- "Cinderella will be put in her place."
- —Lady Tremaine
Lady Tremaine (also known as 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.
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 Anatasia 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 appears to be older, but has aged quite well. She has very sharp facial features including a notably large hooked nose with pronounced creases on both sides of it. She has gray eyes which are notably quite fierce and evil-looking when she is angered or has evil thoughts in mind and she wears green orb-shaped earrings to contrast her eye color. She has gray hair (with a small light gray streak in the middle) worn in a high pompadour slightly resembling a heart. Her casual and most commonly seen set of clothes consists of a large red gown with a golden brooch near her neck that has a green gem in it and the gown has a high purple collar with extended purple sleeves. She wears a large green ring on her right ring finger that matches her earrings and brooch, and in the finale certain close ups show her nails are painted a lavender hue to compliment her sleeves. Her formal attire (which she wears to the ball) is a long purple gown with short sleeves.
Behind the Scenes
Significance in Story
"The villain-victim relationship was one of the very best we had on any feature... Lady Tremaine was the only villain to live beside her victim day by day" - Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston.
Thomas commented that Lady Tremaine was the driving force throughout the film, and that she had to be believable, even though she was far from human, to be considered a serious threat to the realistically animated Cinderella. The fights between Lucifer and the mice could be seen to reflect the (much less physical) conflict between their human counterparts, Lady Tremaine and Cinderella.
Like all of the character animators for "Cinderella" (excluding Ward Kimball, who animated Lucifer and the Mice), Thomas used live-action footage as reference when drawing the frames of animation. Eleanor Audley, dressed as Lady Tremaine, was filmed performing every action the character was required to make; the individual frames from this footage were then placed under animation paper. The actions were not traced exactly, but used as guidelines.
Whenever the photostats were followed too closely, or a piece of human action was directly copied, the results seemed to the animators to lose the 'illusion of life'. The live action reference was therefore used primarily to suggest to the animator movements and mannerisms, he may not have thought of otherwise. These were then applied to the animated character within their context. Thomas praised Audley's cold, regal performance, the inspiration for his animation of the character.
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.
Ultimately, Anastasia is her mother's undoing; she comes to feel reluctant to marry somebody under false pretenses - she does not care for the prince, he does not truly love her, and she cannot bear to live the rest of her life pretending to be something she is not, even if she has a beautiful face.
Angrily, the King tells all his guards to arrest Lady Tremaine, and Lady Tremaine, defending herself, turns 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 could not stop her. The evil prince tries to turn Anastasia and Cinderella into frogs, but they duck and it hits Drizella and Lady Tremaine, and they turn into toads. 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.
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.
In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Lady Tremaine's role is identical to that of her film role. Treating Cinderella as a mere 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 her in her room when it came time for Anastasia and Drizella to try on a single glass slipper that had been left behind when the girl fled. Enraged when Cinderella was let out of her room by Jaq and the slipper fit her, Lady Tremaine used the jealousy in her heart to turn Cinderella's pumpkin carriage into an Unversed, the Cursed Coach, in an attempt to eliminate Cinderella and Aqua. Her scheme backfired when one of the fire bombs the Cursed Coach produced landed on her and her daughters, leaving their fate unknown.
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.
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.
In one of the Disney Reading Series, Lady Tremaine and her daughters visit Cinderella and her husband at his castle. She keeps up the pretense that she no longer harbors any ill will towards Cinderella, but is later shocked when her daughters inform her that Cinderella is apparently planning to supplant them with "special people" (unaware that Drizella and Anastasia were the special people she was referring to) and plotted alongside them to sabotage Cinderella's efforts.
Lady Tremaine appears in the Disney Parks as a meetable character, particularly Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Paris around the Fantasyland area. She is known to be considerably vain and sarcastic to the visiting guest(s), just like how she treated Cinderella and her daughters in the film. A picture of her was shown in the attraction Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour.
Along with Anastasia and Drizella, Lady Tremaine can sometimes be found for meet-and-greets at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Walt Disney World. She also takes part in the Disney Villains meet-and-greet sessions at Disneyland during Halloween time.
Lady Tremaine makes an appearance on Twice Charmed, a show on the Disney Cruise Line. Lady Tremaine grows a deeper hatred for Cinderella as the days go by and soon enough she gains her very own Fairy Godfather, a male counterpart of Fairy Godmother. Unlike Cinderella's magical friend, Tremaine's godfather is an evil and dark magician-like man. She uses his magic to reverse time to take control over The King's kingdom.
