|“Cinderella will be put in her place.”|
Lady Tremaine (also known as the "Wicked Stepmother") is the main antagonist of the Cinderella trilogy. As the arch-enemy of Cinderella, Lady Tremaine does not harm her stepdaughter physically. Rather, she seeks to punish and abuse her pyschologically, motivated by her jealousy of Cinderella being far more beautiful and graceful than her own awkward 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 was voiced by the late Eleanor Audley.
She is Cinderella's wicked stepmother. A woman of good family and stately elegance, Lady Tremaine lives by the maxims "above all, self-control" and "you must always keep your word." Therefore, Cinderella's wicked stepmother cunningly chooses her words with care and - unlike her awkward daughters - never lets her temper get the best of her. She is well dressed and impeccably groomed, and her comportment and etiquette are above reproach. Cinderella's widowed father chose this widow of gentle birth because he thought he was protecting his daughter's future welfare as he believed she needed a mother figure to guide her when she reaches womanhood in order to be a lady. But with his passing, a great change came over the stepmother. Lady Tremaine carefully cultivated a patronizing dignity, a thin mask for her innate severity and cruelty.
Her complete selfishness engendered a remarkable talent for deviousness and manipulation. While she realizes that Anastasia and Drizella are clumsy, unattractive, spoiled, and charmless, she nevertheless views her daughters as a means to her own status and wealth. Lady Tremaine has no magic powers and lacks flamboyance, which oddly makes her one of the most frightening villains, because she is purely human - and purely evil.
Unlike most other Disney villains, Lady Tremaine doesn't possess any magical powers 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 callous to Cinderella; an example is when she silences Cinderella harshly twice when ordering Cinderella to do chores in the chateau. She even does the same to Anatasia and Drizella occasionally.
Prior to the beginning of the story, Lady Tremaine married Cinderella's wealthy father, who wanted to give his daughter a motherly figure, and sisters in the person of Lady Tremaine's biological daughters, Anastasia (the youngest) and Drizella (the eldest). After Cinderella's father died, Lady Tremaine revealed her true nature, smiling wickedly while Cinderella was crying over her father's corpse, without even bothering to pretend mourning. During the following years, she wasted the family's wealth to spoil her bratty, obnoxious daughters and reduced Cinderella to a lowly servant, abusing her out of jealousy for her beauty and kindness and so her daughters will not have any competition when it's time to find a rich husband.
When the Tremaines are invited to a ball organized by the king to find a spouse for his son, Cinderella asks to go with them, arguing that "each fair maiden in the kingdom is invited." Lady Tremaine agrees under the conditions that she gets all her work done and that she finds something suitable to wear, but Cinderella does not realize that she is giving her hopes to better crush them. While Cinderella works very hard to do the immense amount of chores given by Anastasia and Drizella, her birds and mice friends make her a gorgeous dress from the clothes discarded by the Tremaine sisters. When Cinderella shows up, prettier than the Tremaines will ever be, Lady Tremaine recognizes the necklace she wears as one of Drizella's old pieces of jewelry. She subtly points it to her daughters, who tear Cinderella's dress to shreds in a rage, accusing her of stealing their clothing, despite them being the ones who disregarded the items in the first place, cruelly breaking Cinderella, who dissolves into tears. Fortunately, Cinderella attends the ball thanks to her Fairy Godmother who gives her an even more marvelous attire, and she and the Prince fall in love. Meanwhile, Lady Tremaine spies on them because the unknown princess looks familiar to her and she hears them singing.
The next day, Lady Tremaine learns that the Grand Duke of the kingdom is looking for the maid who fits the glass slipper that Cinderella lost in her hurry, so that the Prince could marry her. Overjoyed by these news, Cinderella starts singing carelessly, with her wicked stepmother recognizing her song and instantly figuring who the mysterious princess really was. Furious, she follows her upstairs and locks her in her room, keeping the key in her pocket. The Duke arrives and tries the slipper on Drizella and Anastasia but it does not fit. As the Duke prepares to leave, Cinderella arrives, having been freed by the mice who managed to steal the key. Lady Tremaine then resorts to a last underhanded trick, tripping the lackey to shatter the slipper on the floor. She grins victoriously, reveling in the Duke's despair, until Cinderella displays the other slipper to prove that she was the one dancing with the Prince, leaving the Tremaine's dismayed and ruined as Cinderella was finally free of them and became a princess.
