Liz married army sergeant Jim McDonald in 1974, by which time she was already pregnant with twins Andy and Steve. The family lived in army housing but with Jim abroad for long periods, Liz raised the boys virtually on her own. Fifteen years later Jim was demobbed and one of the couple's reasons for moving to Coronation Street in 1989 was to be close to George and Nancy.
In May 1990, the twins tried to duck out of visiting their grandmother by asking to help Jim refurbish a motorbike he'd recently bought from Jack Duckworth, but they ended up going. Two months later in July, Nancy needed to borrow £10 from Liz, who told Steve to take Nancy's money over as soon as possible. However, Steve instead met with his then-girlfriend Joanne Khan at North Cross Park, staying out for much longer than necessary and worrying Liz. When Steve returned that evening, Jim interrogated him about where he had been, as Andy had already told Jim and Liz that he had seen Steve and Joanne together. Steve said he had intended to take Nancy's money to her that evening, but Liz said it was too late. Jim then berated Steve for letting down Liz, Nancy and himself.
In January 1996, Nancy moved to a new flat in Southport. Jim, fearful of her having an affair, became suspicious when Liz took off for a few days to settle Nancy into her new flat. His fears were unfounded however as he discovered that Liz was really with her mother at that time.