Steve grew up in army lodgings and originally moved to the street in 1989 with his parents Jim and Liz and twin brother Andy. Steve started out as the family failure; impetuous, reckless, and a liar, he was always in trouble. He wanted to get into business and used gambling winnings to buy MVB Print, but a year later he was sent to prison for handling stolen goods, and his rich wife Vicky - who he'd married for her money - left him when he tried to pin the blame on her.
In 2000, Steve set up Street Cars with Vikram Desai. The following year, he married Karen Phillips for a bet but they fell in love anyway and (Karen) decided to get divorced just so they could get married again in style. The wedding was gatecrashed by Tracy Barlow, who announced to the guests that Steve was her baby daughter Amy's father, conceived while Steve was separated from Karen. Karen married Steve regardless and they tried to make their marriage work, but her battles with Tracy eventually proved too much for Steve and he threw her out.
In 2006, Steve bought the Rovers Return and installed Liz as landlady. After divorcing Karen, he waged war against Tracy for access to Amy, but only gained custody when Tracy was sent to prison for murdering Charlie Stubbs. In 2009, he gave up a stable life with Michelle Connor to marry Becky Granger. Steve and Becky's relationship was also wrecked by Tracy; in 2010 Tracy was paroled and drove the McDonalds apart in a mission to woo Steve. Tracy got her wish and married Steve in 2012, but Steve dumped her at the reception, coming to his senses after Becky proved that Tracy had lied about her recent miscarriage being caused by Becky pushing her down the stairs.
Steve later got back together with Michelle, marrying in 2015, and bought the Rovers again, having sold it off to sort out the financial mess his problems with Becky had left him in. The following year, when he and Michelle went through a rough patch, Steve slept with Leanne Battersby and both women became pregnant with his children. Michelle lost their son Ruairi in a late miscarriage, while Leanne successfully gave birth to Oliver. When Steve confessed that he was Oliver's father to Michelle, she demanded a divorce from him.
Following a reconciliation, Steve married Tracy and currently lives at 1 Coronation Street with Tracy, Amy and Ken. Recent years have seen him experience both heartbreak and joy as his son Oliver tragically died from a rare form of mitochondrial disease aged three, and he has met and bonded with Emma Brooker, his daughter with ex-girlfriend Fiona Middleton.
1989-1994: Early years on the street
Steve arrived in Coronation Street at the age of 15 in October 1989, with twin brother Andy and parents Jim and Liz McDonald. From the start, the lads were high-energy tearaways initially causing aggravation for Alf Roberts. Steve and Andy got up to a lot of mischief, including breaking the Corner Shop window with a football and then a few days later breaking its replacement with an industrial earth mover. The lads were brought up primarily by their mother because their father Jim was in the army and frequently away from home. When he was home, the hot tempered Jim, whose tirades were often fuelled by whisky and beer, had the boys fearing and resenting him. Steve grew up with little respect for his father but a great deal for his mother, although this didn't stop him from getting into scrapes, no matter how much it worried his mother. Schoolboy pranks turned into illegal activities when Steve was sure he could pull off a scam or two only to find out that the long arm of the law was only a few steps away.
In July 1990, Steve ran away to the Lake District with teenage love Joanne Khan and had to be retrieved and defended against Jim by his mother. The McDonalds didn't have a lot of money and this seemed to fuel Steve's ambitions, always looking for a way to make money.
In 1991, Steve was caught selling stolen car radios and arrested, but refused to name his accomplices. Andy however did give some names and this resulted in him getting beaten up. The stress caused Liz, who was pregnant with her third child, to go into labour and give birth to a very premature daughter, Katie, who only lived for a day. Steve was guilt-stricken at having inadvertently caused his sister's death and went straight to the police and named everyone involved in stolen car radios, allowing him to get off with a fine.
In October 1992, Steve began working for Mike Baldwin at MVB Print. He sat his driving test the following month, but failed due to a speeding offence. As his job depended on him having a licence to deliver orders, he lied and told Mike and Kevin Webster that he had passed. His lie was exposed when he was hit by a car on a dual carriageway while driving Mike's Jaguar. Steve was absolved of blame as the other driver was drunk, but because he could not produce a licence he gave the police Kevin's name. When Mike learnt Steve could not drive, he sacked him. However, Steve was bailed out when Kevin informed Mike that as Steve had no licence, Mike could not claim for the Jaguar's damage on his insurance. Kevin agreed to produce his licence to the police on the condition Steve was reinstated. Mike reluctantly agreed.