- 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). But even with no nomination she's known for being one of the best Disney villains with no powers because of her manipulative personality.
- 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, doesn't try to harm her physically.
- Also similar to the Queen, Lady Tremaine's second husband also died prematurely, although the main difference is that there's no indication of how the first king died while with Tremaine, it is subtly implied that she killed him.
- 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.
- Lady Tremaine is similar to Judge Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, as they are both French, both don't use any magic powers in their debut films, have gray hair, a pointy chin, they are also of high-rank in society (Frollo being the Minister of Paris, and Tremaine's rank of "lady" strongly implies that she had either married into the nobility, was born into noble blood, or both), and they also mistreat and abuse their stepchildren (Cinderella and Quasimodo). Only that while 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 addition, both characters also had their actors roles tied to another role (Eleanor Audley portrayed Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty largely because of her role as Lady Tremaine, while Tony Jay, the voice actor for Frollo, was chosen for the role largely because of his performance of Monsieur D'Arque from Beauty and the Beast)
- In the original French story, the stepmother receives only a very minor mention in the beginning and it is the stepsisters who are noted throughout the rest of the story.
- We learn that her last name is Tremaine at the ball when they announce the young ladies and their parents. This is the only time that her last name is referenced.
- In the opening of the film, Lady Tremaine is shown to have been a brunette in her younger years and which is what Drizella inherits from in terms of looks. Since Anastasia is a redhead, then it is likely the late biological father was too a redhead which she inherits.
- Considering her power-hungry and manipulative character, there is a chance that Tremaine killed her second husband, Cinderella's father, in order to take control of his fortune and house.
- However, in the beginning of the film, it seems like Cinderella's father died of a sickness, as he is seen on his bed with a young Cinderella crying over his body. If one looks closely, Lady Tremaine can be seen in the corner with her daughters. She however does not seem to show any sign of grief or sadness, which may make some wonder if Lady Tremaine had anything to do with it.
- Eleanor Audley, who was the voice of Lady Tremaine in the original 1950 film, also voiced Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty. In fact, her performance as Lady Tremaine was partly the reason why she was given the role. Similarly, her succeeding voice actress (Susan Blakeslee) also voices Maleficent.
- Lady Tremaine has a few similarities to Mother Gothel from Tangled. They're both stepmothers to a beautiful blonde, are psychologically abusive to them. However, unlike Lady Tremaine, Mother Gothel at least shows some "care" for Rapunzel, while Lady Tremaine shows nothing but hatred towards Cinderella. Another difference is that Lady Tremaine gained legal custody of Cinderella after her father died, while Mother Gothel abducted Rapunzel from her actual parents.
- Lady Tremaine is also similar to Madame Medusa from The Rescuers in a few senses.
- Both keep a girl for selfish reasons. Lady Tremaine uses Cinderella for slave labor while Madame Medusa uses Penny to get her the Devil's Eye from The Black Hole.
- Both psychologically abuse their unfortunate girls.
- Both have beloved pets (Lucifer the cat, Brutus and Nero).
- Both are outwitted by mice duos (Jaq and Gus, Bernard and Bianca).
- Lady Tremaine's first name is never stated in any of the Cinderella movies, nor in any books, games, or TV shows in which she appeared. Rather, she is always referred to as her regal title of "Lady", possibly meaning that Cinderella's Father was a lord. It is possible that this is the reason why she tries to force her daughters to marry into royalty/nobility, so the family can keep a high status in the kingdom. It is also why she frowns upon Anastasia's marriage to the Baker.
- The Into the Woods official website at one point implied that Lady Tremaine would be the Wicked Stepmother role in the upcoming live-action adaptation. However, this was later revealed to be an error, and Disney confirmed the characters would not be Disneyfied.
