1976-2012: Early life
Vanessa Woodfield was born on 7th March 1976. Her father, Frank, left when Vanessa was about 10 years old and unbeknownst to her had another daughter, Tracy in 1989. Once Frank had left, Vanessa mother remarried, giving Vanessa a stepdad whose surname she adopted.
2012-2014: Arrival in Emmerdale
Vanessa arrived in the village on 10th December 2012 when she was hired by Rhona Goskirk, an old friend from university, to work as a locum. Paddy Kirk, Rhona's husband, had heard wild stories about her and dreaded her arrival. He felt isolated as Rhona greeted her friend and was annoyed to hear that she and Rhona planned a night out. He worried about Vanessa bringing men back to the house but was forced to apologise when she overheard his complaining. Vanessa went to Butlers Farm, where she walked in on Moira Barton and Cain Dingle kissing. She returned the next day and apologised to Moira. They sat down together, talking about each other's pasts over a bottle of wine, which was the start of their friendship.
In early March 2013, Vanessa grieved the death of her godmother and got some time off to go to her funeral, however, after the reception, a desperate Paddy and Rhona asked her to do a callout to Home Farm. Vanessa was distraught when Katie Addyman's horse died whilst in her care and Katie threatened to sue Vanessa, convinced that she was at fault for the wrong diagnosis but Rhona is adamant that it could have happened to anyone. Despite this, Katie told Paddy and Rhona that she would only drop this if they agreed to let Vanessa go. However, Rhona and Paddy stood by her and managed to help calm the situation down. On 3rd April 2013, after receiving a great inheritance from her godmother, Vanessa became a partner in the vet practice with Paddy and Rhona to help with the workload after Rhona hurt her back.
In May 2013, Vanessa discovered Rhona's addiction to painkillers, which she was originally prescribed to deal with her back pain, after witnessing her raiding the drug cabinet at the vets. She warned her that this could endanger her career and that she should get help, but Rhona insisted that she could do this and made Vanessa promise not to tell anyone. She tried to help Rhona but it just kept getting worse gets worse. In June, Vanessa confronted her about stealing painkillers from Sandy Thomas, leaving him in severe pain. Rhona denied it until Vanessa said she could have more painkillers if she admitted it which she then does. However, Vanessa then refused to give her anything and Rhona slapped her. Vanessa told Rhona that she needed professional help for her addiction but Rhona ignored her.
On 2nd August 2013, Vanessa admitted to Rhona that she had fallen in love with her but Rhona rejected her, claiming her feelings were "wrong". However, Rhona later made Vanessa think her feelings were requited, kissing her passionately, so that Vanessa would keep giving her pills. Vanessa and Rhona then began a brief affair but soon Paddy walked in on them kissing. Rhona initially kept up the act but soon admitted that she was only using Vanessa to get painkillers, insulting her and throwing her out. Heartbroken, Vanessa stayed with Moira but after learning Rhona had an overdose, went to the hospital where she told Paddy the truth about Rhona's addiction. A furious Paddy attacked Vanessa but Marlon and Moira restrained him. Later, Rhona started getting treatment for her addiction and Vanessa tried to give the couple some space as Paddy was still furious with her. However, in early September, Paddy begged her to come back to the surgery to keep it afloat and Rhona confessed that she wanted them to be friends again.
In October 2013, Vanessa bought and moves into Nikhil Sharma's former house, Victoria Cottage, after he moved to Canada. Following Cameron Murray's hostage siege at The Woolpack, she let landladies Diane Sugden and Chas Dingle stay with her briefly until the pub renovation was complete. In January 2014, after witnessing Dom Andrews and his daughter Gemma being cruelly evicted from their house, Vanessa allowed them to stay with her and later formed a close friendship with Dom. A few months later, Vanessa accompanied Dom to the hospital after Gemma was found unconscious and she was upset when Gemma passed away from her injuries. She attended Gemma's funeral and helped Dom through his grief. On 13th June 2014, Dom left the village without telling Vanessa.
After a visit to Butlers Farm, Vanessa panicked when she noticed a vial of ketamine was missing from her vet bag as Moira's son Adam Barton, had stolen it and taken a large dose. Paddy urged Vanessa to call the police and Moira was questioned. Vanessa later moved into Tug Ghyll with Katie and Leyla Harding after being thrown out of her house when Nikhil decided to rent it to his sister Priya Sharma's fiancé, Rakesh Kotecha.
2014-2016: Relationship with Kirin and birth of Johnny
In August 2014, Vanessa had a one-night-stand with a young man, which she boasted about to Leyla the following day. However, she was soon horrified to discover it was Priya Sharma's 17-year-old soon-to-be-stepson, Kirin Kotecha. She confronted him about lying about his age but he charmed her and they decided to continue their relationship in secret. However, Priya caught them together and demanded they ended their relationship, which Vanessa initially agreed to but they soon decided to not let others dictate what they did and gave their relationship another go. Kirin decided to introduce Vanessa to Priya and his dad, Rakesh, upsetting them both. Rakesh, however, reckoned Kirin would soon be bored of her and tried to convince Vanessa of this. His words got to her she decided to go away for a while with Rhona to clear her head. When they returned in October, Vanessa got upset, thinking that Kirin was ignoring her, prompting Rhona and Paddy to set her up on a blind date, upsetting Kirin. He later told Rhona that he wasn't ignoring Vanessa but just didn't see her, which caused Rhona to tell Vanessa she should give Kirin another chance and they reconciled.
