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Character Profiles > Stephanie Scully Carla Bonner

Stephanie 'Steph' Jo Scully (prev. Hoyland) 1999-2010, 2013, 2015-
Lives: 30 Ramsay Street
Lived: 22, 26, 28, 32 Ramsay Street
Born: 1979
Parents: Joe and Lyn Scully
Marital Status: Max Hoyland (2004-2007; divorced), Toadfish Rebecchi (2010; annulled)
Siblings: Jack, Felicity, Michelle and Oscar
Children: Charlie and Adam
Family Tree: Scully
Occupation: Courier, Lou's Place Barmaid, Scarlet Bar Owner, Moco Manager, Carpenter's Mechanics Mechanic/Manager, Charlie's Bar Owner, Councillor, Harold's Store Manager, Fitzgerald Motors Mechanic, The Waterhole Assistant Manager

Tomboy Stephanie Scully was born in 1979, the eldest child of Joe and Lyn Scully. From an early age, Steph inherited a love of motorbikes from her grandfather, Henry, and loved all kinds of sports, especially cricket and grand prix. As a result, Steph was always more likely to be found in the company of her father, or younger brother Jack as opposed to spending time with Lyn or her sisters, Flick and Michelle.

After completing her HSC, Steph started work for Moco, a spare car parts wholesaler, dividing her duties between working in the office and more regularly, on the road making deliveries. When the Scully family moved to the neighbouring suburb of Erinsborough in 1999, Steph was able to keep on her job at Moco, since it was near enough for her to commute. Moving to Ramsay Street also helped Steph get over her failed relationship with Larry 'Woody' Woodhouse, who had recently been jailed for participating in an armed robbery.

The three Scully sisters immediately turned the heads of the men of Ramsay Street, with Toadie Rebecchi and Lance Wilkinson instantly falling for Steph upon her arrival. However, only one resident interested Steph, and that was Drew Kirk, who lived across at No. 22. Drew was everything Steph wanted in a man - he was good looking, athletic, into sports and had a love for cars and bikes just like Steph. The only problem was the fact that Drew was head over heels in love with Libby Kennedy, who lived next door to Steph on Ramsay Street. Steph and Libby soon became good friends, thus leading to a friendship also developing between Steph and Drew - but Steph could never admit to Libby the feelings she had for Drew, especially after they became engaged.

Meanwhile, Steph proved to be of enormous support to Lance in the wake of his ex-girlfriend Amy Greenwood's departure, and she accepted an invitation from him to be his partner at The Horticulture Ball at Lassiter's Hotel. However, after Steph remembered she had arranged to go to the footy with her biker mates on the same night, she cancelled on Lance. But after seeing how upset he was, Steph decided to forgo the footy and told Lance she would be delighted to go with him to the ball. Lance was in awe of how fantastic Stephanie looked when he arrived at the Scully house to collect her, and the pair had a wonderful night at the ball, only hindered by Lance ripping his tux pants at the end of the night. The ball had made Lance realise that he was starting to fall for Steph, but at the same time, Toadie - who shared No. 30 with Lance - also began to develop feelings for Steph, after she did a stint on his radio show.

The two men began a quest to win Steph's affections, and when they heard her 21st birthday was approaching, asked Michelle for some advice on what they should get Steph. Michelle decided to have some fun at their expense, and led them to believe that Steph had an obsession with collecting glass blown animals. Although surprised by this revelation about Steph, both Lance and Toadie set about buying her some ornamental animals for her birthday. But after presenting their gifts to Steph at her 21st birthday barbecue, they knew by Steph's bemused expression that they had been set up. However, their anger soon turned to jealousy when Steph appeared more interested in her biker mates. Nonetheless, Lance and Toadie pressed on with their competition to win her over, with Lance enlisting Steph's help in his campaign for student council and Toadie getting her involved in fixing the engine on his car. It was only when Steph brought the guys bowling with her and her mate, Kate, that she realised they were attracted to her. Steph then began to worry about the predicament she had found herself in, and was left speechless when Toadie accidentally blurted out that he loved her. He quickly covered it up by dismissing it as a joke, and Steph's reaction made Toadie realise there would never be any chance of a relationship between them. Making Lance realise there was no hope of a romance proved more difficult, and Steph was forced to turn down an piece of jewellery Lance had brought her back from a trip to Darwin, before telling him out straight that they could never be anything other than friends.

As Libby and Drew's wedding approached, Steph and Libby went on a camping trip, where Steph was honoured when Libby asked her to be bridesmaid for her. But tragedy struck as the girls returned to Erinsborough on Steph's motorbike when Brendan Bell - the abusive estranged husband of their friend Tess - ploughed into the girls in a fit of rage, knocking both the girls off the bike. Brendan died in the accident, and Steph escaped with only torn ligaments. But Libby was left in a critical condition, causing Steph to blame herself for what had happened. Libby's father, Karl assured Steph that it was not her fault, and Steph breathed a sigh of relief when Libby recovered. But after the discovery that Libby would probably never have children as a result of the accident, Steph became extremely depressed, and began having nightmares about the crash. Tess became concerned about Steph's frame of mind when she caught her throwing out her leathers, and Steph announced that her biking days were over. At the same time, Libby made some life changing decisions in the wake of the crash - most notably dumping Drew, due to her belief that he wouldn't want to marry her now that she couldn't conceive. Steph and Libby had a major argument over Libby's decision, with Steph telling Libby she was being stupid and ruining Drew's life. But Libby insisted it was none of Steph's business, promoting Steph to take Drew's side in the break-up.

Steph and Drew became much closer in the months after the accident and its aftermath, and slowly fell deeper in love with him. But Steph still knew Drew only had eyes for Libby and started trying to avoid Drew in the hope of getting over him. When little Lolly Carpenter invited Steph to join her and Drew for a fairy party in the fairy house Drew had built for her, Steph turned down the offer, claiming she was going out with some mates. But Drew caught her playing scrabble with Toadie when he called over to No. 30, and Steph was saved by Toadie who covered for her by saying they were just about to join Joel and Lance for drinks. Afterwards, Toadie confronted Steph about her feelings for Drew and she admitted that she was in love with him. Lyn also began to realise that Steph had feelings for Drew, and when Steph made plans to go away for a weekend in the countryside with Drew, both Lyn and Toadie tried to talk her out of going. Steph ignored their warnings and went with Drew, confident that the trip would provide her with a chance to admit her true feelings to Drew. Steph was devastated, however, when Drew confessed he was still in love with Libby just as she was about to admit that she was in love with him. The next morning, Steph told Drew she felt ill and was going to catch a bus home. But Drew insisted he drop her home himself, making Steph feel even worse for cutting his holiday short. Lyn consoled Steph as she struggled to come to terms with what had happened, and she urged Steph to try distancing herself from Drew.

A brief spell dating teacher Daniel Fitzgerald failed to change how Steph felt about Drew, however, and when she heard that Drew was thinking about leaving Erinsborough to return to his home town of Oakey, Steph resolved to tell him how she felt before he left. Despite Toadie's attempts at talking her out if it, Steph went to see Drew at his garage one afternoon to tell him she loved him. But she was interrupted at the last minute, and opted out of confessing all. But 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 Drew when he asked him how he felt about Steph being in love with him. When Drew confronted Steph about his discovery, she decided to be honest with him and admitted that she was in love with him and was miserable over it. Drew told Steph that he was still madly in love with Libby but was flattered by her feelings for him. Drew's rejection prompted Steph to put her own feelings aside and confront Libby about her feelings for Drew. Steph stormed over to the Kennedy house and told Libby she was being foolish to let Drew go back to Oakey when she was still in love with him. Steph's outburst finally made Libby realise she was still in love with Drew, and the couple finally renewed 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. However, Steph was determined not to be around for the big day, and when she heard about a job at a spare parts outlet in West Newbury, she decided to apply in the hope of getting out of Erinsborough. Lyn urged Steph not to run away because of her love for Drew, and pleaded with her to reconsider. But Steph insisted that her decision wasn't purely based on Drew, since she was recently having a lot of problems with her new boss at Moco - the owner's sister, Bev. After a massive run-in with Bev, Steph finally had enough and quit. But Steph's relief at telling Bev where to stick her job soon turned to disappointment when she was told that she didn't get the job in West Newbury, meaning she faced the prospect of trying to find a new job and staying in Erinsborough for the wedding.

Events 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.

Around this time, Steph received a letter, but was unwilling to reveal the content to Lyn. A few days later, a phone call revealed that Woody, Steph's ex, had got back in touch ' and that he was in prison. Steph's parents had often wondered what had driven Steph and Woody apart all those years ago, but had no idea that he'd been sent to prison for receiving stolen goods. After visiting him a few times in prison, it became clear that Steph was getting involved in something unsavoury, as Woody shared glances with Kev Kelly, one of the more influential prisoners.

Steph revealed the truth about Woody first to Flick, who had already sensed her sister was up to something. Not long after, Libby was at the prison, interviewing Kev Kelly for the newspaper, when she bumped into Steph. Steph realised she'd have to tell her family before someone else did, and when Woody asked her to sponsor him on a day release, she realised the time had come. She was relieved when her parents didn't fly off the handle, but while they realised Woody was a good guy who'd simply made one mistake, they were still not entirely comfortable with Steph seeing Woody.

When Woody arrived on his day release, he quickly took off on Steph's bike on the pretext of visiting his mother in a neighbouring suburb. When he returned, he had a bag full of jewels, having agreed to look after them for jewel thief, Kev Kelly. Realising that this could lead to an even longer sentence for Woody, not to mention implicating herself, Steph talked Woody into going to the police and admitting what he'd done. This resulted in some terrifying experiences for Steph, as she was threatened by a man in the pub and heard that Woody had been beaten up in prison and hospitalised. Steph visited him and he felt guilty for what he had put her through, but he later agreed to testify against Kev Kelly in court.

Steph and Libby, meanwhile, made up just in time for Steph to be bridesmaid at the wedding. Steph remained subdued throughout the ceremony and reception, wondering about what could have been with Drew. She even caught the bouquet, giving her some hope for future romance.

Steph was put in a dilemma at work when she was forced to sack one of the workers in order to cut costs. She spent weeks deliberating over the situation, feeling as though she was out of her depth in such situations. When she finally did decide who to let go, a man named Steve, he told her he was leaving to work for a rival company.

Meanwhile, Woody's release date arrived and Steph agreed to let him stay at Number 26, but first she had to broach the subject with her family. They agreed that this would be a difficult time for him and that he needed some support, so they let him stay. As soon as he arrived, however, the Scullys got a brick through their window and received threats. The police agreed to give them protection, but it was decided that Woody would have to leave town to go on a witness protection scheme, as there was no other way his and the Scullys safety could be guaranteed. He asked Steph to go with him and she was forced to decide with her family and her first love. She changed her mind regularly, at one point devastating her family by deciding she must leave and never see them again. Ultimately though, she realised she couldn't do that and bid Woody a tearful farewell, realising she would never see him again.

However, Steph couldn't get Woody out of her head, and a postcard from him set her thinking about tracking him down. She began making mysterious trips to see 'Stanno' and Lyn's suspicions were aroused when 'Stanno' called during one of Steph's trips to see him. Lyn quickly worked out what Steph had been up to and begged her to stop. Maggie Hancock warned Steph she could face a jail sentence for breaking the terms of the witness protection scheme. However, Steph continued to visit Woody until on one occasion, she noticed she was being followed. She managed to dump her bike and run through the woods, losing the man in the process. Steph was severely shaken by this experience, realising these men were trying to find Woody and prevent him from testifying at Kev Kelly's upcoming trial.

Steph realised she couldn't bear to be without Woody and made plans to go and live with him. However, Woody had other ideas and arrived in Erinsborough one night to see Steph. He explained to Steph about a stash of money from a bank robbery years ago that his old cellmate had told him about. They collected the money but Steph had misgivings about the whole idea. Woody insisted that the bank was insured and the whole thing had happened years ago. They decided to just vanish and make a new life. Steph was heartbroken to be leaving her family behind but they assisted with the escape, knowing full well that they could be being watched.

After they'd been driving for a while, they stopped at a service station for refuelling. Woody took the opportunity to propose and Steph happily accepted. However, while she was inside buying provisions, a man jumped into the car with Woody and forced him to drive. As Steph left the shop, she saw Woody speeding off. At first she thought he was messing about, but she quickly realised it was serious and began to chase the car. As she ran up to a hill, she heard the car crash and witnessed it burst into flames. Steph collapsed in tears as a passer-by prevented her from trying to pull Woody out.

After enduring questions from the police and a memorial service, Steph tried to repair her life. Going back to work at Moco, Steph was forced to sack recent employee Matt Hancock after he made one mistake too many. She finally managed to smile again when she and Drew took their car out on the race track.

Over the following months, Steph began to receive mysterious deposits into her bank account. She also met a mysterious man in the pub - a man who knew her name. It turned out that Mitch Foster had known Woody in prison. Steph and Mitch struck up a close friendship, sharing memories of Woody, and it became obvious that he had feelings for her. After sharing a kiss, Steph and Mitch began seeing each other. Lyn confronted her daughter, asking whether she was simply using Mitch as a way to stay close to Woody. Steph insisted this wasn't the case and the two of them made plans to go away together for the weekend. However, just as they were preparing to leave, there was a knock at the door. Steph was astonished to find Woody standing there.

Woody explained that Kev Kelly was dead and they were safe to be together again. He also had a confrontation with Mitch - and revealed to Steph that Mitch had killed someone when he started a fire for an insurance scam. Woody revealed that he'd been the one putting the money into Steph's account and had been on the run after being thrown clear of the explosion unscathed. He hadn't got in touch because he didn't want to put Steph's life in danger again, but the money in her account would have eventually revealed his birth date. Woody had one last surprise in store for Steph ' he proposed. Steph was suddenly put in an extremely complicated situation, but she eventually managed to make a decision.

Telling Mitch and Woody that she didn't want to be with either of them, she sent them both packing and attempted to forget the past. Later that day, she broke down in her father's arms and admitted there was only one man she truly loved - Drew.

One day, not long after, Steph was at Lassiters car park when a man in a suit accused her of stealing his space. Typically, Steph didn't stand for it and when she later bumped into him in the coffee shop, she made her feelings towards him clear. Unfortunately, she also picked up his phone by accident. The young man, Marc Lambert, felt that fate was trying to tell them something and so he asked Steph out on a date. However, Steph had already taken a strong dislike to Marc the 'suit', and turned him down. Steph was horrified when, a few days later, Marc arrived at Moco. She thought he was essentially stalking her and told him to get lost. However, she quickly realised the error of her ways when she ran into Marc again at Carpenter's Mechanics. She found out that Marc was the new assistant manager at Lassiters and that he was simply checking out the local businesses hoping to be able to drum up some trade for them. Steph quickly backtracked, suggesting that they go out on a date after all. Marc left her hanging on for a while, but Steph got a big surprise when she arrived to do a delivery and found Marc waiting with a picnic.

The romance moved quickly from there, with the couple taking a trip to Hong Kong and Steph finally seemed to have found someone who wasn't married or an ex-con. Still, Steph was amazed when, after only a few weeks of dating, Marc proposed to her. Desperate to move on from the unhappy relationships of her past, Steph gladly accepted. Meanwhile, her sister, Flick, scored a job at Lassiters and also hit it off with Marc.

