Jacob Gallagher is the adoptive son of Alicia Harding and the biological son of Leyla Harding and Justin Gallagher. Even though Justin is his biological father Jacob considers his former step-father David Metcalfe to be his dad and refers to him as such. Jacob is considered as the brother of David's two biological children, Amba and Theo Metcalfe.
2003-2010: Conception, birth and early life
Jacob was conceived after Leyla Harding had an affair with her brother-in-law Justin Gallagher. He was born on 28th February 2003 and was brought up by Leyla's sister and Justin's ex-wife, Alicia, after Leyla gave Jacob to Alicia, who was infertile.
2010-2013: Arrival in Emmerdale and true parentage
Alicia and Justin split up in 2010, and Alicia and Jacob moved to the village. Due to Alicia's job, Jacob spent much of his time with Leyla and her boyfriend David Metcalfe. Leyla nearly told Jacob she was his biological mother, and the strain of silence led her to leave town after about a year. With Justin now starting a new family, and David and Alicia slowly falling in love, Jacob began to see David as a father. In later years he would begin calling David "Dad."
Jacob did not know about his true parentage until late 2013. He became very upset when he found out that Alicia wasn't his biological mother, and ran away to his best friend Noah's house, where he stayed for a night. When Leyla returned to the village, Jacob was angry and confused, but he eventually accepted her as part of his life, while still seeing Alicia as his mother.
In November 2014, Noah started to bully Jacob, because he felt like his mother Charity Dingle had abandoned him. He made Jacob use spray-paint on and trash Bernice Blackstock's beauty salon and got him to steal money from the church but he was caught in the act by Kerry Wyatt and vicar Harriet Finch who took Jacob to his mother. Alicia found spray-paint in Jacob's bag, making Kerry assume that Jacob had vandalised the salon, so she started to shout at him. Jacob confessed to Alicia and David the following morning about Noah bullying him. Alicia and David told Charity who punished Noah and finally got to the bottom of his behaviour. Noah and Jacob would later make up and continue being friends.
2015 was a year of violent upheaval for Jacob, as he struggled to cope with Alicia's sexual assault by Lachlan White. In a fit of rage, Jacob vandalised Home Farm. When Alicia realised she could no longer live in the village, she and Jacob moved to Portugal. Mother and son were heartbroken when David chose to stay in the village, and Jacob chose not to contact him for some time.
In 2016, Jacob returned to the village, unhappy with his new life in Portugal. Alicia contacted David and Leyla frantic as Jacob had left without telling her; they convinced Alicia to let him stay in the village.
David learned he had testicular cancer, and, unable to face telling Jacob, instead sent him back to Portugal for a holiday. Jacob soon returned early, surprising David. David continued to lie to Jacob but soon had to tell him the truth. Jacob was hurt by the lies and stole Eric's credit card for a plane ticket back to Portugal, but Tracy Shankley convinced him to stay in the village to help David.
2018-: Grooming and aftermath
In 2018, David started dating one of Jacobs teachers, Maya Stepney. Maya then started grooming Jacob when he was only 15. They started to see each other in secret while Maya was still with David. Jacob was annoyed that Maya refused to tell anyone about their relationship but she insisted they kept it a secret. Jacob also started dating Liv, to cover up his relationship with Maya. When Jacob turned 16, Maya had sex with him.
Jacob dumped Liv but when she went to talk with him she walked in on him and Maya having sex and soon started blackmailing them for £5000. Though this was later increased to £10000. During a group night out, Maya attended with among others, David, Leyla and Tracy, Priya saw Maya and Jacob kissing outside the club. She informed Leyla and Tracy of what she'd seen and they confronted her, causing Maya to finally admit to having sex with Jacob but still claiming it was consensual. For awhile Maya was believed to have died after a fight with Leyla in the woods that night but it was revealed that she and Jacob had been staying together at a hotel.
Maya was eventually arrested and the grooming came to an end. She was put on trial and sentenced to a year in prison on 20th June 2019, due to inappropriate text messages exchanged between her and Jacob, however, the full extent of her grooming could not be proved. Jacob was left heartbroken as Maya was taken away and she didn't look back at him. Jacob then got a job working at Café Main Street and moved in with his granddad, Eric, as he still resented Leyla and David for what he felt they'd done to Maya. He still couldn't see that Maya had done anything wrong and thought what they had was a genuine relationship with both parties loving each other.
In November 2019, after Jacob sleeps with classmate Leanna Cavanagh and cruelly leaves her afterwards not spearing a thought for her feelings, Jacob starts to realise what Maya has done to him; made him the sort of person who uses someone for sex without any regard for their feelings. He finally breaks down and admits that Maya abused him. He later patches up his relationship with Leanna and they agree to go back to being friends. On Christmas Day, a baby boy is left on David and Jacob's doorstep with a note confirming him to be Maya's son. They send for a DNA test, all worried that he could be Jacob's but to their relief, the test confirms he is David's. Jacob is thrilled over having a baby brother and David names him Theo.
- Jacob is allergic to nuts.