When Joe Carter joined Underworld as Mike Baldwin's manager in May 2002, there was an instant love-hate relationship between him and Karen McDonald but she stayed loyal to husband Steve. In March 2003, Joe and Karen went out to a nightclub where he hoped to entice her away from her husband but his ploy failed. He then tried to bring Karen's jealousy to the surface and, to this end, went out on a couple of dates with Lisa Ibbetson, an attractive, blonde hotel manageress.
He first met Lisa outside the factory one lunchtime when she drove up in her sports car to take him to lunch and they exchanged a kiss while Karen stood at the entrance, smoking a cigarette and glowering at the couple. On their next date, Joe brought Lisa into the Rovers where admiring remarks about her from Steve and Dev Alahan brought out Karen's jealousy further. Joe and Lisa's relationship quickly petered out but Karen's reaction towards the girl was another step in the eventual success of Joe's plan to entice her to leave Steve and join him.