Hayley Cropper: Coronation Street legend and foster parent to many

She was a true Street icon!

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Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street was a Weatherfield legend. She was married to Roy Cropper and together they were devoted foster parents to many Street faves including Becky Granger, Fiz Stape, Carla Connor, and Amy Barlow.

Hayley is a Street legend (Credit: ITV)

Hayley worked in the factory and helped Roy in the cafe, and was generally one of the best-loved characters the Street has ever seen.

So what was her story?

Who played Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street? Was she transgender in real life?

Hayley was played by accomplished actress Julie Hesmondhalgh, who is not transgender.

Julie had appeared in The Bill and Dalziel and Pascoe before she landed the role that would make her a household name.

Julie Hesmondhalgh – pictured here leaving the ITV studios following a guest appearance on ‘Lorraine’ – is a household name now (Credit:

She stayed on the cobbles for sixteen years and since then has gone on to star in acclaimed television shows including Happy Valley, Broadchurch, The A Word and even Doctor Who.

Read more: Coronation Street fans beg for Roy to return after he leaves Weatherfield

She is married to Ian Kershaw, who’s a screenwriter, and the couple have two daughters.

Hayley’s early days in Weatherfield

Hayley was a friend of Alma Baldwin when she met Roy Cropper. The pair became good friends. When Hayley told Roy she was transgender, he wasn’t sure initially but he came round and he and Hayley became a couple.

Hayley was accepted by the Street (Credit: ITV/Rex/Shutterstock)

Hayley travelled to America for surgery and though there was a hiccup when Mike Baldwin discovered she was once called Harold, the residents on the Street soon proved they accepted her for who she as.

Did Hayley have any children?

Roy and Hayley were thrilled when they became foster parents and their first child – Fiz Brown – won their hearts. They ran into trouble, though, when they went away with another kid Wayne Hayes, to keep him from being returned to his abusive stepdad. After that they weren’t allowed to foster any more.

Roy and Hayley Cropper Corrie Credit: ITV/Shutterstock
Roy and Hayley tied the knot (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

When Roy was a victim of Tracy Barlow’s desperate attempt to pass her baby off as his, Hayley stood by her man. Tracy had drugged Roy and wanted the Croppers to pay her for her unborn child.

The scam took its toll on the Croppers, and their relationship hit some bumps. When the baby was born they paid Tracy, and Roy married her in order to have parental responsibility. They named the tot Patience Cropper. But it wasn’t long before Tracy fessed up – her baby’s dad was Steve McDonald. She repaid the money, and the Croppers gave the baby – now called Amy Barlow – back to her mum.

Credit: ITV/YouTube
Tracy was scamming poor Roy and Hayley (Credit: ITV/YouTube)

Later, Hayley discovered she had a biological son called Christian Gatley. She tracked him down and pretended to be his aunt. When Christian found out the truth – because Roy told him – he reacted badly. Hayley went away for a year to get over what she saw as Roy’s betrayal.

Hayley and Roy went on to take all sorts of waifs and strays under their wing, especially Becky Granger – later Becky McDonald – who adored them both – and Carla.

How did Hayley die?

When strange things began happening in the cafe overnight, the Croppers were stumped. But they found out the culprit was a sleepwalking Roy.

Hayley died in Roy’s arms (Credit: ITV/YouTube)

Roy was nervous about going to the doctor, so Hayley reassured him she’d have the same tests as he needed. But it was Hayley who turned out to be ill. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

When Hayley found out her cancer was terminal, Roy cared for her. And when she decided she didn’t want to die slowly and painfully she asked Roy to help her die.

He agreed, though he was heartbroken. Hayley chose the day she wanted to pass away. She wouldn’t let Roy give her the medicine she needed, instead making sure he couldn’t be implicated in her death. She drank the drugs cocktail and passed away peacefully in her beloved Roy’s arms.

Roy – and the other Street residents all miss her – and so do we.

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Coronation Street usually airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm and 8.30pm on ITV.

From March 7, Coronation Street will air hour-long episodes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8pm.

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Kerry Barrett
Freelance Soap Writer