Jessica Midgeley was the first wife of Peter Barlow. The couple had been together at least four years before their marriage in 1990. In April 1986, Jessica attended Peter and Susan Barlow's joint 21st birthday party. She was a bridesmaid at Susan and Mike Baldwin's wedding a month later, where she bribed fellow bridesmaid Tracy Langton £1 to allow her to catch Susan's bouquet. Peter was in the Navy and stationed in Plymouth, but by the time they were married they were living in Portsmouth. One of the guests at the wedding was Jim Chester, a friend of the family who told Ken Barlow that he couldn't know Jessica better than if she was his own kid.
The marriage ended in 2000, with Peter citing Jessica's infidelity as a reason; she had embarked on an affair with a six-foot blond-haired hunk called Tony while Peter was away at sea.