With the state of Rhona and Paddy’s marriage continuing to deteriorate in next week’s episodes, it isn’t long before Vanessa is cornering the object of her affection and reiterating how she feels. But Vanessa is also after answers: does the pill-addicted Rhona love her too? Rhona – knowing full well that Vanessa is her supplier and lifeline – is soon going to new extremes to convince her friend of her feelings. But is Vanessa convinced? Here, actress Michelle Hardwick talks about the latest developments in the increasingly fraught relationship between Vanessa and Rhona.
So, does Vanessa want Rhona’s marriage to Paddy to end?
Since Vanessa entered the village, she’s had a love-hate relationship with Paddy. But you’ve got to remember that it was only a couple of months ago that she was trying to get Paddy and Rhona back together when their marriage was failing. But she can’t help the way she’s now feeling towards Rhona. She has fallen in love with this person and love is blind. So if that means the end of this marriage, then so be it.
Does Vanessa really believe that Rhona has feelings for her? Or is she trying to fool herself?
She’s fooling herself and she’s clutching at straws. Vanessa wants to believe it, but deep down inside she knows that it’s about the drugs.
Why do you think Vanessa’s not asking for help in dealing with Rhona’s addiction?
She knows that she could get into a great deal of trouble. It’s only up until very recently that she’s wanted Paddy to know about all this. But that all changed when Rhona said that she reciprocated Vanessa’s feelings. At the end of the day, Rhona does need Vanessa because of the drugs – and Vanessa thinks that if Paddy knew everything then that need wouldn’t be there any longer.
Is Vanessa blocking out the worry that Rhona might die as a result of this?
I think she is worried about that. There are all sorts of dodgy drugs out there and Rhona’s getting her stuff from anywhere she can. So it’s terrifying for Vanessa – she’s seeing the woman she loves endangering herself.
And what makes Vanessa suspect that Rhona isn’t being honest about her feelings?
Vanessa can always tell when Rhona is on a bad come down because she’s sweating and she’s irritable. So, because Vanessa is in charge of her dosage, she can tell when Rhona has got pills from elsewhere. Plus Vanessa has got Moira reminding her that this is an addict she’s dealing with, who will lie and do anything to get their next fix.
Do you think this is the first time that Vanessa has fallen for a woman?
Yes, without the shadow of a doubt. Vanessa is not a lesbian, but she has feelings for this woman who has been her best friend for 20 years and, for the last few months, her whole mission has been to get Rhona off these drugs and to hide the problem from everyone else. But she can’t hide these feelings and the need to be with her all the time. She’s made Rhona believe that she can’t live without Vanessa. It’s a really unhealthy relationship.
So what ultimately does Vanessa want?
At the moment, she’s not seeing past getting Rhona better and then walking into the Woolpack as a couple. She’d want everyone in the village to accept them as a couple.
Would Vanessa have the courage to tell Paddy?
I think she’d come very close if she was pushed. But Rhona has said that it has to be left for her to do and Vanessa wouldn’t risk upsetting the woman she loves.
What would you advise Vanessa to do?
Go get help from a counsellor because Rhona is killing herself. And I think Vanessa should stay the heck away and get a life of her own! As an actor though, I am enjoying this storyline – it’s something to get my teeth into and I love working with Zoe Henry and Dominic Brunt. We’re so excited by all the twists and turns.