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Character Profiles > Vanessa Villante Alin Sumarwata

Vanessa Francesca Antonella Villante 2012-2013, 2015
Lived: 24, 32 Ramsay Street, Lucas & Vanessa's apartment
Marital Status: Alec Pocoli (Annulled, 2013)
Parents: Tony and Francesca Villante
Children: Patrick, Sebastiana, 'Vanessa's Third Child'
Occupation: Chef, Harold's Store Assistant, Cupcake Business Owner

Short-tempered and passionate Italian chef Vanessa Villante walked into Charlie's bar one evening and immediately spotted mechanic Lucas Fitzgerald. Lucas had recently found out that his ex-girlfriend and his best mate had hooked up and wasn't quite ready to move on yet, but when Emilia - the ex-girlfriend in question - came into the bar, Lucas had a change of heart and decided that Vanessa might be the perfect person to help him forget his troubles. The next morning, a hungover Lucas was surprised when Vanessa wandered into the kitchen and started preparing breakfast for him and his housemate Lou Carpenter. Worried that she was already making herself at home, Lucas took her to one side, but she explained that she'd had some fun, would make some food and would then leave. Lucas was relieved, but unaware that Vanessa was about to turn his life completely on its head.

A few weeks later, Vanessa returned, with a box of cupcakes under her arm, ready to break the news to Lucas that she was expecting his baby. Outside Lucas' house, Vanessa bumped into his good friend Sonya, who took her inside for a cup of tea, but quickly put Vanessa off with her snooping. When Vanessa finally got to tell Lucas her news, she was disappointed with his horrified reaction. She agreed to meet him to talk about things, but was offended when Lucas suggested that he might not be the father, and refused to have anything to do with him. Relations between them only got worse when Vanessa applied for a pastry chef job at Lassiter's hotel and was all set to sign the contract when Lucas let slip to hotel owner Paul Robinson the information that Vanessa was pregnant. Vanessa was appalled, and admitted to Lucas' housemate Kate that she had no job, nowhere to live and very few people to turn to, hinting that the pregnancy was going to cause problems with her strict Catholic parents. Feeling sorry for Vanessa, having witnessed how badly Lucas had treated her, Kate offered Vanessa the spare room at 24 Ramsay Street, which she gladly accepted. She was soon making friends, winning over Lou, and impressing neighbour Rhys Lawson with her personality and cooking skills. Seeing Rhys and Vanessa together sparked jealousy in Lucas, and relations began to thaw between him and Vanessa as he made more of an effort, particularly after she was hospitalised due to her severe morning sickness. Knowing Rhys' reputation with women, Lucas warned him off Vanessa but, having decided that Vanessa was his perfect woman, Rhys decided not to listen and continued to make an effort to get to know her.

Vanessa began to settle in well in Erinsborough, taking a job at Harold's general store and making friends with various locals. Things seemed to be going well for Rhys and Vanessa too, until she spotted him shouting at Susan Kennedy outside the store. Susan had befriended Rhys' mum Elaine at the hospital, but Rhys was uncomfortable with anyone finding out too much about his personal life, so when Vanessa confronted him about the incident, he clammed up. Lucas, meanwhile, was delighted, and took the opportunity to try and get closer to Vanessa, even deciding to attend her first scan, which got off to a bad start when Rhys turned out to be the doctor and the two men argued. But when Karl took over, Vanessa and Lucas finally bonded over their child, and he asked her to move into number 24 on a permanent basis.

When Vanessa offered to stand in as teacher at a cooking class at the community centre, Rhys got to hear about it and decided to go along, upsetting Vanessa as he flirted with classmate Tiffany. But when Tiffany tried to get to know Rhys better after the class, Vanessa stepped in and pointed out that he was having dinner with her, and Rhys was pleased that his tactics had worked. She made it clear that it was just a casual friendly dinner, refusing to get dressed up, but the evening took an eventful turn when Rhys had an allergic reaction to the star anise in the pho she had prepared. When Lucas then returned with a woman named Hayley who he'd met at the bar, things descended into chaos, with Lucas and Rhys arguing, eventually driving Hayley away. But Rhys and Vanessa continued to grow close, and he even opened up to her about his father, but the living arrangements provided more problems with Lucas brought home another girl. Sara was a friend of Vanessa's from her yoga class and she was confused to see that they shared a roof - but Vanessa quickly lied that she was Lucas' sister. However, when Lucas' mechanic apprentice Chris then called round and accidentally mentioned that Lucas and Vanessa were having a baby together, a horrified Sara left, ruining another chance at romance for Lucas.

