Robert Jacob Sugden is the son of Jack and Pat Sugden, brother of Jackie Merrick, the half-brother of Tommy Merrick, Sandie Merrick and Victoria Sugden, the adoptive son of Sarah Sugden and the adoptive brother of Andy Sugden. He is also the father of Sebastian White and the husband of Aaron Dingle.
Robert had a good childhood, but his life became hectic after his father Jack had an affair with Rachel Hughes in 1997 and his adoptive mother Sarah had an affair with lodger Richie Carter in 2000. His adoptive brother Andy accidentally killed Sarah when he started a barn fire in order to claim on insurance when the farm was going through financial troubles. After Jack was acquitted of starting the fire, Robert found out that Andy was responsible for Sarah's death and, devastated, left for Spain to stay with his grandmother Annie.
Robert returned a few months later and a bitter feud started developing between him and Andy, causing trouble for Andy and his girlfriend Katie Addyman. Robert later goes on to have a fling with Nicola Blackstock and dates Donna Windsor and Elaine Marsden simultaneously; both relationships ended badly when Donna found out Robert had been unfaithful (though they later reconciled) and when Robert and Elaine were involved in a car accident. By the end of 2003, Katie had become Andy's fianceé and Robert started an affair with her. Andy's brother Daz and Robert's sister Victoria caught them at it, but they were both threatened to keep quiet. Jack discovered it, as well, and tried to make sure Andy did not find out, but Robert told Andy anyway, leaving him devastated. After Andy and Katie separated, Robert got together with her and she became Robert's fiancee, but she left the village after she discovered that Robert had an affair with Sadie King. Robert and Andy's feud reached new heights and culminated in the tragic death of Max King, which led to Robert leaving the village in order to avoid being arrested. Robert returned briefly to the village in 2009 after Jack's death and watched the funeral from afar.
Five years later, Robert got engaged to Chrissie White, the daughter of agricultural machinery tycoon Lawrence White and returned to the village, much to the delight of Jack's widow Diane and Victoria and the shock of Andy and Katie, who had recently got back together. Robert and Andy's feud was re-ignited, and Robert started causing trouble for the couple, but they put their differences aside as Andy and Katie remarried on Christmas Day 2014. Robert started an affair with Aaron Livesy and Katie subsequently found out, but this led to her death when Robert pushed her onto some rotting floorboards, sending her plummeting through to the basement and breaking her neck. Aaron later told Chrissie of his affair with Robert and Chrissie threw him out. Robert refused to sign the divorce papers, so Chrissie set fire to his car, but much to their horror, this resulted in a massive explosion, sending a gas canister flying into the air and hitting a passing helicopter, which careered out of control and crashed through the roof of the village hall. Weeks later, Robert is shot by Ross Barton, in a deal that he and Andy had. Robert later supported Aaron when he admitted he was sexually abused by his father Gordon, as a child and helped Andy to leave the country after Andy was wrongfully accused of shooting Lawrence, the real culprit being Chrissie's son Lachlan. Robert and Aaron subsequently got engaged after they were involved in a car accident involving many of the other villagers.
In 2017, Robert and Aaron got married in an unofficial ceremony before Aaron was due to be sentenced to prison for GBH. Whilst Aaron was in prison, Robert had a drunken one night stand with Chrissie's half-sister Rebecca which resulted in a pregnancy, leading to the breakup of Robert and Aaron's relationship. Robert was enraged, blaming Rebecca for his and Aaron's split, and conducted a plan to take Home Farm from the Whites. However, when Rebecca gave birth to Sebastian in November, Robert began to change, and abandoned his plan to take over the business. In February 2018 Aaron and Robert reconnected shortly after their wedding anniversary and he quickly moved back into The Mill with baby Seb soon following as Rebecca was unable to care for him. In October, Robert and Aaron got married in a legal ceremony surrounded by their family and friends.
1986-2001: Early lifeEdit
Robert is born on 22nd April 1986 to Jack and Pat Sugden. Pat was killed in a car accident in August 1986 and Robert was looked after by Jack, with help from his grandmother Annie Sugden, and godmother Dolly Skilbeck. However, in September 1988, Jack moved with Marian Rosetti to Rome in order to try rebuild their relationship, taking Robert with him. Whilst they were away, in August and September 1988, the Hughes family moved to the village. In April 1989, Kate Hughes married Robert's uncle Joe Sugden, with Robert acquiring a step-aunt, a step-sister and a step-brother. Robert ended up losing contact with his maternal relatives, when his half-sister Sandie Merrick left in May 1989, and his brother Jackie Merrick was killed in a shooting accident in August 1989. Additionally, Joe's marriage to Kate fell apart in August 1990 when Kate was involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident on Pete Whiteley, and was sentenced to two years imprisonment in October. Despite this, Mark and Rachel still acted as siblings for Robert.
In September 1991, Emmerdale Farm began having problems with sheep dying from unknown causes. Joe got a pop bottle and filled it with poo as a sample for the vet. However, whilst exploring the barn, Robert found the bottle and drank from it. Robert took a turn and Mark rushed him to hospital. However, Mark is pulled over due to his erratic driving but managed to get a police escort. Despite the urgency of the situation, Mark still received a fine.
In January 1993, Sarah Sugden left Robert with Rachel and her friend Sangeeta Parmar whilst she and Jack went looking at a venison farm. Rachel was busy doing schoolwork, but the trio went on a walk when Rachel noticed how bored Robert was, unaware Michael Feldmann was watching Rachel. Robert ended up falling into a river and Michael immediately jumped in, saving Robert. In December 1993, the Sugdens are left with a tragedy when a plane crashes onto the village, killing Mark and Annie's husband Leonard Kempinski, leaving Annie in a coma and injuring Joe. Robert slept through the entire thing but felt the aftermath. In March 1994, Robert's half-sister Victoria Sugden was born, and her cries woke Annie from her coma. A few months later in May, Robert was present during Jack and Sarah's wedding.
