Tina Kennard

Last updated
Tina Porter-Kennard
First appearancePilot (episode 1.01)
Last appearanceLast Word (episode 6.08)
Created by Ilene Chaiken
Portrayed by Laurel Holloman
In-universe information
OccupationChief Development Executive for Peabody-Shaolin Film Studios
FamilyLovers = Bette Porter (wife),Eric, Helena Peabody, Henry Young, Brenda, Carrie
= Children = Angelica Porter-Kennard (biological daughter)
unborn baby boy (miscarried)

Tina Porter-Kennard is a fictional character on the Showtime television network series The L Word and The L Word: Generation Q , shown nationally in the United States. She is played by American actress and painter Laurel Holloman. Tina lives in Los Angeles, California, and mostly hangs out in West Hollywood. She is the mother of Angelica Porter-Kennard and initially the life partner of Bette Porter. After she and Bette break up, the two become on-again-off-again lovers for the rest of the series, and eventually marry and divorce between the events of The L Word and Generation Q. Then reconnect and remarry in the third and final season of Generation Q.



Back Story

In the context of the six seasons of The L Word very little is said about Tina's background and nothing at all is revealed about her family. Only in the interrogation tapes, released online after the airing of the final episode of season 6, does Tina reveal some 'truths' about her upbringing. As a child, Tina and her two siblings were abruptly moved to Atlanta, Georgia by her mother when Tina's politician father refused to end his extramarital affair.

Tina's first sexual relationship was an abusive one - her older sister molested her for three years when they were children. Her sister later became a born-again Christian to deny her own homosexuality, while hypocritically shunning Tina for being bisexual. Tina kept her abuse history secret from everyone, including Bette, and only confessed it to interrogating police officers after Jenny Schecter's death. [1]

Prior to meeting Bette, Tina lived largely as a straight woman and had a few relationships, along with two abortions in her early twenties.

Bette and Tina met when Tina's then-boyfriend Eric took her to the Bette Porter Gallery, where the two instantly became attracted to one another. Bette noticed Tina's right earring had fallen off. Despite the fact that Bette returned it to her, Tina left her earring at Bette's gallery so she could come back and get it later. Bette had kept it for her. While Tina was picking it from her hand, Bette kissed her. Shortly after, Tina left Eric to begin a relationship with Bette.

Season 1

At the beginning of the first season, having been a couple for seven years, Tina and Bette are in the process searching for a sperm donor so that Tina can be artificially inseminated. After a successful insemination, Tina conceives, but suffers a miscarriage before she is even showing. This event is very traumatic for Tina, who finds comfort in working for a charity organization. Though she finds fulfillment there, her new career drives her further away from Bette. Bette then feeling more and more incapable to communicate with Tina, starts an affair with a carpenter Candace Jewell. Tina eventually finds out, and in the ensuing fight, they have violent break-up sex. [2] [3] After that Tina leaves Bette and moves with Alice.

Season 2

During the second season, Tina lives with Alice, and under her advice, decides to seek legal advice over her separation from Bette. Tina gets into contact with Joyce Wischnia (Jane Lynch), a gay civil rights lawyer who eventually makes a sexual pass at her. Tina then learns that Joyce is known in the lesbian community for sleeping with her clients, and ends their association. It is then revealed that Tina secretly inseminated herself before she learned of Bette's affair, and is now several months pregnant. She initially had kept it secret fearing another miscarriage and not wanting Bette to suffer again. Tina hides her expanding body with loose clothes. After refusing Joyce's avances, Tina returns to live in her former house (sleeping in the guest room). She has a dinner with Bette and plans to tell her then about the pregnancy, but is derailed when Bette begins dominating the conversation with discussions of her work problems. After her charity organisation is granted money from the Peabody Foundation, Tina begins a relationship with Helena Peabody. It is Helena who reveals Tina's condition to Bette, and the two are shown as having a rivalry for Tina's affections. Helena's promiscuity and possessiveness and Bette's changing and calmer attitude towards Tina, bring her back towards Bette, who in turn is reaching out to her over the loss of her father Melvin. Though Tina experiences a difficult and traumatic labour, her baby girl Angelica is delivered safely, and at the end of the season it is revealed that she plans to move back in with Bette and raise their baby together.

Season 3

The third season is set six months after Angelica's birth, in which Tina and Bette are shown suffering more marital strife (including Bette losing her job at the CAC, and showing little interest in finding a new one). The couple appears to be more distant than ever; Bette seeks partner support from an overwhelmed Tina, who starts looking for the protection Bette cannot give her outside the home. Helena Peabody has just bought a movie studio, and offers Tina the chief development executive position.

