Emmerdale's Jacob and David

Jacob Gallagher’s complex family tree and Emmerdale drama with Maya Stepney

What's next for the troubled teenager?

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Jacob Gallagher in Emmerdale has possibly the most confusing family background of any soap character ever.

He’s got two dads, two mums and a handful of stepmothers, plus a few siblings, too.

So who is he? Who’s his family? And what happened between him and twisted teacher Maya Stepney?

Emmerdale Alicia Metcalfe, Jacob Gallagher and Leyla Cavanagh with Jacob dressed as a robot
Jacob was always in the middle of his two mums (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

Read more: Who is leaving Emmerdale this year – and who’s coming home?

Who is Jacob’s dad in Emmerdale?

Fans have been left confused lately as David Metcalfe has been referring to Jacob as his ‘son’.

In fact, David is his stepdad, but looks upon Jacob as his own.

Jacob was born in 2003, and is the biological son of Leyla Harding and Justin Gallagher.

Leyla got pregnant as a result of a one-night stand with Justin, who was married to her sister, Alicia Harding.

Alicia wasn’t aware that Jacob was her husband’s biological son, and because she had fertility problems she agreed to bring up Jacob as her own.

Alicia and Justin split up in 2010 and Alicia came to the village with her son. Jacob Gallagher started spending a lot of time in Emmerdale with Leyla and her boyfriend, David Metcalfe.

Leyla found it hard to spend time with Jacob, without him knowing she was his real mum, and eventually left the village.

When Alicia and David fell in love, Jacob grew even closer to David. He started to see him as a father figure, and began calling him ‘Dad’.

When did Jacob Gallagher leave Emmerdale?

When Jacob found out that Leyla was his real mum, he struggled to deal with the truth. And after Leyla came back to the village, he wasn’t pleased to see her – though eventually he did accept her into his life.

There were a few turbulent years for young Jacob as he suffered bullying by Noah Dingle and then had to cope with Alicia’s assault at the hands of Lachlan White.

After Jacob lashed out and vandalised Home Farm, Alicia realised she couldn’t stay in the village. She moved to Portugal and Jacob went with her.

Jacob supported David through his cancer (Credit: ITV)

Jacob Gallagher returns to Emmerdale

In 2016, Alicia phoned Leyla in a panic because Jacob had left Portugal without telling her. He turned up in the village and David convinced Alicia to let him stay.

There was friction when David discovered he had testicular cancer and unable to cope with telling his son, simply sent him back to Portugal.

When Jacob found out the truth he was hurt and upset but they sorted out their difficulties and Jacob supported David through his treatment.

Jacob’s stepmothers

Jacob’s dad, David, is a serial monogamist and so Jacob’s collected quite a few mother figures along the way.

He’s got a good relationship with biological mum Leyla, and is still close to Alicia and often visits her in Portugal.

He also gets on well with Priya Sharma, mum to David’s daughter Amba, and David’s ex-wife Tracy Metcalfe.

Priya, Tracy and Leyla teamed up to protect Jacob (Credit: ITV/YouTube)

The women in Jacob’s life proved useful when things got messy for the teenager with his teacher Maya Stepney.

What happened between Jacob and Maya Stepney?

When David started a relationship with Jacob’s teacher, Maya Stepney, Jacob was pleased because he liked Maya.

But soon it became apparent that Maya’s interest in Jacob was more sinister than simply being a caring teacher or stepmum and she was actually grooming him into having a relationship with her.

Jacob thought his relationship with Maya was consensual (Credit: ITV)

The pair were soon sneaking around and spending time with each other, and Jacob – who was only 15 when their relationship began – thought he was in a consensual, loving romance.

Maya slept with Jacob when he turned 16.

Things began to get messy when Jacob’s ex-girlfriend Liv discovered them together. She started blackmailing the couple.

When Priya saw Jacob and Maya kissing on a night out, she was furious. She told Tracy and Leyla what she’d seen, and there was a confrontation between the women.

For a while it was thought Leyla had killed Maya but she was arrested.

Jacob was devastated and still adamant that they had been in love. He resented his dad and Leyla for interfering and even moved in with his grandad Eric for a while.

Eventually Jacob realised that he had been abused.

Jacob was relieved when baby Theo turned out to be his brother and not his son (Credit: ITV)

Is Jacob the baby’s father in Emmerdale?

Maya’s last surprise was to come when she left a baby on Jacob and David’s doorstep.

When baby Theo was left on the Metcalfes’ doorstep by Maya at Christmas 2019, Jacob was worried he was the father.

He was relieved to discover David was the dad, and now dotes on his baby brother.

Who is Jacob dating now?

Jacob isn’t in a relationship with anyone at the moment, but he did have a relationship with Maya’s former stepdaughter, Leanna Cavanagh.

He even proposed to her before her tragic death, but she declined. He let her keep the ring, though, and that’s going to prove vital in proving Leanna was murdered.

The teen was killed by Meena Jutla who pushed her off a bridge.

The truth about Meena’s rampage has only just come out, but with only Vinny and Manpreet’s words for it they need more evidence.

Meena pocketed Leanna’s engagement ring as a trophy after killing her. Although the murderer has buried her bits box with all her trophies in, surely it’s only a matter of time before it comes back to the surface.

Jacob is in hospital after being stabbed (Credit: ITV)

Does Jacob die in Emmerdale?

Jacob recently confronted mum Leyla’s drug dealer after he caught her about to take cocaine again.

He turned up with a knife, but ended up being stabbed himself.

After being out all night Jacob was found and taken to hospital, where he faced emergency surgery.

As the police start questioning relatives, will Jacob pull through?

Or is he set to lose his life?

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Emmerdale usually airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV, with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays.

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Kerry Barrett
Freelance Soap Writer