In November 2014, Kirin moved in with Vanessa after a row with his dad, upsetting her when he didn't ask beforehand. She told him that she was not ready to share her space with him yet but he didn't react well and after a fight, she broke up with him. However, Vanessa soon feared she overreacted and tried to call Kirin, asking him to come back so they could talk. Whilst driving back to her house after a night out drinking, he collided with Moira's van and sent her sliding off the road. She was rushed to the hospital and Vanessa was furious with him, but when he swore that he was sorry and didn’t know Moira had gotten hurt Vanessa went up to Butlers make amends and convince Moira to not go to the police. Vanessa’s defence of Kirin upset Moira and she promised not to call the police but said that from this moment their friendship was over. On Christmas Eve, Vanessa, who wanted to repair her relationship with Moira, tried to get her attention at Katie’s hen night. She revealed that she missed her and apologised for what happened. Moira forgave her and they hugged and reconciled.
In January 2015, Katie decided to sell Tug Ghyll, upsetting Vanessa and Leyla who would be forced to move out. However, in February they were devastated to finds out that Katie had died. Following her death, her husband, Andy Sugden, took ownership of the property and checked Vanessa and Leyla out. With nowhere else to stay, Vanessa moved into Kirin's, much to his delight. On Vanessa's birthday, Kirin noticed a lump in one of Vanessa's breasts and they both feared it could be cancer. However, she told him it was nothing to worry about but with encouragement from Rhona eventually went to the doctors. Kirin promised to support her but when he failed to go with her a hospital appointment, Rhona takes her instead. Disappointed in Kirin, Vanessa felt that what she and Kirin had wasn't enough anymore and broke up with him. Andy later decided to let Vanessa and Leyla have their house back.
In March 2015, Vanessa had a one-night-stand with Moira's son Adam Barton after he was dumped by his girlfriend, Victoria Sugden. They both agreed that it was a mistake and soon after, Vanessa and Kirin got back together after he accompanied her to get the results of her cancer tests where she got the all-clear. However, Vanessa was horrified to learn that she was pregnant. Unsure of who the father was, she considered a termination but soon changed her mind. She told Kirin who was ecstatic at the prospect of becoming a father, however, Rakesh was less than pleased and demanded that she had an abortion but she refused. Unable to deal with the stress not knowing who the father was, Vanessa booked a DNA test with only Adam present. However, Kirin found out and Vanessa was forced to tell him that Adam could be the baby's father. When the DNA results arrived Rakesh got his hands on them and edited the results before Vanessa could see them. On 1st June 2015, after seeing the fake results, Kirin left Vanessa after she told him that the baby was Adam's.
In September 2015 after Jai Sharma accidentally pushed Vanessa over at Kirin's cordial business launch, she collapsed by the road on her way home. Kirin found her and took her to hospital where the doctors told her she was in labour. They tried to stop the labour but couldn’t and on 11th September 2015, Vanessa gave birth 14 weeks prematurely to her son, Johnny Woodfield, with both Adam and Kirin by her side. Adam and Vanessa visited Johnny in the NICU, and Vanessa became distressed at how small her son was. Vanessa said she couldn't bear watching her son in that state, waiting for him to die so she left Adam alone in the hospital. Everyone was bemused when Vanessa returned home, acting like everything was normal and Adam started becoming annoyed with her behaviour. After Johnny's incubator alarm went off Adam phoned local vicar Ashley Thomas, asking him to perform an emergency baptism. However, Vanessa refused to come, believing her son would die. Despite this, Victoria managed to persuade Vanessa to go to the hospital for Johnny's baptism on 15th September. Vanessa kept feeling insecure about her mothering skills but tried to do what she was supposed to do.
In early October 2015, Johnny's incubator alarm went off again and Adam couldn't get hold of Vanessa. When Vanessa finally arrived at the hospital, the doctor told them that Johnny had necrotizing enterocolitis and would need surgery the following day. Johnny's surgery went well but Moira noticed that Vanessa was acting strangely calm and hostile and feared she was not bonding well with Johnny. However, when she tried to talk to her Vanessa angrily walked off. Moira confided her suspicions in Rhona who also tried to talk to Vanessa who finally admitted that she didn't feel anything for her son and had just been going through the motions. Rhona informed Adam who got worried and confronted Vanessa but she once again stormed off. An upset Adam considered trying to get him and Victoria sole custody over Johnny but Rhona overheard and convinced him to talk to Vanessa again. They sat down and she finally opened up to him about her lack of feelings for Johnny. He told her to get help and that he didn't actually want to take Johnny away from her. Still, this gave Vanessa the wake-up call that she needed.
