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Michelle Ann Fowler (previously Holloway) is the daughter of Pauline and Arthur Fowler, the sister of Mark and Martin Fowler and the mother of Vicki and Mark Fowler. She made her first appearance on 19 February 1985 and last appeared on 17 April 2018.

Backstory

Born in 1969, Michelle is the second eldest child of Pauline and Arthur. Michelle is a member of the longstanding Beale/Fowler family in Walford and grew up in 45 Albert Square - her grandmother Lou Beale's house. She is best friends with Sharon Watts - adopted daughter of the Queen Vic's landlord couple, Den and Angie Watts.

Storylines

1985-1986: Teenage years, pregnancy and giving birth to Vicki Fowler

During her teens, Michelle struggles to compete with Sharon for the affections of Kelvin Carpenter. However, she gives up.

Later that year, Michelle finds out that she is pregnant at sixteen years of age, however refuses to have an abortion and does not reveal who the father is. In October, the father is revealed as Sharon's 39-year-old father Den Watts. During a secret meeting, Den vows to support his child financially.

Michelle gives birth to a daughter - she names Vicki Fowler - in May 1986. At the time, no-one knew who Vicki's father was.

1986-1988: Relationship with Lofty Holloway

Michelle begins to struggle being a teenage mother. She develops a friendship with barman Lofty Holloway and he proposes to her. Initially, Michelle refuses, but is eventually persuaded to accept. As her wedding to Lofty commences, Lofty is jilted at the altar by Michelle. However, she later changes her mind and Lofty and Michelle get married in secret on 25 November 1986.

Michelle's mother Pauline Fowler witnesses Den hand Michelle cash and realises that he must be Vicki's father.

Lofty is constantly hammering Michelle to allow him to formally adopt Vicki, however she puts up with it. By the end of 1987, she discovers that she is pregnant with Lofty's baby. Lofty is ecstatic and tells everyone about it - much to Michelle's annoyance. Michelle coerces Den into funding an abortion, as he does not want Lofty to adopt Vicki. Lofty assaults Michelle when he finds out about the abortion and they divorce. Lofty then leaves Walford on 19 April 1988.

1988-1990: Kathy Beale's rape, affair with Danny Whiting and Vicki Fowler's paternity revealed

On 12 July 1988, Michelle supports her auntie Kathy Beale after she is raped by James Willmott-Brown. She persuades her to go to the police.

Den pays for a flat for Michelle, Vicki and Sharon to move in to with money he has gained from dealings with a dodgy gang known as The Firm. Den realises that the Firm want to kill him, so he escapes prison and has a last rendezvous with Michelle at the canal. Michelle tells Den that she will wait for him to be released. On 23 February 1989, Den is shot by a person with a gun concealed in a bunch of daffodils and is presumed dead.

The police say that there was a woman present shortly before his death and Michelle is forced to confess the truth to Sharon about Vicki's paternity. Sharon walks out without saying a word. Michelle's father, Arthur Fowler, later overhears a conversation between Michelle and Pauline in which he discovers Michelle's secret and is furious. Michelle and Sharon don't talk for months, however when Vicki catches meningitis, Sharon and Michelle are reunited with worry.

Michelle embarks on an affair with yet another married man, computer salesman Danny Whiting, who says his marriage is breaking apart.

1991-1993: Relationship with Clyde Tavernier, living with Rachel Kominski and going to university

Michelle becomes Rachel Kominski's roommate. Rachel is a university lecturer who persuades Michelle to enrol at a university and resume her studies, which were interrupted when she fell pregnant with Vicki.

Michelle embarks on yet another relationship with single parent Clyde Tavernier. Michelle's family view the relationship as concerning as Clyde is black. On 10 September 1991, Clyde is falsely accused of murdering Eddie Royle, and Clyde, his son Kofi Tavernier, Michelle and Vicki all run from the police. The police find them and Clyde is imprisoned for three months.

Clyde finds Michelle in bed with a student from her university, Jack Woodman, and breaks off the relationship. Jack visits Walford, claiming him and Michelle are "meant to be together". Michelle rejects him and he begins to exhibit strange behaviour including stealing Michelle's knickers, injuring himself to gain her pity, and making creepy phone calls to Michelle. Michelle goes to Phil Mitchell for help and Jack disappears.

In March 1993, Vicki is abducted and Michelle is sure that Jack was the suspect. However, Vicki was later found with a woman named Audrey Whittingham, who returns her safely.

1994-1995: Feud with Grant Mitchell and relationship with Geoff Barnes

By 1994, Vicki finds out who her father is and that she is Sharon's sister.

Michelle hates Sharon's new husband, Grant Mitchell, and is shot by an army friend of Grant's named Dougie Briggs. Later that year, Sharon and Michelle drunkenly tape a conversation in which they discuss an affair that Sharon is having with Grant's brother Phil. Grant mistakenly obtains the tape. In revenge, he plays it at Phil and Kathy's engagement party. Michelle supports Sharon, which places a strain on Michelle and Kathy's relationship, however all parties eventually make up. In December, Michelle graduates from university with a Bachelor of Arts.

Michelle plans to move to Scotland with boyfriend Geoff Barnes in the new year and they decide to marry, but Michelle decides not to go through with it. After Sharon leaves Walford, Michelle and Grant have an argument over Sharon and they end up having a one-night stand. Michelle falls pregnant. Michelle is offered a job in Alabama and emigrates ther

Off-screen, she marries a man named Tim Andrews.

