Not to be confused with Abi Branning Jr
When Abi was five, she had her appendix removed so she had to spend her 5th birthday in hospital. Her father Max made sure she still had a party, such as buying balloons and attempting to make a birthday cake in the shape of a dinosaur. Although the cake was not very well made and didn't taste great, Abi still loved it as it was made for her by her father.
Abi moves to Albert Square with her parents Max and Tanya Branning, and sister Lauren Branning, where she befriends 10 year-old Ben Mitchell. Abi is hit by Dean Wicks' car, suffering a broken wrist, cuts and bruises, but she recovers with no long-term impairment. Abi later learns that Ben's father, Phil Mitchell's girlfriend, Stella Crawford is abusing him, so due to this, Abi and Ben plan to run away, but fail as they are caught by their parents. Abi then stands up to Stella and tells Ben to do the same, leading Stella to kill herself when Ben reveals the abuse. In December 2007, she chooses the name for her newborn baby brother, Oscar. Soon after, when Max's affair with his son Bradley Branning's wife, Stacey Slater, is revealed, Max and Tanya separate and eventually divorce. Abi begins to live sporadically with each parent, frequently defending Max to Tanya and Lauren, until Max and Tanya reunite in 2009, however Abi leaves with Tanya after learning of Max's financial problems. In September 2009, Abi and Jordan Johnson find Jordan's mother Trina‘s body in the summerhouse at the allotments, after having been accidentally killed by Jordan's father, Lucas Johnson.
Abi starts dating Jordan, but months later he is attacked by Ben with a spanner, leaving him in a coma. They split up, but remain friends. Abi starts to take an interest in Max's lodger Darren Miller, who is left uncomfortable when she tries to kiss him, telling her she is too young and is heartbroken when Darren proposes to Jodie Gold. Abi forms a close friendship with her mother's fiancé Greg Jessop. She later develops a crush on Jay Brown, and the two begin dating. Believing Jay is only interested in Abi for sex, Max tries to split them up, but fails to do so. Jay and Abi plan to have sex several times, but on each occasion, they are unable to go through with it. At one time, Jay and Abi cuddle up as they are watching television, but Max believes they are about to have sex, so he throws Jay out and rips Abi's bridesmaid dress to Greg and Tanya's wedding. They go to buy a new one, but they have a car crash on Greg and Tanya's wedding day. They suffer minor injuries and both recover.
Despite Abi's insecurities over Jay's friendship with Lola Pearce, she and Jay remain together, and eventually Max comes to accept them as a couple. Max and Tanya continue to see each other, but when Tanya is diagnosed with cervical cancer, she keeps this to herself. Eventually, Greg and Max's fiancé Vanessa Gold leave Walford when the truth comes out about the affair. Abi, Ben and Lola cause trouble and Abi is arrested for stealing trainers. When Abi is mugged, Lola teaches her how to self defend. Tanya finds a pregnancy test in the bin and believes it is Abi's, before finding out about her trouble causing and calls Abi a slapper, before Lauren reveals to the family that Tanya has cancer. Abi is hurt by this, but is pleased when Max and Tanya reconcile. Jay proposes to Abi and she accepts, but she is faced with a dilemma when she is offered the chance to go to Costa Rica to help with sea turtle conservation. Jay gives Abi an ultimatum, threatening to break up with her if she goes to Costa Rica but she goes regardless. When she returns several weeks later, she finds out that Jay has been involved in the murder of Heather Trott. Abi is upset and slams the door in his face when he tries to see her. Abi goes to visit him but when Tanya discovers they have been seeing each other, she bans Abi from speaking to him. However, they eventually reunite. Abi, along with the rest of her family, are devastated to discover that when Max was away in Manchester, he married Kirsty Branning. Abi meets her cousin Dexter Hartman, not knowing they are related, and this causes Jay to be jealous until the truth of their relationship is revealed. Tanya ejects Max from the family home after discovering he loves Kirsty. Abi loses her virginity to Jay much to her parents' disappointment. Abi tries to support Lauren with her drinking problem, however, this ends badly when Lauren destroys Abi's revision notes. Abi is distraught when Tanya leaves Walford with Lauren and Oscar as Lauren goes into a rehabilitation clinic in Exeter, so Max decides to move back in with her after Kirsty confesses that she has lied about being pregnant. Abi is defensive of her father and she argues with Kirsty about it, blaming her for her family's breakdown.
