What happened to Suranne Jones' character Karen McDonald in Coronation Street? | The Sun

BEFORE Steve McDonald came to his senses and gave Tracy Barlow a chance, he was head over heels for Karen Phillips.

But what happened to the long-forgotten Coronation Street character, portrayed by Suranne Jones?

What happened to Karen McDonald on Corrie?

It may seem strange for some fans of the ITV soap to know that Steve McDonald (portrayed by Simon Gregson) was once happy and in love with someone other than Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford).

But there was a time where he couldn't even stand the sight of her, despite her many attempts at getting his attention.

In the early 2000s, Steve only had eyes for Karen Phillips and the pair even went on to tie the knot… twice.

Karen was born to very strict and religious parents, finding solace in her friend Lynda Sykes' home.

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When she was found smoking and living the life of any other teenager at Linda's, her father beat her and she moved out the following day, sleeping on her friend's sofa.

Karen was disowned and she was estranged from her parents for several years, prompting her to work with Linda at Wheelers.

When the latter found work as a machinist at the Underworld factory, in June, 2000, Karen followed her.

Hard-working Karen quickly found herself to be quite successful with the men of Weatherfield and embarked on a fling with Vikram Desai before spending a night with Peter Barlow.

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However, by 2001, Karen was in a relationship with ladies man Steve McDonald.

What started off as a playful bet soon paved the way to serious, till-death-do-us-part, commitment.

Her Underworld colleague Janice Battersby soon argued that none of Karen's boyfriends ever took her seriously and, to prove a point, she came up a with a strange engagement plan.

Janice bet £10 that Karen wouldn't be able to get engaged and the latter persuaded Steve to pop the question in front of all the Rovers regulars.

A flabbergasted Janice upped the stakes from a handful of cash to two days' wages on the condition that Karen and her beau walked down the aisle.

While they were adamant on not backing out, Karen and Steve were convinced the other would and were as surprised as the other guests when they both turned up at the Register Office.

Their surprise only escalated when they both said "I do."

The reception was then held at the Rovers and, six weeks later, the lovebirds finally arranged their honeymoon in Florida, realising they really did love each other.

Upon their return, Karen was determined for her and Steve to be the new Posh-and-Becks of Coronation Street.

But her taste for money and the high life landed her into plenty of trouble as soon Joe Carter got a job at Underworld.

Karen was then torn between both Joe and Steve, which only got worse when she agreed to help the former steal the factory from Mike Baldwin by forging cheques for a fake company named Artrec, an anagram of his surname.

Mike found out about the scam and chased them out of Weatherfield.

Karen came back upon realising Joe was using her and she stayed with her aunt Eva Briggs as her marriage to Steve was left on the rocks.

She didn't expect Steve to not only track her down but also pay Mike Baldwin back the money she had stolen – which is exactly what he did, trying to make amends after his own extramarital activity.

The reconciliation prompted them to think of their dream wedding and, this time, they were ready to make it happen.

The couple even staged fights to make everyone believe they were getting a divorce, in the hopes of having the wedding they dreamed of.

Karen had over-the-top plans for her big day, ready to arrive at the ceremony wearing fake fur on a sleight – but Steve McDonald's one-night-stand came back to haunt him.

Tracy Barlow revealed that the baby everybody thought was Roy Cropper's was actually Steve's.

The florist dropped the bombshell on the day of Karen's wedding to Steve and a new love triangle quickly took form.

Hellbent on revenge, Karen showed up at baby Amy's christening and got into a scrap with Tracy.

For several months, Karen had to learn to live with Steve's betrayal and the pair decided to have a baby.

Karen tried to forget Tracy and her obvious bond with Steve's mother Liz but her rival continually taunted her about having a baby with her husband, even cruelly nicknaming her "Barren Karen."

The rivalry lasted for months but Karen eventually got the news she was hoping for in November, 2004 – she found out she was pregnant.

But her happiness was cut short by a miscarriage and Tracy was told about it all by Liz, leaving Karen livid.

Karen was unable to control her anger and took it out on Tracy's daughter by stealing her car and driving off with Amy.

The vehicle was found ablaze at the Red Rec and Tracy instantly assumed Karen had killed Amy.

After planning her revenge in Steve's taxi and an explosive fight, it was revealed Roy Cropper had actually been babysitting Amy.

The Christmas stunt was the last straw for Steve and his marriage with Karen came to an end when he called it quits, fuming she'd let him believe she killed his daughter.

Karen pleaded with Steve to give her another chance but it was too late.

She left the cobbles on Christmas Day 2004 and Steve found she'd filed for divorce on the following Valentine's Day.


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What TV shows has Suranne Jones been in since Coronation Street?

Acclaimed actress Suranne Jones began her TV career in soapland by portraying Mandy Phillips for one episode of Coronation Street.

This paved the way for her return as series regular Karen McDonald in 2000.

Following her four-year-stint in the cobbles, Suranne furthered her television career in several other drama series in the likes of Vincent from 2005 to 2006, Strictly Confidential and Harley Street.

The 44-year-old also played the part of convicted murderer Ruth Slater in Unforgiven (2009), and her performance received praise.

This led to her collaborating with screenwriter and Happy Valley creator Sally Wainwright once again between 2011 and 2016 as she starred as Detective Rachel Bailey in Scott & Bailey.

Suranne juggled her stage stardom with several other TV shows like Single Father, Five Days and The Crimson Field.

But the Mancunian star rose to major prominence with her portrayal of Dr Gemma Foster in BBC One's dramatic series Doctor Foster (2015-2017).

Suranne won several award for her performance, including a Broadcasting Press Guild award and the BAFTA TV Award for Best actress.

After returning to theatre for a handful of shows, Suranne turned back to the small screen to star in Save Me (2018), Vigil (2021) and Gentleman Jack – her fourth collaboration with Sally Wainwright and proof her days in Weatherfield are part of her past.

But while she may have moved on following her explosive exit, Suranne hasn't ruled out a potential return to the cobbles for a charitable cause.

"I don’t have time to keep up with Corrie but I’m friends with Jennie McAlpine and Antony Cotton (Fiz Stape and Sean Tully in Coronation Street) so I do catch up."

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"But I didn’t know Steve had a baby – that is news to me and I am gobsmacked."

Before Suranne can return to Corrie, viewers can continue to watch all the drama every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8pm on ITV.

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