Real life of Coronation Street's Leanne Battersby star Jane Danson - famous husband, real name, tragic loss and soap 'exit'

Coronation Street star Jane Danson
Coronation Street star Jane Danson -Credit:PA

Leanne Battersby is set to leave the cobbles next week as Jane Danson's Coronation Street character gets swept up by 'The Institute'. As viewers of the ITV soap know, Leanne has been listening to Rowan Cunliffe ever since his arrival in Weatherfield and he's even been pulling her away from partner Nick Tilsley and even her sister Toyah Battersby during her time of need.

In upcoming scenes, Toyah finds a forum for ex-members of the Altovalent Institute. She tries to show her sister a post she’s seen, suggesting that the Institute is not to be trusted, only to discover it’s been taken down for legal reasons. Leanne’s dismissive but calls Rowan who makes out that his bitter ex wrote it and there’s no truth in her words. When Rowan reveals that he’s been promoted to head of the North-West division and offers her a tour of the Institute, leaving Leanne flattered.

Later, Leanne explains to Simon Barlow that she met a guy called Jared at the Institute who’d be happy to help him set up his food delivery app and Toyah listens in. But when Simon reveals that Jared’s agreed to meet him and he’ll need to borrow some money, Leanne’s delighted, while Toyah reckons it’s another scam.

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Soon, Toyah studies Rowan’s page and copies a number into her phone. Toyah meets with Rowan’s ex, Una and explains how her sister has become embroiled in the Institute and she’s worried she might be in danger.

Later, as Leanne leaves for the retreat, Toyah begs her to reconsider, but Leanne refuses. Simon’s hurt to find she’s gone without saying goodbye, particularly after his dad, Peter, did the same thing at the end of last year.

It's now been 27 years since Leanne arrived to the cobbles in 1997 when it was announced the 'family from hell' was to be introduced to the ITV soap to draw up some trouble on the famous street.

Leanne, played by actress Danson, made her arrival alongside her father Les, step-mum Janice and step-sister Toyah. But Jane left the cobbles in 2000 not long after the harrowing storyline that saw her character become a drug addict. She returned again in 2004, where she went on to marry Peter Barlow and then Nick Tilsley for the second time, before the couple parted again.

Leanne has been swept away by the arrival of Rowan -Credit:ITV
Leanne has been swept away by the arrival of Rowan -Credit:ITV

But she has since reunited with Nick twice more - in 2016 and 2018. Also in more recent years, Leanne became pregnant with Steve McDonald's baby and gave birth to a son, Oliver Battersby, who tragically died in 2020 from mitochondrial disease.

Following Oliver’s death, Leanne fell into depression and having pushed Nick away, while living without anyone knowing in their flat, it was Simon who confronted her, and agreed to help with the bills. It is then when he began working as a delivery man at For Your Fries Only while Leanne started calling psychic hotlines, in order to try and contact Oliver, pushing herself further into debt.

Whilst at work, Simon was pressured by his colleague Jacob Hay into delivering drugs and later got himself deeper into the murky depths of drug dealing before Leanne stepped in when drugs boss Harvey Gaskell started threatening Simon. She ended up offering to take his place but acted as an informant for the police. Once helping put him behinds bars, Harvey escaped and planned to killer her, but ended up killing her stepson's mum, Natasha Blakeman, instead.

And while there has been many ups and downs, affairs and marriages for her soap alter-ego, Jane's real life is very different from the screen. Jane has taken on many roles aside from Leanne, and first started out in children's TV with drama Children's Ward and then CBBC sitcom Out of Tune.

Jane during her earlier years as Leanne in Corrie -Credit:Granada Television
Jane during her earlier years as Leanne in Corrie -Credit:Granada Television

She's also appeared in ITV period drama The Grant, starred as nurse Samantha Docherty in Always and Everyone and played the first lesbian police officer, Gemma Osbourne, in police drama The Bill. And some may be surprised to know that Danson isn't actually her real surname, it's actually Dawson. So, her actual first credited role is as Eileen Critchley in the 1991 Alan Bleasdale drama GBH where at the time she was credited as Jane Dawson.

But when Jane's character first arrived on the cobbles, the soap star was afraid to leave the house fearing public abuse for being the gobby 'neighbour from hell'. Revealing all to the Mirror when celebrating her 20 years on Corrie, she said: "I’d be scared of someone throwing a drink in my face." Jane said she opted to stay at home rather than going out partying, adding: "Coping with the attention was terrifying."

The 45-year-old, from Bury, has been with her husband, Robert Beck, for 23 years. He's also a familiar face in TV, having starred in Brookside, Emmerdale, Waterloo Road, and even had a stint in Corrie in 2008. More recently, Robert played Fergus Collins in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks and had a dramatic short stint in Emmerdale at the end of last year as villain Damon 'Harry' Harris.

Jane is married to fellow actor Robert Beck -Credit:Jane Danson Instagram
Jane is married to fellow actor Robert Beck -Credit:Jane Danson Instagram

But it's not actually his first time in the Dales as mentioned as Robert actually played a character in the soap for more than 70 episodes back in the 90s and long-time Emmerdale fans may remember him. He starred as Bernice Blackstock's love interest Gavin Ferris in 1999 but in a twist, the character was caught kissing Jason Kirk amid his engagement to Bernice.

And when his Emmerdale return - as a new character - was announced, Jane said she 'owes' the soap a lot as she recalled meeting Robert for the first time. The pair met in 1999 at the British Soap Awards - but Jane has previously admitted she had a crush on Robert since she was 15.

After years of friendship, which turned into romance, the loved-up couple tied the knot in 2005 before welcoming their first child Harry just one year later, and second son Sam in 2009. Previously speaking with OK! Magazine, Jane said the secret to their long and happy relationship is friendship. "Me and my husband have been together for 22 years, and we're really good friends as well as loving each other lots."

Their relationship hasn't been without its heartbreak. The mum-of-two has also opened up about her miscarriage and coming to terms with remaining as a family of four. Jane and Robert discovered they lost their third child at the three-month scan.

"It was heartbreaking and it took us a long time to get over it – I don’t think you ever do," she told OK! in 2018. "There will always be that sadness there and there’ll always be that desire, but we’re getting older now and the boys are growing up. Sometimes you just have to appreciate what you have."

Jane also took to Instagram in October 2022 to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week as she said: "The pain of having a ‘missed miscarriage’ will stay with me forever. My three months scan showed there was no heartbeat yet my body continued to be pregnant for some time. It was devastating.

"The worst thing that I did was not talk about what I was going through and somehow it made the heartache even more painful. In time I learnt to talk and express just how broken I felt. With the love of my husband @robertbeck529 and support from my friends and family I began to heal. Sending love to anyone suffering."