When the Scullys met Marc's parents, John and Chloe, relations were strained. Chloe felt that Marc was being too impulsive and warned Steph that she may get hurt. It became obvious that Chloe didn't want the wedding to go ahead and didn't really approve of Marc marrying into the Scully family. After several heated confrontations, Steph finally managed to convince Chloe that she could be good for Marc and Chloe offered the couple her blessing.

Steph began to make plans for her future with Marc. She started looking at houses for them and even mentioned a mortgage, something Marc laughed off, leaving Steph slightly unsettled. But things were finally looking up for Steph, when she made a shocking discovery - she was pregnant. She confided in her friends and Flick, who was attempting to control her feelings for her future brother-in-law. When she eventually told Marc, he was fairly stunned and tried his best to convince Steph that he was pleased about it.

Steph and her friends went away for her hen weekend, where Connor O'Neill acted as an impromptu stripper. Flick seemed subdued throughout the whole thing. Then, with only hours to go before the wedding, Steph made another discovery ' she wasn't pregnant after all. As she broke this news to Marc, she didn't think it would make too much difference, if anything, he seemed relieved.

As the wedding day finally dawned, Steph finally felt like things were going to work out for her. After frantically getting ready, Steph shared a glass of champagne with her sisters and friends and they all headed down to the ceremony, held by Lassiters lake. Everything seemed perfect as Joe walked Steph up the aisle, but once the vows began, Marc started to stumble over his words and Joe took him aside to find out what was wrong. Just as Steph appeared, Marc glanced in the direction of Felicity and Steph suddenly realised the horrible truth. As Flick ran off, Marc tried to apologise to Steph, but she simply runs away too, after Flick.

After spending some time walking alone, Steph headed back to Ramsay Street to confront her sister. Finding her at number 30 with Marc, she ran out of the house in shock. Flick and Marc followed her into the street and an argument between the two sisters ensued. Steph accused Flick of being unable to see anyone else happy, of being low and selfish. Desperate for answers, Steph wanted to know why Flick would get involved with her own sister's fiance. Flick escaped in a taxi, eventually ending up in Sydney. Meanwhile, unable to face any more, Steph ran into number 26 and to the bathroom where she collapsed in tears and threw the hair pin that Flick gave her into the bath.

Over the following weeks, Steph attempted to sort her life out. She decided to put some space between herself and her family, going to stay with Libby and Drew at Number 22. Flick returned from Sydney, begging for forgiveness, but Steph told her she was no longer her sister. A confrontation with Marc followed, during which Steph slapped him and returned his ring. Steph was disgusted to learn a few weeks later that Flick and Marc had begun a relationship, leaving Steph even more determined not to speak to her sister.

Steph was relieved when Flick left to tour the USA with Tad for a few months, giving her some breathing space. She struck up a friendship with Stuart Parker, someone who had been very close to Flick over the past few months. The two of them played pool together and she even pulled a sickie at work so they could go fishing together. Despite both of them only wanting friendship from the other, they did share a kiss, which surprised them both. They chose not to mention it again.

Steph was in for a nasty surprise when Mitch Foster returned to Erinsborough. He first turned up at the hospital where Dee treated him, then quickly went to find Steph in Ramsay Street. He begged for her help, having been mysteriously injured, and Steph let him stay at Number 22, much to Libby and Drew's horror. Reading about an armed robbery in the paper, Libby decided to report Mitch to the police. Meanwhile, Mitch went down to Moco and held the place up, telling Steph to give him all the money. He kissed her as he fled, something that was witnessed by Toadie and he was forced to tell the police when questioned. All the evidence seemed to point to Steph being in on the robbery and she was arrested, spending a night in a cell.

After being released, Steph confronted Libby over the police's involvement. They argued and Libby accused Steph of being an idiot for constantly falling for these no-good guys. At this point, Steph decided to move back into Number 26. Meanwhile, Mitch, Steph's only hope of proving her innocence, had disappeared. To make matters worse, Steph received a mysterious gift, a motorbike, with no idea where it came from. After remembering a place where Mitch used to 'go bush', Steph headed there where a mysterious man told her he hadn't seen Mitch or heard of him. Steph pleaded her case and a few days later the man phoned Steph with information. Stuart took Steph to the spot the man had detailed, where they found Mitch in a terrible state, his previous injuries having become infected. Despite his protests, Steph and Stuart got him to the hospital, where he was put under police guard. Unfortunately, he refused to help Steph, until Stuart managed to record him making incriminating statements. Mitch admitted to setting up Steph and the charges were dropped.

Steph's emotions were put to the test once again, as two major events rocked her life; the return of Flick and the death of Drew. When Flick suddenly arrived back, Steph was still very cold towards her. After a few too many icy moments, Flick confronted Steph and told her she wasn't going to run away anymore. This was a minor breakthrough, and later Steph bought Flick a drink in the pub.

Drew's sudden death sent the whole of Ramsay Street into shock. But while the Kennedys 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. Libby forgave her, explaining that she was a true friend as she hadn't acted upon her feelings. This also triggered Steph to patch things up with Flick, as they realised how suddenly life can change. Steph also learnt that Flick and Stuart had been secretly seeing each other, not wanting to hurt her feelings, but Steph gave them her blessing.

Steph became close to Summer Hoyland from Number 32, giving her rides on her motorbike and acting like a big sister to her. This led to several run-ins with Summer's father, Max. Steph accused Max of being a bad parent after he shouted at Summer in the coffee shop, but quickly apologised and this led to Max asking Steph for parenting tips. As Steph and Max got to know each other, they realised they had a lot in common. Libby also noticed their budding friendship and ribbed Steph about her new man. Steph denied everything and, despite Summer's best efforts, they remained friends. Steph helped out Summer when she had to take part in a mother-daughter fashion parade, winning more approval from Max, who was obviously falling for her, buying her perfume as a thank you.

However, Boyd was not happy with his father spending time with another woman, seeing Steph as an unfit replacement for his mother. Steph spoke to him about his coldness towards her and they called a truce. Meanwhile, at the second wedding of Karl and Susan Kennedy, Max and Steph finally agreed to go out on a date.

After a misunderstanding where Steph thought Max had been joking, they finally arranged a date for the following evening. Steph waited around for a while and was about to leave when Max arrived and apologised for his lateness, explaining he'd had problems at home. However, the date was very awkward, and they decided that it might be easier if they just stayed as friends.

When Steph's friend, Joanne, took an interest in Max, Steph noticed that they had a lot more in common and decided to move on. Joanne arranged for Steph to go on a date with her nephew, Dennis, although he never showed up. When her grandmother died, Steph headed up to Queensland for the funeral and upon her return she found a very moving sympathy card from Max and the kids. She decided there and then to go over and reveal her true feelings to him. However, she found Joanne was already there. Jo asked Steph to give her and Max a bit of space and a humiliated Steph left, little knowing that Max was about to tell Jo that he wasn't interested in her.

Steph then decided to move on once and for all. She headed to the pub with Libby and decided to ask out the first guy she saw - unfortunately it was Darcy, so they changed the rules to the first stranger she saw. This was new barman, Alex Argenzio. He invited her to go diving with sharks and she reluctantly agreed. After the dive, they shared a kiss and she returned from the experience buzzing with excitement. Max could only watch on as she excitedly introduced Alex to her mum.

Not long after, Steph was backed into a corner by Michelle, who begged her to help when she and Connor ran away from immigration, who were planning to deport him. Connor convinced Steph to hand over his and Michelle's passports, promising Steph that they would return home, rather than go to New Zealand. Luckily, he kept his promise and a few days later, Michelle was home.

After being a couple for only a few weeks, Alex broke the news to Steph that he was going to pursue his dream of travelling around Australia. At first, Steph was put out that her new relationship was ending so soon, but then he decided to ask her to join him. After thinking the offer through, she decided to accept. Steph was surprised by the reaction of Summer to her relationship with Alex, as Summer told Steph their friendship was over. However, as Steph prepared to leave Ramsay Street, Summer presented her with a home-made frame containing a photo of the two of them. Libby asked her best friend if she really wanted to be going off with Alex, or if she1d rather be with someone a little closer to home.

Sadly for Steph, Max seemed to be putting up little resistance to her leaving. Even when she asked him if he knew of a reason for her not to leave town, he said nothing. Max could only stand and watch as Steph left Ramsay Street on her motorbike. After spending a few days camping, Steph and Alex decided to hire a canoe and spend some time on the water. Things seemed to be going smoothly, until they hit some rough water and the canoe capsized. After becoming trapped underwater, Steph managed to free herself, but found herself calling for Max as she reached the surface. When Steph learnt that Libby had taken up a teaching post nearby, Steph 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.

Steph realised what she had to do, and quickly headed back to Erinsborough, where she found Max putting out the garbage. He was amazed to see her, but quickly realised why she'd returned and they embraced. However, it wasn't all plain sailing, as Max and Steph faced negative opinions towards their relationship from both Lyn and Boyd. While Lyn made her feelings clear and relaxed when she realised her daughter knew what she was doing, Boyd was harder to work out. He pretended to have a migraine, spoiling a trip to the beach, then he made Steph promise not to spend the night away with Max when they went to the wineries. Although Steph agreed, Max lost his car keys and they were forced to spend the night in a motel, therefore Boyd was furious when they returned the next day.

However, after a telling off from Summer, Boyd started to make more of an effort. Meanwhile, Steph was surprised when Max casually mentioned loving her and tried to work out whether he had really meant it. After a few days of tip-toeing around the issue, she came clean and they declared their love for each other. Steph was pleased when the family went on a trip to the beach and Boyd tried to teach her to surf, realising that she was finally making some headway. Later though, she was shocked when Boyd confided that he wanted to go to boarding school as he was so unhappy at home. Max and Steph realised that they'd have to do something - Steph even bought a book on the subject as she was so worried.

However, Boyd's behaviour was to cause further problems when he stole Toadie's car from the garage and went for a joy-ride, resulting in him crashing it into a tree. Although Boyd was uninjured, it proved to be a turning point in his relationship with Steph and things became a lot easier for her with the Hoylands. Back at home, Steph helped Lou to track down Valda, who had taken off following Lyn's attack at the Kennedy house. However, little did Steph realise the problems that Valda's return was about to cause. Steph was shocked to find out that Valda was infact Lyn's real mother and she soon turned to Max for support during the confusing time. Soon after, Steph suffered an accident on her bike, witnessed by Max and the kids. Although she was fine, Max was very shaken and asked her to give up the bike, and also to move in with him. After a great deal of soul searching, Steph decided that her new family was worth the sacrifice and moved in.

After a few weeks of happiness, Steph suddenly found her life was falling apart. After having scored a job as Stuart’s new apprentice mechanic, she had only been working there a few days when she banged her arm. While rubbing her injury, she noticed a lump under her arm and began to worry. Although Karl assured her that it would be very rare for someone of her age to have cancer, Steph found herself unable to think of anything else. After 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.

Since Max’s first wife, Claire, had died, and Lyn was suffering from post-natal depression, Steph found herself turning to best friend Libby for support. She decided to finish things with Max and moved out suddenly, leaving Max and his kids confused and hurt. Steph also quit her job after Stuart refused her time off and she decided to stay with Libby, whose support she was finding invaluable throughout her ordeal. The day before going into hospital for her operation, Steph broke down and told her brother, Jack, about her cancer and he was shocked, but immediately supportive. With Libby and Jack’s support, Steph went into hospital for her operation, telling her parents that she was going to visit Stanno for a few days. Steph was informed that after the operation she would need courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy and there was a small chance that she may end up infertile. While the operation was a complete success, Steph remained extremely negative about her future and Jack was stunned when his sister announced that she had decided not to have the course of chemotherapy.

Things quickly changed for Steph when she was out riding her bike one day and happened upon a car accident. Finding a young girl trapped in the car, Steph held her hand and told her not to give up. After this incident, Steph realised that she should take her own advice and fight for her life. Steph still found it difficult to tell her parents the truth, but eventually realised that Jack was under too much pressure and she told them. With their support, she went for her first course of chemotherapy, but didn’t realise that Max was also at the hospital with Boyd, who had glass in his eye after smashing up Steph’s headlamps. When Max appeared at the door to her hospital room, Steph was stunned and even when he told her he’d stay by her no matter what, she was still reluctant. However, as Max’s support continued, Steph realised that she couldn’t cope without him and the pair were reunited. But as her treatment continued, Steph began to lose confidence in herself and her appearance, her hair began falling out and she started to cover herself up in thick jumpers. Despite Max trying to keep her spirits up, Steph still pushed him away, preferring to spend time alone…

As time went on, things began to return to some kind of normality for Max and Steph. She began spending more and more time at the Hoyland house, eventually asking Max if she could stay the night, as she really wanted his company. Things with Izzy seemed to get worse however, with Max’s sister putting her foot in it by bringing up the subject of Steph’s hair falling out. In an effort to make amends, Izzy organised a high tea in Steph’s honour. However, feeling increasingly weak, Steph passed out at work and was rushed to hospital, meaning everyone missed the party. As Steph returned from her time in hospital, Izzy became more distant, until the pair had a chat and Steph suggested that they find some way to get along. Steph’s attentions were soon forced elsewhere, however, when she overheard her parents discussing the fact that Max was about to propose. Bumping into Izzy at the pub, Steph took out her frustrations, accusing Izzy of only being interested in herself. Izzy eventually got to the root of the problem – Steph knew about the proposal and wasn’t ready to say yes yet. As soon as she got back to number 32, Steph quickly brought the subject round to marriage, saying how she felt it was unnecessary for all couples to require a wedding to prove their love. After a heart-to-heart, the couple agreed to put off marriage until Steph was fully recovered and to just concentrate on living in the present.

When Steph was finally given the all-clear, she was incredibly relieved and agreed to move back into number 32. Although her relationship with Izzy had been improving, it seemed that there would always be certain issues between the two of them and this time, it was the money that Max was owed. However, with Christmas approaching, they agreed to form a truce. Steph was excited to be planning her first Christmas as the ‘mother’ of the house and planned a meal for Christmas Day, also inviting her mum and grandmother, who would be alone at home. Unfortunately, the Christmas plans hit a temporary problem when Steph mentioned to Max that she now wanted a family and he admitted that he didn’t want any more kids. Once the holidays were over, the couple could no longer avoid the issue. After several days of silence, along with some intervention from Lyn and some old baby photos, Max was convinced to give fatherhood a third try. Steph was delighted and, despite one or two hiccups, the family celebrated with them.

When Mal Kennedy returned to town, he announced that he’d be selling number 32. Steph felt terrible when all the savings she could produce were $1000, but she still offered it to the fund so she and Max could buy their home. Soon after this, war broke out between Max’s sister, Izzy and Steph’s mum, Lyn. With Lyn believing that Izzy had deliberately broken up the Kennedy marriage and Izzy accusing Lyn of being nothing more than a gossip, Steph didn’t know where to place her loyalties. Her troubles grew when an old mate of Max’s, Gus Cleary, came to town, hell bent on revenge for Max getting him sacked from the rigs two years ago. When Gus found out the Hoylands limit at the auction, he started phoning in and placing anonymous bids, pushing Max and Steph way over their limit and leaving them in dire financial straits. The young couple refused to let it phase them though, and Steph concentrated on her upcoming hospital appointment. After learning that her cancer was still in remission, Steph decided to grab the bull by the horns and proposed to Max. He happily accepted, and the couple got down to planning their future, little realising that Gus was doing everything in his power to take over from Max as head of the household.