Jack, Sarah, Robert and Victoria remained a happy family until 1995 when the married couple hit a rough patch and ended up arguing constantly. This distressed Robert, and he ran away in March 1995. Derek Simpson finds Robert in his barn and ends up taking a liking to him, and comforts him. Derek later discovers where Robert came from and returns him, however he is still arrested and charged with abduction, despite Robert's word about Derek being there for him and allowing him to move around on his own free will.
In 1996, Robert befriends Andy Hopwood, a boy the same age in local authority care whilst his father is in prison for robbery and manslaughter. Robert takes Andy to a local quarry where Andy traps his foot under a rock. Robert runs to get help and Biff Fowler rescues Andy. When Andy's grandmother dies, Jack and Sarah foster him but Robert begins to resent Andy and is unhappy at having to share his home and belongings. Despite this, Robert defends Andy when Donna Windsor tries to bully them and punches her. Donna tries to blame Robert for the bullying but no one believes her and she is suspended from school. After leading Donna astray, Robert and Andy take her joyriding in Leeds, causing a feud between the Sugden and Windsor families.
Robert's life is rocked when he discovers that his father is having an affair with Rachel Hughes in 1997. Robert catches Jack and Rachel kissing. Horrified, Jack ends it but Sarah finds out. Robert's life seems to be back on track, but in 2000, Sarah has an affair with Richie Carter, and leaves Jack, taking Victoria with her. Robert sides with Sarah over his father but Jack wins custody as Sarah is not his biological mother. Robert stays with Kathy Glover and tells her that he intends to leave home when he is sixteen. On 16th November 2000, Robert returns to the farm to collect some belongings and discovers the barn is on fire. Sarah is inside and subsequently dies, devastating him. Jack is arrested and stands trial for her murder but is acquitted. Robert discovers that Andy started the fire and disgusted, he goes to Spain in May 2001 to stay with his grandmother Annie Brearly, and her husband Amos.
2001-2005: Feud with AndyEdit
Robert returns in August 2001. Wanting rid of Andy, Robert starts taunting him about his love life. He tries unsuccessfully to cause problems between Andy and his girlfriend Katie Addyman. In September, Robert and Andy go out for the night in Leeds with Katie, Donna, Ollie and Marc Reynolds, and Eve Birch. When Andy is refused entry to a nightclub, the teenagers miss their bus home and Andy steals a car to drive back. On their way back, they run over their headmistress Miss Strickland. Robert suggests they cover their tracks and burn the car. However, the truth eventually comes out. Marc is jailed and the other teenagers receive community service.
After Andy taunts him over not having a girlfriend, Robert loses his virginity to Nicola Blackstock, shortly after his sixteenth birthday. Nicola dumps him the following day when she invites him round to her house in order for him to discover her having sex with Syd Woolfe.
After leaving school, Robert gets a job working as a mechanic at Scott Windsor's garage. After having sex with her in the back of his car, Robert starts dating Scott's sister, Donna. Feeling he is in need of more excitement in his life, he also starts dating Elaine Marsden. However, Donna finds out about Robert and Elaine and dumps him. Robert continues to date Elaine, but in September 2003, he and Elaine are in a car accident while Robert is driving. Panicking, Robert flees the scene, leaving Elaine unconscious in the car. Robert manages to lie his way out of trouble as Elaine has no memory of how the accident happened. She later realizes the truth when she sees bruising from the seat belt across his chest, which suggests that Robert was driving, not her as Robert told everyone. In December 2003, Elaine and her family leave the village. Robert and Donna reconcile but Robert still wants excitement and begins an affair with Katie, now Andy's fiance. Robert and Katie are caught by Andy's half-brother, Daz Eden, in January 2004. Katie threatens Daz, telling him he will be put into care if he says anything. Daz tells Andy but Katie convinces him that Daz is lying and is too much for them to cope with so he is returned to foster care. Victoria also catches them together but Robert swears her to secrecy and Katie threatens her so she becomes too scared to talk and uses a puppet to speak through instead.
Feeling guilty, Katie ends the affair the day before her wedding to Andy in February 2004, leaving him devastated. However, they resume the affair after the wedding, despite Robert's reconciliation with Donna. They intend to run away together but Robert insists they tell Andy the truth when he finds Katie's farewell note, leaving him distraught. Donna is also devastated and feels betrayed by her boyfriend and best friend. The aftermath of the affair leads to Andy waiting in Robert's caravan with a shotgun, planning to kill them both. However, he accidentally shoots Jack instead, leaving him fighting for his life. Robert initially refuses to forgive Andy but when he realizes that he is responsible for the situation, they reconcile and embrace in the hospital. Jack survives the gunshot wound but disowns Andy and he returns alone to Butler's Farm. Robert also continues his relationship with Katie.
In early 2005, Robert proposes to Katie and she accepts, and the pair plan to marry later that year. However, Robert is seduced by Sadie King. Robert and Sadie have an affair but Daz sees them together and tells Andy who confronts Robert and attacks him. He tries to force Robert to tell Katie about his affair with Sadie but Robert insists that Andy is lying. Katie learns the truth when she finds erotic text messages on Robert's phone from Sadie. Katie ends the relationship and Andy comforts her, leading to them sleeping together. Robert vows to get revenge on Andy, and helps Jimmy King and Cain Dingle set fire to the barn at Butler's Farm. Robert sees Jimmy and Cain beat up Andy and stops them. Daz accidentally stabs Jimmy with a pitchfork while trying to protect Andy. Robert and Cain take Jimmy away and Jimmy's brother, Max, patches him up at the vets. However, the truth soon comes out and Jack throws Robert out, disowning him and calls him a traitor.