Notes and references
Cinderella | Cinderella II: Dreams Come True | Cinderella III: A Twist in Time | Who Framed Roger Rabbit | House of Mouse | Once Upon a Time | Once Upon a Time in Wonderland | A Poem Is... | Cinderella (2015 film)
Original characters: Ella/Cinderella | Jaq and Gus | Mice | Birds | Prince Charming | The Fairy Godmother | Bruno | Major | Cinderella's Father | Lady Tremaine/Cinderella's Stepmother | Drizella Tremaine | Anastasia Tremaine | Lucifer | The King | The Grand Duke | Herald | Royal Ball Herald | Suzy | Perla | Mary
Songs: "Cinderella" | "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" | "Sing, Sweet Nightingale" | "Work Song (Cinderelly, Cinderelly)" | "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" | "So This is Love" | "Perfectly Perfect" | "More Than a Dream" | "At the Ball" | "I Still Believe"
Incorporated Films and shorts: Alice in Wonderland | Aladdin/The Return of Jafar | Beauty and the Beast | Cinderella | Fantasia | Hercules | The Hunchback of Notre Dame | Lilo & Stitch | The Lion King | The Little Mermaid | Mickey, Donald and Goofy: The Three Musketeers | Mulan | The Nightmare Before Christmas | Peter Pan | Pinocchio | Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl | Sleeping Beauty | Steamboat Willie | Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs | Tarzan | Tron/Tron: Legacy | The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Villains: Master Xehanort | Ansem | Xemnas | Maleficent/Dragon Maleficent | Pete | Organization XIII | Vanitas | Xigbar/Braig | Xaldin | Vexen | Lexaeus | Zexion | Saïx/Isa | Demyx | Luxord | Marluxia | Larxene | Terra-Xehanort | Young Xehanort | Xehanort's Guardian
Other Characters: Jiminy Cricket | Naminé | Ansem the Wise/DiZ | Yen Sid | Xion | Axel/Lea | Master Eraqus | Dilan | Even | Aeleus | Ienzo | Lingering Will | Data Sora | Data Riku | Data Naminé | Data Roxas | Hayner | Pence | Olette | Riku-Ansem | Kairi's Grandma | Riku Replica | Anti-Saïx | Anti-Sora | Anti-Riku | Sora-Heartless | Jiminy's Journal
Disney Characters and Villains: Queen Minnie | Daisy Duck | Pluto | Tarzan | Winnie the Pooh | Aladdin | Genie | Tron | Magic Brooms | Peter Pan | Quasimodo | Judge Claude Frollo | Merlin | Tigger | Eeyore | Rabbit | Ariel | Mulan | Mushu | Jack Sparrow | Chernabog | Simba | Timon | Pumbaa | Nala | King Triton | Jafar/Genie Jafar | Alice | Cheshire Cat | Jack Skellington | Esmeralda | Phoebus | Beagle Boys | Scrooge McDuck | Huey, Dewey and Louie | Master Control Program | Sark | CLU | Rinzler | Beast | Stitch | Hercules | Tick-Tock the Crocodile | Snow White | Wendy (More coming soon)
Objects: Sea-salt ice cream | Wayfinder | Door to Darkness | Keyblade | X-blade | Mickey's Letters | Thalassa Shell | Kingdom Hearts Encoder | Keychain | Gummi Blocks | Bug Blox | Black coat| | Keyblade Armor
Locations: Land of Departure | Disney Castle | Disney Town | Timeless River | Datascape | Radiant Garden/Hollow Bastion | Keyblade Graveyard | Destiny Islands | Traverse Town | Dive to the Heart | End of the World | Realm of Darkness | Castle Oblivion | Twilight Town | The World That Never Was | Castle That Never Was | Halloween Town | Neverland | Wonderland
Music: Dearly Beloved | Simple and Clean | Sanctuary | Mickey Mouse Club March | Swim This Way | Part of Your World | Under the Sea | Ursula's Revenge | A New Day is Dawning | Destati | Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo | He's a Pirate | Beauty and the Beast | This is Halloween | It's a Small World | Night on Bald Mountain | Winnie the Pooh | The Sorcerer's Apprentice | The Pastoral Symphony
Soundtracks: Kingdom Hearts Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts Final Mix - Additional Tracks | Kingdom Hearts II Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts Original Soundtrack Complete | Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep & 358/2 Days Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX Original Soundtrack
Media: Kilala Princess
Characters: Kilala Reno | Rei | Snow White | Doc | Grumpy | Happy | Sneezy | Bashful | Sleepy | Dopey | The Evil Queen | Cinderella | Lady Tremaine | Anastasia Tremaine | Drizella Tremaine | Aurora | Maleficent | Ariel | Flounder | Sebastian | Ursula | Belle | Beast | Gaston | Jasmine | Aladdin | Jafar | Iago | Tippe | Erica Ange | Sylphy | Kilala's Parents | Valdou