Maria Jane Connor (née Sutherland) is a Coronation Street resident who works as a hairdresser at Audrey's Salon. She is the younger sister of Kirk Sutherland and the mother of Liam Connor Jr. During her time in Weatherfield, she has dated Tyrone Dobbs, Jason Grimshaw, Vikram Desai, Nick Tilsley, Liam Connor, Chris Gray and Marcus Dent, and embarked on an affair with Aidan Connor.
Maria first arrived in Weatherfield as the love interest of Tyrone Dobbs. Tyrone and Maria became engaged and seemed inseparable until Tyrone was led astray by Fiz Brown and Maria ended the relationship. Maria's earlier storylines were also subject to an ongoing feud with Fiz. Maria's brother, Kirk, dated Fiz for several years, much to her annoyance. The two were at loggerheads over the running of Maria's parents' kennels although they eventually became good friends and shared a flat above Audrey Roberts' salon for a period of time.
Maria became attracted to John Arnley, the boyfriend of her best friend and flatmate Toyah Battersby. They had a one-night stand, and as a result she became pregnant. She had an abortion with an unknowing Toyah by her side. When Toyah discovered the truth, she left for Sheffield without him. When Leanne Battersby returned to the Street in 2004, she found out what Maria had done to Toyah. At that time, Maria was in relationship with Nick Tilsley, and Leanne stirred things up between Maria and Nick leading them to seperation.
After having a string of brief affairs, including being engaged for a second time when Nick returned from Canada to win her back, she found herself becoming close to Tyrone again, and eventually the pair reunited. After a pregnancy scare, Tyrone broke off their engagement after realising that she would never be happy with him, claiming she was too beautiful and that in the end it would make them both unhappy. Although upset, Maria accepted his decision.
Maria began an affair with bad boy Charlie Stubbs, who was in a relationship with Tracy Barlow at the time. When David Platt discovered Maria's affair, he was jealous as he personally had an intense crush on her. Charlie tried to drown David in a bath in an attempt to avoid his affair with Maria being revealed to Tracy. However, Maria walked in on Charlie's attack on David and confessed to a furious Tracy, who brawled with her on the cobbles as a result. It was this affair that would ultimately be the end of Charlie, as Tracy murdered him in revenge for his infidelity. Maria witnessed Charlie's death in hospital caused by Tracy's attack and quickly saw through Tracy's self-defence claims, testifying against her at the murder trial.
Maria then began flirting with local entrepreneur Liam Connor and eventually they began dating in September 2007. Maria revealed to Liam that she was pregnant with his baby and he agreed to stand by her, subsequently proposing. Liam and Maria married, despite some last minute nerves from Maria. In April 2008, Maria was horrified to realise that her unborn baby had stopped kicking. She was rushed to hospital, where the midwives said that she must have her labour induced immediately. Unable to tell Liam, she went to the hospital alone and gave birth to a stillborn baby boy. Maria and Liam decided to name their stillborn son Paul after Liam’s brother, who died the previous year in a car crash.
Liam and Maria then reconciled. While they were not together, Liam had a one-night stand with Carla Connor, who had always fancied Liam, and Liam and Carla soon began an affair, but Liam later ended his and Carla's relationship, Carla had also tried to ruin their marriage on the wedding day, but Liam later regretted his actions, after Maria had begged for forgiveness after not telling him about their stillborn baby. They then left to go on their honeymoon with their dog Ozzy, much to Carla's despair but returned later in June. Tension relaxed following the couple's return, but following the arrival of Liam's cousin, Tom Kerrigan, who planned to start a new business with Liam selling T-shirts. When Tom struggled to obtain £50,000 to start Lad Rags, he invested in Carla, giving her right in the ownership, much to Liam's annoyance, they then planned to keep this secret from Maria, who was oblivious to the situation. Rosie Webster showed Tony Gordon, Carla's husband, footage she had of Liam and Carla kissing at her apartment, in an attempt to seduce him. He then planned a vendetta against Liam, hiring Jimmy Dockerson to kill Liam in a hit-and-run, this left Maria devastated, as she had just discovered that she was pregnant again.
