Tanya Cross
Tanya Cross
Portrayed by Jo Joyner
Introduced by Kate Harwood (2006)
Dominic Treadwell-Collins (2015)
John Yorke (2017)
Gender Female Female
First Appearance 27 June 2006
Last Appearance 16 February 2018
Duration 2006-2013, 2015, 2017-2018
Address Exeter
Status Alive
Age 44
Date of Birth 20th February 1975
Occupation Beautician
Classification Former; regular
HusbandMax Branning (1994–2010)
Greg Jessop (2011–12)
RomancesSean Slater
Jack Branning
Phil Mitchell
SonsOscar Branning
DaughtersLauren Branning
Abi Branning (deceased)
StepsonsBradley Branning
FatherWilliam Cross (deceased)
MotherCora Cross
GrandsonsLouie Beale
GranddaughtersAbi Branning
SistersRainie Cross
Half-SistersAva Hartman
NephewsDexter Hartman

Tanya Lauren Cross (previously Branning and Jessop) is the daughter of Cora Cross and she is the mother of Lauren Branning, Abi Branning and Oscar Branning - all of which Max Branning is the father.

Tanya made her first appearance on 27 June 2006. She later left the show temporarily on 25 December 2009 (due to the actress on maternity leave). Tanya returned for one episode on the 23 June 2010 and soon after made her full-time return on 27 September 2010. On 1 May 2012, it was announced Joyner would take another break from the series in 2013, however, on 1 April 2013, it was announced her departure would be indefinite. On 15 May 2013, Joyner filmed her final scenes and departed on 28 June 2013. Tanya returned in February 2015 for two episodes as part of the show's 30th anniversary celebrations and departed once again.

Tanya returned on Christmas Day 2017 to expose Max's involvement in Jane's disapearance and Steven's death. She witnessed her daughters fall off the Queen Victoria roof on the same day. She was last seen on 16 February 2018 unable to exit the funeral car to attend her daughter Abi's funeral due to an emotional breakdown.


Before her on screen appearance Tanya lived on a council estate with her mother Cora Cross, sister Rainie Cross and her father. In her teenage years her father was diagnosed with cancer, and Tanya was often the one to look after her ill father. It was revealed in 2011 that Tanya had helped her father to die, with everyone previously thinking he had died a peaceful death. At a young age Tanya was also involved with alcohol and drugs. Tanya engaged in an affair with married man Max Branning. Although Tanya has claimed she didn't know he was married. At the age of 18 Tanya fell pregnant with her first child, Lauren. Max left his wife Rachel Branning and young son Bradley be with Tanya and his daughter Lauren, who was born in March 1994. Max and Tanya then married in August 1994. Tanya later had another daughter, Abi, who was born in 1996.


Tanya arrives in Albert Square shortly after Max, to find him in the Arches after his car had broken down. Seeing him talking to Carly Wicks makes her suspicous that he will cheat again, after her recently finding out about his affair with Gemma Clewes. Max assures Tanya he is not cheating, and buys them a house in Albert Square as a surprise, unknown to Tanya that Max's family is living in the same street. Max also buys Tanya the salon on Turpin Road, which she names "Booty". Tanya falls pregnant with her youngest child, Oscar. Unknown to her that her husband Max has been sleeping with his son Bradley's wife, Stacey Branning.

Christmas 2007

Tanya's daughter Lauren set up a secret camera and caught Max and Stacey kissing. Lauren gave the footage to Bradley as Christmas present for everyone to see when it was played on the DVD player. A devastated Tanya slaps Stacey, then throws Max out of the family home. Tanya is angry at her daughter Abi for sneaking out of the house to see her father Max and for setting fire to the DVD. Tanya asks for a divorce from max and starts a relationship with Sean Slater.