While on holiday with Jay and their friends, Abi thinks she could be pregnant. Jay hopes to be a father, while Abi would prefer to have an abortion. She is not pregnant, but ends their relationship, believing that they want different things. However, they soon reconcile. Max is framed for causing a car crash that leaves Phil hospitalised. Abi and Lauren, who returns from rehabilitation, struggle to pay Max's legal costs, as well as their bills. Abi receives her exam results and discovers she has not gained the grades to go to university to become a vet, but Lauren, believing that Abi has passed the exams, throws a party, during which Abi blurts out that she blames Lauren for her poor results because she has an alcohol problem. Abi decides to continue studying, but when Max goes to prison for a while she has to take a job, and struggles to find time for her studies. However, Max is proven innocent, and returns home to support his family. In an argument between Jay and Dexter, Abi discovers that on their holiday Jay kissed a barmaid while they were arguing over the suspected pregnancy. She also finds out that Lola knew and furiously confronts her best friend. However, after a heart-to-heart with Jay, they decide to work through their issues and she fixes things with Dexter and Lola as well. She also takes in a stray dog, Tramp.
When Lauren's best friend Lucy Beale is murdered, Max supports her father Ian Beale through his grief. Seeing this, Abi calls him hypocritical, before revealing that she saw him kissing Lucy days before she was killed and they were having an affair. Max urges Abi to keep it a secret, but Phil discovers the affair from Jay and tells Ian. Abi proceeds to move into her grandmother, Cora Cross' new flat with Lauren. She eventually forgives Max and returns home. Her final A Level results come through, and she tells everyone that she has got what she needed to get into the University of Liverpool. However, she later confides in Jay that she has been lying, as not to disappoint her family. He encourages her to go through clearing, and she gets a position doing a similar course at the University of Bolton. Jay decides to go with Abi, which Max at first is opposed to, but he comes around eventually. Ben returns from prison and reunites Jay and Phil, and Jay agrees to attend Phil's wedding to Sharon Rickman, holding off on going to Bolton. At the wedding, Phil's aunt, Sal, comments that she believed Lola to be Jay's girlfriend. Ben then reveals he thinks Jay is in love with Lola, and he confesses this to Abi when she confronts him. He then ends things to stay in Walford. Devastated, she wants to leave for Bolton immediately, but when Max refuses to take her, she drives the car herself, accidentally running over Tramp, killing him; she callously declares that “things die”.
After her break up with Jay, Abi becomes a much nastier and bitter person. She begins a relationship with Ben, which is discovered by Emma Summerhayes, who informs Max of the relationship. Max demands that Abi does not see Ben any more, which Abi refuses to do. Abi later discovers that Max used Ben to sign over part of Phil's businesses to him. In February 2015, Abi is accused by Max of killing Lucy. Abi did not kill Lucy, but it is revealed that on the night Lucy died, Abi had a confrontation with Lucy about her affair with Max, which resulted in Abi slapping Lucy. After Max tells her that Tanya would like her to move to Devon with her, Abi refuses and instead moves in with Ben and his family. and Abi believes she finally has a stable home life. After she moves in, Ben reveals to her that he might still be gay and is worried he will never get over his homosexuality but Abi assures him that they will make things work. She continuously mocks Jay and accuses him of being jealous of her relationship with Ben. Jay tries to make Abi see that Ben is not interested in her, but she pretends not to care about what Jay says. Abi discovers a letter from Sharon's birth mother and Sharon says that she intends on meeting her birth father after discovering that her mother has died. When Paul Coker arrives in Walford, Abi suspects Ben of cheating on her with Paul. She and Ben have sex, so Ben can convince her he is not gay. Following Ben's arrest for Lucy's murder, Abi tells Phil that Max assaulted Lucy to get Ben off. Despite being innocent, Max turns himself in and is formally charged while Ben is released. Stacey visits Max, who tells her that he thinks Abi killed Lucy. Stacey confronts Abi, who attacks Stacey, blaming her for her parents' split and Bradley's death, and later vents to her aunt Carol Jackson that she does not think Max cares about her. Carol visits Max in prison, where he informs her that the reason he thinks Abi killed Lucy is because she attacked and beat her on the night of the murder. After confronting Abi on this, Carol agrees that she has been out of control lately and advises her to call Tanya for moral support. During the phone call, Abi finds out that not only is Oscar ill, but Cora had apparently not stayed with Tanya at her house as she had earlier said. Abi, Carol and Jane Beale find Cora living rough and bring her home. She reveals she saw Max and Abi cleaning the car lot after Lucy was killed, forcing Abi to admit that Max and Lucy had argued there and she was helping Max clean Lucy's blood. Abi then gives a statement to the police. Max is later found guilty of the murder.