Robert and Andy's feud is reignited by this, leading Katie to leave the village in June 2005, so Robert starts dating Debbie Dingle, the mother of Andy's daughter, Sarah. Robert and Debbie plan to go to London, along with Max King who was leaving the village after poisoning cows belonging to the Briggs family for his father, Tom. However, on the day that they plan to leave in October 2005, Andy finds out about Robert and Debbie's plan and forces her to tell him where she is going to meet Robert, he goes there and confronts him, and they start fighting. Max is forced to separate them and Robert tells Debbie that he doesn't care about her and was only interested in her because of Sarah and wanted to hurt Andy by taking his daughter away. Debbie leaves and returns to the village, heartbroken. Max decides not to go with Robert and asks Andy to drive him to the railway station. Filled with rage, Robert turns the car round and accelerates, driving straight at Andy's Land Rover. Max panics and grabs hold of the steering wheel. The Land Rover goes off the road and rolls onto its roof. Robert stops and rescues Andy but the Land Rover explodes before he can rescue Max. Max is killed and Jack arrives just after the accident and Robert tells him what happened. Jack calls an ambulance and tells Robert to leave so he won't be arrested. Jack insists that Andy tell the police that he swerved to avoid a flock of sheep. Robert gets into his car and drives away. Robert is last seen at a service station, ordering some food and tells the waitress that he intends on travelling whichever direction his car is pointing.
2009: Jack's funeralEdit
Four years later, Robert returns on 10th February 2009, the day of his father's funeral, with his grandmother. Robert visits Butler's Farm, and meets Natasha Wylde, who is on her horse and thinks Robert is an intruder. He explains that his father's funeral is taking place and watches from a distance, and Andy sees him. Andy tries to persuade Robert to stay and run the farm, but Robert tells Andy that he doesn't belong there any more, before driving off. Robert returns to the cemetery after nightfall, and lays a rose upon it, before leaving. After they go to the grave to say a final farewell to Jack, Andy sees the rose and tells Victoria that if Robert could have been at the funeral, he would have come.
2014-2015: Return and affair with AaronEdit
Robert returns to Emmerdale on 23rd October 2014 with his fiancée Chrissie White and her family (father Lawrence and son Lachlan). The Whites plan to buy Home Farm. Robert runs into Andy and Katie while visiting the Farm. The two brothers clash immediately. Lawrence White also isn't to keen on his future son-in-law, so he tries to get Katie and Andy's help to get rid of Robert altogether. He even fakes a heart attack during the Sugdens' memorial for their mother. Robert tries to make himself look good by staging a raid at Home Farm, enlisting the help of Ross Barton and Aaron Livesy. It all goes wrong when Chrissie comes home early. Aaron and Ross manage to escape, but Lawrence ends up having a real heart attack. Chrissie notices that her mothers ring was stolen during the raid. So Robert confronts Aaron about it, who manages to get the ring back from Ross.
Soon after that, Robert finds out that Aaron is gay. After failing to reconnect with him after the raid, he claims to have broken down and calls for Aaron to help. Just when Aaron's about to leave, after he found out that there's nothing wrong the car, Robert makes a move on Aaron and the pair passionately kiss, but Robert pulls away before things can go any further. He returns home to Chrissie to make up with her, but goes to see Aaron later that night. They meet at the garage and Robert apologises for pulling away earlier and they have sex in the back of a car. They continue their affair.
Katie becomes sure he's having an affair, alienating herself from Andy as a result when Robert tries to warn her off by blowing up their caravan. Just as she's close to giving up, she gets a tip from Aaron, who wants to out Robert to force him to make a choice. On Robert's wedding day to Chrissie, Katie photographs Aaron and Robert kissing at Wylie's Farm after Aaron texted her to get there in order to finally discover the affair. Robert tells her to delete the photo. Robert and Katie argue. Katie threatens Robert with telling Chrissie, but Robert pushes Katie to the floor twice; the second time, the floor caves in and Katie is killed.
Later, Robert and Chrissie marry, and a few hours later, Andy finds Katie's body. Robert tries to help Andy, even stopping him from committing suicide, but also makes sure Aaron keeps quiet about their involvement in her death, telling Aaron that he and Katie had just been talking and she wouldn't have died if not for Aaron telling her to go to the farm. He and Aaron become estranged, but when he learns Aaron has returned to self-harm, he tells him a partial truth to put some of the blame for Katie on himself. Aaron beats him up, but they soon resume their affair, only splitting up again when Aaron realises he will always be second best in Robert's life.
After Chrissie refuses to pay Ross for a job he bungled, he tells her about the raid. A furious Chrissie throws Robert out of the house and begins divorce proceedings. Aaron, knowing he won't be able to resist Robert if he continues to be at the pub instead of Home Farm, tries to convince her to take him back. She nearly does, but then overhears him boasting about the plan to Aaron. She then locks Robert in a small building on the estate and threatens to set it on fire as he begs her to stop. Robert works with Lachlan to make it seem as if Robert has saved Lachlan from suicide. Chrissie decides to give Robert another chance.
In July, Aaron, sick of Paddy Kirk and Chas Dingle interfering in his life, restarts his affair with Robert. Paddy writes a note to warn Chrissie that Robert is a cheater, making her suspicious. A drunken Robert sees Paddy has fallen in a grain pit at Butler's Farm and turns the auger on, watching as the pit fills and Paddy is knocked unconscious after an attempt to escape sends him crashing to the bottom. Robert moves to save him, but goes to hide when Andy appears. Paddy accuses Robert of trying to kill him, but Robert keeps him quiet by threatening to kill Paddy's stepson, Leo Goskirk. He and Aaron continue their relationship, but after Aaron threatens to cut Paddy out of his life after more interference, Paddy tells him about what Robert's done, and suggests he also murdered Katie.
Chrissie discovers Robert's affair with Aaron, and tries to force him to sign divorce papers, offering to pay him if he does. Determined to ensure Robert doesn't try to change her mind, she tells Robert to sign the papers first. When he refuses, she douses his car in petrol. Robert continues to push Chrissie but is horrified when she does torch his car. He rushes to put out the fire, unknowingly missing the flames by gas canisters. The canisters fly into the air, striking a passing helicopter which was on its way to the Village Hall. The pilot attempts to land the helicopter in a field but underestimates the distance, subsequently crashing into the village hall, later causing the deaths of the pilot, Ruby Haswell and Val Pollard. Chrissie and Robert manage to save Adam Barton from a burning car shortly before it explodes, and Robert devises a plan to ensure they don't go down for the crime. However, Chrissie is suspected and arrested, but is found not guilty following a trial.