With Gus trying to muscle his way in, Steph only managed to give him a helping hand, as she spoke to Roberta Marley about going on a school tour. The tour would involve speaking to children about what she’d been through with her cancer, and she felt obliged to go. However, as Max had recently slipped a disc, she felt guilty about leaving him in the hands of Gus and Izzy. However, he family and friends soon convinced her, and she set off for three weeks in the country.

Steph was in for a surprise when she returned from her trip, as she found out that mentally unstable Gus had been stalking the family. Steph was horrified when a fight between Max and Gus resulted in her fiance suffering a fall, though luckily his injuries weren’t serious. Meanwhile, Max and Steph were also busy trying to plan their wedding. With interference from Lyn, Steph was forced to admit to Max that she only wanted a simple wedding. In the midst of all this, Gus was finally found and sectioned. However, Izzy’s discomfort with Gus’ continued presence in their lives, made Steph wonder if there wasn’t something that her future sister-in-law was hiding…

After several arguments about Izzy, Max and Steph finally agreed to simply get on with things and let Izzy live her own life. With the wedding coming, Steph had plenty to occupy her mind, but when she realised that her period was late, she began to wonder if her dream of having a baby was about to come true. Worried that she might be getting excited over nothing, she only told Max of her suspicions. However, she couldn’t keep her news a secret from Lyn or Libby, and before long, her family all knew about it. However, once Max finally convinced her to take a pregnanct test, it was already too late as she’d had her period and knew she wasn’t expecting. But with the wedding only days away, she had little time to dwell on her disappointment, especially with Lyn and Valda busy organising the biggest wedding Erinsborough had ever seen. Steph wasn’t keen on the extravaganza, but believed that it was what Max wanted, so she went along with it. However, once the couple realised that they both wanted a small, quiet affair, they decided that they had no option left but to elope.

They managed to escape from Ramsay Street, but Steph knew that she had to come clean to her mum. After phoning an anxious Lyn, they set about finding someone to marry them, as well as witnesses, and headed to a park for the ceremony. At the last minute, however, most of Ramsay Street, led by Lyn, arrived to join them. Lyn apologised for her interference, and everything went without a hitch. Afterwards, Steph’s biological grandfather, Charlie, proposed to Valda, and that couple also got married.

Returning from their honeymoon, Steph was shocked to find that Jack was making quite a mess of his life. She tried to help him to get the business back on track by helping with the books, but she realised that things were a lot more serious that she’d realised when Jack admitted that he had a drug problem. Steph tried to get Karl involved, but Jack just wanted to work things out on his own. After a few days, it seemed to be working, but Steph saw him leaving the house in the car one night and confronted him. He told her that he’d lied, before speeding off and going clubbing. Steph searched for him, but was in for a nasty shock the next day when she and Max came across a car accident, and she realised that Jack had been involved. At the hospital, Steph decided not to tell her parents until she knew what was going on, as Jack had started coughing up blood and required an operation. Luckily, he pulled through, and Steph took him back to stay at the Hoyland house for a few days. She admitted to Max that she felt responsible, as Jack had been such a rock to her during her cancer treatment. In the end, Jack broke down in tears after trying to steal money from Max, and Steph took him away for a few days at Stanno’s old place in the country.

Whilst there, they both managed to exorcise a few demons, and Jack finally admitted that he had a serious problem and would get help. Meanwhile, Steph was also forced to be honest. She explained that she wanted a baby more than anything, but that Max didn’t want to interfere with nature. Jack decided to have a few words with Max, which finally moved the process on, and the couple went for some tests. Steph was convinced that her cancer treatment would have rendered her unable to have children, but after a series of tests, it emerged that Max was the one with the problem. Although Max was depressed about this, Steph continued to look for a way to have a baby, suggesting IVF and sperm donation. Max disagreed with all of these methods, and Steph had finally had enough of his negativity. She confronted Max, accusing him of simply not wanting to have a baby with her. She told him that she was going away for a while to think about things and it seemed like the Hoyland marriage was in serious trouble before it had barely begun…

Max was unable to cope without Steph, and managed to get the address of Stanno’s place from Lyn. He then drove there and they had an honest chat about the way they were feeling. It seemed as though they’d reached the point of no return, until Max suddenly decided that he would try for a baby after all. The couple returned to Erinsborough and started the IVF treatment. Meanwhile, Steph was in for a shock when her mother announced that her marriage was failing. Lyn, desperate to hide the truth from Steph, then went to visit Joe and returned claiming that things were looking better. However, it wasn’t until Jack blurted out the truth that Steph realised how serious things were. With the marriage over, Steph decided to go and spend a few days with her father in Bendigo. Upon her return, she and Max were disappointed to find out that their first session of IVF had failed, but they weren’t about to give up. By Christmas, Steph had convinced herself that she was pregnant, but she was about to have bigger things to worry about…

Steph’s grandfather, Charlie, returned to town in time for Christmas and brought his sister, Doreen, along to meet the family. Steph was upset when she overheard them discussing the fact that Charlie only had weeks to live and, once Lyn found out, the family did their best to make sure he was comfortable and constantly cared for. Because of her own battle with cancer, Steph grew particularly close to Charlie during this time and he came to appreciate the way she refused to treat him like an invalid. She even attempted to take him down to Shelley Bay, to see his boat one last time, but he became unwell on the jetty and they had to take him home. On Boxing Day, Steph and Jack sat with Charlie on his boat, Sheergold Scandal, which they’d managed to tow up to Ramsay Street and he told them some sailing stories, before Jack left town to reunite with Nina in Hollywood. Later that day, Charlie took a turn for the worse and Steph sat with him as he passed away. As she tried to adjust his pillow and make him more comfortable, Lyn walked in with Charlie’s son, Michael, who had just returned from China. To them, the situation looked quite suspicious and Michael accused Steph of murder.

When Karl was unable to sign the death certificate, a police investigation began. A post mortem proved to be inconclusive, but traces of pillow fibres, as well as quite a lot of painkillers, in Charlie’s system made Steph’s case look bad. She was arrested for the attempted murder of her grandfather and shocked when Paul Robinson, a former Ramsay Street resident who’d recently returned to the area, paid her bail. The stress of all this, coupled with Max being slightly injured during an explosion at Lassiter’s, began to get on top of Steph and things only got worse when she realised that her pregnancy was a false alarm. As her trial approached, Steph struggled to keep things together, but as she got some rest at number 26 one afternoon, Charlie paid her a visit and told her that everything happened for a reason, leaving Steph with renewed hope for her future.

The jury found Steph guilty, but she was given a suspended sentence. Once home, Michael came to realise that he’d been wrong to treat his new-found family so badly and they managed to patch up their differences before he left town. Steph was determined to move on from the whole experience, but realised that her criminal conviction had ruled out the possibility of adoption. With this in mind, she was determined to be the best possible mother to Summer and Boyd. Her big test began when Max was offered six weeks’ work on the rigs, which would bring in some good money and help clear some of the debt. With Max gone, Steph found her parenting skills challenged daily, as Summer struggled to fit in at school, while Boyd aroused suspicions with his erratic behaviour. Steph confronted him over this, asking him if he’d been taking steroids. He denied it, and medical tests proved negative, with Boyd quitting his job at the gym shortly afterwards. However, just when she thought the worst was over, Steph was given a serious shock when Boyd’s health began to deteriorate dramatically. When he started to believe that his dead mother was still alive, Boyd was admitted to a psychiatric ward and diagnosed with adolescent schizophrenia. Steph tried desperately to contact Max, but the line was so poor that he efforts were futile.

After a few weeks, it was discovered that Boyd’s mental illness had been misdiagnosed and he was in fact suffering from a brain tumour. Following an operation, Boyd slipped into a coma, whilst Steph finally got word to Max, who returned and immediately took his upset out on his wife. Summer convinced Max that Steph had done everything she could and had coped extremely well with the terrible situation they were in. As Boyd finally regained consciousness, Steph was pleased to meet Max’s dad, Bobby Hoyland, who had arrived for a visit just in time. But Max was horrified to see his dad, and he told Steph that Bobby had never been around when he was a kid and would probably abandon them again soon, leaving disaster in his wake. Nonetheless, Steph made an effort to get to know her father-in-law and explained to him the situation with her being unable to adopt since she had a criminal conviction. Bobby convinced her that she should appeal and have her conviction overturned, enabling her to adopt and Steph considered this, before mentioning it to Max. When Bobby later came up with the cash to fund the appeal, Max was furious, telling his father that it could all go wrong and Steph could find herself with a worse sentence than before. Fortunately, the verdict was overthrown in court and Steph was thrilled when Max told her that they could begin the adoption process.

The first meeting with adoption official Peter Reece left Steph concerned that she might not be strong enough to adopt a baby, particularly if she were to fall pregnant with her own child soon after. Max assured her that this wouldn’t be the case and that there would always be enough love for every child in their home. Days later, a young homeless girl named Kayla Thomas saw the Hoylands’ profile and asked to see them. After the interview, Kayla decided that she wanted her unborn child to go to them and, after talking things through with Boyd and Summer, an ecstatic Steph and Max agreed. However, when Kayla turned to them for help after getting into trouble at the hostel where she was staying and they later spotted her scrounging food at the bar and begging outside Lassiter’s, Steph was adamant that they had to help. The family realised that being in contact with Kayla could jeopardise the adoption, but Steph insisted that she come and spend a few nights at number 32. After one night, and some bonding with Boyd, Kayla left, but it wasn’t long before she was back and this time, she went into labour.

The Hoylands were forced to send Kayla to hospital in a taxi, just in case the adoption people were waiting, but Boyd insisted on going along and ended up giving a fake name and staying for the birth. Max and Steph became concerned with Boyd’s growing bond with Kayla and baby Ashley and were astonished when Boyd announced that Kayla no longer wanted to give the baby up. Once the cooling off period was over, Max and Steph visited the hospital and told Kayla that it was fine if she’d changed her mind, but they needed to know now. Kayla insisted that Boyd had the wrong end of the stick and she still wanted to go through with it, and Steph excitedly looked forward to finally becoming a mum. Her joy quickly turned into a nightmare as Boyd and Kayla announced that Ashley was no longer up for adoption, as they were going to raise her themselves. Steph’s anger only grew as Max allowed the three of them to stay at number 32, and she walked out, going to her mum for advice, but stopping short of leaving him altogether.

Things only got worse when Peter Reece turned up, having found out that Kayla had stayed with the family on several occasions. He told Max and Steph that they had been permanently removed from the list of potential adoptive parents. Kayla’s guilt led to her walking out, leaving Ashley in the care of Max and Steph. Steph quickly realised that she couldn’t leave things as they were and set about tracking down Kayla. The Hoylands finally found her with her boyfriend, and Ashley’s father, Anthony. Kayla admitted that Anthony didn’t even know that she’d been pregnant but luckily he was delighted to find out that he was a father and the Hoylands left the young parents to manage on their own. Meanwhile, Steph had something new to worry about when she started to feel unwell and began to worry that her cancer had returned. She kept her hospital visits a secret, not wanting to worry Max, but was forced to tell him after he caught her in a lie. Max then insisted on joining Steph for the test results, which were all clear, but Karl admitted that the symptoms all pointed towards Steph being pregnant. After the news was confirmed by an ultrasound, Steph and Max were delighted, particularly as the news came on his 40th birthday.

In the weeks that followed, Steph decided to give up her job at the garage, as the fumes were making her feel ill, and she started helping out more at the Scarlet Bar. As Izzy was spending less and less time there, Max proposed to his sister that they buy her out. A furious, and, it was later revealed, drugged up, Izzy stormed out of the office and knocked Steph into the bar on her way. Fortunately, after a trip to the hospital, Steph was given a clean bill of health and the incident also proved to be the final straw for Max’s relationship with Izzy. However, the problems were quickly forgotten when Izzy was involved in a plane crash during a joy flight celebrating 20 years of Lassiter’s hotel. The incident made them all realise the importance of family and Izzy agreed to start pulling her weight at the bar.

Just as things seemed to be settling down for Steph, she was disturbed by a series of dreams about Drew Kirk. As they seemed to have erotic undertones, she kept them a secret from Max, until she accidentally called him ‘Drew’ one night and was forced to confess all. Meanwhile, the dreams took a sinister turn when Drew tried to take Steph’s baby away, and she began to fear for the health of her unborn child. Max convinced her that there was nothing to fear, and before long, Drew had gone away again. However, he returned one last time to try and convince her to leave Max, and she woke up with a start, wondering what could be behind the strange dreams. It wasn’t until Boyd and Max reminded her of how strong she was, having beaten cancer, that Steph realised that Drew had been warning her about her own health. She found another lump in her breast and told Max that the cancer had returned.

After some tests, it was confirmed that Steph was indeed suffering from breast cancer again. Karl explained to her that the treatment would pose little danger to the unborn child, who they had since found out was going to be a boy and had named Charlie, after Steph’s late grandfather. However, she wanted guarantees that her child would not be harmed and when they couldn’t be given, she decided not to have treatment until after Charlie’s birth. In a desperate act, and in the hope of preventing the loss of a second wife, Max decided to get a legal and medical intervention and have Steph assessed for mental incompetence. However, when Dr Helen McNamara turned up at the house, Steph was horrified to realise what Max had done behind her back and she threw him out of home.

A few days later, when Lyn was busy with work, Steph took Oscar from Paul and Izzy’s place, and drove to the park. Everyone was frantic that the child had disappeared, until they spotted Steph leaving the house with him after rewinding Paul’s home security videos. Stuart found Steph and Oscar in the park, and she started to cry, realising how much worry she’d caused everyone. Meanwhile, Stuart, whose own wife, Sindi, had been sent away for psychiatric treatment, convinced Max that Steph was showing signs of mental illness and he should catch it before it got any worse. At number 32, Steph became confused about the events of that day and broke down in tears when Max came to visit. She allowed him to return home and admitted that she was terrified of how difficult she was finding decisions. With Stuart’s words echoing in his mind, Max arranged for Steph to be taken away by the police for an involuntary 72-hour assessment. Steph’s trust in Max was shattered and, having convinced the psychiatrists that she was sane, she went away with Lyn for a few weeks at a health retreat.

Upon her return, Steph was still adamant that her marriage to Max was over and they agreed that he would move out. However, Boyd wasn’t about to see them throw their marriage away and, after angrily telling them both to stop being so stubborn, they realised that their marriage wasn’t worth throwing away. However, as they celebrated their reunion, Steph confided in Susan that her health wasn’t as good as she was making out and she was beginning to experience symptoms from the cancer. She swore Susan, and Karl, who came to examine her, to secrecy, explaining that if Max and Lyn found out, they’d force her into getting treatment that she didn’t want yet. Steph managed to keep it from Max for a few weeks, then news came through that Summer, who was visiting Rosie in Fiji, had been diagnosed with Dengue fever. Max flew out to be with his sick daughter, but as he left Erinsborough, Steph’s health problems finally got on top of her and she collapsed in front of Boyd. Steph was admitted to hospital, where Karl informed her that the cancerous growth was getting bigger and time was running out. Still, she decided to wait another couple of weeks until the baby could be safely delivered by caesarean section, and convinced Boyd not to tell Max for now.