When Rhys fell out with his housemates, Vanessa offered him the couch at number 24, upsetting Lucas in the process, but all of their lives were about to change dramatically when number 24 was put up for sale. Though Vanessa was upset, she began to look into finding a place of her own. Lucas, however, decided that he was going to put in a bid on the house and make it a family home for him, Vanessa and their child. Worried that Lucas was beginning to see her as more of a friend, and not wanting to mislead him, Vanessa turned him down, but Susan made her see that her pride and independence were getting in the way of a very good offer from a very kind man, so Vanessa went to see him and accepted. But when the auction came around, Lucas was shocked to be outbid at the last minute by Ajay Kapoor and he and Vanessa found themselves back at square one.

Meanwhile, Rhys was offered the chance to go to Japan as part of a surgical study tour and, believing it was only for a week, he asked Vanessa to go with him. When the tour was later extended to three months in order to include a placement at a hospital in Tokyo, Rhys was still keen for Vanessa to go, but she was worried about leaving Lucas behind for all of that time. She eventually agreed to go, but as Lucas continued to look for a new home for them, she worried about how she would manage when she got back, going from three months alone with Rhys to moving in with another man. When Lucas then made the rash decision to buy 32 Ramsay Street when it went on the market, Vanessa told him that she couldn't move in, before realising that Lucas was only trying to support the baby, and deciding to accept the offer, unaware that Lucas had actually fallen in love with her.

Ready to leave for Japan the next day, Vanessa was delighted when Lucas offered to cook dinner for their final evening. Unaware that he was going to use the opportunity to tell her how he felt about her, Vanessa asked Rhys to join them, and Lucas struggled to get her alone. When Rhys had to go out, Lucas was considering taking the opportunity, but after Vanessa asked him to check in Rhys' bag for the flight details, Lucas found a ring and realised that Rhys was thinking about proposing. Unaware of Lucas' true feelings, Vanessa prepared to leave, but events took an unexpected turn when Rhys stumbled upon a car accident involving the teenagers of Ramsay Street, and badly cut his hand whilst trying to help. At the hospital, he found out that his injury meant that he couldn't go on the trip to Japan and further tests showed that he had only a 5% chance of recovering use of his hand completely, putting his entire surgical career in jeopardy. Vanessa was happy to stand by Rhys, but he slipped into a depression and it was only when Susan spoke to him, reminding him about his determination in life until this point, that he agreed to try rehabilitation. Vanessa subtly tried to help, leaving Rhys to chop the vegetables for dinner, but this only left him frustrated as he struggled with the knife, and he lashed out, telling Vanessa to leave him alone. Vanessa found a comforting shoulder to cry on with Lucas, and he was happy as she spent the afternoon setting up their new home together, but he was upset when Rhys later came to visit and apologised to Vanessa, explaining how worried he was about his surgical career.

Soon after, Rhys and Vanessa went to the hospital to get the results of his first assessment on his hand and she was delighted when he was told that he'd made excellent progress, and could return to surgery, unaware that Rhys had used the hospital computers to change his results. Over the next few days, Vanessa's suspicions were raised as she caught Rhys constantly practising and found out that he'd taken himself off the surgical list. When she spotted him shaking as he poured coffee, and found that he was struggling to ice some cupcakes for her, she confronted him about the results and he admitted that he'd changed the results of the tests. Vanessa was furious, but he assured her that he knew what he was doing and would never put anyone's life at risk. However, when Vanessa found out that Rhys had lied to her about being at home studying, and was actually about to help Jessica Girdwood in a complex operation, she couldn't stand by and allow it, so she told Jessica that she had her suspicions that Rhys' hand wasn't strong enough for surgery. Jessica reluctantly pulled Rhys out of theatre and, the next morning, performed the tests again, breaking the news to Rhys that they showed that he had made no improvement, and would likely never recover enough to be a surgeon. Later that day, a worried Vanessa finally caught up with Rhys and he angrily blamed her for ending his career. Thrown out of the house, Vanessa went home where she broke down in front of Lucas.