In September, Robert is shot near the heart by a mystery assailant during a heated argument with Chas Dingle. Robert barely makes it through surgery, and spends the next month in a coma as various suspects are arrested and released. When Aaron is caught on video hiding the murder weapon, he's arrested, and due to his being on remand, kept in prison. Robert wakes up soon after, frightened that the shooter is still out there, as he does not believe Aaron pulled the trigger. After being released from hospital and needing to recover, he moves in with Victoria, one of the few people to stick by him. Still doubting his guilt, Robert went to Aaron's plea hearing to find out the truth, telling Victoria he would be able to tell by looking him in the eye. When Aaron pleads not guilty, Robert goads Aaron to tell the truth, only for Aaron to lash out and say he should have done everyone a favour and died, leaving Robert shaken. Once Aaron was released from prison, Robert met with him where Aaron accused him of playing with his head and told him he hated him and nothing he could do would change that, leaving Robert hurt.
On New Year's Eve, Robert finds out Ross shot him as a result of his deal with Andy. Robert angrily confronts Ross with a gun until Debbie and Andy walk in. Robert tells Debbie what Ross did and she decides to leave the village the next day with the kids, leaving Andy and Ross devastated. Andy angrily confronts Robert, telling him he wins again. Robert, who had only wanted to get revenge on Ross, didn't think Andy would lose his kids as a result and feels guilty.
2016: Aaron's abuse and Hotten Bypass pile-upEdit
In January 2016, noticing that Aaron is feeling under pressure, Robert learns he is running away after learning about his parents Gordon and Chas reconciliation by reading the note left by Aaron. He chases and confronts Aaron when he is trying to get into a car to escape. Aaron collapses in Robert's arms and Robert anxiously rushes him to the hospital. Aaron develops sepsis, an infection in his self-harm wound. Robert tries to get through to Aaron to find out why he is self-harming again and Aaron lets slip that it is because of his father. Aaron soon goes missing from his ward. Robert then finds Aaron hiding in Debbie's house shortly after. Robert is shocked when breaks down and reveals to him that Gordon raped him as a child. The next day, Robert comes face to face with Gordon in the pub. Still left disgusted following Aaron's confession, Robert furiously told Gordon he knows what he did to Aaron and threatening him to leave town or he will finish him off.
In February 2016, Robert is worried for Aaron after learning from Adam that Chas has kicked him out. He goes to the pub and tells Chas that Aaron is in an exceptionally bad state and that she needs to talk to him. After speaking to Cain, Chas visits him, he tells her that Aaron has been cutting himself because of Gordon but refused to tell her what Gordon did to Aaron. Later, Robert finds out that Aaron has finally told Chas about his sexual abuse but Aaron still refused to go to the police. However, after encouragement from the family, Aaron works up the courage to report Gordon, later taking time away to collect his thoughts. Chas enlists Robert's help to speed things up but grows impatient and vandalises Gordon's car by spraying "Paedo" on it. Robert explains that this is not helping and takes her home. Robert manages to track down Aaron's stepmother Sandra Livesy who has changed her surname to Flaherty, in an attempt to get Sandra to help. Arriving there, Aaron needs some time to pluck up the courage to say what he needs so he and Robert talk a walk which leads to them reconnecting, but they agree to take things slow. A young thief tries to make off with Aaron's wallet and Robert gives chase, resulting in him taking a knee to the groin, later learning that the thief is Aaron's half-sister Liv Flaherty. Robert and Aaron are shocked when Sandra refuses to help, as it prevents the case from making it to court.
The next day, the police inform Aaron that another male victim has come forward, which is later revealed to be a man Robert had paid. After Gordon accuses Chas of paying Ryan, Robert confesses to Chas. Two days later, Ryan arrives at the pub to see Robert - he wants out of the deal but Robert explains he is helping to put Gordon in jail. Aaron walks in as Robert pays Ryan. Robert tries to lie to Aaron about Ryan but is forced to admit Ryan is the second 'victim'. Hours later, Chas confesses to Aaron that Robert has paid Ryan to lie to the police. Robert tries to explain to Aaron that he did it for him get justice, but Aaron is left upset and furious. Aaron tells him if the case falls apart, he will blame it on him. A couple of weeks later, Robert goes to Gordon's plea hearing to support Aaron. Gordon turns up, pretends to be ill and then collapses as Aaron, Robert, Lisa, Belle and Chas watch in horror.
Whilst this is going on, Robert learns that Chrissie has begun a relationship with his brother Andy. This riles Robert, but also irritates Aaron as Robert's attention is elsewhere when he needs him the most. A week later, Aaron tells Robert not to go to the trial but the next day, Robert went to court and he stood as a witness. Robert insisted Aaron wouldn't lie about something of this magnitude and admits to court of his feelings for him. The next day, Robert arrived at court again to support Aaron and watched Gordon and Liv take to the stand. Later, Robert tells Aaron he is over Andy and Chrissie and he is changed man. While they are alone, Robert insists to Aaron that he will keep trying to be better. Aaron wants to be able to trust Robert again. Robert promises he will not let Aaron down and they share a tender kiss. The next day, Gordon found guilty of rape by the jury. At the village, Robert comforts Aaron who is worried that Gordon going to prison won't help him to forget what he did but Robert encourages him to be happy.
After the first night he stays over at The Woolpack, Chas is elated to see him at breakfast the following morning, and him and Aaron discuss taking a trip somewhere to get away from it all. He later turns up with two tickets for them to go to Barcelona for the weekend and is disheartened when they can't go due to Liv turning up, wanting to stay at the Woolpack with Aaron.
