38-year-old Robert had at least two children with his wife Linda. By 1991, their marriage was on the rocks and the bad atmosphere at home was affecting the children. Jenny too was attached when they first met, though she wasn't serious about her boyfriend Mark Casey, finding him immature and boring. Robert was 18 years her senior, with a good career and, more importantly, money to burn - the perfect catch for Jenny, who was working as a perfume demonstrator at Ashcroft Department Store having recently being thrown off her course at Manchester Polytechnic.
Robert was anxious about being seen in public with Jenny but went to see her during promo nights. On one such evening at the Adelphi Hotel, Mark Casey turned up unexpectedly and got the impression that Robert was Jenny's boss Steph Barnes's boyfriend - an assumption Jenny didn't correct. After Steph let Des in on Jenny's secret to prove that she wasn't being unfaithful to him, Jenny finished with Mark.
Jenny didn't expect Robert to leave his wife for her and was content to enjoy the ride while it lasted. With Mark out of the way, Jenny told her friends that she had a new man, and introduced him to Rita Fairclough. Having been informed by Jenny's housemate Angie Freeman that Robert was a married man, Rita snubbed him on their first meeting, refusing a drink from him at the Rovers Return.
Robert was serious about Jenny and in late February he offered to install her in a flat. As Jenny showed him off more and more, stopping by his surgery for the first time, Robert realised that he wanted to be with her openly and left his wife to live with her in the flat he was buying. Jenny left Coronation Street after five years to settle with Robert.
In September 1993, Robert ended the relationship and returned to his wife. Out of spite, Jenny took Robert's pregnant Japanese Akita Mitzi, worth £1,000, passing her off to Rita as her own dog when she returned to her looking for somewhere to live. Robert responded to the dog-napping by clearing out their joint bank account and snatching Mitzi while she was in the care of Mavis and Derek Wilton.