Ben and Abi continue their relationship, but Ben is still secretly seeing Paul. Babe Smith offers Abi work in the pub kitchen, and Abi tells Babe that she is able to turn a blind eye to Ben's homosexuality as long as he loves her. However, when Abi finds a present that Ben has got for Paul, she realises he has feelings for Paul and confides in Babe, who helps her to publicly announce that she is pregnant. Ben asks Abi to have a termination but then changes his mind, saying he wants the baby. Abi then goes to Babe, panicking because she has lied and is not really pregnant. When Ben accompanies her to a doctor's appointment, she gets him out of the room and confesses her lie to the doctor, who encourages her to be honest, but she then tells Ben the baby is due in October. Abi plans to get pregnant by Ben, but when he admits he may have caught an STI from a stranger, she is unable to have sex with him, so Babe tells her to get pregnant by another man. Babe forces her into getting drunk, and after a drunk Lee Carter compliments her, they have unprotected sex. However, Abi does not get pregnant. She decides to tell Ben the truth, but as she is about to do so, he tells her he has caught chlamydia. Abi later tests positive for chlamydia and realises that Lee may have caught it too. Abi panics to Babe that Ben will discover she is not pregnant, so during an argument between Ben and Phil, Babe pushes Abi into Ben as he is pushed by Phil, knocking her to the ground. Babe takes Abi away from the square, and on their return, Abi tells Ben she has had a miscarriage. When she later sees Ben being comforted by Paul, she feels uneasy.
Abi and Babe discover that Ben's half-sister, Louise has been using Phil's credit card, so they force her to return everything she has bought. Babe asks Abi for a favour, but Abi realises that Babe has already assumed that she would say yes, so calls Babe a user. As revenge, Babe sends Ben a letter, telling him of the fake pregnancy. Louise finds the letter and blackmails Abi, telling her to move away with Ben. Abi tries to persuade Ben into moving but he refuses, saying he needs to be there for alcoholic Phil, and Abi tells Louise that Ben will always believe his girlfriend over his sister. Abi tells Babe that she is worried that Ben will find out, so Babe suggests that Abi tells Ben the truth. However, Abi allows Louise to continue using Phil's credit card. Later, Abi catches Ben and Louise arguing and assumes it is over the letter, and she inadvertently reveals she was never pregnant, but Ben was referring to Phil's credit card. In The Vic, Ben gets drunk and kisses Abi in the toilets and starts to undress her, but then drags her into the pub in her underwear and reveals via the karaoke microphone that she made up her pregnancy. Abi is humiliated and is taken to Dot Branning's house by her uncle Jack Branning, however, an enraged Phil takes her away in his car, but is stopped by Jay, who insists that enough people have been hurt. When Bobby Beale confesses to killing Lucy, Max is released, but refuses to see Abi or Lauren.
Abi gets her job back at The Queen Vic and celebrates with Lauren and Whitney Dean, Lee's pregnant fiancée. Abi drunkenly confesses to Lauren about her one-night stand with Lee, so she urges Abi to confess to Whitney, as Whitney has caught chlamydia from Lee. Abi does so but this results in much resentment. Babe emotionally blackmails Abi, forcing her to resign. Abi exposes Babe's secrets to the pub's landlord, Mick Carter with Whitney defending her, so he tells Abi that she can keep her job, but this causes tension when she is later threatened by Babe. However Abi struggles to work on her own and so Linda Carter is forced to ask Babe back to help her. Abi then persistently bickers about an order and lack of hygiene so blames it on Babe. Angry with Abi's behaviour, Linda sacks her. Abi locks Babe in the kitchen freezer room as an act of revenge, although Babe frames her sister Sylvie Carter, who she strongly dislikes and has Alzheimer's disease. Abi is then reinstated at the Vic by a seemingly apologetic Babe but her behaviour, when alone in the kitchen with Abi, is threatening. Babe later leaves Walford after being thrown out by her family, so Abi runs the kitchen alone. Abi forms a friendship with Donna Yates when she moves in with Ben and Jay, and Donna convinces Abi to move in as well, though she feels bad about leaving Dot on her own, but Dot gives her blessing when Donna reveals that Abi wants to move out. Abi is inwardly resentful of Lauren's success and, following Lauren's secret abortion of which Abi was made aware, Abi tells Lauren's boyfriend, Steven Beale, that they would make a good couple during a heart-to-heart, but he tells her she is too young to be a mother. On Father's Day, feeling second best to Lauren and wound up during an argument with Steven, Abi reveals the abortion. At Abi's 21st birthday party, Lauren is jealous when her boss, Josh Hemmings, flirts with Abi, which leads to an argument, with Abi throwing a drink over her sister and then evicting her from the party. Later, the tension simmering between Abi and Steven leads to them having sex, even though he warns her it will mean nothing. Abi and Steven continue an affair and Abi learns that Steven is lying about having a brain tumour so that Lauren will not leave him. Despite being against the idea, Abi does not tell Lauren as Steven promises Abi he is planning to leave Lauren to be with her. Then Abi is stunned by Steven's public marriage proposal to Lauren. Jane overhears Abi and Steven talking about their relationship and confronts them. Abi then discovers she is pregnant by Steven. Abi helps Steven keep up the lie by giving him a brain scan from a dog and animal medication that will give him symptoms of an illness, and helping to keep Lauren away from doctor's appointments that Steven has invented.
