Maria was originally a kennelmaid at Sutherland's Kennels. In 2000, she agreed to marry Tyrone Dobbs when he proposed atop Blackpool Tower. A long engagement followed, as the teenagers couldn't afford to marry. After a year, Maria found out that Tyrone had snogged Fiz Brown and dumped him.
Remaining in Coronation Street, Maria gained employment as a hairdresser at Audrey's salon and moved into the upstairs flat which she shared at various times with Bobbi Lewis, Toyah Battersby and finally Fiz. A string of bad relationships led Maria to reconcile with Tyrone although he himself broke it off this time, feeling that Maria was settling for him and would never be happy.
The change was a positive one for Maria as she found love with Liam Connor and married him in 2008. Though their first child, Paul, was stillborn, Maria gave birth to a healthy boy in 2009. The baby was named after his father, who was murdered in a hit-and-run orchestrated by Tony Gordon as payback for Liam's affair with Tony's fiancée Carla Connor. Maria got engaged to Tony herself before learning the truth and fleeing to Ireland, returning seven months later.
Since 2010, Maria has continued to lead with her heart. Over the years, her boyfriends have included Nick Tilsley, Jason Grimshaw, Chris Gray and Marcus Dent. She also had costly affairs with Charlie Stubbs and Aidan Connor. In 2016, she entered into a sham marriage with Argentinian Pablo Duarte in order to grant him residence in the country and was handed a twelve-month custodial sentence when the police found out, serving three.
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 was also subject to an ongoing feud with Fiz and 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, realising that she would never be happy with him and 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 son Paul after Liam’s brother, who had 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. Carla had earlier tried to ruin their marriage on the wedding day, without success. They soon began an affair, but Liam ended his and Carla's relationship, regretting his actions, after Maria had begged for forgiveness for telling him about their stillborn baby. Liam and Maria then left to go on their honeymoon with their dog Ozzy, much to Carla's despair.
Tension relaxed following the couple's return. In June 2008, Liam's cousin Tom Kerrigan arrived, planning 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, though they managed to keep this secret from Maria.
In September, Rosie Webster showed Tony Gordon, Carla's husband-to-be, 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, and later the affair, after Sally Webster, Rosie's mother, 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 strongly suspected that Tony was involved. Over the next month, she began accusing Tony of murdering Liam. Fortunately, 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 he 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, including the police, but wasn't believed. Angered, returning from the police station she drove straight at Tony 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. To prove his innocence, Tony brought Jed back to Coronation Street and took him to the pub. Maria was so shocked to see him alive that she decided she must have been wrong about Tony killing Liam as well.
Carla gave Maria her share of Lad Rags and she started doing business with Tom. Meanwhile, 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, displeasing Maria at first though she later acquiesced.
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. 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 went over to see Carla, not knowing that Tony Gordon had escaped from prison. Tony did not harm her but apologised for the grief he'd caused her. Following this, Maria went back to Ireland but returned again for Audrey's surprise seventieth birthday party and revealed that she would be returning to Weatherfield with 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)