to the Hoyland family.

Soon after, as Max made his way to an anniversary lunch with Steph, an incident occurred that would change his life forever. Whilst backing out of the car park at Lassiter’s and talking to Steph on his mobile phone, Max ran into Katya Kinski. Although not badly hurt, it was the final straw for Katya, who was already extremely fragile after a relationship with Robert Robinson that had left her with a strong distrust for men. She ended up spending a couple of weeks in the psychiatric ward, where Max was the only man she would talk to, and the pair developed a close friendship. In an attempt to get her thinking about the outside world, Max encouraged her to sign up to a class in Tibetan, the native language of her mother, and agreed to attend with her. The pair were embarrassed by the classes to begin with, as they had to immerse themselves in Buddhist culture, but decided to go on a weekend retreat to improve their skills. Once at the retreat, Max and Katya were surprised to realise that it wasn’t a language course, but rather a spiritual course, featuring heavy meditation and vegan food. During the first afternoon, both Max and Katya meditated and found themselves fantasising. While Max happily thought about the opportunity to play for his favourite football team, Collingwood, Katya dreamt of kissing Max and realised that she was falling in love with him. They were shocked when, that evening, they found that their room only had a double bed, and things got more intimate when Max’s back seized up and Katya gave him a massage.

The next morning, after a breakfast of buckwheat porridge, Max and Katya decided that they’d had enough and ran off. Once in the car, Max decided that they should take the scenic route home, but it ended in disaster when they got lost and the car broke down. A deluded Katya started to believe that it was all a set-up and that Max shared her feelings for him, and wanted them to be alone. Scared, Katya walked off, announcing that she would hitch a ride back to Erinsborough. When Max finally got back, he confronted Katya about her strange behaviour and she said that it was obvious that they were falling in love. A stunned Max backed off, telling her that she’d got the wrong end of the stick and Katya was left humiliated by her mistake. He decided not to tell Steph, hopeful to save a fragile Katya from any further embarrassment, but this soon backfired on him when Susan casually mentioned the mix-up to Steph one day. Steph confronted her husband, who assured her that it was nothing for her to worry about. Steph wasn’t convinced, and, when she noticed Katya calling Max, she furiously told him to work out where his priorities laid.

Katya’s reason for calling turned out to be a letter that she’d received from Robert, telling her that he was going to come and get her soon. Max called the prison, who assured him that Robert was still locked up and they had no idea how he’d got the letter out. Max then went to tell Paul, Robert’s father, what had happened and Paul phoned the prison only to be told that Robert had escaped. Katya, meanwhile, was on the way to her Tibetan class and Max raced to meet with her, as she accepted a lift from Robert’s identical twin, Cameron. As Max raced towards the scene, he phoned Katya, asking her if she was alone. When she mentioned that she was in the car with Cameron, Max warned her to get out and run. A confused Cameron told her that she’d forgotten her bag and started to chase her and Max, who was driving up the scene, swerved to car to a halt, crashing into Cameron in the process. At the hospital, they all realised that Max had run down the wrong twin and Robert had just been hiding from the guards and hadn’t escaped. As they all waited for news, an angry Paul warned that if Cameron ended up dead, so would Max. Sadly, the following week, Cameron passed away during an emergency operation, leaving Max to try and come to terms with what he’d done…