Tanya and Sean plot to bury Max for revenge, they drug him, take him to the woods and bury him alive. Tanya later feels guilty so she goes back to dig up Max, Tanya then breaks up with Sean. Tanya's sister Rainie visits, claiming she is clean of drug, but tests show she isn't clean so Tanya throws her out. Tanya starts a relationship with Max's brother Jack Branning. Max tries to split Tanya and Jack up, he tries to frame Jack for trying to shoot him to stop Tanya, Jack and the kids from moving to France. Jack abducts Max and beats him up. Later, Tanya confesses to trying to kill Max by running him over, although she only confessed to protect her daughter Lauren who was the real culprit. After the police find out Lauren did it Tanya is released from prison and forgives Max. Max moves back in but their relationship is short lived. Tanya finds out that Max has been lying about their debt and after Booty closes down Tanya leaves Albert Square,  taking Lauren and Oscar with her. Abi stays with her

2010-2013 Tanya makes a brief return in 2010 when Max drops Abi and Lauren at hers and her fiancé, Greg Jessop's house. Max promises his daughters that he will just drop them off and leave, but doesn't keep his promise. Tanya is seen for a brief time as she is cleaning up broken glass after Max leaves. Tanya makes her full-time return when her daughter Lauren is kicked out of America for taking drugs. Tanya and Greg move onto Albert Square and plan to get married. Greg invites Tanya's mother Cora and sister Rainie to the wedding, which Tanya disapproves. Greg and Tanya marry, but just after the ceremony hear news that Max and Abi had a car crash, which explains their absence from the wedding. Tanya rushes to the hospital and is worries sick about Max when she finds his clothes on a hospital bed covered in blood, but when Max shows up they get emotional and kiss. Max and Tanya soon start an affair. Greg buys Booty back from Roxy for Tanya, and starts to push for Tanya to have another baby. But Tanya tries her best to convince him otherwise as she doesn't want more children. Lauren finds out about the affair and threatens to tell Greg, but Tanya promises it is over, although it is not. Tanya allows her mother Cora and sister Rainie to move in with her and Greg. Tanya and Max plan to reveal their affair, but Tanya is diagnosed with Cervical Cancer so she decided to call off the affair. Max decides to end the relationship with his fiancée Vanessa Gold, they argue and Lauren walks in and reveals Max and Tanya's affair. Vanessa storms around to Tanya and Gregs and attacks Tanya, revealing all to Greg. A heartbroken Greg leaves, and when Tanya says she doesn't want Max, he leaves too. Lauren suspects something is wrong when Tanya shows signs of pain, and Tanya reveals she has cancer, but asks Lauren to keep it to herself. Greg makes a brief return, but can't take the news that Tanya has cancer, so he leaves again. Tanya stops getting her treatment, but doesn't tell Lauren this. Tanya's doctor confronts her on why she stopped her treatment, but she makes clear she doesn't want the treatment because she doesn't have the strength to fight anymore. 


Tanya battled cervical cancer (2011)

Max returns to Walford with his brother Derek Branning, showing up in the middle of an argument between Tanya and their daughter Abi. Insults are dealt out to the family which leads to Tanya throwing Max out. Tanya proceeds to throw the rest of her family out, so Lauren reveals to everyone that Tanya has cancer, and questions why she stopped her treatment. Tanya then reveals to her mother and sister that her dad didn't die a peaceful death as they believed, but was in pain so she helped him to die. As Max is about to leave after being kicked out Lauren runs out and stops him from leaving, revealing to him that Tanya has cancer. Deciding not to leave, Max and Tanya reunite. Some time later Tanya is given the all clear, but worries that her cancer will return. Tanya finds it hard to get close and intimate with Max, but he assures her she is all that matters and they can take their time. Derek finds out that Tanya had scared his daughter Alice Branning telling her things about him, and this angers Derek so he threatens to kill Tanya if does it again. When Tanya discovers the cars at the car lot are being repossessed she and Max argue, which leads to them kissing and getting back their spark. Tanya's divorce from Greg is finalized so she proposes to Max, but he initially rejects the idea. Derek taunts Tanya about what happened while Max was away in Manchester, but when Tanya confronts Max he says they got into criminal dealings and someone got hurt. Max decides to accept Tanya's proposal and the couple become engaged. Tanya discovers a birth certificate for someone named Ava Anderton. Tanya talks to her mother Cora about it, who reveals that Ava was her daughter, who died soon after birth and since then Cora didn't want to speak about her. When Ian Beale goes missing Tanya helps to locate him, bringing him back to Walford. Patrick Trueman reveals the truth about Ava, that she is still alive and that Cora gave her up for adoption. Tanya tracks her down to her place of work, a school in Dalston. Tanya goes to the school claiming that she wants Oscar to go 