Vanessa was depressed about the break-up, but refused Rhys' attempts to fix things, realising that he wasn't the man she thought he was. Moping around at home and distracted at work, Vanessa was forced to snap out of it when her mum, Francesca, announced that she was coming to visit. Vanessa's parents had been away on an extended trip to Italy, and Francesca was anxious to see her daughter and find out why she'd left the family to come and take a job in a coffee shop on the other side of Melbourne. Vanessa desperately tried to hide her pregnancy, but a slip-up from Chris meant that Francesca learnt the truth just as she was about to leave. When Lucas came home to find deeply religious Francesca confronting her daughter about having a child out of wedlock, he spoke up and said that he was the father - adding that he and Vanessa were in love. Vanessa was shocked at his lie, but also amazed that he would go so far to help her. Francesca insisted on getting to know Lucas, but succeeded in rubbing him up the wrong way. Once alone, Lucas told Francesca how much he loved her daughter, and she was convinced, then announcing that they'd have to arrange the wedding as quickly as possible. Vanessa tried to talk her mum out of it, pointing out that her parents' views were very old-fashioned, but Francesca insisted that she and Vanessa's dad would cut her off from the family if she didn't go along with their wishes. Vanessa continued to be amazed as Lucas agreed to the plan, and he told her that it was just a piece of paper and didn't really mean anything anyway, and things only got more complicated when Rhys found out what was going on, but made it clear to Vanessa that he didn't care.

As plans for the wedding continued, Vanessa struggled to cope with the situation, but Lucas remained strong and told her that they'd get through it. As Francesca arranged for the family's priest, Father Vincent Guidotti to perform the wedding, he came to speak to Vanessa and Lucas about their relationship and their future. Vanessa and Lucas made sure that they got their stories straight and knew plenty of facts about each other's past, but still as Father Guidotti spoke to them, they gave different versions of where they saw things heading. Afterwards, he said that Lucas seemed like a straightforward guy, but Vanessa appeared to be telling him what he wanted to hear and he felt that they would need a couple of counselling sessions with him before the wedding. Francesca was surprised by this, knowing how her daughter wore her heart on her sleeve, and started to worry that something was amiss. After an earlier incident when Francesca noticed the tensions between Vanessa and Rhys, there was an argument in the bar, as Rhys punched Connor O'Neill for making suggestive comments about Vanessa. As Vanessa ran to check if Rhys was OK, then called him to check again, Francesca demanded to know exactly what was going on in her daughter's head. Vanessa opened up to her mum about her past relationship with Rhys and explained that he had hurt his hand, so she was simply concerned for his welfare after the fight, but was still happy to marry Lucas.

With the wedding only a day away, Vanessa was upset to learn that her father still disapproved so strongly that he was refusing to attend, though Francesca offered to take his place and walk their daughter down the aisle. Despite reassurance from Lucas that everything would be fine, Vanessa's doubts only grew on the day of the wedding, as she was torn between being honest and keeping the approval that she'd earned from her mother. As the ceremony began, Vanessa struggled to hide her true feelings, and things only got worse when Rhys arrived at the church. In the end, the emotions overwhelmed her and she ran out of the church and went home, where a horrified Francesca found her. Vanessa tried to explain that she didn't really love Lucas, but Francesca said that she knew that already - it had been obvious for weeks. Vanessa was then forced to explain everything about the one-night-stand and the fake relationship, and an appalled Francesca told her that she was no longer a member of the family, before leaving. Devastated Vanessa was shocked when Rhys then came over to the house, believing that her actions were a sign that she loved him and wanted to be with him. Vanessa soon put him straight, telling him that he was nothing more than a coward, and he'd ruined her life for nothing.

Vanessa then started to become confused about her feelings for Lucas, after finding some special vows that he'd written and had intended to say to her during the ceremony. Realising that he'd loved her all along, she started to see him in a new light, but admitted to Sonya that she wasn't sure if she felt any passion for him, or if she simply loved him because he'd been so good to her recently. Meanwhile, having reached full term in her pregnancy, Vanessa became frustrated when she became more and more overdue, and told Lucas about her fears over not having her mum around for the birth. Seeing how much it was affecting Vanessa, Lucas got her parents' address and went to see Francesca, explaining how much her daughter was struggling. Francesca was determined that she couldn't see her, but when Vanessa suddenly went into labour, and Lucas eventually found out about it and rushed off, Francesca struggled to stay away. At the hospital, Rhys, who had been around when she went into labour, supported her through the birth and, as her son was born, he proposed to her, apologising for everything he'd put her through. Caught up in the situation, Vanessa said yes and kissed him, just as a heartbroken Lucas arrived to witness the scene. Later, Vanessa found her mum at the reception desk, and was amazed to hear what Lucas had done, and how he'd missed the birth of his own son in the process.