On Christmas Eve Vanessa was allowed to bring Johnny home and a week later she spotted a bruise-like spot on Johnny's back. The midwife reassured Vanessa that Johnny had a Mongolian Blue Spot which is harmless. However, she raised Vanessa's suspicions when she mentioned that it's common in mixed raced babies, so to put her mind at rest she ordered a second DNA test. On 6th January 2016, the second DNA test came back, proving Kirin was Johnny's biological father. Horrified Vanessa revealed this to a devastated Adam who struggled to take in the news. He asked for some alone time with Johnny but after Vanessa left, took Johnny and drove off with Victoria. Vanessa revealed to shocked Kirin that he was, in fact, Johnny's biological father and that Adam had taken Johnny. Adam planned to run off with him and Victoria but later that evening, Victoria called Vanessa and reassured her that Johnny was alright and that they would bring him home in the morning. Adam and Victoria returned Johnny to Vanessa and she admitted to Rhona that the kidnapping helped her realise how much she loves her son.
Kirin wanted to be a dad to Johnny and they decided to give their relationship another try, however, in February 2016, Kirin started getting overwhelmed with parenthood, which escalated when Vanessa got ill he was forced to look after Johnny by himself. He started lashing out when Johnny wouldn't stop crying and when Vanessa's housemate Carly Hope walked in and took Johnny away from him, scared that Kirin would hurt him. Carly told Vanessa who was furious and threw him out. Not long after Kirin left the village to go on the run after accidentally running over and killing Tess Harris whilst drunk driving, leaving Vanessa to raise Johnny on her own.
Following Tess' death, it soon came to light that she and Paddy were having an affair, causing him and Rhona split up. Vanessa tried to be there for her friend but became wary when Rhona took in Tess's widowed husband, Pierce, worrying it was too much for Rhona to deal with. Vanessa got suspicious of Pierce's motives and tried to warn Rhona off him. Later, he and Rhona started dating and Vanessa tried to be supportive and eventually warmed up to him slightly.
2016-2017: Long Lost Family
In May 2016, Carly invited Tracy Shankley to come live with them in the spare room of Tug Ghyll. She and Vanessa didn't gey along as Vanessa got upset when Tracy wouldn't pay her rent on time and threatened to throw her out. They made amends but their relationship remained rocky.
In August 2016, Tracy's boyfriend David Metcalfe visited Tracy's father Frank Clayton in prison in the hope of reuniting the pair so that Frank could attend their wedding. During the visit, Frank revealed he was being released early and had written to 'Teeny' about this, which David believed to be Tracy. The same day, Vanessa got a call from Frank, mistaking her for Tracy and confusing Vanessa when he asked about her impending marriage. Vanessa told him she wasn't getting married and asked him to stop calling her 'Teeny' as he lost the right to call her that over thirty years ago when she stopped calling him dad. Vanessa then helped Leyla sabotage Tracy and David's wedding plans, as they were suspicious of Tracy's motives. When they found out a fight broke out, making their relationship even tenser.
Vanessa and Tracy then both received phone calls disclosing that Frank was in hospital. After Vanessa was finally convinced by Leyla and Rhona to go and visit her father, they discussed Johnny and Frank saw pictures of his grandson. However, when Frank reminisced about a holiday in Skegness, this angered Vanessa, as she was not the child in Frank's story. As Vanessa went to leave, Frank's condition rapidly deteriorated. The doctors told her he was going to recover but she stormed off and accidentally bumped into Tracy and David, but didn't disclose why she was there. Vanessa later told Leyla about Frank's seizure and revealed that she was glad she went to see him, as he is now dead to her. A few days later, the hospital called to tell her that they hoped to bring her dad out of his coma the following day.
On 23rd August 2016, when Vanessa headed to the hospital to see Frank, she was confused when a nurse explained a woman named Tracy was already there to see him. Her confusion turned to shock when she spotted Tracy sitting at her father's bedside and she demanded to know what she was doing there. At that moment, Frank woke up and Vanessa could not believe it when Tracy called Frank 'dad'. When Vanessa angrily said that he was not her dad, Frank steps in and told her to meet her little sister. Tracy questioned how Frank could allow her to grow up without telling her about her sister, as she'd always dreamed of having one and Vanessa admitted she would've loved a little sister she could've looked after. Frank insisted he would have loved them to know each other, but had known that Vanessa's mother would never have allowed her anywhere near Tracy's mother. Vanessa and Tracy both stormed off shortly after. Later that day, they started to argue in the pub and after Vanessa threw a pint over her newfound sister's head, Tracy revealed to the whole pub that they are sisters and suggested Vanessa was ashamed of her. After Chas Dingle encouraged Vanessa to reach out and make amends, she brought Tracy some coffee and cake, apologising for fighting but Tracy ordered her to go away.