It wasn’t until Steph had a dream in which a teenaged Charlie was coping with life without his mum around that she came to her senses. As soon as she woke up, she announced that she wanted to have the baby delivered and begin her cancer treatment. Karl, Lyn and Boyd were delighted, and news came through that Max and Summer were on their way back from Fiji. As Boyd drove them back from the airport, Max phoned Steph who, in her excitement at hearing from him, suddenly went into labour. She took it as a sign and, despite the fears of Karl and Dr. Olenski, was determined to go through with a natural birth. When Max arrived, he helped her through the labour and, by morning, Charlie Hoyland was born. A delighted Max and Steph had a few precious hours with him, and Steph got to feed her newborn son, before being taken away to theatre and her cancer operation.

In the weeks that followed, Lyn moved in with Max and Steph, hoping to pass down some of her wisdom about raising children, but Steph quickly made it clear that both her husband and mother were wrapping her in cotton wool. Lyn quickly moved out, but she still wanted to help and was upset to learn that baby Charlie wasn’t going to have a christening. Although Max and Steph agreed a compromise by arranging a naming day, Lyn feared that her grandson would suffer without some kind of religious ceremony. Whilst babysitting one day, she took matters into her own hands and arranged her own christening, but Susan managed to talk her out of it. When Steph found out, relations with Lyn hit an all-time low. 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 spotted a baby utility belt that Steph had adapted from an old tool belt, he was impressed and saw the chance to make some money from it. With Lyn’s encouragement, Steph signed a contract to have it mass marketed, but when Max later 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 furious with her mother for apparently selling her out. There was some good news to come, however, when Steph completed her course of intensive radiotherapy and was given the good news that it had been a success and she was cancer-free.

Over the weeks that followed, however, Steph struggled to deal with the changes to her body. She confided in her mum that she was losing confidence in herself and didn’t want to get intimate with Max, for fear that her scars would put him off. After finally admitting her fears to Max, he told her that he was proud of her scars, as they showed that she’d fought cancer and won, and Steph began to feel happier with herself as Max showered her with attention and took her on a date to Lanzini’s. However, other matters at home didn’t end quite so happily, as Boyd moved out when Max gave him an ultimatum over his engagement to Janae Timmins. Steph feared that Max was over-reacting and alienating his son, but Max refused to listen to reason and laughed as he received an invitation to the wedding. Facing so little support, Boyd and Janae opted to elope and the news of the sudden wedding was broken to Max, Steph and Janelle by Summer, who had returned for the occasion. Steph happily congratulated the couple and later gave them some money to pay for a decent honeymoon, while Max stayed away. He only turned up at the reception to point out to the newlyweds that their marriage wasn’t even legal, as Janae had used a fake birth certificate. Steph told Max that it probably wasn’t the best time to be confronting them, and warned him to leave before he said something he would regret. Outside, as Steph, Janelle, Bree and Summer waved off the couple, Max skulked in the background, unwilling to accept what his son had done.

Upon their return from their honeymoon on Wye River, Boyd and Janae managed to patch things up with Max, but, over the weeks that followed, Steph came to realise that perhaps it was her own marriage that was in trouble. As Steph concentrated her efforts on finding out which of her neighbours had reported her to the council for excessive noise, Max developed a friendship with Katya Kinski, after accidentally knocking her down in his car. Although she wasn’t badly hurt, a guilty Max started spending time with her. Due to a relationship with the unstable Robert Robinson, Katya found it difficult to trust any men, but found comfort in Max, who agreed to help her learn about her Tibetan roots. Unaware that she had anything to be worried about, Steph found out that it had been Toadie who reported her, but he claimed it to be a joke and accused Steph of having no sense of humour. Steph then started playing jokes on her friends and neighbours, as Max went away on a Buddhist retreat with Katya. Soon after, an oblivious Steph learnt from Susan that Katya had a crush on Max and had admitted to falling in love with him during that weekend away. Steph confronted her husband, desperate to know why he had kept her in the dark, but he assured her that she had nothing to worry about.

As Steph came to rely more and more on Toadie’s advice and friendship, she was horrified to learn that Max had been involved in an accident whilst trying to help Katya. After wrongly believing that Robert had escaped from prison and come after Katya, Max ran over Robert’s identical twin, Cameron, putting him in intensive care. A distressed Steph promised to stand by Max, but afterwards, admitted to Toadie that she couldn’t understand why Max would save the life of a woman he didn’t care about. And when Cameron died the following week, the Hoyland marriage seemed more unstable then ever. In the weeks after Cameron’s death, Max’s behaviour became increasingly distant and he admitted that he was terrified of holding Charlie, as every time he looked at his son, he imagined him dying. Max’s behaviour then got worse, as he became confused and even mistakenly left the house one day, believing that Steph had taken Charlie with her to work, when he was actually still in the house. However, as Max became more and more insistent that he wasn’t losing his mind and that he was being framed, Steph and Boyd grew more and more concerned that he was, not realising that he was right, and Elle had been setting Max up, as revenge for Cameron’s death. Eventually, Max concluded that he was putting Steph and Charlie’s lives at risk by being around them, and, with no evidence that he’d been framed, he admitted himself to the psychiatric ward of the hospital.

Although Steph continued to visit Max and support him, she realised that he was no longer himself, as the medication caused him to ramble, repeat himself and even confuse Steph with his late wife, Claire. Eventually though, after tests showed that Max was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and was recovering, Steph arranged for him to be allowed home to continue his care. However, when she, Boyd and Janae then went to collect him, they found out that he had disappeared. The following day, his coat and a photo of the Hoyland family was found at a bus stop and Steph began to realise that he had deliberately walked out and may never come back. As she struggled to cope, Steph turned to Toadie, who had left Erinsborough for a new job in Sydney, worried that he was becoming too close to his married friend. Upon hearing the news, Toadie returned, moving in with Steph and Charlie as his own house had been rented to new tenants in his absence. As Max’s return started to look more and more unlikely, and his wedding ring was found with a local homeless man, Steph was glad of Toadie’s help with arranging finances at the bar and his support in looking after Charlie.

After Max was spotted at a Salvation Army shelter, it was left to Harold to pass on the news that he wasn’t going to come home and that Steph should get on with her life. And when Toadie decided to move out of number 32, fearing that he was falling in love with Steph all over again, she failed to realise the truth and, following a night out at a cocktail party at Lassiter’s, the pair shared a kiss. Though the pair tried to deny their feelings over the weeks that followed, and Steph told an indignant Boyd that she wasn’t simply behaving like Max never existed, things came to a head when Steph, Charlie and Toadie were involved in a siege at number 32. The situation was once again down to Katya, who was being blackmailed over her past as a criminal and drug addict by Guy Sykes, with whom she’d stolen cars before going into rehab. Believing that Katya had made $10,000 from stealing more cars, Guy was determined to get to the money and when he spotted Katya entering number 32 on Christmas Day, he followed her inside and threatened her and Steph with a gun. They were quickly joined by Katya’s brother, Zeke and Toadie, who had been in the shower and a tense stand-off ensued. When Guy was distracted for a moment, Zeke managed to knock him down and everyone but Toadie escaped. Moments later, as Toadie ran out of the front door, Guy got up and fired the gun, leaving Toadie with a bullet in his back.

As Toadie narrowly survived his shooting and lay unconscious in hospital, Steph admitted to Susan that the incident had made her realise that her feelings for him ran far deeper than just friendship. Boyd overheard the confession and finally told his stepmum that he just wanted her to be happy and gave Steph a necklace that he’d found at number 32 – Toadie’s Christmas present to her. When Toadie regained consciousness, she told him that she loved him and wanted them to be together. But their happiness wasn’t to last – as Max suddenly returned, having been staying with a family in Waratah Park that he met through the church. Steph found herself torn, but was quick to tell Max that she couldn’t just pick up where they left off – he had caused her a great deal of pain by disappearing and she couldn’t just forget that. Following another chat with Susan, Steph realised that her future lay with Toadie, but it was too late, as he’d already come to the conclusion that their relationship couldn’t work with Max back in town and he didn’t want to see her again. With that decision made, Steph decided that her only option was to give her marriage to Max another try and asked him to move back into number 32 so that they could begin to move forward.

Steph found it difficult to continue with Max as if nothing had happened, despite his attempts to win her over with romantic gestures, including a hot air balloon ride. But the old magic was gone and the pair sadly realised that their marriage was over. After spending a few days in Shelly Bay with Valda and Lyn – who had since left Erinsborough following a brief but disastrous marriage to Paul – Steph and Max returned to break the news to Boyd and Summer, who was home for a few days. They reacted badly at first, but came to terms with the news and said their goodbyes to their dad as he left Erinsborough to take a job on the Gippsland rigs. Steph was then left running the bar, and trying to come to terms with her feelings for Toadie. But before she could do that, he found himself a new girlfriend in the form of Abby Stafford. Toadie had met Abby through a dial-a-date agency and when Steph later spotted her with another man in the General Store, she immediately jumped to the conclusion that Toadie’s new woman was cheating on him, but received a curt reply when she tried to warn him. But the pair quickly patched things up when Abby’s young daughter, Zoe, went missing in Toadie’s care, and Steph was the one who found her. Struggling to cope with seeing Toadie moving on, and the end of her marriage, Steph decided to take some time away from Erinsborough and left to spend a month in the country, checking out new wine suppliers and visiting her family. Before leaving, Susan encouraged Steph to speak to Toadie, and even ask him to join her on the trip. But when Steph put her feelings on the line, she was left humiliated when Toadie said nothing and she quickly left, not realising that he had tried to come after her, but had been stopped in his tracks by Abby.

While she was away, Steph heard the tragic news that Toadie’s cousin, Stingray Timmins, had died from an aneurysm, following an operation to donate bone marrow to his niece, Kerry. Upon her return, Steph was quick to track down Toadie at the office and offer her sympathies and Abby soon pointed out that she was still working as Toadie’s secretary – and still his girlfriend. But seeing the emotion between the two of them finally made Abby realise that she was standing in the way of true love. Single again, Toadie went to see Steph and suggested that they give things another try – but take it slowly this time. Despite this plan, it wasn’t long before Steph was asking Toadie to move in with him and, although he was slightly freaked out when fake spiritualist Terrence Chesterton told him that his late wife, Dee, didn’t approve of the new union, he packed up his stuff and went to live with Steph. And although they had to sell some of the furniture – as Toadie freaked out about sleeping in Max and Steph’s former marital bed – it seemed that they were going to be very happy living together.

With her personal life back on an even keel, Steph’s professional life was in for a few changes as she took over the bar from Max. As her renovations plans hit one snag after another with the local council, and Sky’s idea to use one of the bar’s side walls as a graffiti memorial for Stingray was also rejected, Steph suddenly came up with the idea of running for council herself and improving the situation from the inside. With Toadie as her campaign manager, she pressed ahead, determined to portray herself as a real person; an approachable working mum who had the interests of the local people as her primary interest. On the night that the bar’s renovations and new name, Charlie’s, were launched, Steph planned to announce her political plans with a speech but ended up backing out at the last minute. A week later, thanks to Toadie taking over the entire campaign, Steph had another attempt to launch her political ambitions, this time with a press conference at the community hall. But, as she started reading Toadie’s speech to the gathered journalists, she realised that the long words and spiel were the complete opposite of what she was standing for, and instead explained that she simply wanted to provide people with a safe community. And while it won over the assembled crowd, Toadie was furious with her for completely ignoring his advice and started threatening to run for council himself.

The following week, Toadie and Steph attended the wedding of neighbours Rosetta Cammeniti and Frazer Yeats, but the day ended badly when the minibus carrying many of the guests back to Ramsay Street, driven by Toadie, collided with the Parker family’s removal van. Frazer’s brother Ringo Brown was the only person seriously injured in the accident, left in a coma and, while Ned Parker’s son, Mickey, was to blame, having been messing in the van and taken the handbrake off, Toadie was found to be very close to the legal alcohol limit. He underwent further tests and, a few days later, as he and Steph were in the middle of a council debate, Toadie was arrested and, in front of the gathered press, he formally withdrew from the council race. Having been charged, Toadie started to resign himself to losing his career and possibly his freedom, but Steph, having seen Max spiral into depression the year before, quickly snapped him out of it and encouraged him to fight. And as his day in court arrived, Toadie did fight, with colleague Rosetta on his side, and was left with a $1000 fine and a six-month suspension of his licence.

On the day of the trial, Toadie's big brother, Stonie turned up for a visit, bringing with him a secret pot addiction. When Toadie found out, he told his brother to get out, but Steph allowed him to stay a little longer. The stress of this, coupled with problems at work, caused Toadie to have a panic attack, and a guilty Stonie finally opened up about problems in his marriage to Chantelle and agreed to try and give up the drugs, only for Chantelle to then turn up and announce that she'd decided to take a little holiday in Erinsborough herself. The final straw came when Stonie hid some of his drugs in the bin and then left baby Charlie unattended. At the hospital, he was found to be OK, but it made him realise that he needed help and, on the day of the election, he and Chantelle headed off home. Steph, meanwhile, won her place on local council but during her first meeting, she found that it wasn't going to be an easy ride. After being ignored by the other councillors when she tried to bring up a memorial wall for Stingray, councillor Jackie Jones took Steph to one side and told her that, if she wanted to get things done, she'd need to learn to play by the rules. So, when a book launch was helf at Charlie's for celebrity chef Tony Aristedes, Steph asked him to stay on and cook up a few nibblies, before inviting Jackie and some of the other councillors along. The plan to win them over succeeded and Steph found that she now had some leverage to get her childcare centre off the ground, but Jackie warned her that it would be at the expense of Stingray's memorial wall. Steph was then left to break the news to Janae that her brother's memorial wasn't going to happen.

Things at home were no less difficult, when Steph took offence to Toadie bringing in his old green armchair from number 30. When Steph pointed out that Toadie hadn't even consulted her about removing her sofa and replacing it, he reminded her that he'd lived there for six months, and it was the only thing belonging to him in the room. Steph apologised, but told Toadie that her name still being Hoyland, and the house still being full of furniture she'd chosen with Max didn't make a difference to how she felt about him, and that the armchair could stay. Steph's heartfelt words then gave Toadie an idea and, after gathering many of their friends and neighbours at Lassiter's, he left Steph lost for words when he proposed with the help of a skywriter. With many expectant eyes on her, Steph was forced to turn Toadie down, and the tension was then broken as Valda made a surprise return to town. Steph was grateful to have her grandmother's ample bosom to cry into, as Toadie struggled to accept Steph's explanation that she simply didn't want to walk down the aisle for a third time, and was happy with things the way they were. With things becoming increasingly awkward, Steph took Toadie for a ride on her motorbike, to a secluded spot, where she told him that she was going to change her surname back to Scully. She then read some vows that she'd written for him, and agreed to the engagement, though she explained that it might have to be a long one. Meanwhile, council matters were also proving problematic, as many of the locals, led by Janae, launched a campaign to save Stingray's wall. Though she felt awful, Steph tried to be loyal to the council, but when Jackie Jones turned up and jokingly suggested that Steph should bring Charlie down to Lassiter's for a photo op, since Janae had recruited young Mickey Gannon to help get signatures. Disgusted by Jackie's comment, Steph decided to go and join the rest of the protestors, lined up in front of the wall to stop the council workmen from painting over it. A few hours later, a call came through with the news that the council had backed down and the wall could stay, a decision strongly swayed by Steph's involvement. With one of her promises achieved, Steph headed off the following week on a work trip to Adelaide, to further research her plans to build a childcare centre in Erinsborough.