A mother for only a few days, Vanessa's life finally seemed to be on track, with her engagement to Rhys, her mum back in her life, and happy discussions about baby names with Lucas. But tragedy wasn't far away, as the new parents took their child to the hospital to be checked, and nurse Georgia immediately found an irregular heartbeat. She called in Rhys for a second opinion, and, believing they were simply routine tests, Vanessa and Lucas waited outside, talking about their son and his future career and eventually settling on a name for him; Patrick. Back inside, Rhys was forced to break the news that Patrick was suffering from Ebstein's anomaly, or a hole in the heart. Destroyed by the news, Vanessa attempted to deal with it, as Lucas lashed out, not wanting to believe the diagnosis of his rival Rhys. Things only got worse as the second test results brought the same diagnosis, and Lucas realised that, as his father had died from heart problems, the condition could have been passed down from him. In the days that followed, Vanessa was determined to stay positive for her son and spend as much time as possible at the hospital with him. As Rhys started to talk about wedding plans, she realised that she couldn't go ahead with the engagement whilst Patrick was so ill, so she broke things off with Rhys. She was then shocked when an anonymous benefactor opened a fund for Patrick and donated $23,000, unaware that Rhys had sold his car and started the fund in an attempt to prove his love for Vanessa.

Meanwhile, Lucas and Vanessa learnt that Patrick would need an operation to remove a small part of his heart, but it would be several weeks before he would be strong enough for the procedure. Vanessa stayed with her son all the time, with Georgia suggesting that she accept a room in the hospital's family accommodation, so that she could still be nearby but at least sleep in a real bed from time to time, though Vanessa turned it down. With the fund allowing Vanessa to spend all her time at the hospital, Lucas continued to work at the garage, spending less and less time with Patrick and admitting to Toadie that he just couldn't stand seeing his son like that. But as Lucas started to come to terms with his feelings about his son, and spend more time at the hospital, he still struggled to be honest with Vanessa about how he felt, until Sonya decided to help out by finally telling Vanessa that Lucas was in love with her. As he admitted to Vanessa that it was true, and asked her how she felt about him, they were interrupted by the alarms sounding around Patrick's incubator, and were told that his oxygen levels were dropping and he would require an emergency operation to fix the problem. After a tense wait, they were told that the operation had been a success and Patrick was in recovery, and Vanessa finally agreed to take a room in the hospital's family accommodation, so that she could get some proper rest but still be nearby. There, Lucas brought her some clothes and other things to make it feel more like home, but when she started to cry over the whole situation, he found it difficult to comfort her, admitting that, now she knew of his real feelings, he didn't want it to look like he was finding any excuse to hug her. She stopped him, and they shared a kiss. The relationship came as a surprise to Vanessa, who was worried that they had done everything backwards, and had skipped the step where they really got to know each other, so Lucas decided to throw a picnic for her in her room at the hospital, pretending that they were meeting for the first time, and, when he found out that she was finding it hard to be alone with her thoughts, he brought a camp bed and moved into the room with her.

Though things finally seemed to be working out for Lucas and Vanessa, the news came as a huge shock to Rhys, whilst other people in the neighbourhood were happy for them, but still felt awkward when discussing Patrick. As Vanessa noticed Toadie trying to stop her from seeing some toys he'd bought for Nell, and Lucas keeping quiet about a rattle given to him by Lou's daughter Lauren, she admitted that she just wanted everyone to be as normal as possible. And when Toadie's mum Angie let slip that Toadie and Sonya had postponed Nell's naming day, out of respect for Lucas and Vanessa, she was determined that it would still go ahead though, once alone, it was clear that she was still struggling with the situation. Her worries only increased when she found out that Lucas had been taken photos of baby Nell, but had taken none of Patrick, and he admitted that he was just scared of letting himself love his son, incase he didn't make it. But things began to improve for Lucas and Vanessa when she let him move into the double bed in their hospital accommodation, and he took some photos of baby Patrick and ended up winning a competition in the final edition of the Erinsborough News, summing up what the community meant to him, receiving $100 which he used to open an account for his son.