Tina says to have rediscovered her attraction for men. Because of this revelation, Bette tells her to explore those feelings. Their relationship become more and more difficult though, for Bette's difficulty to find a new job that might suit her and for a social worker who does not accept their life choices, Tina (who has already had an online fling and also an attempt at fulfilling her interest with a male movie producer) meets Henry Young (Steven Eckholdt), a divorced man with one son, Mikey. While the problems with Bette keep growing, Tina seeing no future with Bette, starts first an affair and then a relationship with Henry. As Tina and Henry continue settling in, Bette decides to visit Joyce in order to obtain full custody of Angelica. Later on, Bette decides to withdraw her sole custody petition, but the notification unfortunately reaches Joyce too late. After receiving Bette's letter, Tina decides to withdraw her consent for allowing Bette to become Angelica's other legal parent. At Shane and Carmen's wedding, Bette attempts to reason with Tina, but it is useless. The season closes with Tina discovering Angelica is missing, having been kidnapped by Bette.

Season 4

Bette returns with Angelica after a short time away. Joyce Wischnia informs both her and Tina that a custody battle would both become a media nightmare and would risk to have consequences on Angie. Though relations are generally strained between them at the start of the season, things gradually improve between the pair and they agree on shared custody. Relations with her close friends also show strain, as Alice and Jenny react negatively to Tina sleeping with men and using the "heterosexual privilege". Tina is still working in the movie studio, "Peabody-Shaolin Film Studios", and acquires the rights to adapt for the screen a novel of Jenny Schecter's, "Lez Girls". Work on "Lez Girls" strains the relationship between her and Jenny due to their conflicting opinions on how the piece should be adapted, and also leads Tina to meeting Kate Arden (Annabella Sciorra), the selected director for "Lez Girls"; it becomes apparent that there is a mutual attraction between the two. Tina meanwhile understands that her relationship with Henry was just an escape and leaves him. Tina slowly renews her friendship with Bette and witnesses her enter a relationship with sculptor Jodi Lerner. She subsequently realizes how much she wants Bette back but decides to respect Bette's feelings helping her to get back with Jodi, something she talks about also with Kate Arden. [4]

Season 5

Tina repeatedly clashes with Jenny while producing Lez Girls. Shane and Alice try to be Tina's wingmen but Tina's love for Bette affects her dating prospects. Tina eventually meets a woman, Brenda, and sleeps with her on their first date. Bette finds out and expresses jealousy during a self-defence class, where in an exercise together Bette and Tina seem to reveal a still intense sexual tension. Later that evening, they catch the other alone in a bar lounge. Bette kisses her and emotions overwhelm her bringing Bette to cry in Tina's arms. They both don't know how to cope with their feelings for a while. Finally Tina and Bette cannot hide the passion for each other anymore and start a very passionate affair. They agree to keep their rekindled love a secret until after the Subaru Pink Ride. The truth though comes out: Jodi discovers during a game that Bette is having an affair with Tina. Bette then admits to her sister Kit that she loves Tina while Tina also admits to Shane and Alice that she too still loves Bette. After unsuccessfully trying to convince Bette to stay with her, Jodi takes her revenge and publicly humiliates Bette making of her the mocked subject in her long awaited exhibition. Tina comforts Bette who decides to let go, having her soul mate with her, and they go together with all their friends to Lez Girls' wrap party. Tina and Bette there show the intensity of their new relationship. At the end of the party Jenny, who's been excluded from the movie for her relationship with the main actress Nikki, makes a surprise appearance.

Season 6

Tina moves back in with Bette, and they decide to adopt a second child. In preparation, they begin to add an expensive extension to their house.

The pair finally meet young pregnant Marci in Nevada, a caucasian woman, already single mother, expecting a half African-American son, who, even having homophobic parents, agrees to give Tina and Bette her child. However, since Nevada law does not permit adoption to same sex couples, Bette and Tina invite Marci to live in their house in LA during her pregnancy. At the last moment though Marci decides not to go.

Meanwhile, Tina's job at the studio is threatened when the Lez Girls negative is stolen. The tension with Aaron, who's convinced Jenny is behind the theft, brings Tina to leave her work. Also in this season, Bette meets again her bisexual college crush Kelly Wentworth, and the pair open an art gallery together. Kelly makes constantly flirts with Bette in front of Tina, who is not happy about it but Bette reassures her. Later on, while Tina is in New York for a job interview with Focus Features (she will get the position), Jenny, looking from her window, misreads a new attempt by Kelly to seduce Bette, and manages to film a video where from the wrong angle it seems they are having a sexual encounter. Jenny then threatens Bette that she will show the footage to Tina, unless Bette confesses her what happened. Tina and Bette decide to move to New York so Tina can take the job; in a very intense moment they also decide to marry. For their goodbye party in Los Angeles, Jenny prepares a video montage of several friends wishing them the best. Shortly afterwards, Jenny is found dead in Bette and Tina's pool. The series continuity ends with Tina and her friends being interrogated by police regarding Jenny's death.

