Lady Tremaine (AKA the "Wicked Stepmother") is the main antagonist of Disney's 1950 film Cinderella and its 2 saga sequels. As the arch-enemy of Cinderella, Lady Tremaine doesn't harm her stepdaughter physically. Rather, she seeks to punish and abuse her psychologically, motivated by her jealousy of Cinderella being far more beautiful than her own daughters, Anastasia and Drizella. Lady Tremaine is also a socialite, determined to gain higher status by marrying one of her daughters to Prince Charming or another bachelor of noble blood.
She is often considered the most "hateable" Disney villain for her long–term cruelty, which is committed without any rational motivation, and lack of "cool" or otherwise entertaining qualities to offset her despicableness.
She was voiced by Eleanor Audley in the first film and is currently voiced by Susanne Blakeslee. In the 2015 live-action remake of Cinderella, she will be portrayed by Cate Blanchett.
Unlike most other Disney villains, Lady Tremaine doesn't possess any magical powers (barring her use of the Fairy Godmother's wand in Twist in Time) or exert any physical force. She strongly believes in maintaining grace and self-control, reminding her daughters of this when the two fight during their music lesson. The only time she herself breaks this rule is, ironically, at the point when Cinderella interrupts the music lesson to bring Lady Tremaine the invitation to the Royal Ball and she slams her hands onto the keys of the piano in frustration. She has a sinister glare and is very cruel to Cinderella; an example is when she silences her harshly twice when ordering Cinderella to do chores in the chateau. She even does the same to Anastasia and Drizella occasionally.
She holds a great envy towards her stepdaughter simply for her beauty, and is utterly insensitive to her, treating her like a servant in her own home. A cold, passive-aggressive tyrant, she is deviously manipulative in controlling Cinderella by maintaining a "benevolence" in her authority of the household and never physically abusing Cinderella. Rather, she leaves that to her daughters. For example, when she slyly noted that Cinderella fixed up her dress with the help of Drizella's beads and Anastasia's sash, her daughters took that as a cue to rip Cinderella's dress to shreds. She then cruelly bid Cinderella "good night" since she couldn't go to the ball in rags, ultimately maintaining her apparent fairness. By Cinderella III: A Twist in Time, however, she was implied to have become physically abusive, specifically towards Anastasia, as Drizella briefly asked Lady Tremaine if they could beat Anastasia with a stick she had found.
Almost all of Tremaine's actions are motivated by a hunger for power and status, as she wants to marry her daughters off to those on the top of the social-ladder, and expects her daughters to be utterly obedient, and is infuriated when they are not, as seen when Anastasia chose not to marry Prince Charming. She apparently also hated the very concept of people having happiness, as evidenced by her frequent treatment of Cinderella and being determined to prevent her from having a happy end at all costs, as well as similar treatment to Anastasia regarding her finding love and true happiness with a Baker boy in Cinderella II.
Lady Tremaine is introduced in the prologue of the film. Young Cinderella's father, a widower, desperate for his daughter to have a mother figure, married Lady Tremaine, who is described as a woman of good family, with two daughters of her own, and a cat named Lucifer. After Cinderella's father died, Lady Tremaine showed her true colors, pampering her own daughters while forcing Cinderella to become a servant in her own home. After the prologue, it is revealed that Cinderella lives in a small room at the top of the tower in her house. After an incident where one of her daughters found a mouse inside her teacup and scared them (which had been caused by Lucifer), Lady Tremaine piles a further order of chores on Cinderella as her punishment. She then, as a sense of poetic justice on Lucifer, adds onto the pile the request to give the cat a bath.