Following his death, Maria discovered Carla's involvement in Lad Rags, furious with Tom. Maria later discovered the affair, after Sally Webster, Rosie's mother, who had previous knowledge of the relationship, drunkenly informed her at the wedding of Tony and Carla. Maria, infuriated, failed to confront Carla before she departed on her honeymoon. Maria was soon to figure out that Liam's death was no accident, and realising Tony's involvement with his murder. Tony was able to convince that he was innocent to the police. Over the next month, she had began accusing Tony of murdering Liam. When Jed Stone (who was bullied by Tony) stood by Maria and supported her, knowing what Tony was like. When Jed was nearly killed at Christmas and taken away by Tony to Wigan, Maria noticed Jed was missing and accused Tony of killing again. She even went to the police to report this, but since Jed wasn't reported missing by anyone, they couldn't do anything. In January 2009, Maria was told by an annoyed Tony in the factory that he in fact killed Jed. Disgusted and shocked, she tried to tell everyone about it but nobody believed her. When Tony and Carla were in the Rovers one night, Maria marched in and started accusing Tony of murdering Jed. She told everyone what he told her, that he strangled Jed. Then she started scratching Tony's face, and she had to be pulled off. In the following week, she went to the police, but they told her Carla reported her and she was on a warning. Really upset, she drove back to Coronation Street listening to one of Liam's favourite songs. But then she spotted Tony walking down the Street and across the road, laughing and joking with someone on the phone. Angered, she drove straight at him but at the last minute, swerved and crashed into the factory. She was taken to hospital and got a check to see if the baby was ok, which he was to her relief. Tony also didn't want to press charges.
Tony brought Jed back to Coronation Street and took him to the pub. Maria was shocked to see him and felt embarrassed by her behaviour. Meanwhile back at the factory a few days later, she apologised to Tony and he accepted. When Carla found out about Tony, she fled Weatherfield. Whilst visiting Liam's grave on their anniversary, Tony arrived and was distraught. She felt sorry for him and gave him a lift home.
Carla gave Maria her share of Lad Rags. She started doing business with Tom, Liam's cousin. But she began to have a soft spot for Tony and wasn't happy when hairdresser Natasha Blakeman was dating him and warned her to stay away from Tony. Tony convinced Tom to sell him his share of Lad Rags, which Tom agreed to. Maria wasn't happy at first, but was later fond of the idea.
Maria started to tire from her pregnancy and Tony helped her with the daily household tasks leading to them striking up a firm friendship with Tony promising to stand by Maria. Maria gave birth to a baby boy she subqequently named Liam Connor Jr. on 3rd July 2009 at the beach with Tony by her side; where he suggested that she call the baby "Sandy", as he was born at a beach. Later, she and Tony became romantically involved, but the relationship ended after Tony confessed to having Liam killed. She then moved to Ireland.
Maria returned to the Street on 7th June 2010 to sell her house, 7 Coronation Street to Dev and Sunita Alahan. Whilst in Weatherfield, Maria goes over to see Carla unbeknownst to her that Tony Gordon has escaped from prison. Tony does not harm her but apologises for the grief he's caused her. Following this, Maria goes back to Ireland but returns again for Audrey's surprise seventieth birthday party and reveals that she would be returning to Weatherfield with her son, Liam. Maria moved back into the Salon flat with her brother Kirk and later began dating Chris Gray but was put off by his recent troubles with wife Cheryl and her partner Lloyd Mullaney. Maria then sparked interest again in Chris and started dating him. In 2011 they continued dating until different circumstances. In 2012, Maria starting dating Jason Grimshaw until she had an affair with Marcus Dent. Marcus and Maria had got together after her separation from Jason.
In 2014, Maria was distraught when Marcus had an affair with Todd Grimshaw and she split from him. After having a breakdown, she became obsessed with former boyfriend Tyrone Dobbs and began sending him text messages claiming to be his abusive ex-girlfriend Kirsty Soames. Maria's deeds were later discovered and she left Weatherfield for a few weeks with Liam to spend time with her parents, and later returned for a fresh start. When Marcus was betrayed by a manipulative Todd and left Weatherfield, he went on good terms with Maria, who had forgiven Marcus when realising the true nature of Todd's character.
- The character was absent between November 2009 and June 2010 as actress Samia Smith went on maternity leave. She returned during a storyline known as "Siege Week", where Tony Gordon (Gray O'Brien) broke out of prison and took Carla Connor and Hayley Cropper hostage at Underworld, as well as briefly detaining Maria. After a few episodes the character left but returned again a few weeks later for good.
- In 2011, Maria was involved in a storyline with Frank Foster (Andrew Lancel). He attempted to rape her when she called round to his house trying to clinch a deal when she briefly worked as PA at Underworld. The storyline actually was intended for the character of Michelle Connor, but after actress Kym Marsh went on maternity leave, the storyline was rewritten.
- The character was temporarily written out once more in October 2015 as Samia took maternity leave for her second child. She returned six months later in April 2016.
First and last lines
"Cobblers! Most of the dogs I know are brighter than humans, there's nothing wrong with talking to dogs. Now talking to plants, that's daft. You don't talk to plants, do yer?" (First line, to Tyrone Dobbs)