There, using that as an excuse to anonymously meet her half-sister. Tanya is shocked when she finds out Ava is black, and decides that she shouldn't see Ava again. Tanya accidentally leaves her purse at the school, so Ava decides to return it to Tanya in Albert Square. Cora is shocked when she meets her daughter Ava for the first time since her birth and is angry at Tanya for going behind her back. Lauren and Joey are involved in a car crash, and at the hospital Lauren reveals that she is in love with her cousin Joey. Derek disapproves of their relationship so he forces Tanya to convince Joey to leave the Square or else he will tell the police that a drunk Lauren was behind the wheel when the crash occurred.  Joey leaves Lauren heartbroken, but when Lauren finds out that Tanya convinced Joey to leave her, she rips up Tanya's wedding dress.

On Christmas Day Max gives Tanya a new wedding dress as a gift, and plans to marry her on the Square that day. An angry Derek contacts Max's wife Kirsty Branning (Whom he thought he was divorced) and in revenge tells her the address of Max's house. Kirsty turns up just before Max and Tanya marry, and reveals to Tanya that she is Max's wife. Tanya thinks Max is having another affair but he says he and Kirsty married when he was in Manchester after Tanya rejected him, and that he hasn't seen her since. He also says he was meant to have been divorced but Kirsty hadn't signed the papers. Kirsty agrees that she hasn't seen Max since, but Tanya can't help but feel nevous and threatened by the situation. Tanya warns Kirsty to back away from her family but Kirsty doesn't listen. Tanya offers Kirsty money but Kirsty still doesn't listen. Unknown to Tanya, Max and Kirsty shared a kiss on the day of Dereks funeral, who died on Christmas Day.

Tanya Cross

Tanya returned on Christmas Day (2017)


On Christmas Day, Tanya returns and visits Ian. Tanya is shocked to discover that Abi is sharing Christmas dinner with Max. She accidentally lets slip that Lauren is planning to move to Glasgow, which Lauren backtracks on. Tanya tells Lauren that if she doesn't go to Glasgow she has to come back to Exeter with her. Tanya forces Lauren to pack, to Ian and Kathy's dismay. Tanya goes to collect Abi.

Tanya walks in to the kitchen just after Stacey and Max have finished kissing, to their shock. Tanya tells Stacey to get out, which she does, then tells Max that she is taking Abi and Lauren away. Stacey returns to collect nappies in the middle of their conversation. Tanya asks her how she can even have him staying in her house, and Stacey says he is a friend. Tanya tells Stacey that Max killed Steven, which the entire Fowler household and Abi overhear. Tanya takes Abi and Martin kicks Max out.

Abi tells Lauren, Kathy and Ian that Max killed Steven. Ian runs out and tries to kill Max - Tanya, Lauren, Abi and Kathy have to stop him.

Max goes up to the roof of the Queen Victoria and teeters on the edge. Lauren, Tanya, Stacey and Abi spot him and Lauren and Abi climb to the edge, hoping to talk him down. They manage to, but as they all climb back over, Lauren slips and grabs Abi. They fall to the ground , to Tanya, Max and Stacey's shock.

As Abi and Lauren are being wheeled through the hospital ward, Tanya can be seen staring after them, blank-eyed. Ian and Kathy arrive just after and try to comfort her.

Tanya watches on as Abi has a scan on her baby. The baby's heartbeat can be heard, however Abi is still unconscious.

When Tanya hugs Max, Max tries to make a move. Tanya recoils, and a nurse walks in, telling Max and Tanya that she has news about their daughter. Abi was declared brain dead, but her baby daughter survived after being born via a C-section.

After a long battle to give her a better chance of recovery instead of accepting that Abi is brain dead, Max finally accepted the diagnosis. After initially refusing to allow Max to be in the room with the rest of their family, Tanya suddenly asked for Max to be found and brought to Abi's room. Tanya was by Abi's side as the life support was disconnected resulting in the passing of Abi at the same time that she had been born.