When Pete Barton is released from prison, he gives Robert a letter to Aaron from Gordon. Robert tells Adam about the letter and he suggests that Robert gives it to Aaron. However, Robert burns the letter after Aaron says he wants nothing more to do with Gordon. Robert discovers Liv has skipped school to go to Gordon's sentencing and he goes to court to find her. Robert also calls Aaron, who turns up and decides to stay to see Gordon receive a sentence of 18 years imprisonment. Robert panics when Gordon tells Aaron about the letter, and quickly rushes Aaron and Liv out of court. Later, Aaron asked about the letter but Robert told him Gordon was lying, but this doesn't stop Aaron from discovering Robert had gotten rid of Gordon's letter. Aaron and Liv are informed that Gordon was found dead in his prison cell and Aaron blames Robert for not giving him the letter, in which Gordon had admitted his intention to commit suicide. Aaron, Chas and Cain believe Robert was involved in Gordon's death, but DS Wise informs them that Gordon had hung himself. Aaron apologises to Robert, who explains that he was trying to protect him. The next day, Aaron and Liv are surprised to learn Gordon had left them £250,000 each in his will. Robert and Charity talk about Aaron's decision to walk away from Gordon's money, unaware that Aaron was listening. Aaron walks in and angrily confronts Robert, calling him manipulative and controlling. Robert tried to apologise but Aaron refused to listen, telling Robert that he will never change and orders him to stay away from him. Devastated, Robert leaves, however the next day, Robert went to see Aaron, telling him he'll never stop looking out for him and Liv. He asserts that the inheritance will be useful for Liv's future and Aaron also convinces Liv to accept her share.
A couple of weeks later, Liv accused Robert of sending cruel messages posing as Gordon. Robert denied it, upset that she thought he'd want to hurt her like that. They attended Gordon's funeral but unable to handle it, Liv ran off and Robert went after her. Robert tells Liv about how he watched his own dad's funeral from a distance and gently tells her it's OK to be sad. They finally bond and agree to get on for Aaron's sake. Later, at the pub, Robert was arrested for perverting the course of justice after Liv convinced Ryan to go to the police about Robert paying him. Liv tells Aaron she tried to call off the deal but it was too late. The next day, Robert returned and admits to Aaron that his fears about going to prison and wonders who got Ryan to tell the police, quickly realising it was Liv. Robert is furious to learn Aaron already knew and Aaron tried to explain that he only found out after Robert was arrested. Robert left upset, reasoning that Aaron had effectively chose Liv over him. Robert later found out Liv had left when Aaron was not around. When he found her, Liv later explained that she tried to stop Ryan from going to the police, but it was too late. Robert told her he might go to prison but he attributed that to the karma for his wrongdoings.
In July 2016, Aaron asked Robert to move in with him and soon after, Robert revealed to Aaron the truth about who shot him. In the weeks following Andy's arrest for Lawrence's shooting, Robert vowed to help his brother out. With Rakesh's help, Andy escaped from prison and he is rescued by Robert who finds him after a bitter confrontation with Chrissie who framed him out of revenge. Andy feels he has no choice but to go on the run, so Robert brings Andy a fake passport and family photos. The two brothers finally put their differences aside and fighting back tears, they embrace and Robert watches his brother drive away for good.
Robert wants to commit to Aaron and asks Paddy for his blessing. Although Paddy isn't happy about it, he agrees not to interfere with their relationship. After overhearing a conversation between Robert and his former sister-in-law Rebecca White, Lachlan spitefully tells Aaron about Robert's fling which occurred years before. This leads to a heated discussion between the couple in which Robert finally admits he is bisexual. Leaving Lachlan in the boot of Aaron's car, they take a walk through a nearby forest where Robert opens up about his relationship with Jack, and how his father caught him with a boy when he was 15. Robert insists Jack didn't want a son like him so he buried his feelings, but now he just wants to be himself. They share a tender kiss and Robert is about to propose before remembering he left the ring in the car. While driving, another heated discussion leads to Robert blurting out that he was going to propose. At this point, they are rapidly approaching the huge Hotten Bypass car pile-up and so Aaron swerves to the left, crashing into a water filled quarry. Robert manages to save Aaron from the submerged car but he is taken to hospital where he is taken into surgery. Robert heads back to the quarry to retrieve the ring. As Robert, Chas and Liv keep vigil at his bedside, Aaron comes round and accepts Robert's proposal.
Robert and Aaron prepare for Lachlan's plea hearing, discussing the possibility of finally clearing Andy's name. Robert reiterates that even though his underhand tactics against Chrissie may not be agreeable, all he really wants is to get Andy home. Back at the pub, Aaron informs Robert that Lachlan pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. The next day, things are still tense between them and Charity and Chas moan about the couple's constant bickering as well as how overcrowded the pub is, which prompts Liv to ask Aaron and Robert why they can't get their own place. Robert learns that The Mill is up for auction. Liv offers to chip in using her inheritance but Aaron flat out refuses to use Gordon's money. Robert tells Aaron that having some security is just what Liv needs and the move would be good for them all.
2016-2017: Revenge on the Whites & Becoming a Father Edit
Robert attends Lachlan's trial with Diane, Victoria and Bernice where they express their disgust at Chrissie for not admitting to framing Andy and letting her son take the fall for everything. Lachlan is acquitted of attempted murder but the judge reminds the teen that he had already pleaded guilty to perjury and is therefore remanded in custody until his sentencing, leaving the Whites in shock and the Sugdens delighted with the result.
Following a suggestion from Charity, Robert and Aaron decide to have a secret wedding in Vegas. However, the next day, Robert is celebrating a business deal with Rebecca when Aaron bursts in. Fed up with his insecurity and jealousy, this leads to a heated argument between the pair, after which Robert tells Aaron he can't do this anymore and removes his engagement ring. Later that night, after a chat with Vic, Robert tells Aaron he doesn't want to give up on them but they are interrupted by the police. To Robert's dismay, Aaron is arrested for attacking Kasim. The next day, Robert is angry to learn it was Finn who called the police on Aaron. Aaron is released on bail and offers Robert the chance to walk away for good but Robert promises to stick by him. Robert admits to Chas about his and Aaron's plans to elope before Aaron got arrested. Later, Aaron returns from the police station after giving a second interview and informs Robert of his impending court date. Robert promises to support him no matter what happens. Their argument from before is forgotten about and they make up.