In September 2016, David told Vanessa it's Tracy's birthday the following day and suggested it was a perfect time for them to make up, but Vanessa told David that Tracy meant nothing her and asked him to drop it. However, after she overheard Tracy telling Bernice Blackstock about a present her dad got her for her birthday only to steal it back a few days later, she approached David, telling him she had changed her mind and wanted to give Tracy the best party ever. Tracy was touched when she arrived at her 90s themed 27th birthday party and learnt Vanessa was the one behind it. Vanessa wished her new-found sister happy birthday before the pair hugged. At the party, as the conversation shifted to discussing the best and worst presents they have received, Tracy commented how her best was a barbie car that was stolen and Vanessa admitted that Frank took it from Tracy and gave it to her, so Vanessa presented Tracy with a new barbie car. However, Tracy was not happy and lashed out at her. That evening, Vanessa phoned Frank, informing him he could stay with her at Tug Ghyll upon his release, on the condition that he sorted things out with Tracy, and treated both of his daughters equally.
Tracy later apologised to Vanessa who in turn said she was sorry they had not had the same opportunities growing up. Tracy decided to throw Johnny a birthday party, insisting no member of her family would ever feel the way she did on her birthdays. Vanessa tried to tell Tracy that their dad was being released the next day but got interrupted and ended up agreeing to make up for lost time by forgetting Frank's existence. The following day, Vanessa and recently released Frank headed to The Woolpack where they met Tracy who was shocked when she came face to face with her father. Tracy couldn't believe Vanessa had kept Frank staying with her a secret and stormed off, still mad at him. After Tracy overheard Frank telling Vanessa he only cared about her and should forget about Tracy, she framed him for stealing Eric Pollard’s bank card. After Frank was arrested, a furious Vanessa apologised to Tracy for not seeing him for what he was, telling her they shouldn't let him come between them as she liked having a sister. However, Tracy felt guilty and told the truth to Eric who informed the police that he had made a mistake. They all managed to sort things out just in time for Tracy to marry David with Frank and Vanessa by her side.
In November 2016, Tracy and Vanessa learnt the truth of how Frank landed himself in prison. Having previously told them that he was in for protecting a woman from an abusive man when in fact he was in for fraud. After being blackmailed about that information he almost stole charity money to pay the blackmailer off but despite changing his mind, the blackmailers stole the money anyway. However, Vanessa didn't believe him and said she wanted nothing to do with him anymore. To Vanessa disbelief, Tracy still trusted him and let him continue living at hers. In January 2017, after Frank admitted his fraudulent past to the whole pub, Vanessa reckoned he'd do a runner. However, he surprised her by staying put, and with Tracy's encouragement, she decided to give him another shot.
On 14th February 2017, Rhona and Pierce announced their engagement. Vanessa remained sceptical towards him and their relationship, thinking they were rushing into things. She also noticed how Pierce started examining possessive behaviour and was determined to make Rhona see sense and break up with him. However, Pierce set Vanessa up to make Rhona distrust her and tried to use her past with Rhona against her, claiming she was still in love with her and just jealous. He later threatened her, telling her he was her worst nightmare. Rhona got more and more upset with Vanessa and told her to stay away from her. Vanessa tried to make Rhona, as well as all their friends, see what Pierce was really like but to no avail. Her friends warned her to stop interfering or she'd risk her friendship with Rhona.In April 2017, Vanessa realised Pierce had lied to Rhona about deleting a sex tape the two of them made. Whilst trying to get proof she accidentally sent the video to Paddy and receptionist Pearl. A furious Rhona told Vanessa she wanted her out of her life, leaving Vanessa devastated. The pair eventually called a truce but Vanessa stayed away from the ceremony when Rhona and Pierce got married in late April. On 11th May 2017, Rhona revealed to a horrified Vanessa that Pierce raped her on their wedding day. Vanessa supported her and eventually manages to persuade her into reporting him to the police. She stood by her through the entire ordeal and was called as a witness for the trial. In late July Peirce was found guilty of rape and was subsequently sentenced to five years in prison.
2017-2019: Relationship with Charity Dingle
On 12th October 2017, at the funeral of Finn Barton Vanessa followed Charity Dingle down The Woolpack cellar to give her a piece of mind. She accidentally locked them in there and with no sign of being found anytime soon, they started talking and ended up sharing a kiss. After sneaking out the next morning Vanessa went back to tell Charity that their kiss was a mistake and that it wouldn't happen again, but moments later, Charity kissed her and Vanessa followed her to the bedroom. Vanessa was terrified that Charity would tell everyone what happened between them and in a desperate attempt to prove she was straight, went on a date with Daz Spencer. However, provoked by Vanessa and Daz's presence in the pub, Charity outed Vanessa, disclosing that they spent the night together, declaring 'It's okay! You can be gay!'. Vanessa, feeling embarrassed and upset, stormed off but later spoke to Rhona about it, admitting she wasn't sure if she was straight or not. However, she soon came to the realisation that she'd had more crushes on women than men and that it didn't matter if she didn't know, she'd just have fun finding out.
