Coronation Street’s Steve McDonald’s 30 years of marriages, bust-ups and laughs

With his floppy fringe, cheeky grin and a habit of landing himself in hot water, it seems like only yesterday that Steve McDonald arrived on Corrie .

But next week actor Simon Gregson celebrates 30 years of playing Steve, a role he got by chance at the age of 15.

Simon says: “I only went to the audition because I wanted to see people off the telly – I never expected to get the part. I took the job because it meant I didn’t have to go to school.

“I’ll never forget my first day. My grandad took me into the rehearsal room and there were people like Phyllis and Bet Gilroy. It was great.”

Steve and his family captured the fans’ hearts from the moment the arrived in 1989. He and his twin Andy, played by Nick Cochrane, were always in trouble and mum Liz (Beverley Callard) and dad Jim (Charles Lawson) had explosive rows.

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Nowadays, Steve is a hen-pecked taxi boss with thinning hair and a thicker waistline. But he still gets into scrapes.

In his 30 years, Steve has been jailed for handling stolen goods and beaten to a pulp by gangster Jez Quigley, who his dad then killed in revenge.

Between times, Steve got married seven times to five women – Vicky Arden, Karen Phillips, Becky Granger, Michelle Connor and Tracy Barlow.

He famously first married Karen, played by Suranne Jones, for a bet.

And their second wedding was interrupted by Tracy Barlow, who announced that she was pregnant with Steve’s child.

His sixth marriage, to Michelle Connor, played by Kym Marsh, ended after she discovered he had fathered a child with Leanne Battersby after a one-night stand.

Steve has also been landlord of the Rovers Return – and provided some of Weatherfield’s best comedy moments.

Steve and Tim gave us plenty of laughs hatching hair-brained schemes in the cab office, and it has been fun to watch his stormy relationship with wife Tracy, and see daughter Amy run rings round him.

Simon, 45, delivers Steve’s dry one-liners with perfect comic timing, which earned him a British Soap Award for best comedy performance in 2014.

Simon has also seen his fair share of drama over the past 30 years. He struggled to cope with his fame, leading to drink and drug binges and a battle with depression which took him into therapy.

But everything changed when he found love with former Hollyoaks actress Emma Gleave. They have been happily married since 2010 and have three sons. The couple spoke of their own experience of 12 miscarriages after a Corrie storyline in which Steve and Michelle’s baby, Ruari, was tragically stillborn.

Despite being one of soap’s best-loved stars, Simon has his feet on the ground.

He says: “I don’t see myself as an actor, I see myself as a normal bloke who just happens to be able to act.”

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