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Guest Character Profiles > Loretta Martin Lyn Semler, Jane Bayley

Loretta Martin 1985
Marital Status: Philip Martin (??-1985)
Children: Debbie and Michael
Died: 1985

The erratic first wife of Philip Martin, Loretta grew up in the country and married young, quickly giving birth to two children, Debbie and Michael. Loretta was therefore unprepared when her husband started to rapidly rise through the ranks in his banking job. Struggling to keep up with the social aspect of Philip's job, Loretta started drinking, and embarrassing herself - and Philip - with her antics, believing that it was the only way she'd have confidence to talk to her husband's colleagues. As Loretta's drinking worsened, the marriage appeared to have come to an end, and Philip moved to Erinsborough to manage the branch of Pacific Bank, hopeful that the distance would help and they could soon move on and plan a divorce. Philip quickly fell in love with one the tellers at the bank, Julie Robinson, and they started making tentative moves towards a relationship, but then Loretta arrived. After hearing stories about her terrible behaviour, Julie was shocked by how charming and level-headed Loretta appeared to be, and tried to end things with Philip, believing that he'd been lying to her all along. However, a few days later, Philip told Julie that Loretta had actually come to town to go to a clinic, to be treated for her alcoholism, and he showed Julie a wound on his arm, from Loretta attacking him with a knife.

Julie realised that Philip could be trusted, and the pair resumed their relationship, but one day when she went to Philip's apartment to prepare dinner ahead of his return home, Julie found Loretta waiting there. Loretta had let herself in hours earlier, and had started drinking, so it didn't take long for her to turn on Julie, accusing her of stealing her husband and destroying her family. Fortunately, Philip walked in and stopped her, just as Loretta had started grabbing at Julie's hair. He took Loretta back to the clinic, but things only got worse as she decided to tell Michael and Debbie about the divorce, and then a devastated Debbie found some of her mum's sleeping tablets and took an overdose. It was only moments after he'd proposed to Julie that Philip heard the news, and as she waited for him outside the hospital the next day, Julie bumped into Loretta. The two women finally had a normal conversation, and Loretta explained that she was going into the clinic for a while, but the thought that her husband and kids wouldn't be there for her, when she came out, was too much to cope with. As Julie then went inside and saw Philip and Loretta at Debbie's bedside, she realised that she had to put her own happiness aside, and so she ended the engagement, and told Philip that Loretta, Debbie and Michael needed him more at the moment.

Although Philip and Loretta then attempted to make things work, for the sake of the children, it was only a few months later that they were involved in a terrible car accident, which left Loretta dead and Philip paralysed from the waist down. Julie and Philip then reunited and were married the following year, but the spectre of Loretta would hang over them for many years to come.

Trivia Notes
Lyn Semler returned to Neighbours in 1992 and 1993 as Jill Weir
During newly-filmed flashbacks to Philip and Loretta's car accident, shown in 1993, the part of Loretta was played by Jane Bayley
Although Jane Bayley was credited as playing Loretta in episode 1950, she only appeared in the recap

Episodes Featured
82, 83, 88, 91, 1849

Biography by Steve