Charity continued to tease Vanessa but she but initially ignored her advances until eventually giving in and they started sleeping together. Their relationship continued in secret until December when Paddy walked in on them in the cellar. Rhona was apprehensive about their relationship due to Charity's reputation but Vanessa told her 'She's fun, It's fun. She makes me laugh. I'm happier when she walks into the room, you know? My heart... it beats a bit faster'. However, in early 2018, Vanessa started getting increasingly annoyed with Charity's immature behaviour as she flirted with everyone and constantly tried to wind her up to prove they were nothing serious. Vanessa then broke it off but Charity chased her down the street one night to apologise, telling her she did actually care about her a bit before they kissed and Vanessa invited her inside. On 22nd February 2018, they became official 'girlfriend and girlfriend' after they finally stop denying their feelings, following a night out at a gay bar Vanessa had, as Charity admits to feeling jealous upon seeing pictures of Vanessa and another woman.
On 12th March 2018, Gabby Thomas and Liv Flaherty went to raid Charity's alcohol stash in The Woolpack's backroom. As they were doing so, Charity and Vanessa entered and kissed on the sofa, giving Gabby an opportunity to steal a vial of ketamine from Vanessa's bag. The next day, Liv accidentally spiked Lisa Dingle's drink with the ketamine, causing her to collapse and having to be taken to hospital. An investigation was launched and as Liv and Gabby confessed to stealing the ketamine, Vanessa informed the police of its disappearance. The police didn't want to take it any further with her but when Vanessa updated the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons on the situation with the ketamine theft, she fretted as they wanted to do an inspection and feared she'd have the book thrown at her.
On 29th March 2018, met with the RCVS inspector, Martin Henderson and was delighted upon discovering he was an old friend of Paddy as the inspection started weighing in her favour. He agreed to put in a good word for her with the RCVS, telling her he didn't think there would be any need for a suspension, to Vanessa's relief. However, when Paddy accidentally made fun of Martin's wife, he said that he would play things by the book which left Vanessa fearing for her career. She told Charity, Frank and Pearl at the pub what happened and they tried to cheer her up. Upset with the prospect of losing her job she stormed out with a bottle of wine. Later, Charity found a drunken Vanessa sitting in the vet surgery talking to Voldemort the snake. Vanessa suggested Charity leave her before she brought her down as well, but Charity promised she wasn't going anywhere and proceeded to stick a fake moustache on Vanessa's face, raising a smile. The next morning, Vanessa went for her hearing in London and returned with the news that she had been suspended for twelve months. Subsequently, Rhona and Paddy agreed to give her an admin job until her suspension was over.
In April 2018, Charity opened up to Vanessa about the rape and abuse she suffered at the hands of DI Mark Bails as a teenager. A horrified Vanessa encouraged her to report him to the police but she refused. Upset with what happened and despite her better judgement, Vanessa called the police. The following day when a police officer arrived Charity was unwilling to talk and Vanessa told the officer, who was under the impression that Vanessa was the victim of historical abuse, that she couldn't do it and apologised for wasting her time. Charity was furious and Vanessa begged her to forgive her but she said it was too late for that and dumped her. Megan saw Charity chatting up a guy in the pub and called Vanessa. She tried to get Charity to change her mind but she told her she had a bloke waiting for her upstairs, leaving Vanessa heartbroken. The next day, Megan found out that Charity lied about sleeping with the guy from the pub, and Vanessa realised she couldn't give up on them just yet. She approached Charity in the pub and conceded she shouldn't have gone to the police but insisted her she only did so because she couldn't bear the thought of Bails getting away with hurting her. Vanessa told Charity she thought she was amazing and they both admitted they still really liked each other before sharing a kiss.
Vanessa was later horrified after seeing a picture of Tracy and DI Bails in the newspaper, realising that they were working together on a campaign to help sex-workers. Upset and scared for what he could do to her sister, Vanessa begged Charity to tell Tracy what he was really like. Although she initially refused, she later went on to publically accuse him of raping and abusing her on a conference. With Vanessa's support Charity made her accusations official and Vanessa was there for her as Charity went through the difficult court case and helped her reconnect with her long-lost son, Ryan Stocks. Vanessa's support lead to the pair growing closer and she was relieved when Bails finally got convicted for his crimes. On 27th September 2018, Charity thanked Vanessa for being there for her and not running every time she had a crisis, admitting that she loves her, and Vanessa returned her feelings. In late November Charity asked Vanessa to move in with her and on 13th December, Vanessa and Johnny moved from Tug Ghyll into The Woolpack with Charity and her two youngest children.
On the 10th January 2019, Charity and Vanessa had a row outside the Woolpack, ending in Vanessa taking Johnny and driving off. However, she soon realised she overreacted and drove back only to stumble upon Donny Cairn setting fire to The Woolpack in an attempt to target Belle Dingle. She confronted him and a struggle ensued. After grabbing a broken bottle Donny stabbed Vanessa in the abdomen and took off in her car, unaware Vanessa's three-year-old son was in the back. Vanessa managed to call Charity who ran to her side but Vanessa insisted Charity went after Donny to find Johnny, whilst Paddy and Chas tended to Vanessa's wound. Soon an ambulance arrived to took her to hospital but Tracy, who came with her, panicked when Vanessa's condition started to worsen. Later, Charity arrived at the hospital with an unharmed Johnny and but was distressed to hear of Vanessa's critical condition. Luckily, Vanessa made a full recovery in hospital but her close call made Charity realise she couldn't imagine being without her and desperate to show her, she decided to propose.