Tanya was last seen on 16 February 2018. She was unable to exit the vehicle to attend Abi's funeral as her grief was too consuming. Max did not attend Abi's funeral due to Tanya banning him from attending it or being able to help with the planning. Max instead visted Abi's daughter at the hospital during the funeral at which time he named the baby Abi after her mother. After the funeral had ended, Jay allowed Max a few minutes of private time with Abi's coffin where he read a speech about her to the empty room. Lauren and Tanya parted ways as Lauren set off in pursuit of a new life for herself and her son Louie.

In July 2018, almost 7 months after Abi’s death, Cora, Rainie and Max have a heated argument over Abi’s daughter’s custody. Angry about being exposed to Social Services for bribing Rainie £50,000 to leave Max and raise Abi’s child with her and Tanya, it emerges from Cora that Tanya had been committed to a psychiatric hospital as she was suffering from the increasing trauma of losing Abi and she had a mental breakdown at Abi‘s funeral.

A year later, Max decides to visit her. She forgives him for everything that have happened, knowing that it’ll be Bobby’s fault that had ruined his relationship with his daughters, such as Abi’s death and Lauren’s departure.


Ian Beale | Sharon Mitchell | Kathy Beale | Dot Branning | Martin Fowler | Phil Mitchell | Sonia Fowler | Robbie Jackson | Mel Owen | Ben Mitchell | Billy Mitchell | Kat Moon | Mo Harris | Bex Fowler | Patrick Trueman | Louise Mitchell | Bobby Beale | Stacey Fowler | Jean Slater | Ruby Allen | Honey Mitchell | Denise Fox | Max Branning | Janet Mitchell | Shirley Carter | Jay Brown | Rainie Branning | Jack Branning | Dotty Cotton | Will Mitchell | Whitney Dean | Tiffany Butcher | Amy Mitchell | Dotty Cotton | Kim Fox-Hubbard | Lily Fowler | Ricky Mitchell | Tommy Moon | Dennis Rickman | Tina Carter | Linda Carter | Mick Carter | Bert Moon | Ernie Moon | Kush Kazemi | Pearl Fox-Hubbard | Ollie Carter | Arthur Fowler | Keegan Baker | Ted Murray | Karen Taylor | Keanu Taylor | Bernadette Taylor | Chatham Taylor | Riley Taylor | Hope Fowler | Abi Branning | Arshad Ahmed | Mariam Ahmed | Callum "Halfway" Highway | Hayley Slater | Mitch Baker | Stuart Highway | Adam Bateman | Cherry Slater | Evie Steele | Mica Fox-Hubbard | Bailey Baker | Habiba Ahmed | Iqra Ahmed | Ash Kaur
Characters (Selected)
Saeed Jeffery | Debbie Wilkins | Tony Carpenter | Kelvin Carpenter | Naima Jeffery | Sue Osman | Mehmet Osman | Ali Osman | Vicki Fowler | Paul Trueman | Zoe Slater | Chrissie Watts | David Wicks | Simon Wicks | Ricky Butcher | Diane Butcher | Andrew Cotton | Peter Beale | Liam Butcher | Dean Wicks | Babe Smith | Courtney Mitchell | Grant Mitchell | James Willmott-Brown | Johnny Carter | Tanya Cross | Lauren Branning | Michelle Fowler | Alfie Moon | Annie Smith | Lofty Holloway | Mary Smith
Characters (Selected)
Lou Beale | Andy O'Brien | Pete Beale | Arthur Fowler | Cindy Beale | Steve Owen | Tiffany Mitchell | Ethel Skinner | Angie Watts | Roy Evans | Mark Fowler | Barry Evans | Den Watts | Dennis Rickman | Johnny Allen | Pauline Fowler | Frank Butcher | Archie Mitchell | Nana Moon | Bradley Branning | Pat Evans | Heather Trott | Derek Branning | Lucy Beale | Nick Cotton | Jim Branning | Charlie Slater | Peggy Mitchell | Arthur Chubb (Fatboy) | Ronnie Mitchell | Roxy Mitchell | Steven Beale | Abi Branning | Harold Legg | Hunter Owen
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