Robert is concerned about Aaron when he suffers a panic attack brought on by stress of his upcoming trial. After confiding in Chas, Robert wants to make sure Aaron and Liv feel more secure and decides he wants to marry Aaron the next day. The next morning, with the help of his family, Liv and the rest of the Dingles, Robert sets up the wedding in the Woolpack. Aaron is thrilled when Robert springs the surprise on him but just as the service gets underway, the police turn up looking for Faith. Upset, Robert walks off and Aaron follows him to the garage. Robert laments that he wanted this day to be perfect but Aaron assures him it doesn't matter and produces the rings. They exchange their vows in private and then return to the pub where they are congratulated by their family and friends. Later that night, Aaron slips away from the party and apologises to Robert for messing up and having to leave him; Robert understands Aaron's fears and gently assures him however long he's gone for, it'll pass and he'll wait for him. The next day, Aaron is sentenced to 12 months in prison. Robert is devastated and swears to appeal. Paddy soon comes to see him and the two men finally reach an understanding over their mutual love for Aaron. When Liv later asks Robert if he's going to send her away to her mum in Ireland, Robert gently assures her she's not going anywhere and hugs her close.
Robert visits Aaron in prison where the pair struggle to hide their feelings for each other. They make small talk and Robert gently squeezes Aaron's leg under the table which is unfortunately seen by Aaron's homophobic inmate Jason. The next day, Robert is dismayed to learn from Chas that the other inmates worked out Aaron's sexuality after their intimate moment was spotted. Robert visits Aaron again and apologises for the trouble he caused but Aaron assures him he's fine. Later that evening Robert reports back to Chas that Aaron seems to be handling things and per his advice, tells her to visit Sarah in Prague assuring his mother in law he can handle things while she's away.
Robert is furious to discover someone has vandalised The Mill with cruel slurs about Aaron. After some coercion from Vic, Robert admits he's been spending his nights on the Woolpack sofa because he can't face sleeping in the bed without Aaron. Vic advises her brother to share his problems with Aaron when he calls. Later, Liv and Robert get a phone call from Aaron but Robert finds himself unable to open up. The next day, after taking Liv to visit Aaron, Robert is worried when Paddy tells him that Aaron has been fighting and that an argument occurred between the two siblings. Robert gently tries to get Liv to open up to him but she assures him everything's fine.
Robert learns that a date has been set for Aaron's appeal but his good mood soon disappears when the school sends him a fine for Liv's frequent truancy. The next day, Robert admits to Adam and Victoria he is feeling increasingly out of his depth and is at a loss when Liv is expelled for coming to Gabby's defence and punching another student. Rebecca offers to look after her while Robert visits Aaron in prison. Later, Robert returns extremely agitated about not being allowed to see Aaron due to an "incident". Robert is shocked and angry when Liv admits to him that Aaron has been taking drugs. He goes to the prison to seek answers and is dismayed by Aaron's attitude. He tries to remind Aaron of their future with Liv but is met with indifference. Thinking his marriage is over, Robert downs a bottle of whiskey before trashing The Mill and texts Rebecca to come over. After initially rebuffing Robert's drunken attempt to kiss her, they fall into bed together. The next day, Rebecca comes to find Robert; he tells her he made a mistake and begs her not to tell Aaron. Furious, Rebecca threatens to do as she pleases. Later, Robert confesses his infidelity to Chas who slaps him before going to Home Farm and doing the same to Rebecca, warning her to stay away from Aaron.
Robert and Chas learn that Aaron's appeal has been successful and he will be released in a few weeks. They head to prison together and after Aaron apologises for the way he spoke to him during his last visit, Robert steels himself to confess about Rebecca but Chas suddenly interjects, saying he only trashed the new flat. Back at the pub, Chas tells Robert she only covered for him for Aaron's sake and warns him to make sure Rebecca doesn't say anything. When Liv learns Sandra has been injured while on holiday, Chas offers to take her abroad to see her. Robert pays for their flights and accommodation but before she departs, Chas asks him to look after Aaron, warning him if he hurts her son, she will reveal all about Rebecca.
The following week, Robert goes to collect Aaron. After waiting nervously outside the prison gates, they are reunited and share an emotional embrace. Back at the village, Rebecca gatecrashes Aaron and Sarah's coming home party and Robert is anxious when he sees her talking to Aaron who then quickly makes a sharp exit. Fearing Rebecca has told Aaron what happened between them, Robert follows Aaron outside and discovers him having a panic attack. He tries to comfort him but is shocked when Aaron suddenly punches him in the face. Robert starts to apologise and is confused when Aaron says sorry for hitting him. They head to the Mill together and Robert is devastated to learn about what happened to Aaron when he was in prison and the effect Gordon still has on him. Robert gently assures Aaron he'll get through this and promises to get him help for his problems.
When Aaron is upset about not being able to support Liv, Robert decides to take him on a picnic to cheer him up. They have a great time together but on the way back to the village they are shocked to overhear Rebecca is pregnant. Panicking that it may be his, Robert later seeks her out and is distraught when she tells him he's the father. He soon regains his composure, demanding Rebecca to have an abortion and threatens her not to say a word to Aaron. Later, he supports Aaron at his first counselling session. The next day, Robert meets Rebecca outside the abortion clinic and is frustrated when she tells him she has to wait another month before anything can be done. Ross witnesses their confrontation and deducing the situation, blackmails Robert for £5000 to keep his silence. Panicking, Robert suggests to Aaron that they leave for a while to visit Chas and Liv.
Robert and Aaron return a month later and move into the Mill. During an intimate moment, Robert finally breaks down and confesses everything to Aaron, leaving him devastated. Reeling from the betrayal, Aaron removes his ring and orders Robert to leave. Later that evening, Aaron asks Robert to come back to the house so they can talk and they agree to start again. However, they are left reeling when they learn Rebecca is still pregnant having decided against the abortion. The next day, Chrissie informs Robert that Rebecca has left the village and Robert is satisfied its for the best.
Robert and Aaron are unsettled when Rebecca returns to the village and announces she'll be staying with Victoria. A few weeks later, Aaron despondently tells Robert he can't deal with things anymore, ending their relationship and hands back his wedding ring, leaving Robert heartbroken. In the aftermath of his split from Aaron, Robert decides to take revenge on the Whites and seize Home Farm for himself.