On 17th January 2019, as Charity overheard that Megan was planning an over-the-top proposal for a client at Home Farm she saw her chance and headed over there, locking the client in a cupboard. When Vanessa arrived, the two got into the horse and carriage and Charity soon hastily proposed to Vanessa who was in awe until she realised that she had hijacked some else's proposal and turned her down. A distraught Charity got drunk at Home Farm whilst Vanessa headed back to the village. However, she returned after talking to Tracy, and assured Charity, who was convinced she wasn't good enough for her, that they were both good enough and in fact perfect for each other, encouraging Charity to re-propose. With just the two of them, Charity asked Vanessa to be her wife. This time she said yes just as fireworks from the original proposal went off and they enjoyed them together. The next day in The Woolpack, Charity and Vanessa announced to their friends and family that 'she put a ring on it!'.
In March 2019, Vanessa worried Charity was taking on too much when she agreed to help Robert Sugden land a haulage contract with Mike Anderson. However, Vanessa's worry soon turned to jealousy and annoyance as Charity flirted with Mike in means to get him on side and even agreed to accompany him to the Sustainability Awards the following day. At the awards, Vanessa overheard Mike telling an acquaintance that he was just playing them for information to set up his own company. She informed Charity and came up with a plan to steal back the documents from his car but panicked when Mike approached and drove off, ultimately dumping the car in a field. They managed to get the car back but were caught by Mike who vowed revenge. To make amends, Vanessa agreed to be his vet on call and look after his 12 dogs for free indefinitely, not doing the veterinary practice any favours as they were in financial difficulty. In April, Vanessa and Paddy reluctantly agreed to make Kim Tate a partner to save their business.
2019-2020: Death of Frank, kidnapping and cancer
On 1st August 2019, Vanessa received a phone call from Laurel Thomas, informing her that Tracy might be trapped in the burning sweet factory. She along with Charity and Megan hurried over there and arrived to see Tracy emerge from the smoke-filled building and were horrified to learn that Frank was still inside. Frank soon walked out of the factory safely but the family's relief soon turned to horror as a sudden explosion went off throwing Frank against a van, leaving him in a crumpled heap on the ground. Vanessa and Tracy watched as paramedics rushed to his side but were devastated when they announced he had not made it. Tracy ran over with Vanessa behind her. As Tracy refused to believe it, Vanessa announced that he was gone and put her arms around her sister as they mourned over his lifeless body.
As the police investigated the cause of the fire, more evidence started to point towards Frank being involved in the fire and connected robbery. Vanessa started to doubt her father's innocence, causing friction in her relationship with Tracy who was convinced he had nothing to do with it. On 26th August 2019, Frank's funeral was held but it didn't go as planned when Megan started mouthing off at everybody in the church for doubting Frank, making Vanessa feel like she was made to feel she didn't love her dad enough just because she wasn't deluding herself. Vanessa and Tracy's relationship remained rocky due to their different views on the matter and as Tracy got more and more obsessed with proving Frank's innocence. However, Vanessa tried to reach out to Tracy, not wanting to lose her sister as well.
In October 2019, Tracy revealed that she had attacked her housemate Kerry Wyatt after she confessed that she and daughter Amy were the ones responsible for the fire and Frank's death. Tracy and Vanessa were furious as Kerry and Amy had acted as some of their greatest support in their moment of grief but they now realised they'd been lying to their faces. On 9th October, Vanessa confronted Kerry at the hospital and in her rage managed to accidentally hit a nurse and was subsequently arrested. She got picked up by Charity and Tracy the following day and revealed she hadn't told the police about Kerry and Amy as they threatened to then tell them that Tracy was the one who put Kerry in hospital. To keep Tracy out of prison, the sisters decided to put the incident behind them and try to move forward. Charity then took Vanessa on a holiday to Cornwall for a break but returned 2 weeks later whilst Vanessa stayed and visited her mother.
In early November 2019, Vanessa ended things with Charity after discovering she had been involved in a scam and lied about it. When a furious Vanessa confronted her, Charity apologised and tried to tell her that she had done it for them. However, Vanessa was having none of it and couldn't get past how Charity could lie to her face for months and affected by her visit, not wanting to be like her mother who wasted half her life never getting over Frank's betrayal. Charity tried to convince Vanessa to take her back, saying she couldn't live without her, but to no avail. A few days later, Vanessa informed Charity that her teenage son and granddaughter, Noah and Sarah, were having a party at the house and they went to shut it out together. The next day, Vanessa stopped by to see how the kids were doing and Charity made another attempt at getting Vanessa back. She told her how much she loved her, declaring that what they had was real which meant that she would mess up sometimes but if she gave them another chance she would try. Vanessa initially turned her down but later came back to the house and after Charity promised to never lie to her again, Vanessa decided to take her back.
