Tessa Porter first appeared on THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS in March of 2017 when actress Cait Fairbanks debuted in the role and has already faced plenty of drama as the newcomer navigated the ups and downs of life in Genoa City. Tessa is a musician just like her portrayer, who performs under the name Ginesse. If you need a refresher on her history, we’ve got you covered!
Nikki Newman spotted Tessa playing guitar outside of Crimson Lights and hired her to be Reed Hellstrom’s music teacher. Nikki also hired Tessa to be her personal assistant, and when she realized the young woman was living out of her car, invited her to live at the ranch with the family. Tessa also began playing at The Underground, where Noah Newman became smitten with her and asked her out.
After hearing Tessa playing at the club, Devon Hamilton signed her to his new record label. When he and Mariah Copeland attended a music festival, they invited Tessa and Noah along. But as Mariah was helping Tessa get ready, she impulsively kissed her! Mariah quickly apologized and urged her to forget about it, which Tessa was more than happy to do.
When Victor Newman put Tessa out, Mariah invited her to move in with her and Sharon and they soon learned that the young woman Sharon was trying to help escape a prostitution ring was Tessa’s sister, Crystal. They found out that Alice Johnson was the handler for the girls and managed to rescue Crystal from her. Unfortunately, Crystal had to be put into protective custody while she testified against the ringleaders.
Urged on by Sharon, Mariah confessed to Tessa that she had feelings for her, but Tessa insisted she was with Noah and didn’t return her affection. Things got worse when Tessa was desperate for material for a new hit song and stole Mariah’s journal to create lyrics. Recognizing her own words, Mariah was furious and vowed to sue if the song was released. And when Noah found out about the kiss she shared with Mariah, he dumped Tessa.
When Mariah and Tessa began working together on GC BUZZ, Devon ordered them to make peace, and the pair buried the hatchet. After Kyle Abbott returned to Genoa City, Tessa caught his eye, but he quickly realized that she and Mariah had something special. With Devon’s help, Kyle arranged for Mariah and Tessa to have a surprise rooftop movie date. They finally confessed their feelings for each other and began a real relationship. Unfortunately, Tessa had to leave town to help Crystal, and while Mariah initially planned to go along, she stayed behind and worried about what was going on.
When Tessa returned to town, she claimed she needed a lot of money to pay back the people who helped her sister start a new life in Canada, and Sharon grew concerned when she suspected Tessa had been assaulted. But despite her concerns, Mariah continued falling deeper in love with Tessa and the pair even moved in together. But then Mariah discovered she was hiding a bag full of cash and Tessa confessed that she was the one who had been blackmailing Sharon, Nikki, Victoria, and Phyllis about hiding J.T.’s body, and that was the end of that!
Sharon convinced Mariah to go back to Tessa to keep an eye on her for them, and Tessa claimed to have donated the money to worthy causes and destroyed the video evidence of the crime. But that was another lie. Mariah eventually decided to support Tessa and make their relationship work, but when Sharon, Nikki, Victoria, and Phyllis all went on trial for J.T.’s murder, Tessa’s blackmailing scheme became public, and she very nearly wound up in prison herself! Thankfully she didn’t, and Mariah has remained at her girlfriend’s side throughout it all, even urging her to get back into her music again.
Things were going well for Tessa until she got a text from musician Tanner Watts. Mariah was excited because he was a major recording artist, but Tessa looked decidedly less than thrilled by the turn of events because it turned out he was actually her ex-husband! Mariah was stunned to learn her girlfriend was still keeping secrets from her, but urged her to accept Tanner’s invitation to tour with him, which Tessa reluctantly did.
However, although Tessa stayed in contact with Mariah while on the road, she was stunned to come home and find Mariah in a compromising position with Lindsay! Assuming the worst, Tessa stormed out, and when Mariah tried to beg her forgiveness, she refused to take her back and dumped her. Mariah made a grand gesture by attempting to win Tessa back by opening up on stage, but that also backfired when the singer was angry that she intruded on her own private space on stage. But as the two women hashed out their differences they ultimately reconciled and Mariah joined them on the rest of their tour.
After returning home, Tessa and Mariah settled into a period of happiness until Mariah asked her if she’d be okay with her acting as Abby Newman‘s surrogate. After discussing the matter and agreeing to it, Tessa moved into the Chancellor mansion with Mariah as she carried the baby. Things were going well until Mariah took off and although her texts claimed she just needed some space, Tessa worried something was terribly wrong! Eventually, she was proven right when they learned Mariah had been abducted by Abby’s ex, Ben “Stitch” Rayburn, and they were thankfully able to rescue her just as she gave birth to Baby Dominic!
Unfortunately, Mariah’s time in captivity had created a strong bond with the infant, and Tessa tried to support her girlfriend as she struggled with letting go. When Mariah suggested they have a baby of their own instead, Tessa gently turned her down, worried it wasn’t the right move. However, after a little time had passed, and Mariah was doing better, Tessa decided that they should consider adoption. And soon after that, she popped the question and Mariah happily said yes!
Things got a little sticky when Noah returned to town and clearly still harbored feelings for Tessa, but he eventually helped the happy couple plan their big day. Mariah and Tessa nearly postponed their wedding after Rey’s death, but Sharon urged them not to. So the pair exchanged vows in a beautiful ’70’s-themed ceremony and then jetted off to Paris on their honeymoon.
Upon their return to Genoa City, Tessa went to the doctor with a sore throat and was stunned to learn that she would need surgery to remove nodules on her vocal cords. As she prepared to have the operation, the singer worried about how this would impact her music career.
After undergoing surgery, Tessa had to put her tour and career on hold so Mariah tried to get a job modeling for Marchetti to take her mind off it. Though her first shoot had a rocky start, it turned out to be a success. The couple was upset when an adoption attorney turned them down because of their criminal records and when a pregnant woman who responded to their adoption profile decided to give her baby to a family member instead. But by Christmas 2022, Tessa and Mariah were thrilled to hear from another prospective mom who wanted them to adopt her baby.
After meeting with Delphine, Tessa and Mariah were overjoyed that she agreed to the adoption, though both were nervous about being unprepared for motherhood. Following the baby’s birth in March 2023, Tessa and Mariah brought her home to Genoa City in April, naming her Aria Porter Copeland. As they settled into their new roles as moms, Tessa supported Mariah as she considered leaving Jabot to go work with Sharon at her new company.
Stay tuned to Y&R to see how Tessa’s story continues!