2016-2018: Return to Walford, relationship with Preston Cooper and stalker

Michelle returns to Walford on Christmas Eve 2016 and reunites with Sharon. She stays at her brother Martin Fowler and his wife Stacey Fowler's house. Sharon figures out that something is amiss as it is not like Michelle to leave her family behind, but Michelle refuses to let slip what is going on. Stacey is annoyed by Michelle being around the house and drives her to the point where Michelle announces she is moving back to the United States. Stacey overhears her crying on the phone and tells Sharon, who confronts Michelle. Michelle confides in Sharon that Mark had left home with his girlfriend and that she and Tim haven't had sex for over two years. She confesses to Sharon that whilst in Florida, she had an inappropriate, sexual relationship with her 17-year-old student Preston Cooper. Sharon lets Michelle stay with her and Michelle starts drinking. Sharon and Phil leave for an extended holiday, leaving Michelle to babysit Louise Mitchell and Dennis Rickman.

On Valentine's Day 2017, Preston arrives in Walford and he and Michelle kiss. Michelle tries to find a teaching job but they deny her after they discovered her relationship with Preston. Michelle tries to drive him back home but Preston consistently attempts to win her over. Preston uses a relationship with Rebecca Fowler, Michelle's niece, to win Michelle back over with jealousy. He orchestrates a plot in which Michelle finds him in bed with Rebecca. The plan appears to work and Michelle and Preston sleep together. Dennis discovers their relationship and blackmails Michelle into buying him expensive shoes and allowing him time off school. Michelle is furious when she discovers that Dennis has been using her credit card without her consent and, when he confronts him, Dennis calls her a paedophile. Michelle, in turn, slaps him. Louise comes home and witnesses Michelle calling Dennis a "brat". Dennis tries to blackmail Michelle out of £100, but it doesn't work and he tells Louise about Michelle and Preston's relationship. Meanwhile, Rebecca and Preston make their "relationship" official. Louise tells Rebecca, her best friend, about Michelle sleeping with Preston, but Rebecca doesn't believe her. A few days later, witnessing Preston and Michelle cosy at the bar whilst she is performing a song in the Queen Victoria pub, she asks Michelle, "Is it true? Are you sleeping with my boyfriend?" Louise answers for Michelle and Martin assaults Preston and disowns Michelle. Drunkenly, Michelle tries to find Preston, and gets into Phil's car, having taken sleeping pills. Speeding about, she finds Preston, who jumps out of the way. She ploughs into the chip shop in which Kush Kazemi and Kathy were present, completely ripping out the front window and the furnishings. Michelle, having ruptured her spleen, is admitted to hospital. Upon her discharging, she is shocked to find that Sharon has sent Preston back to the United States. Sharon tries to make amends between Michelle and Martin and Ian Beale, but neither of them want to. Rebecca belittles Michelle and Michelle cries in Sharon's arms. Ian forgives Michelle, but Martin still avoids her. Michelle attempts to find work but, due to the recent incidents, she finds nothing. Stacey organises a meal with Michelle and Martin, but Martin says that Michelle only pretends to care about her family.

Michelle commences community service and Tim sends her divorce papers, which she tries to avoid talking about it. Martin and Michelle regain speaking terms but Martin is still annoyed. Michelle successfully obtains a job and, on her first day travelling to work, meets a man named Tom Bailey on the tube and gathers the courage to ask him out. Michelle loses interest but Tom is persistent and begins to stalk Michelle. Michelle moves on and goes on a date with a nice man, however Tom threatens him and Michelle never hears from him again. After Tom launches a sexual attack on Michelle, Sharon whacks a vase over his head and enlists the help of Karen Taylor and Denise Fox, who threaten Tom and warn him against ever returning to Walford. They never hear from him again.

In April 2018, local businesswoman Mel Owen asks Michelle to tutor her son Hunter Owen to improve his school grades. However, upon arrival for their first session, Michelle catches Louise and Hunter having sex. As Phil disapproves of the relationship, Louise begs her to keep quiet so Michelle tells Mel she cannot tutor Hunter, who then lies and claims Michelle kissed him. After being attacked by Mel, Michelle tries to confide in Sharon who does not believe her. After Hunter admits that he lied, Michelle realises she cannot stay in Walford and leaves.

Residence

Address Years
45 Albert Square 1969-1986
1C Albert Square 1986-1988
43A Albert Square 1988-1990
55 Victoria Road 1991-1995, 2016, 2017-2018
Florida, United States 1995-2016, 2018-2022
31 Albert Square 2016-2017
Australia 2023 to present

Quotes

Background information

  • Michelle Fowler is one of the original 23 characters invented by the creators of EastEnders, Tony Holland and Julia Smith.
  • Michelle was initially played by Susan Tully from the show's inception in 1985 for ten years. After an absence spanning 21 years, it was announced in December 2016 that Michelle was making a return to Albert Square, albeit played by new actress Jenna Russell.
  • Michelle remained central to the programme for 10 years and became one of the most popular characters of her time. She was written out of it in 1995 when Tully decided to move on. Tully since took up directing, and directed several episodes of EastEnders.
  • In 2018, it was announced that Jenna Russell had decided to leave the show after 2 years of mediocre storylines. She made her final appearance on the show on 17 April 2018 after her character decided that Walford brought back too many bad memories.

See also

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