In December 2019, after Noah suffered a drug overdose, Vanessa and Charity were furious upon discovering that Rhona's current boyfriend Graham Foster found Noah with the drugs before he took them but had failed to inform them. In late January 2020, Charity and Vanessa revealed to their kids that they'd planned a secret wedding but the day was ruined when Graham locked Charity's oldest son Ryan Stocks in a shed, forcing Charity to cancel. The following day, Vanessa was suspicious of Charity's whereabouts the day before although she insisted that she had just been out supporting Ryan. However, when news reached them that Graham had been murdered, Charity admitted that she and Ryan had stolen Graham's money in order to get back at him, leaving Vanessa devastated about being lied to again, believing Charity valued money more than their relationship. As the rift between her and Charity continued, Vanessa turned her attention towards a grieving Rhona who was desperate to find the real killer.
On 13th February 2020, after a particularly bad row with Charity and a tough hospital visit, Vanessa played with Johnny behind the Woolpack where she was shocked to see Pierce Harris walk past. In a panic, he grabbed Johnny and lured Vanessa into Mulberry Cottage where he took them both captive. He tied Vanessa up downstairs whilst keeping Johnny in an upstairs room. He soon revealed that he was the one who murdered Graham, as well as his plan to win Rhona back. The following day, Vanessa got lose and tried to escape but Pierce caught her and a fight ensued. Pierce managed to overpower her and tied her up even tighter. To punish her, he went up to Johnny, turning off the baby monitor so Vanessa could no longer hear him. She pleaded for Pierce to let her see her son or at least turn the baby monitor back on so she would know he was alright. He relented but warned that if she stepped out of line again he would turn it off. When Pierce went through Vanessa's belongings he found an envelope from the hospital, revealing that she had bowel cancer.
On 25th February 2020, the hostage situation finally came to an end when Pierce got Rhona to come to the cottage where she managed to live-stream him confessing to Graham's murder. Pierce was finally arrested and charged with kidnap and murder. Vanessa was reunited with Charity who apologised for everything, vowing to never let her go again. However, Vanessa was conflicted, knowing she had to tell Charity about her cancer but feared how she would take it, especially when Charity started talking about their future together and telling her how much she loved her. Vanessa finally admitted she had bowel cancer to a shocked Charity who struggled to take in the news but soon pulled herself together, wanting to be the support Vanessa needed. Vanessa also got the results of her scan and learned her cancer was at stage 3. Vanessa struggled as Charity suggested she would feel better if she told more people while Vanessa was adamant they should keep it between the two of them as she didn't want the cancer to become all she was in people's eyes.
In March 2020, Charity accidentally blurted out Vanessa's diagnosis to Tracy in an attempt to stop her from throwing a surprise party for her birthday, knowing that was not what she wanted right now. Although Vanessa was initially upset, she soon realised that having Tracy know had helped and finally started telling more people, starting with Noah and Sarah who were both supportive. On 18th March 2020, Vanessa had her operation which was successful at removing the tumour and affected lymph noodles, however, she was disappointed to hear she would still have to go through chemo.
On 20th April 2020, Vanessa started her first round of chemotherapy which turned ugly when Kerry walked by and decided to keep her company only for a furious Charity to find her there and make a scene. An upset Vanessa went on a night out drinking with Rhona, wanting to go back in time, and ended up throwing a drink of a rude lad which got filmed and shared all over social media. Charity was upset at Vanessa's reckless behaviour and as Vanessa sobered up she felt guilty and apologised. However, she shocked Charity when told her she wanted her to be Johnny's legal guardian in the case of her death. When Charity hesitated a few seconds before replying Vanessa became convinced she didn't want to be stuck with Johnny and asked Rhona instead. However, as Vanessa and Rhona continued with their plans, Charity finally snapped as Rhona. Vanessa confronted Charity who told her that she loved Johnny and she sees him as her own kid and now Vanessa is trying to rip him away from her. After Charity declared that she only hesitated because she couldn't bear the thought of her dying, Vanessa realised she had gotten it all wrong. They finally reconciled and Vanessa asked Charity to adopt Johnny.
In July 2020 Vanessa left the village to visit her mother but after her mother had a bad fall she decided to stay for a while to look after her.
Relationships and Affairs
Rhona Goskirk is Vanessa's best-friend from university who invites her to Emmerdale to work as a locum vet after her husband, Paddy Kirk is suspended. In August 2013, as Vanessa helps Rhona through her painkillers addiction and realises that she has fallen in love with her. Rhona makes Vanessa think her feelings are returned in means to make her keep supplying her with pills. However, it all comes crumbling down after Paddy catches them kissing and Rhona soon admits she was just using Vanessa. After Rhona suffers an overdose she starts getting help for her addiction and she and Vanessa rebuild their friendship.
In January 2014, Rhona and their other friends take Vanessa to a gay bar as she is confused about her sexuality. Afterwards, Vanessa confesses that the night made her realize that she fell in love with Rhona for who she is and not because she's a woman. Rhona tells her she will always love her but only as a friend to which Vanessa replies that she would rather have her as that than not at all and they hug it out.
In May 2014, Vanessa helps Moira Barton prepare for her wedding day to Cain Dingle. After Moira's nephew, Pete Barton has a bust-up with his girlfriend, Debbie Dingle, he confides in Vanessa and they kiss.
