Rita Sullivan is played by Barbara Knox
Soaps

Rita Sullivan in Coronation Street – who was she married to?

She's had three husbands - but did one of them try to kill her?

Rita Sullivan in Coronation Street (also known Rita Tanner and Rita Fairclough),is a former nightclub singer, one-time owner of the Kabin, and all-round Weatherfield legend.

Rita appeared  in Corrie briefly in 1964 when she was still Rita Littlewood, a belly dancer at the Viaduct Sporting Club.

Rita is a Corrie legend (Credit: ITV)

She scandalised the street by moving in with Dennis Tanner while his mother Elsie Tanner was away.

But it wasn’t until 1972 when Rita returned to the street full-time.

Who was Rita married to?

When she first returned to Weatherfield, Rita was in a relationship with a chap called Harry Bates. But when Len Fairclough caught her eye, she realised it was Len she wanted. After a lot of ups and downs in what was a pretty stormy romance, Rita and Len got married in 1977.

Rita and Len Fairclough in Coronation Street
Rita and Len had a fiery marriage (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

Len even bought the Kabin and made Rita manageress.

The pair wanted to adopt children but found out they were too old, so instead they became foster parents – Sharon Gaskell was the one of their foster kids.

Rita and Alan Bradley

After Len’s death, Rita took in another foster daughter – Jenny Bradley – and when Jenny’s dad, Alan Bradley arrived on the street, the pair began a relationship.

Read more: From Coronation Street to Emmerdale: The eight longest serving soap stars

But Alan was not a good man. He cheated on Rita with Rovers barmaid Gloria Todd, arranged a wedding out of the blue – which Rita refused – and even posed as Len to remortgage Rita’s house.

Alan Bradley was a nasty piece of work (CreditL=: ITV/Shutterstock)

When Rita found out about the con, she confronted Alan. He tried to strangle her and was charged with attempted murder.

Alan, though, got found not guilty and began stalking Rita. He followed her to Blackpool where a terrified Rita ran away from him and Alan got hit by a tram and died – in one of Corrie’s most iconic episodes.

More heartbreak

Rita – wisely – stayed single for a while until she met Ted Sullivan. The pair planned a wedding but just before they tied the knot, Ted admitted he had a terminal brain tumour. He died just a few months later.

Did Rita marry Alec Gilroy?

After Ted’s untimely death. Rita had a marriage proposal from Alec Gilroy, who’d rescued her from a carbon monoxide leak. Rita said no at first, then changed her mind.

But after the pair got engaged, they decided they couldn’t trust one another and said their goodbyes. Rita later got a proposal from Norris Cole, but turned him down.

When Dennis died he left a message asking Rita to scatter his ashes in Blackpool (Credit: ITV)

She didn’t marry again until old flame Dennis Tanner turned up in the street. He’d fallen on hard times and Rita spotted him at a soup kitchen.

The pair tied the knot – after a bit of drama with loan shark Rick Neelan. But Dennis’s head was turned by Gloria Price and he and Rita were soon on the rocks. Poor Rita was humiliated when Gloria left Weatherfield – and Dennis went too.

Who plays Rita?

Legendary actress Barbara Knox plays Rita. She was a stage and television actress before she landed the role of Rita, and she’s the second-longest-serving cast member in Corrie, behind William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow.

Barbara is Corrie’s second-longest-serving cast member (Credit: ITV)

Barbara has won reams of awards for her performance as Rita, including a lifetime achievement award at the British Soap Awards in 2004.

Barbara has been married and divorced twice, and has three children.

How old is Barbara?

Barbara was born in September 1933, making her 88 years old.

Is Rita still in Corrie?

Though recently, the focus has been on the younger Corrie cast members, Rita is still part of the show and is very popular with fans.

Want more spoilers from Coronation Street? Entertainment Daily has a dedicated Coronation Street spoilers section for you to get your fix before the latest episodes air.

Coronation Street usually airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm and 8.30pm on ITV.

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