On 14th January, 1992, Michelle gave birth to a son. However their child was inadvertently mixed up at Weatherfield General with Nick and Wendy Neeson's son, who was born on the same day. As a result, Michelle and Dean brought up Nick and Wendy's son as Ryan, believing him to be theirs, while Nick and Wendy brought up her son as Alex.
Neither Nick and Wendy or Michelle and Dean were aware that their sons had been mixed up until Alex fell ill and was rushed into hospital when he was about fourteen. It was then that his blood group was checked. His blood group was identified as being significantly different from Nick's and as a result Nick was told that it wasn't possible for Alex to be his biological son. Nick subsequently assumed that Wendy had had an affair, causing them to split with her denying any affair. Wendy, however, took a DNA test which revealed that Alex wasn't her son either. The doctor told them that the only possible explanation was that Alex had been mixed up with another baby after being born. Nick hired a private detective who discovered that there was only one baby born on the same ward at the same time as Alex - Ryan, leading Nick to believe that Ryan was his biological son.
After Nick began to stalk Ryan around Christmas 2007, Michelle decided to confront Nick after discovering his house in Sale. Michelle was shocked when Alex answered the door as he greatly resembled Dean. Nick later explained to Michelle that he believed Alex and Ryan were swapped at birth but she accused him of lying. However, she was later persuaded by Nick to take a DNA test.
Ryan ran away when he found out about Nick's claims and waited outside his house. Alex approached him and demanded to know why he had been hanging around. Ryan refused and walked away from him, but Alex was persistent and wrestled him to the ground. When Ryan refused once more, Alex punched him. Ryan told him that Nick claimed to be his father and that he and Alex were swapped at birth. Alex was incredulous and punched him a second time causing the two to fight. They tumbled on to the road and Alex was hit by car. The two boys were then taken to hospital with no major injuries.
The DNA test results showed that Nick's claims were true - Alex and Ryan had indeed been swapped at birth and Alex was Michelle's biological son. Nick informed Michelle that Alex, like Ryan, wanted things to stay as they were and he didn't want to see her. Despite this decision, Michelle waited for Alex outside his school and introduced herself as his mother, giving him her number and telling him to contact her if he ever wanted to talk. This led to Michelle feeling guilty and she panicked when Alex arrived at the Rovers to see her. He told her that he had never been happy with Nick and Wendy.
When Michelle and Alex arranged to meet again, she was hurt when he stood her up. When Michelle's parents visited for her brother Liam's wedding, Alex insisted that he wanted to meet his family and, much to the annoyance of Michelle, introduced himself to her mother as her real grandson. This made Alex feel guilty and he apologised to Michelle, who agreed to talk with him about the family history. This caused Ryan to clash with Alex once again because he thought Alex was intruding on his life.
When Alex arrived on Coronation Street once again to see Michelle, he told Norris Cole in The Kabin that he was Michelle's son and that he and Ryan were swapped. Nick rang Michelle to tell her that Alex had run away, and Alex was caught shoplifting. He was escorted to the Rovers by a Police Officer after telling them he lived there and Michelle agreed to let him stay after he claimed he was not happy with Nick or Wendy. Alex's stay at the Rovers caused much tension and Michelle constantly had to defend him against Vernon and Liz. Alex also constantly refused to move back with Wendy and was allowed to stay for longer and longer. When Alex let Steve's daughter Amy wander off, Alex locked himself in the pub when he realised how angry Steve was. Alex unlocked the door when Michelle told him he could stay as long as he wanted. His prolonged presence at the Rovers caused Ryan to move in with Liam and Maria. Michelle also stopped Wendy from taking Alex home, arguing he could stay as long as he wanted. Michelle, however, soon realised that Alex couldn't stay forever and arranged for Wendy to take him home. This caused Alex to refuse to see Michelle again because she went back on her word.
Michelle became upset when Ryan started to see Nick and was especially frustrated because Alex wouldn't see her. Steve, however, persuaded Alex to meet up with her again after seeing how upset she was. Alex met up with Michelle again and she decided to visit her parents in Ireland with Alex so that he could meet the family.
Alex slowly lost touch with Michelle, only getting the occasional birthday or Christmas card. Michelle also favoured contact with Ryan over Alex, which hurt Alex a lot. Over the next decade, Alex got into the medical profession, and by early 2018, he was a trainee GP.
In February 2018, Alex, now going by the nickname "Ali", was put on a work placement at Rosamund Street Medical Centre but didn't think much of it as he thought Michelle had moved away by that point. In actuality, Michelle still lived nearby and worked at Nick's Bistro on the opposite end of Coronation Street. Liz McDonald, Michelle's former mother-in-law, worked at the medical centre as a receptionist, and was surprised to learn the "hot" new GP starting at the centre was actually Alex.
Background information Edit
- Had Alex not gone by his nickname following his return in 2018, there would've been confusion due to there already being an Alex in the show - Alex Warner.