Vanessa meets Kirin Kotecha after a one-night-stand in August 2014. However, she is horrified when she realises he is only 17-years old. Despite the 21 year age gap they decide to continue their relationship and in December 2014, Kirin tells her he loves her and although she says she's not quite there yet she eventually admits she loves him too in March the following year. They have a sort of on-off relationship until June 2015, when it is revealed that Adam Barton is the father of Vanessa's unborn baby causing Kirin to break up with her. However, unbeknownst to them, the baby was actually Kirin's but his father, Rakesh changed the DNA results as he did not want his son to be a father yet.
In January 2016, after a second DNA test reveals Johnny's true parentage, Vanessa and Kirin give their relationship another go. However, their happiness is shortlived as Kirin flees the village in February 2016, after accidentally running over and killing Tess Harris. He tells Vanessa he can't cope with being a father and that he doesn't love Johnny, and she tells him to go to hell.
In March 2015, while taking a break from her relationship with Kirin, Vanessa has a drink with Moira's son Adam Barton as they are both upset with their respective partners and have a drunken one-night-stand. They both regret it the next morning and agree to keep it a secret, not wanting to risk hurting Kirin and Adam's girlfriend, Victoria Sugden. However, soon after Vanessa discovers she is pregnant and after seeing a false DNA test, Adam was believed to be the father of her son, Johnny, for the first few months of his life.
In April 2017, after breaking up with Victoria again, Adam confides in Vanessa and tries to kiss her. She pulls away and he apologizes before leaving.
In October 2017, Vanessa ends up locked in The Woolpack cellar with Charity Dingle, leading to a romantic moment as Charity kisses Vanessa, leaving Vanessa confused about her sexuality. After months of teasing and denial of their feelings for each other, they become official 'girlfriend and girlfriend' in February 2018. The pair grows closer as Charity supports Vanessa when she faces a suspension from her job and reassures her she's not going anywhere. Later as Charity goes through a particularly difficult court case, Vanessa is constantly supportive and in late September 2018, Charity admits she loves Vanessa - who feels the same. In December Vanessa and Johnny move in with Charity and her children at The Woolpack.
After Vanessa is stabbed by Donny Cairn and nearly doesn't make it in January 2019, Charity realises she can't cope without her, causing her to propose the following week. However, Vanessa rejects her after discovering she has hijacked somebody else's proposal but later accepts when Charity re-proposes with just the two of them present. They take a temporary break in November 2019, after Vanessa finds out that Charity took part in a scam with Mandy Dingle and lied about it but soon get back together after Charity promises to never lie to her again.
In January 2020, Vanessa and Charity almost get married but the day was ruined when Graham Foster locked Charity's son Ryan in a shed causing her to cancel. The following month, after Vanessa was held captive for two weeks by Pierce Harris, Charity vows to never let her go again and admits she didn't know it was possible to love someone this much. Later, Charity supports Vanessa through her cancer treatment and in May 2020, Vanessa asks her to adopt Johnny.
Vanessa first arrived in Emmerdale as a locum vet at Emmerdale Veterinary Surgery after Paddy Kirk was suspended from practising as a vet for a year. However, after getting some inheritance from her godmother she bought into the practice, getting a 33.33% share in the business. In March 2018, Vanessa was suspended from her position for a year after losing a vial of ketamine and worked as self-proclaimed office manager at the surgery.
|Locum vet||Emmerdale Veterinary Surgery||10th December 2012 to 3rd April 2013|
|Co-Owner||Emmerdale Veterinary Surgery||3rd April 2013 to present|
|Veterinary Surgeon||Emmerdale Veterinary Surgery||3rd April 2013 to 30th March 2018|
|Office Manager||Emmerdale Veterinary Surgery||30th March 2018 to 19th March 2019|
|Veterinary Surgeon||Emmerdale Veterinary Surgery||19th March 2019 to present|
|Smithy Cottage||10th December 2012 to 27th August 2013|
|Butlers Farm||27th August 2013 to 18th October 2013|
|Victoria Cottage||18th October 2013 to 11th August 2014|
|Tug Ghyll||11th August 2014 to 13th December 2018|
|The Woolpack||13th December 2018 to 13th August 2019|
|Jacobs Fold||13th August 2019 to 11th November 2019|
|Tug Ghyll||11th November 2019 to 20th November 2019|
|Jacobs Fold||20th November 2019 to present|
- The idea to make Tracy and Vanessa half-siblings was presented to producer Iain MacLeod by the actresses, Michelle Hardwick and Amy Walsh. Michelle and Amy felt they looked similar and pointed out their characters both had an unknown father in prison.
- After announcing her pregnancy in April 2020 Hardwick went on early maternity leave due to being at extra risk during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. On-screen Vanessa's abstinence was explained as her visiting her mother.
"Uh, well now you don't have to" (First line, to Paddy Kirk)
"Go to hell" (to Kirin Kotecha)
"I'd say, what have you done with my girlfriend" (to Charity Dingle as they become official)
"Vanessa Woodfield, local vet" (to Kim Tate)