Upon her return to Erinsborough, Steph was thrilled when Libby paid a visit, as Susan battled health problems, eventually being diagnosed with MS. As Steph supported her best friend, she was shocked to learn that Darren had once again cheated on her, which brought her problems with Toadie to the surface once again. Toadie was forced to admit that he supported Darren, who explained that he'd felt like he was always competing with the memory of Drew, which led to an argument about why Steph was still refusing to wear her engagement ring. After hearing Libby talk about Drew, even mentioning that she couldn't ever remember having an argument with him, Steph realised that perhaps Darren and Toadie had a point, and even put her ring on her finger for the first time. Steph then 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.

Steph supported Libby as she struggled to overcome her fears and reconcile with Darren but was annoyed when Libby questioned her own commitment to Toadie. Her doubts escalated when Libby and Darren split for good and Steph agreed to accompany Libby when she returned to Shepparton to pack up her belongings. The morning of the trip Steph`s divorce papers came through and fearing that Toadie would push her into marriage she hid the truth from him. Unfortunately Toadie found out the truth from Steph`s grandma Valda and was clearly upset. After a call from Valda and a chat with Libby, Steph had to decide whether she loved Toadie as a lover or a friend. Her decision made she proposed to Toadie in front of Ramsay Street residents the very next day and announced that the wedding would take the following month.

The lead up to the wedding saw problem after problem for the couple. Steph learnt that Toadie considered leaving her when he found out she`d failed to be honest with him about her divorce and she found it difficult to match up to the memory of his first wife Dee. He questioned how much she loved him and called off the wedding before she convinced him it was what she wanted. Then disaster after disaster. Her parents and siblings couldn`t make it, the wedding rings were inscribed with the wrong names , Toadie`s suit was too small and finally Charlie wrecked the cake. Toadie was convinced this was a sign for them not to get married. On the morning of the wedding at the rehearsal Susan collapsed and was rushed to hospital. Steph and Toadie wanted to call off the wedding but Susan urged them to carry on.

At the church Toadie nervously waited with his best men, Frazer and Steph`s son Charlie. Outside Steph had an attack of nerves and delayed entering the church. When she reached the alter she stumbled over her vows which convinced Toadie she was marrying him for the wrong reasons and not because she loved him. He called off the wedding leaving Steph to explain to the guests that the wedding was off. Shortly afterwards she was implicated in a Council scandal about withdrawing security at a disused warehouse. Although she had been framed by Jackie Jones, the new mayor who misused Steph`s proxy vote, she took her share of the blame and gave Toadie evidence to bring Jackie down. She took off to Shelly Bay to spend some time with her mum and sort out her head leaving Toadie to continue the fight. In her absence Toadie and Rebecca Napier found evidence which proved that Steph was innocent.

Upon her return she pledged to repair her relationship with Toadie and made it clear to him that she still wanted him in her life and that his friendship was very important to her. He was in an unforgiving mood, moving the rest of his belongings to no 30 and demanding access to Charlie who he had grown close to. Toadie found it difficult to be around Steph so decided to take an open ended contract in East Timor offering legal expertise. Steph was devastated as Toadie told both Charlie and Valda that he`d miss them but said an awkward and cold goodbye to her.

In an effort to take her mind of things Steph volunteered for SES training with Dan Fitzgerald and the Parker brothers, Ned and Steve. Dan questioned whether Steph`s mind was on the job when she turned up and they argued about it. Then Steph and Dan fell down an abandoned mineshaft and had to be rescued. Whilst trapped they had some deep and meaningful discussions about the mistakes they had made and what they wanted for the future. After being treated for a broken collarbone, Steph was allowed to leave hospital and asked her friend Libby to move in with her. The girls decided their household didn`t need men and they made a toast to the house of skirt.

When news came through that Toadie was to return home Steph became nervous. She didn`t know how he would behave towards her and whether he would still want to be friends. First impressions seemed promising and he seemed friendly towards her. She took a sneaky look at his photos and saw some pictures of him with a woman and kids. Mistakenly thinking he had found someone else she tried to tease the truth out of him taking beer and pizza round to no 30 to share in front of the footy on TV. After a relaxing beginning she raised the subject of the photos which prompted an angry reaction from Toadie and her being asked to leave. Later Toadie complained about Steph to Dan who said that Steph really had a cheek to show that she cared about him. Realising that Steph did have his best interests at heart he went around to no 32 with ice-cream as a peace offering. He then revealed he hadn`t found romance but he was going to adopt a child from East Timor.

Unfortunately as Toadie had lied on the adoption papers he wasn`t allowed to adopt the child and he lashed out at Steph saying she thought it was a foolish idea. In an effort to take Toadie`s mind off the failed adoption she introduced him to 10 year old Callum Jones. Callum was the grandson of Steph's employee Hilda, who was a cleaner at Charlie`s. Hilda felt that Callum needed a positive male influence and Steph thought Toadie fitted the bill. Neither Callum or Toadie were keen on the idea but as Steph convinced Toadie, Callum found Toadie's lawman outfit and they bonded over their love of wrestling. The boy later found his grandmother was ill and stayed with Toadie whilst she was in hospital. Ty, Steph`s lodger and bar man at Charlie`s asked her if she could host a fireman`s fundraiser and the original venue had let them down. She was introduced to Jay Duncan, to whom she felt an instant attraction. The feeling was mutual and he asked her out. She declined, explaining to Libby that Toadie may need help with Callum. Libby forced her hand by saying she`d accept the invitation for her so Steph agreed to dinner. Unfortunately she lost her phone so didn`t answer his calls and they didn`t meet again until the night of the fundraiser. They got on well and started dating but Steph was conscious of how Toadie would feel about her dating again. After walking in on Steph and Jay kissing Toadie was visibly upset but told Steph that they were over so she should go for it with her new beau.

Steph joined Jay and other RSRs SES clearing a forest. Jay had earlier invited Toadie and Callum along and was shocked to discover that Steph and Toadie had been engaged. Jealous, he questioned Steph about her closeness to Toadie and she assured him they were just friends, best friends. The group were caught in a bush fire which resulted in the death of Marco Silvani, the partner of neighbour Carmella. Jay led the rescue to ensure all the others were safe and was hailed a hero. It was revealed that the fire was arson and the hunt was on for the culprit. Jay pointed the finger at Callum saying it was classic behaviour for a problem child and Steph voiced her concerns to Toadie. They again argued and Toadie began to suspect Jay. Thinking he was accusing Jay because he was jealous she told him to butt out of her life and ignored his warnings about her new boyfriend.

Jay took Steph and her son Charlie to a cabin miles away from anywhere for a romantic break. Before they left Toadie`s friend Nicola had put several articles about Jay in Steph`s bag which showed him with several blonde single mums. Alarm bells started to ring for Steph and she soon became unsettled by Jay`s erratic behaviour. She attempted to leave but found he`d tampered with her car and she couldn`t go anywhere. His behaviour became more obsessive and bizarre and finally Steph felt she had no option than to send her son off into the bush so he`d be safe. Meanwhile, Toadie and Nicola were hunting for her after receiving a phone call which hinted of the location of the cabin. Finding Charlie at the side of the road, Nicola stayed with him while Toadie went to help Steph. Back at the cabin, Steph had tried to escape but had been caught by Jay and was begging for her life as he threatening to set her alight. Toadie barged in and rescued her, leaving Jay to take Toadie`s car and drive off.

When Steph returned home she was terrified that Jay would come to find her and clung to Toadie for support. He stayed with her and assured her she would be safe but one night Jay broke in but was scared off by Callum who raised the alarm. Steph was frantic and decided to visit her dad in Bendigo. Before she left she realised that she was no longer Jay`s intended victim and that he was going after Toadie. She rushed to no 30 to find Jay threatening Toadie with a pair of scissors. She dived in between them and was stabbed by Jay who then fled the scene. He was pursued by Dan and later arrested. Steph was rushed to hospital and underwent emergency surgery. Toadie anxiously waited outside and was encouraged by Nicola to confess to Steph that he still loved her. He refused as he felt she only needed him as a comfort blanket. Steph meanwhile told Libby that letting him go was the biggest mistake of her life and she wanted to make another go of it but Libby told her that she only wanted him because he was safe and not for the right reasons.

After taking Libby`s advice and remaining just friends with Toadie, Steph began to rebuild her life again. She was supportive of her best friend Libby when she started seeing newcomer Lucas Fitzgerald only to later go on to again date his elder brother Dan. She and was often a sounding board for Libby who was experiencing problems gaining Dan`s trust after he dalliance with Lucas. Toadie was having some difficulty dealing with Callum who was having some problems at school. The boys teacher Kelly Katsis visited Toadie at home and gave Toadie the impression that he was failing as a parent. Toadie feeling a failure rang Human Services to arrange for Callum to live with his aunt. Steph was angry with Toadie and told him he`d let Callum down and he was a good parent to him and that he shouldn`t have given up. She called Toadie a coward and angrily stormed out. She later apologised but Toadie said she was right and asked for help in getting the boy back, a quest which proved successful.

Around this time Toadie had also grown close to Kelly. Kelly thought Toadie was lovely but had jumped to the conclusion he was gay and that Dan was his partner. She told Steph that it was obvious she still loved him and it must be hard seeing him with Dan. Highly amused by this, Steph continued to allow Kelly to think he was gay and therefore off limits and when she eventually found out the truth she was unhappy with Steph. Steph felt threatened by Kelly and her closeness to Toadie and became a tad jealous. Although she eventually got over it and was happy that Toadie was moving on, she felt on the outer.

She was also scared and confused by her emotions when neighbour Harold Bishop became ill with cancer and refused treatment. She confided in Toadie that she was afraid of what the future may hold and lived in fear of her cancer returning. Visiting Harold, she told him she wasn`t afraid of dying and that she was afraid of not living. He realised he was feeling the same and choose to accept treatment. Later at Charlie`s Bar she announced she was taking control of her life and was selling Charlie`s. She wanted to spend more time with her son and take do things she wanted to do. She sold Charlie`s to Elle Robinson, with Rebecca Napier installed as manager, and it was when showing her the ropes that she confessed that she was lonely. Registering with an online dating site she got feedback which confirmed to her that she was the type of girl blokes wanted as a mate not a girlfriend. Rebecca and Miranda Parker gave her a makeover and girly Steph posted a new profile. She had quite a lot of interest but one that caught her eye was of Greg Michaels who looked vaguely familiar to her.

They arranged to meet at Charlie`s and Steph dressed up in her profile photo dress to attend the date. She felt a fraud and reassured by Harold that she was beautiful as herself she attended the date in jeans and a vest top. Meeting Greg she apologised that she wasn`t who he thought she was and suggested they call off the date. He revealed that he wanted to date her and that he knew her from TAFE and that he`d fancied her back then but she was only interested in the cool guys. At the end of the date he took her home and kissed her goodnight. She was elated but unbeknown to her, Greg was married. On their second date they decided to spend the afternoon together in room at Lassiters. During the afternoon Libby and several of her pupils at Erinsborough High had been involved in an accident and were in hospital. Susan Kennedy had been trying to call Steph and upon discovering several missed calls, Steph left Greg at the hotel to go to the hospital.When at the hospital , waiting with Susan for news of Libby Steph spoke to Veronica Orlenski, the doctor that delivered her son Charlie. Later Steph heard Greg`s voice and saw him kissing Veronica, his wife. Steph was furious and immediately ended the relationship but Greg was in love with her and left his wife. Steph confessed to Veronica she was the other woman and didn`t know he was married and got a slap around the face for her trouble. Greg visited Steph at the garage to try to talk her into giving him another chance and whilst they were kissing Charlie had an accident inside the garage. A heavy set of shelving fell on top of him and Greg helped Lucas lift the shelving off him before he was taken to hospital. He was put under Orlenski`s care but Steph didn`t want her to treat him. Things were tense and she accused Veronica of malpractice when Charlie suffered a reaction to some medication. Dr Orlenski countered that Steph was an unfit parent for leaving her child unattended whilst she spent time with her lover. Toadie finally convinced Steph to drop the case.

After Veronica froze their joint bank accounts Greg turned up at Steph`s needing a place to stay. She reluctantly let him stay on the sofa and they agreed to move their relationship on slowly. Libby and Steph fell out over her involvement with Greg as Libby didn`t approve of him. She felt he was using Steph and that he couldn`t be trusted as he cheated on his wife. She also told Greg he was trouble for Steph and that she`d end up picking up the pieces as she always did when Steph`s bad choices in men turned bad. Steph overheard and the pair rowed, resulting in Libby being asked to leave no 32. Steph refused to be Libby`s bridesmaid and the pair bickered like schoolgirls, often saying hurtful things to the other. After Steph and Veronica had a scrag fight at Charlie`s Libby wanted to make peace and support Steph but felt unable to do so. Eventually Steph found out that Dan`s ex-wife Sam had been lying about the paternity of her unborn child and that it wasn’t` Dan`s baby after all. Steph decided that her friendship with Libby was too precious to continue the feud and told Libby the truth and the friends made up. Greg meanwhile had been offered a job in Darwin, a three month contract and wanted Steph to go with him. She was tempted but having just reconciled with Libby, decided to stay in Erinsborough and would visit him as often as she could. She agreed to be Libby`s bridesmaid and when the bride fell ill on her wedding day she and best man Toadie, agreed to make the speeches and do the first dance at the wedding as stand in`s for the bride and groom. Libby had suffered a miscarriage and was distraught but Steph was around to offer support.

Steph then discovered that Toadie has written a play about their life today. The story of Gerrard and Stella pretty much was a carbon copy of their life together. She was furious that their dirty laundry was to be aired in public and the pair fell out. Toadie rewrote the ending to appease her but she was still unhappy. Greg returned from Darwin and Steph asked him to move in with her and Charlie. He agreed and made plans to extend their family which freaked Steph out a little. Toadie knew she was hiding something from Greg and called her on it. She denied it, but he knew her too well and she was afraid he would tell Greg. At a dinner party at the Kennedy`s things were tense as Steph was worried Toadie would tell Greg she didn`t want more children. Whilst discussing the play, Greg learnt that it was about Steph and Toadie`s relationship and wasn`t best pleased. Steph and Toadie argued and Steph and Greg left abruptly. At home Steph confessed to Greg she was freaked about the children issue and he said not to worry, he wasn`t serious about it. He was worried she still loved Toadie but she reassured she didn`t, in fact she said she never loved him, that was the problem.

Greg continued to feel threatened by Toadie and served a libel suit on him after reading a draft of Toadie`s play which Steph was portrayed badly. Toadie had shown Steph the offending draft and apologised but she was really upset. She was furious though when she discovered Greg had hired Tim Collins to sue Toadie. She immediately went around to see Toadie and dropped the case. Greg was getting more and more jealous of Toadie and then of Lucas. When Lucas playfully picked Steph up at a barbecue at no 30, Greg screamed at him to put her down and said she was acting cheap. This was the beginning of the end and Steph ended the relationship.

