Steve's always had a thing for troublemakers

Steve McDonald’s romantic history in Coronation Street – and why Cassie might not be the worst choice he’s ever made

Cassie might not be the worst choice he's ever made!

Steve McDonald in Coronation Street is the much-married recently estranged husband of Tracy Barlow.

Steve’s been in the Street since 1989 and has become a Weatherfield legend. His friendship with Eileen Grimshaw, his bromance with Tim Metcalfe and his many, many weddings and divorces have made him a firm fan favourite.

He’s got more ex-wives, fiancees and girlfriends than most Weatherfield residents have had hotpots – and now he seems to have his eye on one-time drug addict Cassie Plummer.

At first glance Steve and Cassie sounds like a disaster, but given Steve’s chequered romantic history – and his fondness for trouble-makers, could they be a match made in heaven?

So what’s Steve’s story? And are any of his exes as much trouble as Cassie?

Steve has got his eye on Cassie! (Credit: ITV)

When did Steve McDonald arrive in Coronation Street?

Steve arrived in Weatherfield as a troubled teenager with twin brother Andy McDonald and his parents Liz and Jim. He later had a sister called Katie, who died as a baby.

Steve got up to all sorts as a youngster, causing his parents lots of stress. He seemed to be a real chip off the old block, matching his crime-breaking dad Jim for scams and scrapes.

In an attempt to get on the straight and narrow, Steve started his own business but he ended up in prison for a while for handling stolen goods.

But since then he’s settled down – more than once – started Street Cars, run the Rovers, fought depression and grieved the loss of two children.

Steve McDonald
Steve McDonald has made a good life on the Street after a shaky start! (Credit: ITV)

When did Steve McDonald go to prison?

In 1994, Steve was working for Mike Baldwin at his business MVB Print. When Steve got lucky on the horses, he won enough money to buy Mike out.

But the temptation to keep gambling was too strong, and Steve was soon in debt to loan sharks. Throw in a few bottles of dodgy whisky and Steve was in trouble.

He married wealthy Vicky Arden in an attempt to use her money to pay off his debts, but when Vicky testified against him in court, their marriage broke up. Hmm, being banged up thanks to an ex definitely seems like a bad romantic choice!

Who has Steve been married to?

Vicky was Steve’s first wife, but definitely not his last! Since his teen romance with posh Vicky, Steve’s gone through a lot more wives.

After Vicky, Steve started a relationship with factory worker Karen Phillips.

She had a bet with Janice Battersby that she’d get Steve to propose – which she won – and then that they’d tie the knot. Both Steve and Karen were quite surprised to find themselves saying ‘I do’ but they did make a go of things and their fiery marriage was successful – at first.

Steve and Karen McDonald got married twice (Credit: ITV/YouTube)

They hit a bump when Steve thought Karen was having an affair and they split. While they were apart, Steve slept with Tracy Barlow – more on that later – but then he and Karen got back together and decided to divorce (are you keeping up?) so Karen could have the big wedding of her dreams.

Though they did make it down the aisle, they eventually split, thanks to Steve being revealed as the father of Tracy’s baby, Amy.

After Karen, Steve had a romance with Michelle Connor, but they split when he fell for Becky Granger. He and Becky were made for each other and did – eventually – make it down the aisle.

But he had another brief fling with Tracy Barlow, things got complicated, and that was it.

Tracy tells Steve it's over on Corrie
Steve and Tracy’s marriage is over (Credit: ITV)

More weddings for Steve McDonald

Steve went back to Michelle and they also tied the knot. They were chuffed when Michelle got pregnant but tragically their son Ruairi was born prematurely, and passed away.

Unknown to Michelle, Steve had slept with Leanne Battersby, who was also pregnant, and she was devastated when it was revealed he was little Oliver’s dad

And so, Steve and Tracy found each other again. They tied the knot, albeit with a bit of quality Corrie drama at the reception.  Though let’s not forget that strictly speaking Tracy is a murderer – definitely more dodgy than being a former drug addict!

Of course, now the pair have split after Tracy’s steamy affair with Tommy Orpington.

Tracy fell for Tommy Orpington (Credit: ITV)

Who did Steve marry twice?

Steve married Karen twice – once a quick register office do and the second time a proper fancy church wedding. He’s also married Tracy Barlow twice. Both weddings ended with huge drama at the reception.

His first wedding to Tracy was ruined when his ex Becky revealed that Tracy had lied about her miscarriage, while the second went pear-shaped when Leanne accidentally let slip that she and Steve had a one-night stand.

Steve and Becky only married once, but they had two weddings. The first wedding was called off when a nervous Becky had one too many drinks to calm her nerves and ended up drunk at the ceremony!

Their second ended in drama when Becky was arrested at the ceremony.

He’s definitely no stranger to weddings, our Steve!

Becky Granger in Coronation Street
Becky got drunk on her wedding day (Credit: ITV)

Bad romance

Alongside his troublemaking wives, Steve’s had a few tricky girlfriends, too. Back in 2005, a woman called Ronnie Clayton applied for a job at Street Cars. Steve was immediately smitten. Though he didn’t know that Ronnie’s ex husband was a bit of a gangster – and happened to be the owner of a rival cab firm.

All sorts of shenanigans followed  until eventually the pair had a row one day. Steve consoled himself by sleeping with Kelly Crabtree when Ronnie was out driving for Street Cars. Ronnie tried to call Steve and as she did so, she knocked over a man, who died.

Steve took the blame for the speeding fine Ronnie got on the same day, and that meant when the police investigated the hit and run, he was the prime suspect!

Steve, Andy, Liz and Jim McDonald pose for a family picture in Coronation Street
The McDonald family arrived in 1989 (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

Who plays Steve McDonald in Coronation Street?

Steve has been played by Simon Gregson since 1989. He was just a teenager when he landed the role that made him a household name.

He got the chance after his school friend Nicholas Cochrane was selected to play Steve’s twin brother, Andy.

The Corrie casting bosses went on the hunt for someone to play Steve, and because Simon had similar colouring to Nicholas, he was asked to audition and got offered the job.

Who is he married to in real life?.

In 2010, Simon married Emma Gleave.

The pair have three sons, Alfie, Harry and Henry.

simon gregson in the telegraph on i'm a celebrity
Simon came second on I’m A Celebrity (Credit: ITV)

I’m a Celebrity

In 2021, Simon joined fellow soap stars Danny Miller and Adam Woodyatt in I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

It was a difficult series with several episodes cancelled thanks to Storm Arwen, and the finale being delayed because the PM had to make an another announcement about a new Covid variant.

But in the end, Danny Miller, AKA Aaron Dingle from Emmerdale, was crowned King of the Jungle.

And Simon cemented his reputation as a national treasure!

Read more: Complete Coronation Street cast list 2024 – meet them all here!

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Kerry Barrett
Freelance Soap Writer