Robert is distraught when he finds Liv unconscious after drinking from Lawrence's spiked brandy. He rushes her to hospital and admits to Aaron what happened. Aaron is furious and threatens to kill Robert if she doesn't pull through, leaving him shaken. Liv recovers quickly and sets Aaron up on a date with a handsome doctor as Robert watches on heartbroken. Unable to deal with Aaron seemingly moving on with his life, Robert steps up his revenge against the Whites by pretending to bond with Lawrence, getting him drunk and tricking him into believing they slept together, leaving his former father in law horrified. In exchange for Robert's silence, Lawrence agrees to meet an investor called Kath who is actually an actor hired by Robert.
When Tim Richards turns up demanding money, Robert sees an opportunity to ingratiate himself to the Whites. He instructs Tim to drive full speed at Chrissie and pulls her to safety just in time. Later, Robert pays Tim off to disappear for good but tells Lawrence that he murdered him in order to protect the family. Lawrence though horrified, is extremely grateful for Robert's help, and covers for him when the police ask questions, playing right into Robert's hands. To his surprise, Lawrence finds himself falling for his former son in law. Robert continues to manipulate Lawrence's feelings for him and a seething Lachlan walks in as they are about to kiss. Frustrated, Lawrence throws his grandson out, leaving Robert gloating. Robert overhears Lachlan threatening to kill Lawrence while he's passed out on the sofa and confronts him, believing he now has leverage over the unstable teen. However the next day, Lachlan lures Robert out of the village and menacingly threatens to kill him unless he starts showing him respect, leaving Robert shaken.
Lawrence asks Robert to meet him in Hotten on the pretence of a business meeting. Robert arrives at the hotel and is horrified when his former father in law admits it is ruse and expresses his wish to sleep with him. Robert is saved from his advances when Vic phones to tell him Rebecca has gone into labour. They arrive at the hospital in time to see Rebecca give birth to a healthy baby boy. Robert instantly falls in love with his son. Filled with shame and remorse for his behaviour over the past few months, Robert plans to leave the village. The next day, Aaron finds him at the scrapyard packing his things. The two men have a heart to heart and Robert comes clean about his schemes as well as his belief that his son would be better off without him. Gutted by his husband's admission, Aaron shames Robert for intending to abandon his child which ultimately gives him the incentive to step up. Robert returns to Home Farm and shares a tender moment alone with his son, promising to be the best dad he can be. Lachlan seethes when Lawrence offers Robert 10% shares of Home Farm and warns his former stepfather he's going to destroy him, leaving Robert feeling uneasy.
Robert is left shaken when Rebecca confronts him about his Rug Tree Bonds scam. He begs for forgiveness, telling her that being a father has changed him. Rebecca orders him to sign back his shares to the company and bans him from ever seeing Seb again, leaving Robert broken. When Lachlan sets Robert up to make it look as though he had kidnapped Seb, Rebecca snaps and tells a shocked Chrissie and Lawrence about Robert's schemes. When they confront him, Robert admits the truth regarding the set up with Tim and the fact he didn’t sleep with Lawrence. Robert is devastated when Chrissie informs him Rebecca has left the village with Seb. On Christmas Eve, Robert attempts to reason with the Whites and asks them to pass on some presents to Seb but they give him the cold shoulder. Later, Robert struggles as Aaron enjoys a date with Alex and after making a fool of himself in the pub he stumbles out into the night where he is accidentally knocked down by Lawrence. Robert wakes up in hospital and after taking a long hard look at himself, he makes the heartbreaking decision to finally let go of Aaron and focus on being a good dad to Seb. Rebecca, who had sneaked back into the village with Seb on Christmas Eve, stands by her decision not to allow Robert access to his son.
2018: Reunion and Wedding to Aaron, Lachlan’s Killer Secret and Surrogacy PlansEdit
Robert becomes increasingly suspicious of the Whites and hires an investigator to see what they are hiding from him. He is furious to learn that they are secretly planning on emigrating to Australia with Seb. With Victoria's help, Robert manages to snatch his son back and drives away but the Whites quickly give chase. However, events take a devastating turn when Lachlan finally snaps and grabs the steering wheel, swerving them into a head on collision with a lorry. Robert immediately stops and calls the emergency services but both Lawrence and Chrissie die from their injuries. Rebecca is rushed to hospital after losing blood and is put into an induced coma while Lachlan walks away relatively unscathed.
Robert struggles with his duties as a full-time dad as Rebecca recovers in hospital. Aaron supports him by offering to look after Seb and a highly charged moment between them on Valentine's Day almost results in a kiss leaving Robert hopeful that they could try again but his hopes are dashed after seeing Alex seemingly move in with Aaron on what would have been their wedding anniversary, so Robert decides he needs to move on and heads out to a gay bar with Vic and a group of women from the village. However, when Aaron turns up, Robert abruptly leaves and heads back to the village. Aaron finds him at the garage reminiscing about their wedding day and tells Robert he broke up with Alex because he couldn’t deny his feelings anymore. They reflect on everything that's happened in the past year, how Aaron's feelings towards Seb have changed and he wants a chance to prove it. Robert is overwhelmed but he rejects Aaron, fearing he’ll lose him again. Undeterred, Aaron tells Robert he knows how much he has changed and wants to be with him. Unable to deny their feelings any longer, the two men finally reconcile and share a passionate embrace. The next day, Robert and Liv have a much needed heart to heart and she welcomes him back to the family.
Robert moved back into Mill Cottage with Aaron and Liv. Shortly after, Rebecca was diagnosed with Executive Dysfunction as a result of her injuries from the crash and she asked Robert and Aaron to look after Seb full-time. When Aaron was kidnapped for ransom by Syd McFarlane, Robert sold his shares in Home James to Joe Tate as well as Mill Cottage in order to raise the funds and ensure his husband's safety. However, the next day when a gloating Joe brought over the contracts for him to sign, Robert defiantly ripped up the one for The Mill and agreed to work as an employee for Jimmy King until he found a way to win back his shares in the business.