1994-1997: Financial and legal troubles
Steve started a relationship with Fiona Middleton in 1994. Around the same time, he started working at a print shop for Mike Baldwin, but after winning big at the horse races in 1995, he was able to buy the business off Mike. Steve continued to gamble and soon found himself in serious debt to loan sharks. He was then seduced by wealthy teenager Vicky Arden, the granddaughter of Rovers' landlord Alec Gilroy, who had come into a bit of money when her parents died. He started a relationship with her as a method of escaping his financial troubles and married her later the same year.
Vicky became Steve's partner in the print shop but soon afterwards he found himself in legal troubles for purchasing stolen whisky and perverting the course of justice when he claimed to know nothing of it. Steve tried to pin the crime on Vicky but Vicky responded by testifying against him in court. Steve was sentenced to two years in prison in May 1996 and divorced Vicky soon afterwards.
Steve was released from prison in June 1997 and started working for Jim at his building business. However Jim had a drinking problem and during an argument and scuffle on scaffolding, Jim fell into a skip and was paralysed for a time. After Jim's recovery, things started to improve between father and son. They seemed to come to an acceptance of each other.
2000: Start up of Street Cars
In 2000 Steve became involved with local gangster Jez Quigley, from whom he borrowed money to invest in a minicab firm with friend Vikram Desai. When he couldn't pay it back when Jez demanded it, Jez threatened Steve by revealing he'd murdered Tony Horrocks the previous year and would do the same to him. Terrified, Steve went to the police and reported Jez's confession and decided to testify against him in court despite Jez's thugs attempting to scare him off. However Jez was acquitted and he quickly arranged to have Steve killed in revenge and had his thugs deliver a vicious beating. Despite his terrible injuries, Steve barely survived and when Jim found out Jez was responsible went after him and delivered his own beating. Jez was admitted to hospital, and found that by coincidence Steve was on the same ward. Jez decided to finish Steve off himself, but on his way to Steve's room fell over and ruptured his spleen, killing him. Jim confessed to having assaulted Jez and went to jail.
2001-2004: Marriage to Karen and first child
Steve began a relationship with Karen Phillips in 2001. Karen had a £10 bet with Janice Battersby that she could get engaged and subsequently persuaded Steve to propose in the Rovers Return Inn. Karen then bet that she could walk down the aisle and the couple were surprised to find themselves married, each thinking the other would back down. Despite the nature of their wedding, Steve and Karen's marriage was initially successful but in 2003 they split when Steve suspected Karen of having an affair.
In June 2003 Steve had a one night stand with Tracy Barlow. He reconciled with Karen shortly afterwards and Karen decided to divorce Steve so they could remarry with a better wedding ceremony. Tracy revealed she was pregnant and told everyone Roy Cropper was the father but at Christmas admitted to Steve that he was the real father as she had never actually slept with Roy.
Tracy gave birth to a girl in February 2004 but Steve had no interest in his new daughter. Tracy sold the baby to Roy and Hayley Cropper who named her Patience but during Steve and Karen's second wedding revealed to everyone that Steve was the real father. Karen was furious with Steve but married him anyway when he convinced her that he had no interest in Tracy. Tracy renamed the baby Amy Barlow and Steve gradually started to warm to her, though Karen harboured a resentment of Amy primarily due to her rivalry with Tracy.
After Blanche Hunt applied for a family TV game show, Liz tricked Steve into taking part in order to with £7,000 and a new car. Along with Ken Barlow, Deirdre Barlow, Liz, Tracy, Blanche and Amy, Steve managed to win the prize money. However, they all chose to gamble this to win the car; Steve was asked the final question for which he decided to phone a friend - Karen, who was in Dublin. Karen answered the final question and won the car for everyone, but was blissfully unaware of what she'd done until she saw the quiz show on TV, despite Steve's attempts to stop her from watching it. Karen and Tracy begin to fight over the car, arguing that they all had a right to it as they all won it. Karen slashed the tires before Tracy went out, resulting in Karen getting a hefty fine to replace all of them. In retaliation, Karen removed all the tires as she paid for them. However, Tracy stole Liz's keys to Steve and Karen's flat and took the tires back.
In November, Karen discovered she was pregnant but miscarried the following month. In her grief, she stole Tracy's car with Amy in the back and burned it. Tracy and Steve thought Karen had killed Amy though Amy was actually safe with Roy. Nevertheless, Karen had let Steve think he'd lost two babies in four days just to hurt Tracy, and Steve could not look past this. After the incident, he told Karen to leave as their marriage was over for good.