After being arrested and charged with manslaughter, Max was released on bail. Cameron's sister, Elle, meanwhile, was horrified when her father returned with her from the funeral in Tasmania ready to forgive Max for his crime, and, after seeing her brother’s killer going about his daily business, decided to get her revenge. Having convinced everyone that she’d also forgiven Max, Elle set about slowly making him think that he was losing his mind. First, she stole some football tickets in the bar, and replaced them with cardboard, leaving Max confused when he gave them to Boyd as a gift, then she moved Charlie’s pram out into the road whilst he was inside Grease Monkeys getting coffee. But, when Elle then offered to cover one of Boyd’s shifts at the bar, and started changing some of Max’s food and drink orders, Max became suspicious and concluded that Elle was behind all of the recent events. But, since Max had already accused Paul of messing with his mind, Steph and Boyd couldn’t take these fresh allegations seriously and so Max was left to prove it alone. The final straw came when Elle managed to sneak into number 32 and steal Charlie, while Max was in the kitchen. As he rushed to the garage to see if Steph had taken the baby with her to work, Elle returned him and managed to make it look the baby had been there all along. With nobody listening to his suspicions about Elle, Max hired a private investigator, then loudly spoke about his new car in the bar. Elle couldn’t resist one last attempt to tip Max over the edge, and moved the car to the other side of the car park, closely watched by P.I. Ray McQueen. Ray then phoned Max and assured that his suspicions had been correct and that photos and a report would be with him the next day.

Max couldn’t resist gloating in front of Paul and announcing that, this time, he had evidence. But, unfortunately for Max, moments after Ray’s call, Elle had caught him spying on her and paid him to keep his mouth shut. Therefore, when the report arrived, it provided no proof of Max’s accusations and, finally fearing that he was going insane and risking his family’s safety, he admitted himself to the psychiatric ward. After being assessed by Dr Sarah Young, Max was declared to be suffering from nothing more than post traumatic stress, but he was convinced that there was more to it and refused when she suggested that he could go home. As Max started taking medication to calm him down, his behaviour became more and more strange as he confused family members for each other and repeated questions over and over. Things reached a peak when he mistakenly believed that everyone was against him and heard Steph’s words of comfort as her telling him that he was a terrible father. Although Elle, suffering badly with guilt, visited Max to explain that he’d been right all along, it was too late for him, as he had already decided to leave Erinsborough. That night, he simply walked out of the hospital and boarded a bus, with no indication of where he might be going.

Over the two months that followed, all evidence seemed to indicate that Max wasn't coming back, as he left his wedding ring with a homeless man and gave a message to some Salvation Army officers, telling Steph to move on with her life. Indeed she did move on, slowly making her way towards romance with one of her oldest friends, Toadie. When an armed siege - again the fault of Katya - took place at number 32, and Toadie was shot in the back, Steph realised that she was in love with him. At the same time, Elle was shocked to spot Max in a supermarket car park, with a woman and two young children, and followed him home. She then shared this information with Janae who, after seeing it with her own eyes, told Max that he needed to return home and, at the very least, give Boyd and Steph some closure. Max did just that, and explained to Steph that he'd met April Gray at a church he'd been sheltering in, and she and her husband had asked him to stay with them until he sorted himself out. Though Max wanted his own family back, Steph wasn't quite ready to pick up where they left off. However, when Toadie then became upset and accused her of using him to replace Max, she decided to give her marriage another chance. Despite a great deal of effort from Max, including a romantic trip in a hot air balloon, it quickly became evidently that things had changed too much and the marriage was beyond saving. After spending a few days together visiting Valda, Lyn and Oscar in Shelley Bay, and with Summer home for a few days, Max and Steph announced their plans to separate. Unable to be too close to Steph for a while, Max then moved to Sale, where he found himself a flat and a new job in the rigs of the Bass Strait.

Trivia Notes
• Max's deceased wife was referred to as both Anna and Claire when the Hoyland family first arrived. This site, however, uses Claire as it was the moment recent and frequently-used name
• Max has a phobia of needles
• His favourite wine is Merlot
• Max claims that, during his days working on the rigs, his nickname was 'The Killer' due to his moves on both the dancefloor and the ladies
• He used to be a smoker, but gave it up when his children were born
• He celebrated his 40th birthday on August 24th 2005
Click here to read our interview with Stephen Lovatt


Magic Moments
Episode 4074: Max's Arrival
Episode 4528: Max and Stephanie's Wedding
Episode 4926: Charlie's Birth
Episode 5075: Max's Disappearance
Episode 5122: Max's Return

Biography by Steve