Cinderella 2: Dreams Come True
She made her second appearance in the direct-to-video sequel Cinderella II: Dreams Come True, this time voiced by Susan Blakeslee (the same actress who also currently voices Maleficent). In this film, she only appeared in the An Uncommon Romance segment, where Anastasia has to go against her mother for the first time to be with the man she loves.
Cinderella 3: A Twist in Time
Her latest and most prominent appearance was in the second direct-to-video Cinderella sequel, Cinderella 3: A Twist in Time (with Susan Blakeslee reprise her role). She is once again the central antagonist. This time, she manages to get a hold of the Fairy Godmother's wand because Anastasia brought it to her. Lady Tremaine then uses the wand to reverse time so that the slipper fits Anastasia (her biological youngest daughter). The Prince realizes that Anastasia is the wrong girl, but Lady Tremaine makes him forget about Cinderella and marry Anastasia. Cinderella tries to steal the wand, but in the end Lady Tremaine catches Cinderella and tries to ship her away. At the same time, Drizella (but not the not-so-wicked and sympathetic Anastasia) taunts Cinderella for being shipped out of the kingdom. The mice tell the Prince the truth. The prince saves Cinderella from shipping away. Lady Tremaine then uses the wand to turn Anastasia into a clone of Cinderella, and puts Cinderella onto an evil pumpkin carriage with Lucifer as the coachman. In the end Cinderella makes it back to her wedding just in time to witness, to her amazement, Anastasia refusing to marry the Prince. She protects Anastasia for her honesty and Lady Tremaine and her biological eldest daughter Drizella are turned into toads/frogs when the wand's magic is reflected off the prince's sword. Lady Tremaine intended to turn both Cinderella and Anastasia into toads, on the suggestion of Drizella, after Anastasia said "I don't" when she should have been saying "I do" (Anastasia did this especially for unselfish reasons). Anastasia told her biological mother that she wanted someone to love her for herself when her refusal sent her biological mother into a fury.
During the end credits, Lady Tremaine has been restored, but is wearing scullery clothes identical to those Cinderella used to wear, possibly implying that they will be working in her mansion under Cinderella's authority as punishment for the cruelty she showed her. This was most likely an act of mercy by Cinderella, who did not wish to see her stepmother in prison regardless of the fact she deserved such a sentence. 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
In the series House of Mouse, Lady Tremaine makes several cameos, mostly sitting with Anastasia and Lucifer. In "Ask Von Drake", she was seen with Lady Tremaine as the Grand Duke tried to fit the glass slipper on Anastasia, before Ludwig Von Drake advises him to try Cinderella. In "Goofy's Valentine Date," Mortimer Mouse briefly attempted to flirt with her and Anastasia, until Lucifer attacked him. Drizella also took part in the hostile takeover of the club in Mickey's House of Villains.
Once Upon a Time
Lady Tremaine appears in cameo only in the Season 1 episode "The Price of Gold", portrayed by an unknown actress, as inhabitants of the Enchanted Forest. A carriage is seen parked on the outside of her private property, and she, with her daughters, make their way toward it, wearing evening gowns. Lady Tremaine enters the chariot first, followed by her two daughters. Soon afterward, we are treated to the sight of her stepdaughter, Ella, dressed in rather unfair rags. The poor blonde looks with sadness at her stepfamily 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 plausibly (it was not the case) with her daughters in Storybrooke and has cut any ties with Cinderella.
Lady Tremaine returned, and was properly featured, in the Season 6 episode "The Other Shoe", portrayed by Lisa Banes. In addition to being cruel to Ella, she is equally cruel to one of her daughters, Clorinda, when she finds out the latter is planning to run away with the prince's footman, instead of a more noble man, to the Land of Untold Stories. Ella tries to stop her from killing the footman, but when she sees Ella's engagement ring from the prince, she grabs the key to open the portal to the aforementioned realm taking Clorinda with her.
She is sent to Storybrooke along with her daughter and with the help of Regina's Evil Side testing her own nemesis Emma Swan, they lure Ella into a trap. But Ella reveals that Clorinda's lost love is in Storybrooke, and Lady Tremaine tries to kill him and her daughter, only to have Ella step in front of the lovers. She takes her walking stick and fatally stabs Ella, but then Emma Swan uses her magic to heal Ella thus ruining the woman's plan.
She is eventually arrested and forced to do community service, which involved picking up trash around town.
In Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Anastasia's mother, portrayed by Sarah-Jane Redmond, is also very similar to Lady Tremaine in her personality.
In the live-action re-imagining of the original film, Lady Tremaine is played by Cate Blanchett.