2005-2008: Short relationships
In March 2005 Steve began dating single mum Louise Hazell but the dalliance soon fizzled out partly due to Tracy's presence on the Street. For a brief period shortly after, he dated Tracy, but his intentions were to try and secure his name as the father on Amy's birth certificate, not because he had feelings for Tracy. Tracy became aware of Steve's scheme, and attempted to prevent Steve access to Amy. The case was taken to court, where Steve was granted legal rights to see his daughter.
In late 2005, he started dating Street Cars employee Ronnie Clayton, a local gangster's estranged wife. In May 2006, she tried to frame him when she accidentally ran down a pensioner in her taxi, but she was eventually caught. Steve's alibi for the crime was that he spent the night with his new business partner and friend Lloyd Mullaney's girlfriend Kelly Crabtree. This led to the temporary closure of Street Cars, when Lloyd refused to work with Steve. Lloyd eventually decided to forgive Steve for his deception, and they were able to re-open the business. Later that year, Steve bought the Rovers Return pub from Fred Elliott and installed his mother as landlady and stepfather Vernon Tomlin as cellarman.
In April 2007 Tracy was sentenced to fifteen years in Redford Prison for the murder of her lover, Charlie Stubbs, and Steve took on Amy full-time. He began a relationship later that year with barmaid Michelle Connor and Michelle moved in with him with her son Ryan. Steve cheated on her in June 2008, having a one-night stand with Becky Granger after he and Michelle had a row. Lloyd told Michelle that Steve had a plan to propose in order to explain Steve's strange behaviour. This put Steve under pressure to follow through with this story, and so Steve proposed to Michelle. However, Michelle found out that the proposal was "false" and Steve later revealed that he "slept on a girls couch" (but claimed he didn't sleep with her). Michelle responded by throwing Steve out of his own home and throwing the expensive engagement ring that cost £7,500 in a skip. Becky then tried to get Steve and Michelle back together but Michelle still told Steve to leave. Michelle and Steve were reunited after he gave her an ultimatum - "we get back together or you move out".
2009-2011: Marriage to Becky
Steve started a relationship with Becky and it wasn't long before they decided to marry. Their wedding was about to take place in March 2009 but when Becky turned up drunk, the registrar cancelled. The second wedding took place in August where they successfully married, but after DC Hooch had planted drugs in Becky's bag on the same day, she was arrested during the wedding reception. Becky narrowly avoided prison.
Steve and Becky wanted to have children, but after Becky miscarried twice, they decided to adopt. In 2010, Becky's sister Kylie gave them a bad adoption reference but then offered to sell her son Max to them for £20,000. The deal went through and Steve and Becky were now Max's guardians. In December, Tracy was released from prison and blackmailed the couple after learning that Max had been bought, which she used gain custody of Amy. In 2011, Steve told social services about the situation with Max and Max was taken into care. The incident put a strain on Steve's relationship with Becky and she left him. Although she later changed her mind, Steve asked for a divorce.
2011-2015: Relationships with Tracy and Michelle
Tracy blackmailed Steve into giving her a job at the Rovers threatening to leave Weatherfield with Amy so Steve obliged in exchange for a custody settlement, before firing her immediately afterwards. In July 2011 Tracy kept trying to seduce Steve and they had a one night stand which left Tracy pregnant with twins. Steve refused to start a relationship with Tracy even after learning of the pregnancy but eventually changed his mind. In December Tracy miscarried but kept it a secret until she fell down the stairs during a confrontation with Becky after which she told Steve that Becky had pushed her causing the miscarriage. Steve proposed to Tracy on Christmas Day and bought 13 Coronation Street for him and Tracy to live in.
In January 2012 when Steve and Tracy were due to marry, Becky found Tracy's medical records proving she didn't cause the miscarriage. Becky revealed the truth to Steve during the wedding reception and he broke off with Tracy immediately afterwards but the newlyweds were both legally entitled to the flat at No.13. Tracy refused to move out of No.13 so Steve arranged for it to be converted into two separate flats but eventually he decided to sell up.
Later in the same year, Steve began a relationship with Michelle Connor for the second time. In September 2013 Steve bought the Rovers to cheer up Michelle, which she was initially against, but later warmed to the idea of becoming a joint landlord with Steve. Steve moved back into the Rovers with Michelle.
In October 2014 Steve testified at Peter Barlow's trial over the murder of Tina McIntyre as he knew that they had previously been having an affair. Michelle broke up with him soon afterwards when she learned that Steve knew of the affair and around the same time, Steve was diagnosed with depression.