With Patrick's condition improving and his operation approaching, things seemed to be going well for Lucas and Vanessa, and they both took some time out to enjoy Sonya and Toadie's wedding day, after being drafted in as the last-minute bridesmaid and best man. The happy day ended in disaster when a gas explosion ripped through the marquee that had been holding the wedding reception, leaving Sonya in a coma. Later that day, Vanessa received the shocking news that Rhys, who'd been inside the marquee when it collapsed, had died suddenly from an undiagnosed blood clot. After thinking things over, Vanessa went to visit Elaine to offer her condolences, and later, she told Lucas, for the first time, that she loved him. Vanessa then continued to visit Elaine, helping her to make the decision to take an out-of-court settlement as compensation for Rhys's death, and to move up north to be closer to her sister. After sharing some final memories of Rhys and throwing some flowers into the lake, the two women said their final goodbyes.

Around the same time, Vanessa received a $300 cheque from a publishing company, but it wasn't until Kyle and Chris came into the story and started asking strange questions about her family and whether she had any female cousins who resembled her, that the penny dropped. After going out to buy a magazine, she had a look and it confirmed her fears - a risque photoshoot, that she'd agreed to when she was 21 and desperate for money, had been re-printed. Vanessa confronted Kyle and Chris about their behaviour, but they explained that they'd just been trying to find out if it was actually her, and pointed out that Lucas had once been in a similar situation with his ex, Emilia, and hadn't reacted well. After finding Lucas at the garage with the magazine, looking for a motorbike article, she told him which page to turn to, but was surprised when he didn't overreact, and accepted her explanation, later buying up all of the magazines in the area in the hope that none of their friends would see it. With that crisis seemingly averted, Lucas and Vanessa counted down the days until Patrick's operation, which was a complete success, and things finally seemed to be looking up for them as they moved into a new apartment and their baby son was allowed to come home.

When Lucas's former girlfriend Steph Scully returned to town, after two and a half years in prison, Vanessa accepted her friendship, believing Lucas when he told her that he'd moved on and was now very happy with her and Patrick. Steph made it clear that she was happy for them both but behind Vanessa's back, she did her best to spend a lot of time with Lucas, as he helped her get back on a motorbike for the first time since the accident that her led to her spell in prison. Steph also found out about another secret in Lucas and Vanessa's relationship, when she took a call from the hospital and went down there to see Lucas. He admitted to her that he'd been diagnosed with testicular cancer and hadn't told Vanessa yet, as he felt that she'd been through enough recently and deserved a few stress-free weeks with the baby. When Lucas then learnt that the cancer hadn't spread and, although he'd need an operation to removed one of his testicles, he would make a full recovery. Steph was supportive, but tried to get him to continue confiding in her - he, however, went home and told Vanessa everything, though he failed to mention that Steph knew, and later that day, Steph had to act surprised when Lucas broke the news to her in front of Vanessa. Though shocked that Lucas had been going through this alone, Vanessa was happy that he seemed to be in the clear, though she was slightly confused as she had found an engagement ring in his pocket and was still waiting for his proposal.