Libby had been away visiting her brother Billy and his wife Anne who had recently had twins. When she returned she was saddened to hear that Steph and Greg had split up. Something else was troubling her too which Steph picked up on immediately. It was her sadness of not being able to give her husband Dan a baby of his own. As a cheer up Steph took Libby to play poker with Lucas, Dan and Steve. Talk soon turned to Steve`s daughter Bridget who was expecting a baby. Libby became upset and ran out, closely followed by Steph. Back at no 32 Libby broke down in Steph`s arms and despaired about not being able to have a baby. When Dan arrived, Steph sat the pair down and offered to be a surrogate for them. Initially Dan was reluctant but Libby convinced him and eventually they accepted her offer. In a celebratory mood, the Fitzgerald’s and Steph went around to no 24 to tell Karl and Susan the news but Karl was furious and pressured Steph to reveal that if she did go through with the plan there was a risk her breast cancer would return. An emotional Libby told Steph she wasn`t prepared to lose her just to have a baby and that Steph was more important to her than having a child.

Steph had grown closer to her workmate Lucas Fitzgerald and started to develop feelings for him, although she didn`t think they`d be reciprocated as he was in love with Elle Robinson. Lucas had problems, he had a gambling habit which had quickly gotten out of hand and he owed several thousand dollars to a local villain Johnno Brewer. Steph had decided to tell Lucas how she felt about him and went to the garage where she thought he was working late. She found him playing poker with Johnno and his mates and posing as his girlfriend she attempted to bail Lucas out. Johnno insisted Lucas play on and Lucas and Steph ended up doing a runner from the garage and hid in an empty building. As they hid they almost kissed and it was only when Steph broke the moment that they moved away from each other. They returned to the garage to find it trashed. Back at no 32 Steph was clearly preoccupied by what had happened. Lucas then turned up as he had been locked out by Elle. He took a shower and returned to the lounge wearing an old dressing gown of Gregs. Ceasing the moment, Steph called him on their “moment”, which he angrily denied and quickly left. The following day at work, Lucas refused to discuss the matter with her, even though she was continually pushing him for the truth. Instead he took off and spent the afternoon with Elle, leaving Steph with piles of work to do on her own. This pattern continued for several days. Steve Parker brought his family car in for a service as he was driving his family down to Oakey. Steph was tasked to work on it and it was duly returned to the Parkers. Unfortunately, on their way to Oakey they crashed, resulting in daughter Bridget being hospitalised. Tragically she died leaving a teenage husband Declan and newborn daughter India. Everyone in Ramsay Street was devastated and Elle Robinson was determined to blame someone for the crash in order to ease Steve`s guilt. Worried that the garage would be to blame, landing her boyfriend Lucas in trouble she was determined to lay the blame on Steph, a determination which became stronger after Steph unintentially revealed the moment she and Lucas shared.

On the day of her funeral the street mourned, finally returning to no 26 before the grief stricken Parker`s left for Oakey for good. At the wake, Lucas received a phone call from the Police which revealed the car had a steering fault. He passed on the information to Steph who broke down as she had serviced the car. She immediately blamed herself and told Declan she was to blame. Declan became obsessed with making Steph pay for his wife`s death. He trashed her car and took action to sue Steph for Bridget`s death. Steph was resigned to losing her home and everything she had when Dan played amateur sleuth and found cctv footage from Grease Monkey`s of the garage forecourt. Johnno Brewer could be seen tampering with the car and Steph was cleared. With Lucas` gambling habit revealed, Elle dumped him, bought the garage and demoted him, installing Steph as manager. Steph realised how much Lucas and Elle missed each other and convinced Lucas to give Elle another chance, although the two continued to butt heads.

Steph was invited to the wedding of Rebecca Napier and Paul Robinson by Declan, Rebecca`s son as an apology for all the hassle he gave her over Bridget`s death. Steph felt a little guilty attending her former stepfather`s wedding and rang her mum Lyn to tell her she was attending. At the ceremony as the couple exchanged their vows, a taxi pulled up and Lyn got out, revealing that she and Paul were still legally married. Lyn`s reappearance led to difficult times for Steph. Rebecca and Lyn were at war which put Steph in a difficult position and she and Rebecca were good friends. Lyn though was determined to play dirty and make Paul pay for hurting her. Behind Steph`s back she blackmailed Paul into giving her large amounts of money to leave Erinsborough. She also suggested that Steph buy their former family home from the Parker`s so that they could be where they belonged. Steph said she was happy at no 32 but seeing Lyn in a depressed state over her feud with Paul and Rebecca she bought no 26.

Lyn then disappeared leaving a note for Steph saying she missed Oscar and was visiting him. She failed to answer her phone and Steph became anxious. Eventually she returned home and Steph found out about the money Paul had given her. Elle had been ripped off by a conman and needed to raise funds fast. She decided to sell Harold`s store and the highest offer was from a major company Apollo. Locals arranged protests against the sale so Elle sold instead to a mystery bidder who was later revealed as Lyn, so the war between her and the Robinsons continued. Lyn was handed the last minute task of catering for the Deb Ball. Although she had had a problem with the electricity supply and the store had experienced several power cuts she agreed to take on the job and Steph helped her make the sandwiches and waitressed at the bar. After she left, Lucas proposed to Elle and she accepted. The following morning Steph and several other people who attended the deb ball were ill with a stomach bug. Libby came over to no 26 to bring Steph something to settle her tummy and told Steph of Lucas` engagement and Steph admitted she was happy for them.

It later became apparent that Lyn`s sandwiches were the cause and that the problems with the electricity at the store needed to be sorted out. Shortly after Lucas and Elle became engaged she was offered a job in New York. She took the job and intended for Lucas to move to the States with her. Lucas knew he couldn`t move to New York with her and she left alone, leaving him devastated. Steph recruited Toadie to support Lucas, but it was his brother Dan who was his main support. Unfortunately Dan`s support of Lucas was also preventing him from working on his marriage to Libby which was falling apart. Susan, who replaced Steph as a surrogate had lost the pairs baby and Libby blamed Dan for the miscarriage. Libby was not sharing her problems with Steph and she felt pushed out. She learnt Libby was telling Lucas her problems, and as she still harboured feelings for Lucas, Steph felt a little jealous of their closeness.

After Dan and Libby decided to split, Steph saw Libby kiss Lucas. As Libby was fully aware of how Steph felt about Lucas she felt betrayed by her best friend and angrily threw Lucas` possessions around no 32 and deleted photo`s of the pair from her phone. She then went to Charlie`s for a drink and came across Dan who was drowning his sorrows. She joined him, admitting she too was in a bad mood and they reminisced about the past and how they once dated. One drink led to another and before long both were rather tipsy. They began to dance and then Dan kissed Steph. Next morning they woke to find they`d slept together and were both racked with guilt. They agreed not to tell anyone. Lucas confessed to Dan that he and Libby had kissed and Dan said not to worry, he`d done worse. He told Lucas he`d slept with a stranger. When Steph learnt that Libby and Lucas` kiss was just a mistake she felt guiltier as did Dan. He couldn`t face Libby or Ben so he left town, leaving a guilty Steph to console Libby.

Lucas went off the rails when he realised Dan had left town. After a text from Elle ending their relationship tipped him over the edge, he took off on his motorbike and was chased by the police. The chase ended in an accident and Lucas was in a bad condition. When he came around he asked for Steph, but she couldn`t face him as she felt responsible for Dan leaving. After speaking to the new Priest and confessing she loved Lucas, she decided to visit him. He then pushed her away as he feared he wouldn`t walk again and thought she pitied him. After a tough love talk from Steph he agreed to move to no 26 so she could care for him. Libby then told him Steph was in love with him and he declared his love for her. Steph however denied she felt the same.

She eventually gave in and admitted she loved him too and the couple went public with their relationship. At the same time she felt a bit unwell and decided to take a pregnancy test. Her worst fears confirmed, she took off with Charlie leaving Lucas a note saying she needed space. Steph called Toadie for help and he left his girlfriend Sonya to go to her side. When she eventually returned to Ramsay Street she revealed she was now in love with Toadie and that they were a couple. Everyone was shocked and only her stepdaughter, Summer, who had returned to the street seemed pleased for them. Steph had confessed her affair to Toadie and he hatched a plan with her to pass the baby off as her ex husband`s Max`s. When they discovered Summer was back they realised the plan wouldn`t work so Toadie offered to play daddy. Steph was reluctant at first as she knew he was with Sonya, but Toadie played down his feelings for his girlfriend and said he`d do anything for Steph.

As their friends and family gradually came around to the idea of them being a couple, Steph realised how hard it was for Toadie to be apart from Sonya, and offered to let him out of the fake relationship, but he made it clear that he was going to help Steph. Lucas, however, was quick to spot Toadie's jealousy whenever he spent time with Sonya and still had his doubts that Steph was with the right man, so he decided that he was going to try to win her back. Constantly making excuses to spend time with Steph, Lucas knew that there was a spark between them, and that Steph was struggling to fill the space in Callum's life left by Sonya, who he'd grown very close to. Things got even more complicated as Steph struggled to hide her pregnancy and morning sickness, and Lyn began to wonder if her daughter was suddenly so run down because her cancer had returned. Reassuring her mum that everything was fine, she admitted to Toadie that she was finding it difficult to keep lying to so many people. Meanwhile, after accidentally getting locked in the storeroom at the garage with Lucas, Steph was close to admitting her feelings for him, until Toadie arrived to let them out, and their secret was safe.

Having won over Callum with footy tickets, Steph and Toadie decided that a grand gesture was needed to prove to Lucas that they were in love, and so Steph and Charlie moved across to number 30. Realising that he was now the only person on Ramsay Street with doubts about Toadie and Steph, and that he was beginning to look like a jealous idiot, Lucas changed tactics and pretended that he'd accepted things and wanted to be mates with them, only telling Sonya what he was up to. Although Sonya and Steph both tried to quietly warn Toadie to be careful of Lucas's friendship, Toadie ended up getting drunk and when Lucas took him home, he passed out on the couch, and then, much to Lucas's delight, said 'I love you Sonya'. Lucas kept this information to himself, and later pretended to be on the phone to Sonya, talking about her new boyfriend, trying to see how Toadie would react. When Lucas eventually told Steph what Toadie had said in his drunken stupor, she angrily told Lucas that nothing he could say or do would split her from Toadie. Meanwhile, the fake couple were trying to work out when would be best to reveal her pregnancy, but the situation once again began to slip out of their control when Steph hurt herself at the garage and was taken to hospital. There, an ultrasound revealed her pregnancy, but they knew that they'd still have to keep it secret for a little while longer, and make sure that nobody found the ultrasound DVD. When Sonya then found out that Toadie had said that he loved her, she came to visit him, and he had to make the painful decision to deny it all and ask her to leave him alone.

After Callum overheard Steph and Toadie arguing, they lied that it had been because they couldn't agree on which DVD to watch. When Callum saw Toadie putting the DVD away in a drawer, he later snuck in to steal it, switching it with a DVD of An Officer And A Gentleman from the Ramsay house. When Toadie realised what Callum had done, he just managed to get the ultrasound DVD back before anyone else watched it, and he and Steph realised that they were going to have to be a lot more careful. When the baby started moving, Steph was unable to share her happiness with Libby or her mum, instead going out and buying a little leather jacket for the baby. When Libby later saw it, Steph had to lie that it had belonged to Charlie when he was little - Libby believed the lie and another crisis was narrowly averted. However, when there was a battery acid spill at the garage and Lucas was injured, Steph was forced to admit her pregnancy to the paramedics, as she had breathed in the fumes, and Lucas was there to overhear, later blurting it out to her family and friends at the hospital. With Toadie away with Callum on a camping trip, they had no time to get their stories straight, and when Toadie came back and ran into Libby, he explained that they'd known about the baby for a few weeks, although Steph had already told her that they'd only just found out. Steph was forced to lie to Libby again, explaining that she'd been keeping the pregnancy from her because she didn't want to upset her, knowing how long she'd tried for a baby with Dan.

Things only got more complicated for Steph, as Libby made it clear that she was going to be there to support her friend through every step of the pregnancy, and then she started dating Doug Harris, the doctor who'd diagnosed the pregnancy and who knew her real conception date. Having spoken to Doug about the conception dates being different to the ones she'd been telling her friends and family, he assured her that it was none of his business and he wouldn't break patient confidentiality by telling Libby or anyone else. But after sorting out that crisis, another arose when Lyn ended up with the book in which Toadie had hidden the ultrasound DVD. As Lyn watched it, Steph walked in the door and her mum demanded an explanation. Steph managed to convince her mum that Toadie was the father and that they were only together for the baby's sake, which was why she'd had to keep it from Lucas and Sonya. Although Lyn was unsure of the story at first, when Steph promised that it was the truth, she accepted it and agreed not to say anything to anyone. However, Lyn, being Lyn, couldn't leave it at that, and started pestering her daughter, reminding her that it wasn't the 1950s anymore, and she could still be with Lucas, or even bring up the baby on her own. Eventually tiring of her mum's badgering, Steph blurted out the truth about Dan being the father. Although shocked at first, Lyn eventually realised that, if she wanted to keep Steph in her life, she would have to keep the secret too. After learning that Libby had started dating Doug, Lyn then went out of her way to try and put Libby off him, worried that he would tell her the truth about the pregnancy. Although Lyn's attempts to make Libby think that Doug was too much like Karl were briefly successful, Libby and Doug's relationship was soon blossoming.

Meanwhile, Steph had managed to enjoy a few drama-free weeks, with only her raging hormones giving cause for concern. But when Steph found a lump and feared that her breast cancer was back, she started to panic, remembering when Max had tried to get her sectioned, and fearing that her mum might do something similar, as her next of kin. Even after the tests came back to show that the lump was a benign cyst, Steph's concerns remained, and Toadie decided that they should quietly get married, so that he was her next of kin and could stop her from worrying. Unfortunately, his jokey proposal in her hospital room was witnessed by Summer, but she agreed to keep it quiet until they'd had a chance to tell Callum. Although unconvinced at first, Callum soon came around to the idea, and ended up blurting it out to a horrified Lyn. Appalled that her daughter was entering into such an important religious commitment as part of a lie, Lyn tried to talk Steph and Toadie out of it, but failed. Over the days that followed, Lyn struggled to deal with yet another lie, almost telling Susan everything and then deciding that, if she couldn't talk Steph out of the wedding, then she'd just have to leave town. Bags packed, Lyn was ready to go, but Steph went to see her and the two women managed to sort things out, with Lyn finally offering her support as Steph explained that cancelling the engagement now would just raise even more questions. Lyn then decided on a new tactic - she would make the wedding so romantic that Steph and Toadie would fall in love for real.