Abi discovers that Ian's restaurant is on fire and goes inside. She finds Jane on the floor struggling to breathe. A pipe falls onto Abi, knocking her unconscious, but Max and Steven soon find her and drag her out. She is taken to hospital with Lauren by her side in the ambulance. At the hospital Abi tells Steven he is going to be a father. Steven declares his love for her and makes a promise that he will make their relationship work. Steven then dies from injuries inflicted by Max during the fire, leaving an unaware Abi devastated. In an attempt to console Lauren but also partly out of jealousy that Lauren is getting all the attention, Abi tries to tell Lauren about her pregnancy, but Lauren angrily mistakes this as gloating about her own abortion. Upset at the accusation, Abi says that she wishes Lauren died instead and that she never deserved Steven. Steven's tumour lie is revealed, so Abi attends Steven's funeral as sole mourner and declares her love. Unable to cope with Steven's death, Abi decides to leave Walford to visit Tanya in Devon, taking Steven's ashes with her. When Lauren finds out that Abi is leaving, she asks if she and Louie can come with her. Abi agrees and they leave Walford together. When they both return to Walford, Abi is fired from her job at the vets when they have CCTV evidence of her stealing medication. She asks Mick to extend her working hours at The Queen Vic, but he makes her redundant as they need to save money. Lauren eventually learns the truth about Abi and Steven's affair when she catches Abi wearing her wedding dress. Lauren finds out that Abi has Steven's ashes, and she takes his ashes to be flushed down the toilet. When Abi tries to stop her, the ashes scatter everywhere. Lauren is later disgusted to learn that Abi is pregnant with Steven's baby. However, Lauren becomes more supportive. Ian talks to Abi about expanding his restaurant business into franchises, saying he can pass it onto Abi's nephew Louie Beale, so Abi tells Ian that he will have another grandchild as she is carrying Steven's baby, but Ian says Steven was not his son and then tells Max that Abi is pregnant.
Abi goes away and on her return is confused when people are showing hatred towards Max, unaware that he was involved in a plan to redevelop Albert Square, including turning business into luxury flats and evicting people from their homes and places of work. Abi and Lauren discover that Max knows Abi is pregnant; Lauren disowns him while Abi tries to offer support, but he insults her. However, when Max tries to bake a cake for Oscar, he gets Abi to help him and they make amends. However, it is revealed that Max caused Matthew Mitchell Cotton, Jack's stepson, to be taken away from Jack. Abi turns on her father once more but when he gives her a thoughtful present for Christmas, she agrees to have Christmas dinner with him. On Christmas Day, Tanya returns to take Lauren and Abi away from Walford, revealing that Max killed Steven and tried to kill Jane. Lauren and Abi reject Max. Max goes to the roof of The Queen Vic, planning to jump, so Lauren and Abi climb on to the ledge to try and stop him. As Max agrees to his daughter's pleas to not jump, Lauren slips on the wet surface and Abi grabs her hand to stop her falling; both sisters fall off to the ground. Still alive, they are taken to hospital, where an ultrasound shows Abi's baby is alive. Abi has a CT scan and Lauren has surgery. Lauren recovers but Dr. Harding tells Max that Abi is brainstem dead and has no chance of regaining consciousness. Abi's baby is delivered via cesarean section. Max is hopeful that Abi will recover and does not tell Lauren the truth, but she slaps Max when she finds out. Max obtains a court order to stop Abi's life support being withdrawn and plans to take her to the US for a treatment that will cost £2,000,000, but Dr Harding urges Max to do the dignified thing for Abi as she is already dead and as Abi is not a minor, he has no legal right to take her. Max barricades himself in Abi's hospital room, but is talked into letting the hospital staff in when a nurse tells Max about her own son's death and that she never got to say goodbye. When Dr. Harding explains what will happen to Max and Lauren, Max asks if the life support can be withdrawn at Abi's time of birth, 8.32 pm. Tanya, Cora and her aunt Rainie Cross (Tanya Franks) return but Cora tells Max that Tanya does not want him present when the life support is withdrawn. Max finds Tanya in the hospital's chapel and she is angry with Max that Abi has to die because of him. However, just before Abi's life support is withdrawn, Tanya requests Max to be there. Abi then dies, leaving her family devastated. Following her funeral, Abi is toasted in The Queen Vic and her friends let off white balloons, while Max names her baby Abi Branning, in her memory.
Tramp - Accidently run over by a car driven by Abi.
First and Last Lines
First Lines (3 July 2006): "Keys please Dad!" - (Spoken to Max Branning when arriving at their new house)
Last Lines (25 December 2017): "Lauren!" - (Spoken to Lauren just before falling off The Vic)