The Young And The Restless: Tessa's Mysterious Past Explained

Tessa Porter (Cait Fairbanks) forms half of "The Young and the Restless's" first LGBTQIA+ couple and is married to Mariah Copeland (Camryn Grimes), Sharon Newman's daughter. The pair has even celebrated the arrival of Sharon's first grandchild. However, Tessa's journey hasn't always been a constant stream of joy and parenthood. Her roots trace back to a perilous corner of Chicago, where neglect from addicted parents shaped her and her younger sister, Crystal Porter (Morgan Obenreder).

Amidst Tessa's troubled upbringing, her father's drug associates began showing disturbing interest in her. She realized she had to escape and promised to return for Crystal after securing her stability. To achieve this, Tessa began to work for Zack Stinnett's (Ryan Ashton) escort service. Fortunately, this chapter was short-lived due to a falling-out, prompting her to start another life as a traveling street musician. This journey eventually led her to Genoa City, where she began performing outside the Crimson Lights coffee shop, owned by Sharon, through her ill-fated romance with Dylan McAvoy (Steve Burton).

Tessa's undeniable musical talent captured Sharon's attention, and soon Nikki Newman (Melody Scott), Sharon's former mother-in-law, paid Tessa to teach her grandson music and even hired her for other tasks. As Tessa's presence blended further into Sharon's family, her interactions with Sharon's children began to grow. Noah Newman (Rory Gibson), Sharon's third child (first with Nick), began to flirt with Tessa and finally asked her to be his girlfriend. Unknown to all, Noah's half-sister Mariah, had a massive crush on Tessa.

Tessa's past comes calling

Tessa's love life took an unexpected turn after she and Noah were invited to a music festival by Mariah and her boyfriend. During their time together, Mariah surprised Tessa with a kiss before hurriedly apologizing. Tessa shocked Mariah (and us) by cutting the apology short and admitting she liked the kiss. However, neither made another move, and Tessa moved in with Noah.

Sadly, her past again took center stage when she received a distressing call from Crystal, who had been kidnapped and sex trafficked. The Newman family, including Sharon's then-boyfriend Scott Grainger, soon became involved, as Scott had long been investigating the sex trafficking ring responsible. Tessa provided crucial information that revealed that Alice Johnson — the woman who adopted Cassie (Sharon's late daughter she gave up as a teen) — was somehow involved with the sex trafficking ring. 

She and Mariah joined forces to kidnap Alice and safely rescued Crystal before getting her into protective custody. Finally, Tessa felt a semblance of peace, and she and Mariah confessed they had feelings for each other. This realization overjoyed Mariah, but Tessa's next words were not what she hoped to hear. Tessa told her they couldn't be together because she wanted to shield Mariah from becoming entangled in her murky history.

Trouble looms for Tessa

Unfortunately for Tessa, her situation got even worse. Crystal shot and killed Zack to protect Scott, then fled in fear. This caused Genoa police to disrupt Tessa's planned live appearance to question her. Compounding her problems, Tessa's single wasn't making money, leaving her with no inspiration. Desperation drove her to steal Mariah's diary and craft a song from its contents. However, Mariah found out and accused her of theft on air, leading to Tessa's dismissal from her label.

Things weren't looking great on the relationship front, either. Noah discovered their kiss and kicked her out of their shared apartment, ending their relationship. However, Genoa soon wrapped Tessa and Mariah together, and Kyle Abbott set them up on their first date since he sensed their deep connection. Sadly, Tessa wasn't home free, as Crystal was still in trouble. She reached out to some connections and helped Crystal escape the state but needed $20,000 to pay for it. Threats from her creditors pushed her to blackmail Nikki, using evidence from one of the best murder mysteries on "The Young and the Restless" — JT Hellstrom's.

This risky move resolved Tessa's financial difficulties but roped her deeper into JT's murder. When Nikki finally confessed to the murder to protect Victor, who was trying to protect her, Tessa was charged with extortion. Luckily the truth behind JT's murder was revealed, and all the charges were dropped. With all the secrets exposed, Tessa and Mariah finally had a fresh start.