As the wedding day approached, Toadie was upset to learn that Sonya was moving to Perth with a new boyfriend, David, giving little hope that they'd ever reconcile. Seeing how much Sonya's departure was hurting Toadie, Steph decided to tell her the truth about the arrangement with the baby, but Sonya reacted angrily to them involving her in their lies. However, during the wedding, Sonya listened as Toadie gave his vows, talking about sometimes having to wait for love, and how he would never let her go if she would give him the chance. Realising that the vows were directed at her, and not Steph, Sonya hung around for the reception, where Lyn, still determined that her daughter and Toadie would eventually realise their love for each other, told Sonya to go, pointing out the lengths that Toadie went to in order to help Steph and making Sonya realise that she'd always come second in his life. After realising what Lyn had done, Toadie went after Sonya, telling her that she was the love of his life and, if they could just keep their relationship quiet for six months, they could be together after that. As Sonya and Toadie shared a kiss, it was witnessed by a horrified Libby. Toadie tried to tell Libby that it was just a goodbye kiss between friends, but when Libby then saw some paperwork which showed that Toadie was helping Sonya cover her lease so she could stay in Erinsborough, she became convinced that something was going on. Steph, however, managed to calm Libby down, telling her that she knew about all of it, and was comfortable with Sonya and Toadie's close friendship, warning Libby to just back off.

When news came through that Dan had been involved in a motorbike accident and, after picking up an infection in hospital, it had left him unable to have kids, it threw up many questions. Steph worried that Lucas might mention her pregnancy when visiting his brother, and began to feel increasingly guilty about keeping Dan away from the only child he was ever likely to have. Steph decided that she needed to tell Dan, but after leaving a message for him, she received a text message telling her not to contact him again. After trying again, Dan phoned Lucas and told him to get Steph to stop calling. Unfortunately, Lucas passed the message on in front of Libby, and Steph was forced to tell more lies, claiming that she'd just been trying to find out if Dan was really ok, to stop Libby from worrying about him. The following week, Steph decided that she needed Dan to know the truth and called him again, telling him everything about the baby and everyone believing that Toadie was the father. Unfortunately, Toadie had become entangled in Paul Robinson's business affairs and Paul was looking for a way to blackmail Toadie, who'd uncovered Paul's attempts at fraud. Realising that Paul had bugged his phone and knew everything, Toadie agreed to keep quiet about what he knew about Paul, if Paul did the same with the information on Steph's baby. Paul also wanted Toadie's help to frame Diana Marshall, a senior executive who was causing him problems, and make her look like the one who'd committed the fraud on the company. Toadie reluctantly agreed, then contacted Diana on another phone - one that he'd been secretly using to stay in touch with Sonya - and arranged to meet her, where they discussed a plan to double cross Paul. When Diana then spotted him with Sonya in his office, Toadie found himself caught between two powerful people, and once again had to lie to Sonya, though this time she decided that she'd had enough of the whole thing, wondering if was worth all the lies for them to be together.

When Paul then found out that Toadie had been double crossing him, he wasted no time in playing the DVD of Steph's phone conversation with Dan to a packed out Charlie's, where they were holding a telethon to save the local radio station. Libby was amongst the crowd and, horrified at what she was hearing, she walked out, unable to even speak to Steph. After a little time apart, the two former best friends ended up having a very public confrontation in the middle of Ramsay Street, with Libby accusing Steph of constantly destroying her life - the motorbike accident that had left her unable to have children, her attempts to take Drew away, and now having a baby with Dan - the one thing that Libby couldn't have given him herself. Things got even worse as Toadie realised that the Kennedys believed that he hadn't known the truth either and was just as much a victim of Steph's lies as they were. He was forced to come clean, and found himself thrown out of the Kennedy house, turned away by the people who had become like family to him. With the Kennedys and even Summer turning against her, Steph had few people to rely on, and young Ben was determined that, despite not really understanding what had happened, everything would go back to normal and they could all be friends again. Ben went to see Steph and refused to leave until everything was sorted out, forcing Libby to come and get him. After threatening to throw away his computer games, Libby managed to get Ben to go home, and moments later, a stressed Steph collapsed, begging Libby for help. Libby sent over Ringo, who'd been training as a paramedic and an ambulance was called, but Libby's refusal to come to her aid made Steph see just how much her former friend now hated her. After being diagnosed with hypertension, Steph was allowed home, and people slowly started to see that perhaps what she'd done was simply to save Libby from further heartache - even Lucas admitted to Steph that he might have been able to forgive her if she'd just been honest with him from the start. But Libby continued to push, not wanting to forgive Steph or Toadie for any of it, and dumping a load of photos of her and her former best friends in the street.

Realising that she needed to give Libby some space, and reduce her stress in the final weeks of her pregnancy, Steph decided to take Charlie to her dad's farm for a few weeks. A month later, she got in touch with Toadie to tell him that she'd given birth to a son, but her reluctance to return home worried Toadie, who found her at a motel. She had made the painful decision to give the baby away to its father, despite pleas from Toadie, and managed to sneak away early one morning. Dan was delighted to meet his son and, after making sure that Steph knew what she was doing, he told her that he would name their son Adam. Steph immediately broke down in tears as she left Dan's house and Toadie later caught up with her, trying to make her see sense, but she angrily reminded him that it wasn't his child and it wasn't his decision to make. Back in Erinsborough, Steph told Lyn what she'd done, and Lyn turned to Toadie for help in talking some sense into her daughter, but Toadie declared that he'd done enough for Steph, and now it was time for him to concentrate on Sonya and Callum. Though Libby was still unable to forgive Steph, Lucas offered his support and Steph ended up kissing him, but quickly realised that she wasn't thinking straight. Her pain only worsened when she saw the nursery that had been painted at number 26 for the new arrival, but she suddenly found a distraction from all of her problems when she bumped into old boyfriend Woody, who was working as a bouncer at a club where Summer was attending a party. Though Lyn was worried about Woody being back in Steph's life, Steph finally felt free around him, claiming that she had no commitments as the two went out on their bikes. And when Lyn continued to push Steph over her decision to give Adam away, she finally snapped and walked out, telling Lyn that she couldn't deal with any of it. Soon after, Summer tracked Steph down to Woody's place, where he was shocked to learn about the recent events in her life - and that she had a young son at home waiting for her.

Realising that she couldn't escape her problems anywhere, Steph took off, but with no sign of her back at Ramsay Street, Lyn began to panic. With Toadie away on holiday in Sydney with Sonya, Lyn turned to Libby for help. Libby was still unable to forgive Steph and refused to help, but after Susan showed her an apology letter from Steph that she'd rescued, after Libby had torn it up, Libby suddenly realised how depressed Steph was - and where she was. Finding Steph at the motel across town, where'd she'd hidden out once before, Libby finally tried to help her friend, and they had an honest discussion about the way they'd made the other feel over the past two months. Steph felt that she'd always been there for Libby, and had made one mistake in all those years - sleeping with Dan - and had now lost her friends and her son because of it. Trying to shake Steph out of her depression, Libby told her that perhaps she wasn't fit to be a mother to Adam - or to Charlie at the moment - but the plan backfired as Steph furiously walked out and got on her bike, speeding away, despite Libby's efforts to stop her. After crashing the bike, Steph woke up in hospital, relatively unscathed but horrified as she remembered that she'd hit someone. The shock got worse as she learnt that it was Ringo who'd been run over, and that he hadn't survived the accident. After alcohol was found in her system, Steph was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, as well as dangerous driving, and she decided not to fight the charges. Having visited Donna, Ringo's young wife of only a few weeks, Steph knew that she had to face up to what she'd done and take her punishment.

After being diagnosed with post-natal depression and agreeing to some counselling sessions, Steph began to realise the effect it would have on Charlie if she went to prison, and decided that she would do her best to fight the charges and stay out of jail. Libby and Toadie were delighted with this news, though surprised when Steph decided not to use Toadie as her lawyer, but hired Phillip Green instead. Wanting things to return to some semblance of normality, Steph also returned to work at the garage, only for Elle - who owned the business and was like a sister to Donna - emailed from New York and told Lucas that he had to fire her. After trying, and failing, to find work for Steph elsewhere, Lucas went to see her to break the news, only for Steph to announce that perhaps she wasn't ready to go back to work yet, so she was resigning. Though relived, Lucas was unaware that Steph had seen Elle's email and was just saving him the trouble of getting rid of her. When Sam Fitzgerald - Dan's first wife and Libby's sworn enemy - returned to town as the prosecution in Steph's case, she realised that she was going to have her work cut out staying out of jail. Sam's return made Steph realise that she needed Toadie's help, and she employed him as her lawyer, though he immediately faced problems as key witness Kate was certain that Steph had time to react to Ringo being in the road, as he'd had time to push Kate out of the path of the bike. Though Sam's presence brought Libby and Steph closer again, it also led Libby to make the decision to lie in court and claim that Steph hadn't been in an emotional state when she rode off on her bike.

Facing little support from the locals, Sam found an ally in Paul, who had grown close to Donna over the years and wanted Steph to suffer for what she'd done. Using the newspaper to wage a war on drunk drivers, Paul made things as uncomfortable for Steph as he could in the weeks leading up the trial, with Sam and Toadie both trying to get Kate's witness statement to help their case as she wavered over what had actually happened. With her trial only days away, Steph and Lucas rekindled their relationship and things were looking better for Steph as, after visiting the accident site, Kate changed her statement and decided that there wouldn't have been time for Steph to stop, even if she hadn't been drinking. With the trial underway, Lucas made a huge gesture by selling some of his tools to buy Steph a new suit for her day on the stand, and with Kate's evidence, things were looking good, but Steph was still determined that she wasn't going to use her depression as an excuse - something that Toadie felt could keep her out of jail. Ignoring Steph's feelings, Toadie asked Doug to come in as a witness and, after almost walking out of her own trial, Steph agreed to go along with it, and the evidence seemed to have the desired effect, with the jury swaying in Steph's direction and Sam worried that she was about to lose the case. Unfortunately, Doug's status as Libby's ex-boyfriend was enough to allow Sam to discredit him, leaving Steph furious that she'd ever listened to Toadie. However, starting to feel more positive about things and laying some ghosts to rest after hearing all of the evidence, Steph decided that, when she was finally free of the court case, she was going to go to Sydney to visit Dan and baby Adam.

As the trial came to an end, much of Steph's future was dependent on the evidence given by Libby, who after a great deal of thought, had decided to lie if it meant keeping Steph out of jail. Unfortunately, Sam soon picked up on what was going on, and pushed Libby, bringing up her bike accident with Steph many years ago and even asking if she would have allowed Ben to get on the bike with Steph that afternoon. As an argument broke out between Toadie and Sam, Libby blurted out that she had tried to stop Steph from going, effectively sealing her friend's fate; Steph was found guilty. Awaiting her sentencing, Steph spent time with Charlie and with Lucas, who even suggested that the three of them should just disappear together. But wanting to take her punishment, Steph clung to the hope that she would receive a suspended sentence. Steph's last hope was Donna, who gave a victim impact statement saying that she didn't blame Steph for what had happened and, as the sentencing began, she stood up in court and made an impassioned plea to the judge not to send Steph to jail. Ultimately though, the judge decided that a message needed to be sent out about drunk driving, and Steph was given six years in prison, with a non-parole period of two years. Steph, her family and friends were horrified and Steph broke down as she was led away from the courtroom and taken to the nearby women's prison where Toadie accompanied her and she gave him one final hug as she was led away to her cell. There, she was handed an envelope from Toadie containing a photo of her with her closest friends and family, and she broke down in tears as she looked at each of them, before turning it over to read a message from her mum: 'You are loved.'

Two and a half years later, after a previous attempt to get parole was turned down, Steph was released from prison. During Steph's time inside, Lyn had fought for custody of Charlie, but had lost to Max, who had taken him to live in Fiji. Not quite ready to face her family again, Steph accepted an offer from Lyn to return to Erinsborough and manage Harold's Store. Arriving in a taxi, Steph sat in the store and observed her new employees, Vanessa Villante and Lauren Turner, but it wasn't long before Lucas came in, very happy to see her. Aware that she'd told Lucas to move on with his life and not wait for her, she was still surprised to learn that Lucas and Vanesse were a couple, and had a son, Patrick. Though she told Vanessa that she was happy for her, Steph quizzed Lauren about Lucas and Vanessa's relationship, and could barely hide her irritation when she saw the couple together. Constantly finding excuses to be with Lucas, Steph was at the garage one day when she took a call from the hospital, just as Lucas was rushing off for a mysterious appointment. Waiting outside the hospital, Steph confronted Lucas and he admitted that he'd been diagnosed with testicular cancer and was awaiting test results to find out if it had spread. Steph saw an opportunity to get closer to Lucas, offering her support and joining him at his pre-op appointment, when he learnt that the cancer hadn't spread, but he would still need an operation to remove the testicle. Steph tried to encourage Lucas to keep it from Vanessa, but he decided that, now that the prognosis was good, he could be honest with her. Once Vanessa knew about it, Lucas pretended that she was the first to know, making Steph lie for him but, following Lucas's operation, the doctor started talking to Steph, mistaking her for Lucas's partner and blaming the mix-up on the fact that Steph had been with Lucas at his pre-op appointment. Vanessa was surprised to learn this, confiding her worries about Steph in Sonya, who in turn went to see a recovering Lucas and explained how insecure Vanessa was feeling after being left out in favour of Steph. Steph could barely contain her upset when, later that day, she found out that Lucas and Vanessa were engaged and, although she did her best to act like she was happy for them, Sonya was beginning to see through it.

Meanwhile, Steph found somewhere to stay on Ramsay Street when Susan offered her a room at the Kennedy house. Although Karl had been reluctant to let her move in, he had eventually backed down, realising that he couldn't hold a grudge against her forever. Steph also had to continue to check in at the local police station, where Lauren's husband Sergeant Matt Turner was impressed with her efforts to make a new life for herself, but encouraged her to keep up the counselling sessions that she'd been missing. Although she claimed that she would make an appointment, she failed to do so, and it started to become clear that Steph wasn't coping with things quite as well as she was making out. An outburst at Toadie, making it clear that she blamed him for everything, only seemed to confirm Steph's fragile mental state, and her paranoia worsened when she realised that she'd been left out of plans for Toadie and Sonya to renew their wedding vows. With Lucas the only person she felt that she could rely on, she found a way to push him and Vanessa apart, telling Vanessa about Lucas's previous serious bike accidents. This had the desired outcome for Steph, as Vanessa asked Lucas to stop riding his bike completely. He reluctantly agreed, and tension grew between Lucas and Vanessa, with Steph's behaviour growing increasingly strange, as she used the spare key, that Vanessa kept at the store, to enter Lucas and Vanessa's apartment and snoop around. With Lucas and Vanessa at the vow renewal, Steph staged an accident, having taken out Lucas's bike and told him that she'd lost her nerve and couldn't get back on. He rushed off to help her, even going along with her plan for her to drive the van back, with him on the motorbike. Vanessa was furious, admitting to Lauren that she was starting to wonder if Steph was deliberately trying to hurt her relationship. Steph, meanwhile, tried to plant seeds of doubt in Lucas's mind, suggesting that maybe Vanessa wasn't right for him, as she was so high-maintenance. Later, an argument broke out between Vanessa and Lucas, who was adamant that Steph could never be so calculating - Vanessa eventually backed down, admitting that Lucas knew Steph a lot better than she did, and agreeing that perhaps she was reading too much into the situation.

