Coronation Street‘s Michelle Collins talks to Soaplife about Stella’s big weakness – Karl – and how giving him a second chance could cost her dearly

Stella’s got her name above The Rovers’ door and she’s living her dream… until the bailiffs turn up and her dream becomes a nightmare. Karl’s gambled them into massive debt and makes an even bigger betrayal when he runs to Sunita. “It’s Stella’s dream to own her own pub and Karl’s put that in jeopardy,” says Michelle. So she kicks him out – good! Straight into Sunita’s arms – bad!

Does Stella have any clue that Karl’s hooked on gambling?
“She’s blissfully ignorant. She knows he likes a little flutter at the bookies occasionally, but she doesn’t think that’s out of the ordinary and certainly doesn’t think he has any type of problem.”

Then the pub’s safe is robbed, isn’t it?
“Yes, and Stella’s shocked. Karl is responsible, but he stages a break-in and she thinks it may be one of her staff who’s taken the money. She doesn’t suspect Karl at all.”

Until the bailiffs turn up…
“Stella’s really angry when the bailiffs arrive wanting to take things to cover Karl’s debts. She had no idea they owed money to anyone. Then she starts to piece things together and it all falls into place. Only then does she think, ‘Oh my God it was Karl who staged the robbery’. Eva gets money from Nick to pay off the bailiffs and Stella is really grateful.”

But then Stella sees Karl’s bank statements and realises just how bad things are…
“And she’s utterly devastated. She feels angry and humiliated. She throws Karl out in front of a packed pub, calling him a pathetic, lying scumbag. It’s a very public breakdown.”

How does she react when her accountant warns her she could lose The Rovers?
“To hear her dream could be shattered absolutely devastates her. She hasn’t had her name above the door for long. She thinks she is going to lose everything.”

But she takes Karl back – then throws him out again!
“He apologises to her for the mess he’s got them in, but then she finds out he has been betting again almost the minute after she takes him back. This really does break Stella’s heart. How can she ever trust him again?”

So Karl runs to Sunita – then Stella turns up! Does she know he’s there?
“Stella doesn’t suspect a thing. Why would she? She calls round to Sunita’s as she’s been really horrible to her, suspecting her over the missing money. She wants to confide in her and to apologise for the way she’s behaved towards her.”

Stella is a strong woman. Can’t she just walk away from Karl?
“I’m not sure that she can. She seems strong on the outside, but Karl is her weakness. I think she loves him more than she actually knows herself. Like a lot of strong women, there is always someone in the background and they’re often very different to their partner.”