Anthony Stephens was a bookseller and the owner of Stephens Bookshop until 2001. He became involved with Rita Sullivan in 2000 and moved into 12 Coronation Street the following year for several months until he moved to New Zealand.
Anthony met Rita in July 2000 when she entered his bookshop in search of a genealogy book. Anthony helped her locate one and when they got talking, he asked about her singing career. They arranged a trip to the theatre, but Rita was shocked when Anthony told her he was a married man. She accused him of leading her on. He also told her that his wife, Isabel, was in Rose Gardens Nursing Home suffering from Alzheimer's. Rita, however, saw this as no consolation. He then revealed how lonely he was without his wife, and Rita reluctantly agreed to be friends with Anthony. Rita introduced Anthony to her friends Emily Bishop and Norris Cole and later shared a kiss with him. Rita later invited him to be her guest at Mike Baldwin's wedding.
In October 2000, Rita felt uneasy when Anthony told her he wanted her to meet his children, Gregory and Amanda. When they met Rita, they were curious about her relationship with Anthony and she suspected that they disliked her. Anthony and Rita later spent the night together when they stayed in a hotel in York after watching a play. Amanda made her resentment towards Rita clear on Anthony's birthday. However, he refused to stop seeing Rita to appease Amanda. Isabel's brother George Docherty later confronted Rita and called her a trollop.
In November 2000, Anthony had financial problems due to Isabel's condition. He realised he would have to sell his house in order to pay her fees. Rita then began to feel guilty about their relationship and ended it. However, they immediately reconciled when Anthony confessed to Emily how strongly he felt about Rita. He also decided to move in with Amanda after selling his house, but assured Rita that he would not let his daughter come between them.
When Emily and Norris had dinner with Rita and Anthony on New Year's Eve, Amanda turned up unannounced with Isabel. The atmosphere was tense and Isabel confused. Rita was still adamant that she would not let Amanda put her off Anthony. Amanda, however, continued her warpath and accused Anthony of betraying the family. The tension between Anthony and Amanda made Rita suggest to Anthony that he should move into an empty No.12. He agreed and moved in in February 2001. Anthony attempted to make amends with Amanda over dinner but she double-crossed him by arriving with George and Gregory in tow. They attacked him for betraying Isabel which caused Anthony to consider filing for divorce. However, Rita was against the idea and made her disapproval clear. Anthony invited Rita to dinner but they rowed before they'd eaten. However, they soon made up when Rita realised she couldn't go on without him.
In June 2001, when Rita decided to visit her friend Mavis Wilton, she left Norris and Anthony in charge of The Kabin. Anthony felt patronized by Norris who insisted on training him. Anthony tired of him and told Norris that unless he changed his attitude he would have to find a temporary replacement until Rita returned. However, when Rita returned she found Anthony and Norris getting along like old friends. Later that month, Anthony received the news that Isabel had died. He felt guilty for not being beside her when she died, and Amanda told him that he was banished from the funeral. However, she reluctantly agreed to let him attend on the condition that he does not talk to anyone in his family. At the funeral, Anthony's sister Joan who had arrived from New Zealand spoke to him and he arranged to go back with her for a visit. He asked Rita to come with him, but she declined. He went alone and told her he may never return, leaving her devastated.
In October 2001, Rita received a letter from Anthony asking her to come to New Zealand, but she declined and ended their relationship for good.
First and last linesEdit
"Let me guess. Is it a present for a friend you're looking for or just a good bedtime read?" (First line, to Rita Sullivan)
"Goodbye Rita." (Final line)