Living under the same roof as Steph made Karl realise that she wasn't coping quite as well as it appeared on the surface, and that her inability to talk about Charlie and Adam was unhealthy. When Steph finally spoke to Karl, she told him about how Max had brought Charlie to visit her, but he'd been scared of her and didn't want to go back. As Lucas also tried to get Steph to open up about Adam, it was clear that she wasn't ready to deal with her emotions regarding her sons, and she had other things on her mind, having found some magazines at the garage. The magazines contained an old nude photoshoot featuring Vanessa - something she'd done many years ago when desperate for money - and Lucas had bought up as many copies in the local shops as possible. Whilst helping out, Steph found them, and decided to contact the photographer and try to find out more about Vanessa's past. She struck gold when he replied and said that he'd only known Vanessa through her husband, Alek Pocoli. After a few subtle questions, Steph realised that Lucas knew nothing of Vanessa's previous marriage, so she set up a Facebook account in Alek's name, and sent Lucas a message, which explained that he'd once been married to Vanessa and was hoping to catch up with her soon. Steph was delighted when the message had the desired effect, causing a huge rift between Vanessa and Lucas as she tried to explain why she'd kept it from him, and their engagement was called off.

With Vanessa gone to stay with her mum, Steph did her best to comfort Lucas, suggesting that they go away on a camping trip during the upcoming eclipse. Whilst all this was going on, Toadie had been trying to help Steph, by getting access to the details of the custody case over Charlie. After contacting Max, Toadie found out the truth, and forced Steph to open up to him about the complete mental breakdown she'd suffered in prison, after she'd lost custody and Max had brought Charlie to say goodbye. She admitted that she'd struggled to open up to people about the incident, and the fact that she was now on anti-psychotic drugs, and this had been the reason why her first attempt at parole had been turned down, and why she now felt that she wasn't ready to talk about her sons yet. Karl, too, was relieved that Steph was finally honest with him about the medication she'd been taking, and he was hopeful that she'd turned a corner, until, a few days later, he found the unopened packets of pils in the bin. At the same time, Steph was starting to unravel - Vanessa had returned to town, and she and Lucas had reunited. Lucas had agreed to Vanessa's request that he stop spending time with Steph and cancelled the camping trip, and, when Vanessa visited Steph to quit her job at the store, Steph had turned on her, accusing her of destroying her friendship with Lucas. When the eclipse took place the next day, Lucas and Vanessa watched it at number 32 with their friends, but when they went to check on baby Patrick, and found him missing from his pram, it quickly became clear who had taken him. Steph was holed up in a motel, believing that Patrick was actually Adam, and that she and Lucas were going to take him and go and get Charlie, so they could all be a family together. She called Lucas, asking him to meet her at their special place, but it was a while before he realised that she meant the men's shed, where they'd been together the night before her sentencing. Lucas eventually managed to persuade Steph to put down the baby, so that he could hug her, then quickly called in the police and grabbed his son. Steph flew into a rage as she was taken to hospital, but eventually calmed down and, back on her medication, began to realise what a mistake she'd made. After patching up her friendship with Toadie, Steph was taken to the police station, to be transferred to a high-security psychiatric hospital near Bendigo. There, she came face-to-face with Vanessa, who was still struggling to cope with the events of the last 48 hours, and told Steph never to set foot in Erinsborough, or come near her family, again.

After a couple of years, Steph was moved to a low-security hospital close to Erinsborough and, having made good progress with her therapy and responding well to her new medication, she was given the opportunity to find work and leave the hospital during the daytime. Having spoken with her therapist about developing a social support network, she realised that the best place to do that was back in Erinsborough and she went to the garage and applied for a job working with Tyler Brennan. Unaware who she was, Tyler was impressed with her skills as a mechanic and gave her the job, and she quickly hit it off with Paul's daughter Amy, who worked at Kyle's builder's yard next-door. However, when Karl called in later that day and spotted Steph, he was horrified, asking if she knew that Lucas owned the garage now. Steph insisted that she'd had no idea, as her mum had told her that Lucas had sold the business several months earlier. Despite this setback, she still wanted to stick around, telling Karl that she was hoping that Toadie would help support her as she settled back in. Karl then had to break the news that Toadie was in no position to help, as he'd been left paralysed after a recent accident - Steph then visited the Rebecchi house, and while Sonya was wary, Toadie was delighted to see his old friend. As they got chatting, and Steph spoke about her determination to get better, rebuild her life and regain contact with Charlie, Toadie was happy to realise that this was the Steph he used to know. The next day, she faced her first big hurdle, when Tyler revealed that he'd been in touch with Lucas, who was on his way to Erinsborough. As he arrived, he could barely contain his anger, but Steph insisted that she was better now, and that she'd had no idea that he now owned the garage again. As Lucas revealed just how much the kidnapping had affected him and Vanessa, Steph continued to apologise, and explained that she needed this chance to fix her life and her relationship with Charlie, and that she'd come to realise that Adam would probably be better off without her in his life. Though Lucas and Sonya were still unsure, Toadie reminded them that they both suffered from illnesses too, and that their addictions had caused them to do some terrible things. After speaking to Vanessa, who said that she'd leave the decision up to Lucas, he agreed to let Steph keep her job, but said that he would have no contact with her, and that Toadie would have to act as the go-between.

Steph quickly found herself embroiled in another drama, however, when Amy's nine-year-old son, Jimmy, went missing. Though Kyle was uncomfortable about it, Steph had been chatting to Jimmy as she worked outside the garage, so when he disappeared, she had a good idea of where to find him. Unfortunately, she was also the prime suspect in his disappearance, which showed her just how much work she needed to do to win back the trust of the people of Erinsborough. Finding Jimmy hiding out in the school proved to be a step in the right direction, and after she realised just how self-conscious Toadie was about his wheelchair, she arranged for a few of his friends to join him in a game of wheelchair basketball, which was another success for her. Just as Steph then felt like she was turning a corner, she was shocked to see Belinda - someone she'd known at the hospital in Bendigo. Belinda explained that she'd seen the newspaper article about Steph tracking down Jimmy, and was concerned that coming back to Erinsborough was a bad idea that she'd end up regretting. Steph insisted that she knew what she was doing, but Belinda refused to accept this, and went to Toadie instead, warning him that Steph was still too fragile for this, and that one day, he'd have to ask her to leave. With Belinda's words ringing in his ears, Toadie suggested to Steph that she shouldn't join him for a sleepover at the high school, where the locals were protesting its planned closure. Having arranged special dispensation from the hospital to stay out all night, Steph was disappointed with Toadie's sudden about-turn. Thankfully, Steph didn't go far, as when a fire broke out at the school that night, she heard Sonya's screams from the back of the building, and ran over to help her drag Toadie outside.

Steph's act of heroism soon came back to bite her, however, when she became a suspect in starting the fire, which the police believed had been deliberately lit. Unable to give any explanation for Belinda's warnings, and without a solid alibi, Steph continued to plead her innocence, but even she couldn't quite believe the coincidence when a jerry can with a Fitzgerald Motors label appeared at the scene of the crime. Having seen Steph putting a label on a new jerry can that morning, Mark Brennan decided that there was now enough evidence to justify bringing Steph in for a formal interview. Fortunately, Steph finally managed to prove that she hadn't been near the school when the fire started, as she'd made a call to her mum from close to Lassiter's Lake that night, but she was still confused about the jerry can, and decided to ask Belinda if she'd tried to set her up to get her to go back to the hospital in Bendigo. Belinda was appalled, and later returned with a speeding ticket from Bega, proving that she hadn't even been in town at the time. After spotting Steph hugging Toadie, Belinda then became convinced that Steph was still in love with him, and gave her an ultimatum - her or Erinsborough. Steph chose Erinsborough, and a heartbroken Belinda left. Steph, meanwhile, was horrified to find out that the jerry can had been planted by Jayden Warley, a student who'd been smoking in Susan's office and, worried he was responsible for the fire, had used the can to frame Steph. Now convinced that she was being made the scapegoat for every crime that happened, Steph finally snapped when Tyler asked if she'd seen a missing tool in the garage, and she began to wonder if it had actually been a mistake coming back to Erinsborough.

Steph's mood started to improve when Toadie convinced her to join him at The Waterhole for the Melbourne Cup, where she had a great time with Karl and Kyle, and they all managed to win some money thanks to her tips. But things then took a confusing turn for Steph when she was collecting her bike from the garage that evening, and was convinced that she could hear Greensleeves, the music she'd always been able to hear faintly when she was about to have a manic episode. The next day, she asked Tyler if an ice cream van had been nearby lately, mentioning the music she'd heard, and he suggested that it might have been coming a phone in one of the cars on the forecourt. When Belinda returned to apologise for her ultimatum the previous week, she was worried to find Steph frantically searching a car for the phone in question, but finding nothing. When Steph then mentioned that she'd heard Greensleeves the night before, Belinda was convinced that she was about to suffer a manic episode, and that the stress of being in Erinsborough was proving too much for her. Steph remained adamant that she was taking her medication, and that there was a logical explanation for the music, and when she caught Belinda searching her bag, showing that she didn't trust her to take her meds, she promptly sent her away.

When Steph heard that Vanessa was coming to Erinsborough, staying with the Rebecchis overnight as she had a meeting in the city, she asked if she could join them for dinner. Vanessa agreed, but before she arrived, Steph received a strange phone call from a young boy, saying that he missed her. Convinced that it was Charlie, Steph was distracted during the dinner, and failed to convince Vanessa that she was mentally stable again. After Toadie spoke to Max and confirmed that it couldn't have been Charlie on the phone, Steph seriously began to question her state-of-mind, as it was just one in a series of strange occurrences. Toadie, however, felt that someone could be trying to set Steph up, and when they found a Bluetooth speaker hidden at the garage, it seemed to confirm their suspicions, with Toadie sure that Belinda was behind it all. Steph was less certain, refusing to believe that Belinda would ever do something like that to her, and when Toadie phoned the hospital, it seemed to confirm that Belinda had nothing to do with it, but someone else had attempted to access Steph's files - Vanessa. She returned to Erinsborough to defend herself, insisting that she would never terrorise someone like that, and although she had requested to see the files, she'd been turned down. With Sonya now beginning to doubt Steph's sanity too, it seemed that Toadie was the only one on her side, and things only got worse when Vanessa told her that they'd have to let her go from the garage.

When she found out that the hospital was willing to discharge her completely if she could find a full-time job, Steph was more determined that ever to stick around, and she was surprised when Paul offered her some glass collecting at The Waterhole. Unfortunately, Steph was unaware that Paul was the person who'd been gaslighting her, desperate to get her out of town after chatting to Belinda and growing increasingly concerned for Jimmy's safety. As Steph began her shift at the bar, she started to feel very unwell, as Paul had managed to get into her bag and had switched her medication. As she started to hallucinate and stumble around the Lassiter's complex, everyone was concerned and Paul offered to drive her and Toadie to the hospital to be checked. Pleased that his plan was working, Paul quickly offered to help when Steph became desperate to go back to Bendigo and see her doctor there. However, as they were driving out of town, Steph received a text from Toadie - actually sent by Aaron, Paul's security guard, who knew about what he'd been up to - warning her about the medication switch. But before she could do anything, a car suddenly appeared in their path and they crashed. When Paul came to, he found himself trapped by a branch, and realised that Steph knew what he'd been up to. She proceeded to make him think that she was losing her mind completely, forcing Paul to confess everything he'd done to her, including the Bluetooth speaker playing Greensleeves, and hiring Cecillia Saint to act as a disgruntled customer. Steph then told Paul that actually the pills he'd given her had already worn off, and she was perfectly OK and had just recorded his entire confession. At the hospital, Steph went to Paul's room and said that she could understand his reasons for what he did, as he was just trying to protect Jimmy, and agreed that she wouldn't tell anyone - but in return he had to leave her alone and allow her to keep her job at The Waterhole.

With her life almost back on track, Steph still had to contend with Belinda's presence in her life as, although Steph had ended things, Belinda hoped that there was still a chance for them, and got a job at Erinsborough Hospital. When Steph moved in with the Rebecchis, Belinda was convinced that it was because she was still in love with Toadie and made angry threats towards him. When Belinda was then one of the theatre nurses, when Toadie went in for an operation to remove the bullet fragment from his spine, Sonya was immediately worried and rushed into the theatre, interrupting the operation. Following this incident, as well as being reported for her relationship with patient Steph, Belinda lost her job, but continued to warn Sonya that Steph would steal Toadie away from her. Sonya's guilt and worry then led to her offering Belinda a job to help with Toadie's recuperation at home, but this didn't last long as Belinda couldn't cope with being around Steph and left town. Sonya's interference, coupled with her interruption of Toadie's operation which had left him infertile, left the Rebecchis in couple's counselling, and Steph worried that her presence had ruined their marriage. They insisted that it hadn't, and that she was part of their family now - and when Steph then learnt that Max's new wife, Philippa was planning to adopt Charlie, Sonya and Toadie offered to do anything they could to help.

When Lyn arrived in town, she was shocked to learn about Steph's relationship with Belinda, but even more concerned to find out how Paul had treated her. With Paul unaware that Lyn knew what he'd done to Steph, he attempted to wine and dine her, but she quickly realised his true motive - he wanted to get his hands on some shares that he'd given to her as a wedding present, which had since become worth $70,000. However, Lyn had already put the shares in Steph's name, and Steph was surprised by her sudden wealth, but was determined to put it to good use and help with her chances of building a future with Charlie. As she contemplated going into business with Paul and taking over a local motel, Steph soon had other things to worry about when Lyn came back for another visit - and brought Charlie with her. Charlie was unaware that his mum was living on Ramsay Street again, and thought that his gran had just brought him for a trip down memory lane in Erinsborough. Steph was overwhelmed to see her son outside, but Toadie quickly pointed out that it would seriously jeopardise her bid for custody if she had any contact with him without Max's consent. However, as Lyn tried to keep Charlie occupied, it wasn't long before he found out from Jimmy that Steph was living at 30 Ramsay Street, and he headed to the house to see her...

Trivia Notes
• The role of Stephanie was originally awarded to Emma Roche, who had recorded three weeks of episodes before being replaced by Carla Bonner. Carla began recording almost immediately after her casting, with all the existing Stephanie Scully scenes re-recorded accordingly. Roche can be seen briefly during the Scullys' arrival, in the long-shot of Stephanie driving the Scully family car
• Steph turned 21 on June 1st 2000
• Steph was a regular character from 1999 to 2010, and returned for a two-month guest stint in 2013. She returned again as a regular cast member in 2015
• Carla Bonner's son, Harley, joined the cast as Josh Willis in 2013

Tenure
3418-6053, 6621-6651, 7225, 7226, 7227, 7228, 7231-

Magic Moments
Episode 3419: The Scullys' Arrival
Episode 4007: Marc and Stephanie's Wedding

Episode 4008: Marc and Stephanie's Wedding: Part Two
Episode 4528: Max and Stephanie's Wedding
Episode 5400: Toadie and Steph's Wedding: Part One
Episode 5401: Toadie and Steph's Wedding: Part Two
Episode 5946: Toadie and Steph's Wedding: Part One
Episode 5947: Toadie and Steph's Wedding: Part Two
Episode 6053: Steph's Departure
Episode 6621: Steph's Return
Episode 7226: Steph's Return

Biography by Tracy

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