Stylish and red-haired like her daughters, Lady Tremaine was described by the narrator to be "a woman of keen feeling and refined taste". She was once married to Sir Francis Tremaine, the Master of the Mercer's Guild, and according to her, it had been a love match. After he died, her second marriage to Ella's father had been for the sake of her daughters.
In the beginning, Lady Tremaine did not seem to bear any particular animosity towards her stepdaughter, Ella. She instead focused on restoring life and laughter to the estate, which had been somewhat silent after Ella's mother died. Her attempts at such appeared to be hosting elaborate parties to which even the nobility were invited, where fine wines flowed and were consumed in excess, and everyone gambled.
However, during one such party, when she went to fetch her husband, she overheard a private conversation between him and Ella. It was then that her jealousy and spite towards Ella was incited, for the conversation confirmed that her husband loved Ella more than he did her, and he still dearly cherished the memory of his late wife (Ella's biological mother) - all of which made her feel that she was not only living in Ella's mother's shadow but was also overshadowed by Ella herself.
After he departed on a trip, Lady Tremaine gradually revealed her true passive-aggressive nature. The first instance was to indirectly make Ella give her bedroom to Drisella and Anastasia, and move into the attic - though she did state that it was a temporary measure since she was having the other rooms redecorated. She also took subtle advantage of Ella's kindness by making her work like a servant to distract her whenever her daughters displayed embarrassing behavior, such as pretending to accidentally upset a plate of biscuits when Ella grimaced at Drisella's abysmal musical performance.
When the news of her husband's death came, Lady Tremaine was again visibly upset that his dying words had only been of Ella and her mother and even his dying memorial had solely been for Ella. Her daughters inquired about their lack of promised gifts, but she snapped at them by stating that it did not matter, for they were all ruined, and lamented about how they were to live.
Due to financial pressures, she dismissed the entire staff of servants. She also had no further qualms about being open about how she truly felt towards her stepdaughter: as described by the narrator, Ella grew to be ever misused by her step-family, who increasingly viewed her as more of a servant than a relation. Lady Tremaine's transparent excuse for making Ella take on all the household chores was that it distracted her from her grief, and she, Drisella, and Anastasia were more than happy to provide her with a very great deal of such distraction. She later joined in her daughters' mocking of Ella as "Cinderella" when she woke up covered with soot and even forbade her from sitting at the table to share a meal with them.
When the royal ball was announced, Lady Tremaine refused to buy a new gown for Ella and even accused her of being too ambitious to even think that she could attend the ball. Enraged when Ella appeared anyway in an old dress of her mother's, she ripped one of the sleeves and encouraged her daughters to rip the dress apart.
Later that night, Lady Tremaine is as surprised as everyone else when a beautiful but mysterious princess in a blue gown wins Kit's heart. Despite her attempts to have her daughters turn Kit's head away from the mysterious princess, they were unsuccessful, and she later inadvertently learns that the Grand Duke had already promised Kit's hand in marriage to the Princess Chelina of Zaragoza. This leads to her believing that her schemes to marry one of her daughters to Kit would come to nothing, given that the ball was - in her own opinion - a mere diversion.
However, after the ball, her suspicions of the mysterious princess' true identity were aroused by Ella's attitude. Later on, she discovered a glass slipper hidden in the attic, which in turn led to her first - and final - heart-to-heart confrontation with her stepdaughter. She starts off by confessing that her second marriage to Ella's father had been for her daughters, but she was still unbearably jealous of how beloved Ella was to him, and now it seemed she would live unhappily ever after since Kit was in love with Ella, effectively ruining her plans to marry one of her own daughters to him. She then proposes a deal that, in her own words, will benefit all parties: after Ella and Kit were married, Ella will make her the head of the royal household, they would ensure that Drisella and Anastasia marry wealthy husbands, and she will manage Kit.
Ella rejects this out of hand, telling her that she is not going to let Kit and the kingdom fall into her stepmother's clutches after she failed to protect her father. An enraged Lady Tremaine shatters the slipper in response to her defiance. Shocked and grieved beyond endurance by this, Ella demands to know the true reason for her stepmother's cruelty to her, to which Lady Tremaine replies that Ella is everything that she was not: young, innocent, and good. She locks Ella in the attic.
Lady Tremaine then went to meet the Grand Duke, whom she blackmails into making her a countess and ensuring worthy husbands for her daughters in exchange for keeping the secret so Kit would have to marry Princess Chelina.