Lady Tremaine consents that Cinderella may attend the Royal Ball - that is, if she can finish all her chores and find a suitable dress. She then proceeds to heap chore after chore on Cinderella. Despite this, when Cinderella appears ready for the ball in a suitable dress (her mother's, altered to be more fashionable by her mice and bird friends), Lady Tremaine (indirectly, but intentionally) points out that Cinderella is wearing Drizella's old beads and Anastasia's old sash that they threw away earlier in the day. This prompts Drizella and Anastasia to viciously tear Cinderella's dress apart, leaving her unable to attend the ball. When Cinderella, with the help of the Fairy Godmother, nevertheless attends the ball, her step-family does not recognize her. This was because of a combination of their belief that Cinderella was at home with her dress in tatters, the fact that Cinderella's new dress was in a different style from her old one, and the fact she was made up so very differently to her usual appearance. Lady Tremaine does note a familiarity about her as she dances with Prince Charming. She is not, however, permitted to study Cinderella long enough to make the connection, as the Grand Duke closes the curtains to give them privacy.
At the news that the Prince will marry the girl whose foot fits in the glass slipper accidentally left behind by Cinderella at the Ball, Cinderella becomes quite distracted and falls into a dreamlike state, dancing and singing "So This is Love" to herself. Lady Tremaine realizes that Cinderella was the mysterious girl who danced with the Prince at the Ball. She quietly follows Cinderella up the tower and locks her in her room, putting the key in her pocket.
As the Grand Duke then arrives with the glass slipper, Lady Tremaine instructs her daughters not to fail her. She watches as both Anastasia and Drizella try their hardest to force their enormous feet into the slipper. While this is happening (prolonged by the stepsisters' repeated attempts to get the slipper to fit their feet), Cinderella's two mice friends, Jaq and Gus, steal the key from Lady Tremaine's pocket and bring it to the door of Cinderella's room. Though delayed by Lucifer, the mice succeed in freeing Cinderella from her room. When Cinderella appears and calls to the Duke, Lady Tremaine insists to the Duke that Cinderella may not have attended the ball as she has been a household servant, despite having deduced that she has. However, the Duke orders Lady Tremaine to step aside. As the Duke's footman delivers the glass slipper to Cinderella, Lady Tremaine, in her determination to keep Cinderella from getting a happy ending that her own daughters will not, trips him, causing the slipper to shatter into pieces. However, Cinderella reveals that she has the other slipper, and that it fits her foot, much to her stepmother's horror.
Lady Tremaine made her second film appearance in the 1st Direct-to-DVD sequel Cinderella II: Dreams Come True, this time voiced by Susan Blakeslee. In this film, she only appeared in the An Uncommon Romance segment, where Anastasia has to go against her mother for the first time. Lady Tremaine is shown to be cold towards her own daughters, forbidding Anastasia from entering a relationship with a common baker's boy, since she still wants her daughters to choose wealthy gentlemen, preferably aristocrats, as partners.
Her latest appearance - and her most significant role so far - was in another Direct-to-DVD Cinderella sequel, Cinderella III: A Twist in Time (once again voiced by Blakeslee). Unlike the first two films in this one she is more evil and antagonistic. This time, she acquires the Fairy Godmother's magic wand after Anastasia finds it. Lady Tremaine, intent on ruining Cinderella's happy ending and stealing it for her own daughter (turning Cinderella back into her virtual slave), uses the wand to reverse time to undo Cinderella's "happily ever after". She also enchants the glass slipper to fit Anastasia so that Cinderella never gets to try on the slipper herself, then uses the wand to enchant Prince Charming into forgetting Cinderella (although he never loved her in the first place) and marrying Anastasia instead. Most notably, she uses the magic wand to transform Anastasia into the mirror image of Cinderella (making her beautiful), and teleports the genuine Cinderella into a pumpkin, which becomes a twisted parody of the original coach from the first film, and transforms Lucifer into its coachman, to take her far away from the palace and to her death. Fortunately, Cinderella manages to escape and returns to the wedding.
