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Malevola and her husband neglected Cruella when she was young, always spending Christmas away and even seemed to hint not remembering their own daughter's name. Due to this neglect, the young Cruella wanted a Dalmatian puppy to give her the love and affection her father and mother never did. A buildup of neglected Christmases is what caused Cruella to go mad ("A Christmas Cruella").
Malevola shows little love for her descendants, except for Ivy De Vil. She has two big, fierce dogs named Cerberus and Cujo. She appeared in the episode "Coup DeVil," where she called a family reunion at Villa De Vil to give the other De Vils a chance to get the Dearly Farm where Cruella had failed. It is revealed that the only reason Cruella wants to buy the farm is to please her mother.
After many failed attempts, Cruella snaps and stands up to her mother by lamenting about all that she hates about her. Her ranting, however, pleases Malevola, as she believes it takes some guts to stand up to one's own mother. As a result, this finally earns Cruella her mother's respect.
- In original concept art for Malevola, she was shown to be a rather obese but younger looking woman, similar to Cruella. However, in the actual episode, she is shown to be old and frail.
- Character designer Eugene Salandra claims this concept design was based upon a "Zaftig Margarita Dûment" type.
- An image of her can be seen in the De Vil family gallery as Spot looks up Judge Dimsdale De Vil in "DeVil-Age Elder".
- In some guides to 101 Dalmatians, Cruella's mother is named "Dementia."
- In Brazil, Maleficent is known as "Malevola."