When the captain found Ella hidden in the attic, Lady Tremaine initially declared that as her mother, she will not allow Ella to try on the slipper. Ella curtly responds that she is not and never will be her mother. Though she was increasingly afraid and angry at this turn of events, all Lady Tremaine could do was to grip Ella's arm as she passed her by, and silently warned her to remember who she was.
However, as Ella leaves the château with Kit, she shoots a long meaningful stare at her stepmother on the stairwell, and finally tells her that she forgives her. At this, Lady Tremaine sinks to the ground in defeat. The Tremaines later left the kingdom with the Grand Duke, never to return.
Aside from the films, Lady Tremaine has also made various appearances on the Disney Channel series House of Mouse; she frequently shares a table with another famous wicked stepmother, the Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Again, in these appearances, she is voiced by Susan Blakeslee.
Lady Tremaine's side of Cinderella is told in her "My Side of the Story" book.
Kingdom Hearts Series
In Birth by Sleep, Lady Tremaine's role is exactly identical to that of her film role. Treating Cinderella as a house servant and showing no love towards her, the wicked stepmother does all in her power to see that her daughters are successful in life. She is upset by their constant sibling rivalry, also showing an extreme affection for her devious cat named Lucifer, despite the animal's cruelty to Cinderella's mouse friends.
After discovering the identity of the maiden that had won Prince Charming's heart at the royal ball to be none other than Cinderella, Lady Tremaine immediately locked the poor girl in her room when it came time for her two biological daughters Anastasia and Drizella to try on a single glass slipper that had been left behind when the girl fled. The evil in Lady Tremaine's heart caused Cinderella's pumpkin carriage to become an Unversed, but the monster turned on her and blew her and her two biological daughters away with a fire bomb. Lady Tremaine's plot was undone by Ventus, Aqua, and Cinderella's animal friends, with Cinderella escaping her stepmother's wicked grasp to become a princess.
- Her original voice actress, Eleanor Audley, would later be the voice actress for the evil witch, Maleficent, in Sleeping Beauty, which was released nine years later. There can be many likenesses drawn from the art styles of Maleficent and Lady Tremaine. They both have similarities as they're both jealous of the protagonist's beauty (Tremaine; Cinderella, Maleficent; Aurora), live in France, and have pets (Tremaine; Lucifer the Cat, Maleficent; Diablo the Raven). The only difference is that Maleficent is powerful and dies while Lady Tremaine is not powerful and is still alive.
- Lady Tremaine's dress appears to be burgundy in the original film and House of Mouse, however, in all other appearances, it appears purple like the gown she wore to the ball.
- Lady Tremaine was nominated for a place in 'AFI’s 50 Greatest Villains list', along with the Queen, Stromboli, Man, Maleficent, Cruella De Vil and Ursula. Still, she wasn't chosen and the only Disney Villains to make the final list were the Queen (10), Man (20), and Cruella De Vil (39).
- Lady Tremaine makes a cameo in the Who Framed Roger Rabbit Special Edition DVD on one of the menus, but does not appear in the film itself.
- Lady Tremaine's behavior is similar to The Queen for she too is jealous of her stepdaughter's beauty, but unlike the Queen, she doesn't try to do her any deadly harm.
- Lady Tremaine, along with her biological daughter Anastasia and Drizella are all seemingly killed in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, but in the Disney universe and the Cinderella films, there of them are alive and well.
- The Nostalgia Critic listed Lady Tremaine as Number 3 on his "Top 11 Disney Villains" list, stating that she practically destroyed Cinderella just because she could.
- Lady Tremaine makes a cameo appearance in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, implying that she is French.
- Lady Tremaine is similar to Judge Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, as they both live in France, not using any magic powers, and they also mistreat and abuse their stepchildren (Cinderella and Quasimodo). Only that while Judge Frollo cared for Quasimodo because of charge of conscience, Tremaine does it both because she is forced to by law, and needs a housekeeper.
- In the original French story, the stepmother is mentioned very minor in the beginning and it is the stepsisters who are noted throughout the rest of the story.
- In the opening of the film, Lady Tremaine is shown to have been a brunette in her younger years and which is what her biological eldest daughter Drizella inherits from in terms of looks. *Since Anastasia is a redhead, then likely the late biological father was a redhead too.
- Despite singing "Sing, Sweet Nightingale" with her biological daughters, Lady Tremaine is one of the few Disney female antagonists that does not sing in her film.
- Lady Tremaine could be considered the female equivalent to Edward Murdstone, the cruel stepfather from the Charles Dickens novel David Copperfield.