In January 2015 Steve crashed a minibus with the Underworld staff inside, although no-one suffered any permanent injuries. Steve got back together with Michelle in the same month after telling her he had depression. In March Steve proposed to Michelle but she accepted out of pity. When Steve called off the engagement, Michelle proposed to him and the couple married in May. In November Steve went to stay with Andy in Spain but ended up staying longer than planned.
2016-: Two pregnancies
When Steve was still in Spain in early 2016 Michelle started to feel abandoned. She became reacquainted with her teenage fling Will Chatterton in March and it wasn't long before an affair began. By the time Steve returned home the following month, Michelle had left Will, regretting her actions. Eventually in June, the truth came out and the couple separated. Upset over his break-up, Steve arrived at the flat of Leanne Battersby where they had a one night stand. Steve and Michelle reconciled the next day, but a few weeks later Leanne admitted to Steve that she was pregnant with his child. Leanne refused to have an abortion so Steve was forced to keep his paternity a secret.
An oblivious Michelle persuaded Steve to try for a baby with her and Michelle found herself pregnant in August. In October, Steve learned that he may have inherited the disease Myotonic Dystrophy as his father was currently suffering from it. Steve decided to take a genetic test due to the risk of his two unborn children also inheriting the disease but was relieved when the test came back negative.
Michelle and Leanne both had their baby showers in early January 2017. On the same evening, Michelle started to experience abdominal pains, so Leanne took her to Weatherfield General. Steve also arrived and Leanne explained that Michelle needed an emergency scan due to her being 23 weeks pregnant. Michelle went into labour two days later on 11th January 2017. She gave birth to their son, Ruairi, prematurely but he was too underdeveloped to survive.
Hobbies and interests
Steve's five month absence from November 2015 to April 2016 was due to actor Simon Gregson taking a break for personal reasons. During this period it was explained that Steve was staying with Andy in Spain.
Steve currently has the highest marriage count in the series, having been married a total of seven times (although twice to Karen McDonald and Tracy McDonald respectively). He just beats Gail Rodwell, who has been married six times. Steve has had a total of nine wedding days with his first 'weddings' to Vicky and Becky respectively, not being completed.
First and last lines
"Mam, why did we have to have the back bedroom?" (First line)
(To be completed)
List of addresses
|11 Coronation Street||6th December 1989 to 16th June 1993|
|The Queens||16th June 1993 to 9th July 1993|
|11 Coronation Street||9th July 1993 to 4th August 1993|
|The Queens||4th August 1993 to 16th August 1993|
|11 Coronation Street||16th August 1993 to 17th November 1993|
|The Queens||17th November 1993 to 14th January 1994|
|11 Coronation Street||14th January 1994 to 13th June 1994|
|7 Coronation Street||13th June 1994 to 6th July 1994|
|6 Coronation Street||6th July 1994 to 16th September 1994|
|No. 6 Montreal House, Weatherfield Quays||16th September 1994 to 6th March 1995|
|12a Rosamund Street||6th March 1995 to 19th June 1995|
|11 Coronation Street||July 1995 to 11th October 1995|
|No. 6 Montreal House, Weatherfield Quays||11th October 1995 to 24th May 1996|
|Strangeways Jail||24th May 1996 to 1st June 1997|
|11 Coronation Street||1st June 1997 to 3rd December 1997|
|Unknown flat||3rd December 1997 to 12th April 1998|
|2a Coronation Street||12th April 1998 to 16th September 1998|
|11 Coronation Street||16th September 1998 to Unknown|
|11 Coronation Street||8th March 1999 to 31st March 2000|
|15a Victoria Street||15th May 2000 to 14th September 2001|
|12 Coronation Street||14th September 2001 to 11th April 2003|
|15a Victoria Street||4th May 2003 to 11th July 2003|
|12 Coronation Street||11th July 2003 to 12th November 2006|
|Rovers Return Inn||12th November 2006 to 20th January 2012|
|13 Coronation Street||20th January 2012 to 24th February 2012|
|15a Victoria Street||24th February 2012 to 2nd September 2012|
|18a Victoria Street||2nd September 2012 to 13th October 2013|
|Rovers Return Inn||13th October 2013 to 21st July 2017|
|15a Victoria Street||21st July 2017 to March 2020|
|1 Coronation Street||March 2020 to present|
|Co-owner||Street Cars||April 2000 to present|
|Owner/Leaseholder||Rovers Return Inn||18th September 2006 to January 2012|
|Licensee||Rovers Return Inn||9th October 2013 to July 2017|