Lady Tremaine is first introduced when Cinderella's father, a wealthy widower, felt that she needed a mother figure. He married the widowed Lady Tremaine. She was described as a woman of good family who had two preteen daughters the same age as Cinderella: Drizella (the older stepsister) and Anastasia (the younger stepsister). Both were rather plain and socially awkward (although Anastasia is reformed in Cinderella II: Dreams Come True). She also owned a very stubborn, malicious cat named Lucifer, who was just like her in terms of personality. Lady Tremaine was a bitter, cruel, and selfish woman determined to forward her own interests as well as that of her daughters. She was openly jealous of the kind and beautiful Cinderella, who was hampered and abused by her stepfamily until she became a maid in her own household.
Cold, ruthless, and calculating, Lady Tremaine's primary role as antagonist is simple: to oppress Cinderella and shatter her dream of a happily ever after. Throughout the film, Lady Tremaine repeatedly tries to keep Cinderella as downtrodden as possible and will stop at nothing to prevent her from being happy.
She made her second appearance in the direct-to-video 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.
Her latest appearance was in the second direct-to-video Cinderella sequel, Cinderella III: A Twist in Time (once again voiced by Blakeslee). This time, she manages to get a hold of the Fairy Godmother's wand because Anastasia brought it to her. Lady Tremaine then uses the wand to reverse time so that the slipper fits Anastasia. The Prince realizes that Anastasia is the wrong girl, but Lady Tremaine makes him forget about Cinderella and marry Anastasia. Cinderella tries to steal the wand, but in the end Lady Tremaine catches Cinderella and tries to ship her away. At the same time, Drizella (but not the not-so-wicked and sympathetic Anastasia) taunts Cinderella for being shipped out of the kingdom. The mice tell the Prince the truth. The prince saves Cinderella from shipping away. Lady Tremaine then uses the wand to turn Anastasia into a clone of Cinderella, and puts Cinderella onto an evil pumpkin carriage with Lucifer as the coachman. In the end Cinderella stops the wedding, and Lady Tremaine and Drizella are turned into toads when the wand's magic is reflected off the prince's sword. Lady Tremaine intended to turn both Cinderella and Anastasia into toads, on the suggestion of Drizella, after Anastasia said "I don't" when she should have been saying "I do" (Anastasia did this especially for unselfish reasons). Anastasia told her mother that she wanted someone to love her for her when her mother was angry at her refusal. After the end credits, Lady Tremaine and Drizella are shown to be returned to their true forms but, as punishment, are wearing work clothes identical to those Cinderella used to wear; the implication is that they will be working in the palace as servants.
Aside from the films, Lady Tremaine has also made various appearances on the Disney Channel series House of Mouse; she frequently shares a table with another famous wicked stepmother, the Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Again, in these appearances, she is voiced by Susan Blakeslee.
The Grimm brothers wrote Cinderella in 1857. In their story, Cinderella is the only character with a name. Lady Tremaine exists in the Disney version. Grimms' story explains that after her mother died, Cinderella was forced to lived with her evil stepmother and stepsisters. Unlike the Disney version, Cinderella's animal friends are strictly birds. Also, there is no fairy godmother in the Grimm version. It is only her animal friends that help her get ready for the festival, which was not just a one night event. The Grimm brothers gave Cinderella gold slippers and Disney gave her glass slippers.
In the book "My Side of the Story", the opposite perspective of Cinderella is told by Lady Tremaine.
The rumor that Cinderella's stepfamily tore her lovely dress to shreds so she couldn't go to the ball? According to her stepmother, they were only trying to save Cinderella a lifetime of embarrassment at her fashion faux pas and gently suggesting that she stay at home. (Lady Tremaine says the gown actually looked like it had been sewn together by rodents!)"