With the day of Lucas's operation upon them, Vanessa struggled to get Lucas to talk to her about how he was feeling, and was frustrated as Steph, a cancer survivor herself, managed to say all the right things. At the hospital, Vanessa was shocked when the doctor started talking to her and Steph, telling them that the operation had gone well, but addressing all of her comments to Steph. She apologised, explaining that, as Steph had been at the pre-op appointment, she had simply assumed that she was Lucas's partner. Upset to realise that Steph had known about the cancer before her, Vanessa was understanding as Lucas explained why he had done it, but later admitted to Sonya that she was beginning to feel a little insecure, particularly with Steph around, and admitted that she'd found the engagement ring. Sonya went to see Lucas, telling him about Vanessa's insecurities and encouraging him to do something to prove his love - happy when he mentioned his plans to propose. Later that day, Vanessa went to visit Lucas and was delighted when he proposed - she accepted and was breaking the news to Sonya at Harold' Store when Steph came in and found out what had happened. Though Steph did her best to act like she was happy, and later took drinks to the hospital so they could all toast the engaged couple, Sonya could see that Steph wasn't exactly delighted to have lost Lucas. But as Vanessa started to plan her wedding, Steph continued to plot behind her back, and she hit the jackpot when she found the magazines at the garage with Vanessa's naked photospread. Steph emailed the photographer through his website, and he explained that he hadn't known Vanessa well, but had met her through her husband, Alec Pocoli. After chatting to Lucas, Steph realised that he had no idea she'd been married before, so she set up a fake Facebook account in Alec's name, and sent Lucas a message, saying that he was Vanessa's ex-husband and hoped to catch up with her when he came to town soon. Lucas thought it had to be a mistake, but when he confronted Vanessa, she couldn't deny her previous marriage. She went to see Sonya, and confided that the marriage had been a short one, and a big mistake, when she was younger; her parents had disapproved of Alec, so the young lovers had fled to his native Albania to get married. After they split, she was left with few people to turn to, and ended up agreeing to the naked photoshoot to get some money together.

Returning home that evening, Vanessa tried to explain things to Lucas, but as she spoke of her passionate affair with Alec, Lucas started drawing comparisons to their relationship, wondering if she was now settling for someone who was boring and predictable. Vanessa insisted that this wasn't the case, but Lucas couldn't take any more and told her that the wedding was off. Vanessa went to stay with her mum for a few days, but was surprised when she returned to find Lucas planning a camping trip with Steph. As the couple sat down to talk, they both realised that they'd overreacted and that they didn't really want to split up, and Lucas agreed when Vanessa told him that she needed him to stop seeing Steph. Vanessa then went to see Steph and explained that she would have to quit her job at the store, and Steph angrily blamed Vanessa for destroying her friendship with Lucas, claiming that Lucas was the only person who truly understood her. Slightly taken aback at Steph's sudden aggression, Vanessa was nevertheless happy to have her out of their lives and the next day, she and Lucas joined their friends on Ramsay Street to watch the eclipse, where Lucas again proposed, and Vanessa accepted. It seemed to be a perfect day, until they went inside to see Patrick, and found him missing from his stroller. It quickly became clear that Steph had taken him, after witnesses described her and then CCTV footage showed Steph and Patrick at Lassiter's. With most of the neighbourhood out looking, Vanessa and Lucas became increasingly concerned, until eventually Steph phoned Lucas, telling him that she was at home with the baby - though Lucas had no idea where she meant, and feared that calling the police would tip her over the edge. When Lucas finally realised where Steph had gone - back to the men's shed where she and Lucas had slept together before she went to prison - he contacted the police and then managed to convince her to hand over the baby. Steph had finally suffered from a complete breakdown and believed that Patrick was Adam, the son she'd given away three years earlier. In hospital, and with the proper medication, she realised what she'd done, and was told that she'd been taken away to a high-security psychiatric hospital near her mum in Bendigo. At the police station, Steph saw Vanessa, who'd been through hell already - she told Steph that she could never forgive what she'd done, and suggested that she never set foot back in Erinsborough again.

Over the weeks that followed, Lucas completed his radiotherapy, and Vanessa started up her own cupcake business, after having her hours cut back when Lauren took over the lease at the store. They also started to plan their wedding - Lucas was keen for it to be a small, intimate affair, and Vanessa went along with it, but it soon became clear that she was hoping for something a little more grand than a wedding in someone's back garden, with the guests bringing their own food. When Lucas realised this, he started working extra hours at the garage, exhausting himself following his recent illness, and he finally collapsed. At the hospital, tests showed a mass in Lucas' abdomen and he underwent an operation to find out whether the cancer had returned, but there was relief all round when it was discovered that it was just a mass of blood. The incident made Vanessa realise that she'd be happy to marry Lucas under any circumstances, and it wasn't worth the extra stress to have a big wedding. During the planning, Vanessa and Lucas ended up doing a tour of Lassiter's hotel with Paul. Though they had neither the money nor the inclination to have their wedding there, Lucas did spot the advertising for the hotel's new Eclipse Apartments, which were about to open. After seeing all of the benefits, he suggested to Vanessa that they could sell number 32 and buy one of the new apartments, and she reluctantly went along with the idea. But as Vanessa and Lucas realised that they were going to have to sell number 32, she struggled with the idea of making the Turner family homeless, particularly when she learnt that Lauren was hoping to have another baby, and was surprised at how emotional she was feeling about everything. As she started forgetting things and mixing up orders at work, Lauren started joking that Vanessa might be pregnant and, although she dismissed the idea at first, Vanessa soon realised that Lauren was right. She broke the news to Lucas and, having already bought an apartment and with another baby on the way, Vanessa gave in and agreed that they'd have to give up the house on Ramsay Street.

