Laurel Thomas in Emmerdale has been in the show since she buzzed into Marlon and Tricia’s engagement party dressed as a bumblebee, back in 2002.
Since then, she’s been at the heart of many of the show’s most dramatic stories.
She’s been married three times – twice to the same man – suffered the death of a child, and a heartbreaking termination, lost beloved husband Ashley to dementia, and fought alcoholism.
So what’s Laurel’s story?
Laurel Thomas in Emmerdale and Ashley the vicar
Laurel met single-dad Ashley when she first arrived in the village, and the pair fell in love.
At first, their relationship looked doomed when Ashley’s bishop wouldn’t give him permission to get married, but they eventually changed his mind.
The couple were thrilled when Laurel got pregnant and gave birth to a little boy called Daniel. Laurel made friends with another new mum in hospital, called Melanie Doland.
Heartbreak followed, when baby Daniel died suddenly. Laurel struggled to cope and even moved out of the family home.
Later there was another twist when it was discovered there had been a mix-up in the hospital and Daniel had actually been the Dolands’ son.
Laurel and Ashley’s biological son, Arthur, was returned to them.
Is Laurel Gabby’s mother?
Laurel is the stepmother of Gabby Thomas.
Gabby’s biological mother is Bernice Blackstock, however Laurel helped Ashley raise Gabby.
How old is Laurel in Emmerdale?
Laurel was born on May 31 1974 making her 47.
Who was Sally Spode in Emmerdale?
Ashley’s ex-girlfriend Sally Spode arrived in the village bringing chaos with her.
She was fixated with Laurel and determined to get rid of her. She engineered several attempts on Laurel’s life, including locking her in the burning church, but wasn’t successful.
Laurel became suspicious and things escalated. Sally lied that she was pregnant with Ashley’s baby, she kidnapped little Angelica King, and even drugged poor Ashley.
Eventually, after a dramatic confrontation with Laurel, Sally was sectioned.
Is Laurel Thomas an alcoholic?
After the break-up of her marriage to Ashley, Laurel began drinking.
She married Marlon Dingle and it seemed they were destined to be together, but her problems with alcohol were getting worse.
When Laurel knocked over and killed Marlon’s beloved dog Daisy, and had a one-night stand with a man who gave her an STI, it was the last straw.
Their marriage was over.
Ashley was diagnosed with vascular dementia and he and Laurel grew close again and eventually remarried.
Laurel found out she was expecting again and gave birth to a baby girl in 2016. She was named Dotty, after Ashley’s mum Dorothy.
When Ashley’s condition worsened, Laurel took the heartbreaking decision to put him into a care home.
But when it was clear he was dying, she brought him home and Ashley died peacefully in Laurel’s arms.
Life after Ashley’s death
Laurel had an affair with Ashley’s best friend Bob Hope, much to the disgust of her friends and family. Bob was in a relationship with Brenda Walker at the time, though they split after his affair became public.
After Laurel and Bob split up, she got together with Jai Sharma.
They bonded over their shared experience of addiction. There were some troubles with Arthur bullying Jai’s son Archie, but things have settled down and the two boys seem to get on now.
Why did Laurel have an abortion?
When Laurel found out she was unexpectedly pregnant, she was devastated to discover the baby had Down’s Syndrome.
Laurel and Jai made the heartbreaking decision to terminate the pregnancy.
The storyline proved quite controversial and some fans were angry with Laurel’s choice.
Why did Laurel and Jai split?
Despite seeming pretty solid, Jai made a huge mistake when he took out a £100k loan in Laurel’s name.
She found out about the loan when trying to apply for a mortgage.
At first she thought it was a stranger who took out the loan but was horrified to find out her own boyfriend was behind it.
The couple split up and he’s desperately tried to get back into her good books.
Will Laurel and Jai get back together?
This week, she ends up giving into her feelings and kisses Jai, but will she regret her actions?
Emmerdale usually airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV, with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays.
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