Liv is sentenced to serve time in a youth detention facility after accidentally spiking Lisa with ketamine. Robert and Aaron are unable to appeal and soon discover that prior to her sentencing, Liv had been hiding the fact she’d become increasingly dependent on alcohol to cope. Aaron tried blaming himself but Robert assured him it wasn’t his fault and is determined to help Liv. A few weeks later, Robert and Aaron welcome Liv home from the detention facility and they promised to get through things as a family.
Lachlan sabotaged the boiler at Mill Cottage, exposing carbon monoxide fumes and leaving Robert and Liv to die but they were saved just in time by Aaron. While Liv was adamant that Lachlan was to blame for what happened, due to having a heated exchange with him prior to the incident, Robert and Aaron are unconvinced. Robert and Aaron got engaged for a second time after they proposed to each other at the lay-by where they shared their first kiss and Robert asked Aaron if he would like to adopt Seb once they are married and Aaron agreed.
Robert was shaken to discover that Lachlan caused the crash that killed Lawrence and Chrissie as well as the death of Gerry Roberts and the carbon monoxide leak at Mill Cottage. After listening to his former stepson confess his crimes, a struggle ensued and an armed Lachlan drove away with Belle. Robert and Ross headed off in pursuit but Belle, who had managed to escape, got hit by Robert's car. Armed police arrived at the scene and Lachlan was taken into custody but not before hinting he knew where Rebecca was, leaving Robert concerned for her welfare. After demanding her location from Lachlan, Robert was relieved when Rebecca returned to the village after enduring weeks of captivity at the hands of her deranged nephew but for Seb's safety, he urged her to recover from her ordeal before spending time alone with their son.
Robert supported Aaron following the death of his baby sister Grace Dingle, and a few days later, they got married in a romantic outdoor ceremony surrounded by their family and friends. At the reception, several emotional toasts were made to the young couple and after the celebrations, the newlyweds headed off on their honeymoon. A few weeks later, Rebecca announced her intention to move to Liverpool with Ross and Seb. Furious, Robert and Aaron refused to hand Seb over, stating he was better off with them and Rebecca reluctantly backed out of her plans but after seeing how unhappy she was, Robert made the heartbreaking decision to let his son go. After Aaron refused to bring Seb back to Liverpool following a visit, Rebecca decided to restrict their access, leaving both men distraught but determined to take the matter to court. However, the situation with Rebecca was soon amenably resolved and Robert, who a few weeks previously, had been unenthusiastic about having more children, told Aaron he was ready and they decided to look into surrogacy.
Robert did not have much of a relationship with Pat due to her death in a car accident when he was only four months old.
Sarah came into Robert's life when he was two years old and was very close to her and came to consider her his mother.
Robert and Jack were quite close, especially after Jackie's death in 1989. However, when the Sugdens adopted Robert's friend Andy Hopwood, Robert began to become estranged from his family. When Robert's adopted mother Sarah Sugden was killed unintentionally in a barn fire started by Andy, Robert began to change for the worse. He became rebellious and a feud began between as Robert has sought revenge. As a consequence, Robert's relationship with Jack became estranged, having been disowned by his father numerous times prior to Robert's departure in 2005. Robert returned for Jack's funeral in 2009 choosing to staying out of sight, until Andy spotted him and begged him to come home but Robert refused.
During his teen years, Robert helped his father out on the farm. He later became a mechanic and worked for Scott Windsor. He currently works for the company he previously owned, Home James Haulage which operates from the same office as his husband's company Holey Scrap.
|Mechanic||Windsors||2003 to 2003|
|Co-Owner||Windsor & Dingle||2004 to 2nd October 2005|
|Estate Manager||Home Farm Estate||Late 2014 to Mid 2016|
|Investor||Holey Scrap||Early 2015 to present|
|Co-Owner||Home James Haulage||Early 2016 to 5th April 2018|
|Estate Manager||Home Farm Estate||Mid 2017 to late 2017|
|Employee||Home James Haulage||5th April 2018 to present|
|Emmerdale Farm||22nd April 1986 to Mid 1993|
|Hawthorn Cottage||Mid 1993 to late 1993|
|Emmerdale Farm||Late 1993 to 2nd January 1997|
|Tenant House||7th January 1997 to 1997|
|Melby Farm||1997 to 2001|
|Tenant House||2001 to 2nd October 2005|
|Home Farm||November 2014 to 2015|
|Victoria Cottage||2015 to 19th July 2016|
|The Woolpack||21st July 2016 to 2017|
|Flat 1, Mill Cottage||2017 to present|
- Christopher Smith was axed from the role of Robert in May 2001 after twelve years as a result of ITV wanting an older actor cast in order to involve the character in more adult storylines. Karl Davies was subsequently cast in the role, and as a result, Christopher sued Yorkshire Television for unfair dismissal.
- In October 2005, Karl Davies was also axed from the role of Robert. Charlie Kemp had quit the role of Max King, and producers decided to write out Robert as well.
- In September 2014 it was confirmed that Robert would be returning but not played by Davies. It was revealed that the role had been recast, with Ryan Hawley taking over.
"Yeah, no problem, thanks. Lived here all me life." - First line spoken by Karl Davies as Robert.
"Why don't you just get back to your pathetic little farm, Andy? Where are you gonna be in ten years, eh? Twenty years? Scratching about for a living on your own except for your half dozen kids by as many thick girls, who are still too smart to put up with you for the rest of their life. You might as well top yourself now, save hanging round." - To Andy Sugden after a fight.
"I'll never forget you." - Final line spoken by Karl Davies as Robert, as he places a rose on his dad's grave.
"Hey, don't get cold feet, you'll make me think I fell for a quitter" (To Aaron Dingle when Robert lets slip that he's fallen for him)
"You're not going anywhere!" - to Katie Sugden before pushing her through rotten floorboards.
"What is it about you, me and country roads, eh?" - to Andy after he rescues him.
"I’ve missed you, Mr Sugden." - to Aaron when they reunite in February 2018.