Things only got worse for Lucas and a stressed Vanessa when she suffered stomach pains and spotting, and was convinced that something was wrong with the baby. After a long and difficult day waiting around at the hospital, they were told that everything was fine, but a casual comment about private healthcare made Lucas worry that he wasn't providing well enough for his family, even though Vanessa was adamant that they were already in enough debt, and with the Ramsay Street house getting little interest from potential buyers, they didn't want to add to their financial problems. But Vanessa was unaware that Lucas had started gambling again, at underground poker games, to try to ease their worries and, although he'd won at his first game, the next time he wasn't so lucky, and after losing $6000, he had found himself owing another $4000 to criminal Robbo Slade. When Vanessa finally learnt the truth, it put a massive strain on their relationship, and she was left wondering if she even wanted to be with him anymore. She admitted to Sonya that, although she knew what she was getting into when she got into a relationship with a gambling addict, she was struggling to deal with his betrayal. With the auction of the Ramsay Street house the following day, and the wedding only a couple of weeks away, things then grew even more complicated when Vanessa's first husband, Alec, suddenly appeared in her life. After the fake messages from Steph earlier in the year, Alec had believed that Vanessa wanted to get back in touch, and had tracked her down. And when Vanessa told him that she was about to get remarried, he broke the news to her that she was actually still married to him, as he had never filed the annulment papers. Lucas was immediately threatened after seeing Vanessa with another man, and those feelings only strengthened when he found out that the other man was Alec. As the auction at number 32 began, Vanessa was mulling over an offer from Alec, and eventually went to see Lucas, stopping the auction just before the hammer went down. She explained that Alec had offered her $100,000 for a quick annulment, as he wanted to remarry, and wanted to avoid her making any claim on his other wealth. They decided to accept the money, realising that it would mean that they could keep up with the mortgage repayments and wouldn't need to sell number 32 after all.

With the financial pressure gone, Lucas and Vanessa were able to talk things through, and he admitted that he was still worried that she might leave him - and he would understand if she did. Vanessa, having spoken to Toadie about the difficulties of living with an addict, made it clear that she loved Lucas and wanted to be with him, and would even start coming to his GA meetings, so that she could understand his point of view a little better. They then realised that they'd forgotten to cancel the wedding the following week, and it couldn't go ahead as Vanessa's annulment from Alec wouldn't be completed in time. Lucas then suggested that it could still happen, just without any of the legal paperwork, but they could still give their own vows and have a ceremony in front of their friends. And so, following a surprise party thrown by Sonya the night before, Lucas and Vanessa were married, in the loosest sense of the word, at Charlie's, before setting off on their honeymoon to Daylesford. Upon their return, they were surprised to find that they'd been made offers on both their apartment at Lassiter's and Lucas's garage, having put the feelers out about selling them when their financial situation was a lot worse. Having seen a beautiful cottage for sale in Daylesford, they were sorely tempted to move away, a feeling that only got stronger when they went for their first inspection of the new apartment and were left very underwhelmed. Deciding that this was fate's way of pushing them into making a fresh start, they decided that they were going to sell up and put it an offer on the cottage, which was accepted. After breaking the news to their friends that they were leaving, Lucas and Vanessa said their goodbyes, including a particularly difficult goodbye to Toadie and Sonya, and waved farewell to Erinsborough.

After settling in Daylesford, baby number two, Sebastiana, was born, and the family received a visit from Matt and Lauren Turner, who had just renewed their marriage vows and were taking a honeymoon in the country. Lucas also set up his own garage, whilst Vanessa ran her successful bakery, Paddy Cakes. In March 2015, Vanessa - heavily pregnant again - and Lucas returned to Erinsborough to run a Paddy Cakes market stall at the Erinsborough Festival, and to introduce Sebastiana to their old friends. They were very surprised to hear that Chris had agreed to be a sperm donor for Lucy Robinson, who lived in New York, and pointed out that although he might be happy with the decision now, he might come to regret it when his child was born and he was living on the other side of the world from it.