Ultimately, Anastasia is her mother's undoing; she comes to feel reluctant to marry somebody under false pretenses; the Prince does not love her, nor does she truly love him, and she cannot bear to live the rest of her life pretending to be something she is not (even if it means finally possessing beauty). Cinderella arrives back at the Palace, just in time to witness, to her amazement, and to Tremaine's fury, Anastasia saying "I...don't". Angered by Anastasia's sudden conscience, Lady Tremaine and Drizella emerge from their hiding place, now intent on getting revenge on both Cinderella and Anastasia.
Angrily, the King tells all his guards to arrest Lady Tremaine, who defends herself by turning the guards into various animals — the guards coming at her from the front turn into chickens, the guards coming from the right turn into pigs, and the guards from the left turn into rabbits, so that they cannot not arrest her. Tremaine then tries to turn Anastasia into a toad, until Cinderella steps in to protect her, not willing to let Lady Tremaine harm Anastasia for trying to fix her happy ending. An unfazed Lady Tremaine decides to turn them both into toads, but the Prince intervenes and reflects the magic beam with his sword and it hits herself and Drizella instead. Anastasia then restores herself to normal before giving the magic wand to Cinderella so that she can undo all the wrongs that have been committed.
During the end credits, Lady Tremaine and Drizella have been restored, but are wearing scullery clothes identical to those Cinderella used to wear, implying that they will be working in the palace under Cinderella's authority as punishment for the cruelty she endured under her stepmother. This was most likely an act of mercy by Cinderella, who did not wish to see her stepfamily in prison, even though they deserved it. Besides, it can be implied that the king, who was absolutely outraged by their actions, will not go easy on them and instead start screaming at them if they refuse to follow orders. As the same end credits also depict Anastasia's romance with the baker boy from the Uncommon Romance segment of the previous sequel, this may also imply that Lady Tremaine and Drizella's status as scullery maids is temporary, as they were not maids in that segment.
House of Mouse
Lady Tremaine was given a few cameos with her daughters and Lucifer in House of Mouse. In the episode "Pete's House of Villains" she makes Pete clean the floors as punishment for attempting to take over the club. Other cameos include her sitting alongside The Queen.
Lady Tremaine appears in cameo only in Once Upon a Time in the Season One episode The Price of Gold, portrayed by an unknown actress, as inhabitants of Fairytale Land. A carriage is seen parked on the outside of her private property, and she, with her daughters, Anastasia and Drizella, make their way toward it, wearing evening gowns. Lady Tremaine enters the chariot first, followed by her two daughters. Soon afterwards, we are treated to the sight of the fair Cinderella, dressed in rather unfair rags. The poor blonde looks with sadness at her step family as they leave their property on the carriage, headed to the prince's ball. After the curse thrown by The Evil Queen, it was explained that Lady Tremaine lives with Drizella in Storybrooke and has cut any ties with Cinderella.
Another Lady Tremaine interaction in Once Upon a Time, which she is played in her young version by Meegan Warner. After fleeing her tower she returns to her daughters Drizella and Anastasia and finds out that her husband has remarried a woman named Cecelia who had a daughter named Cinderella. When she grew up she became the wicked stepmother of Cinderella and started to be played by Gabrielle Anwar.
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
Lady Tremaine appears on the show, portrayed by Sarah-Jane Redmond. In a flashback, she was deceptive against Anastasia, as Prince Charming fell in love with her stepdaughter, Cinderella, instead of Anastasia. Anastasia falls in love Will Scarlett, who Lady Tremaine considers a loser and bad for her daughter's future. Ironically, they use a mirror, stolen from Maleficent, to run away in the Wonderland. Despite disowning her daughter, Anastasia becomes the Red Queen.
The Original Cinderella
- Lady Tremaine, along with Anastasia and Drizella are all apparently killed in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, but in the Disney universe and the Cinderella films, all three are alive (and in the case of Anastasia, redeemed).
- She is the first of three Disney Princess villains not to be killed, other two being Governor Ratcliffe and Hans. Although Jafar did not die in the first Aladdin, he did in the second.
- She once had a husband named Sir Francis Tremaine until he died of unknown causes.