Later that year, Lucas made another return to Erinsborough, after buying back Fitzgerald Motors. When he continued to splash the cash around, taking the Rebecchis out to dinner at Lanzini's, Sonya grew concerned that there was only one explanation for his new-found wealth - he was gambling again. Though he was offended when she confronted him, he couldn't explain the true reason why he was suddenly so rich, and it was down to Vanessa to call by and explain all. Vanessa told Sonya that she'd recently sold a recipe for a low-fat cupcake for a lot of money, but she and Lucas couldn't talk about the deal until it was complete. Fresh from a meeting in the city, she was now able to tell people what was going on, and a guilty Sonya apologised to Lucas, who admitted that he understood why she'd jumped to the wrong conclusion. With Lucas also feeling guilty that he hadn't been able to support Sonya through Toadie's recent paralysis, the old friends agreed that they'd try to be there more for each other from now on.

Soon after Lucas had bought back the garage, he was surprised to receive a call from Tyler, his new manager, explaining that he'd just hired Steph Scully as his new mechanic, unaware of her history with Lucas and Vanessa. When Lucas turned up in Erinsborough, his first instinct was to sack Steph, but Toadie persuaded him to give her a chance, insistent that she was on her medication and trying to make up for the past. Lucas insisted that he didn't want Steph to have any contact with him or Vanessa, so Toadie agreed to act as go-between. After a few weeks, and as she felt that she was fitting back into the community, Steph started to doubt her mental health again, when she began hearing Greensleeves - the music she'd always heard before having one of her episodes - and when other strange things began to happen. When Steph then heard that Vanessa would be staying overnight with the Rebecchis, as she had a meeting in the city the next day, she asked if she could stay and speak to her. However, not long before the meeting, Steph received a strange phone call, from a young boy saying that he missed her, and convinced that it was her son Charlie, she was very distracted when Vanessa arrived. As Steph and Toadie tried to convince Vanessa that Steph was now mentally stable and no longer a threat, the call from Charlie was mentioned, suddenly throwing doubt on Steph's state-of-mind all over again. When Charlie's father Max confirmed that Charlie had been with him, and hadn't had access to a phone, an upset Steph decided to leave, with Vanessa now more convinced than ever that it wasn't a good idea to have her back in their lives at all. Upset at how badly the meeting had gone, Steph became convinced that someone was trying to make her think that she was going mad, and with Toadie's help, a Bluetooth speak was found hidden in the garage - seemingly the source of the music she'd been hearing. As Steph began to think that her ex, and former psychiatric nurse, Belinda, was behind it all, Toadie phoned the hospital, and was surprised to learn that Vanessa had made a request to look at Steph's files. Now beginning to wonder if Vanessa was the one who'd been gaslighting Steph, she returned to town to face the allegations, admitting that she had tried to see Steph's files, but had been turned down. However, she denied having any involvement in anything else, but did take the opportunity to tell Steph that, following complaints from customers, they were going to have to end her trial period at the garage.

Trivia Notes
Vanessa was a big fan of trashy reality tv shows, including Pageant Kids
Vanessa had a 20-year-old, red-haired cousin named Carla
Though they had two on-screen weddings, Lucas and Vanessa were never legally married, as she ran out on him before their vows the first time, and the second was an unofficial ceremony, as her annulment from her first marriage was not yet complete

Tenure
6358, 6381, 6382, 6384, 6386, 6387, 6388, 6392, 6394, 6396, 6400, 6402, 6406, 6407, 6413, 6414, 6416, 6423, 6425, 6427, 6432, 6438, 6442, 6443, 6445, 6446, 6447, 6451, 6452, 6453, 6456-6737, 7073, 7218, 7252, 7256

Magic Moments
Episode 6358: Vanessa's Arrival
Episode 6532: Lucas and Vanessa's (Fake) Wedding
Episode 6732: Lucas and Vanessa's Wedding
Episode 6737: Lucas and Vanessa's Departure
Episode 7073: Lucas and Vanessa's Return

Biography by Steve

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