The Interrogation Tapes

One day after the television series ends, footage of Tina's police interrogation appears on Showtime's L Word website ("The Interrogation Tapes"), during which she reveals certain elements of her early life such as her adulterous father and having been victim of sexual abuse by her sister. [5]

The L Word: Generation Q

By the time of Generation Q, set over ten years after Jenny's death, Bette and Tina have separated again. Dialogue reveals that at some point, Bette and Tina eventually got married, but got divorced after Tina fell in love with another woman, Carrie. Bette is shown to have primary custody of Angelica, who now lives with her and refers to Tina as "Mama T", though they still communicate over matters regarding Angelica.

In season one, after Bette comes into conflict with Tyler and Felicity Adams, both of whom seek to sabotage her campaign for Mayor of Los Angeles (since Bette once had an affair with Felicity while she was married to Tyler but refused to commit to her), Tina returns to offer Bette emotional support, having been called by Angie. Despite their troubled past, after Bette gives a speech revealing her reason for running for mayor and determination not to drop out, Bette and Tina admit that they still love each other to a certain degree, and share a hug, during which Bette asks Tina not to leave. Later, Tina meets up with Bette and Shane at Shane's new gay bar, "Dana's", where Tina asks Bette to dinner. The two meet up at Bette's house, where Tina reveals that she is moving to Los Angeles in order to be closer to Angie. Though Bette hopes to renew their relationship, Tina reveals that she is actually looking for a place for herself and Carrie, who she is going to marry, and that she wants to reveal it to Angie along with Bette and Carrie. Though obviously devastated by the news, Bette gives Tina her blessing. In the season finale, both Bette and Angie accept that Tina is not coming back, and Bette accepts a dinner date with a reporter from her mayoral campaign, moving on from Tina.

In season two, both Tina and Carrie are drawn further into Bette and Angie's lives when Angie does some more background information about Marcus Allenwood, learns that she has a half-sister, Kayla, and discovers that Marcus is dying of kidney failure and wants to see if she is a suitable donor for a transplant. The strong bond between Tina and Bette, coping together with Angie's wishes, gets to be very visible also to Carrie. [6] She starts to have serious doubts about her marriage with Tina, and talks about them with Shane, after a disastrous 'family' poker game, where Bette dismisses Carrie's attempts to become friends. Tina gets to know what happened and while visiting Marcus in the hospital to persuade him to see Angie, she asks Bette directly if she is still in love with her. Marcus' sudden death though leaves suspended their conversation. Shane then, decides to talk to Bette about Carrie's cold feet about the marriage with Tina, encouraging her friend to face her real feelings for her ex wife. So at Alice's celebration party for her new autobiography, Bette tries to be honest with Tina. Carrie overhears their conversation and calls off the wedding despite Bette's attempts to apologize. Tina accuses her of sabotaging her relationship with Carrie. Later, though just as Bette is leaving to join Pippa Pascal at her new art exhibition, Tina appears at her doorstep, asking to come in.

In season three, picking up directly from the end of the second season, Tina asks Bette again if she is still in love with her. Bette finally confesses that she is, and Tina says that she also still loves Bette, but accuses Bette of not being able to show her love properly and leaves. A year later, however, Tina is once again on good terms with Bette, though the circumstances of Tina forgiving Bette again are left unrevealed. They meet to drop off together Angie at college, and then in the evening at a benefit event organized by Shane, a beautiful gesture by Tina, makes them openly talk and reconnect also sexually. They both seem willing to start a relationship again, but during the opening of Marcus Allenwood exposition Bette asks Tina not to return to Toronto; the producer, fearing to repeat their past mistakes, leaves. Bette, after talking with Shane and Alice, reaches Tina on the way to the airport, and tells her to be ready to leave everything behind to be together. She asks her ex wife to go together in Canada, Tina accepts and they leave. They return to LA sometimes later to assist to a public reading by Angie's class at college. During the event they get to know that their daughter was having a relationship with her professor and they argue with Angie who sees their concern as an intrusion. At the end of the evening Bette and Tina, who individually were planning to propose, decide to marry again. The series ends with the day of their marriage: it happens to be full of accidents, but it culminates in a heartfelt ceremony. [7]

The Chart

Tina's chart as of episode 4.02:Livin' La Vida Loca. Pink represents lead female characters; light blue and navy blue represent secondary female and male characters, respectively. Tinas chart.png
Tina's chart as of episode 4.02:Livin' La Vida Loca. Pink represents lead female characters; light blue and navy blue represent secondary female and male characters, respectively.

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  2. The psychology of breakup sex: Exploring the motivational factors and affective consequences of post-breakup sexual activity- July 30, 2020
  3. Interview With Laurel Holloman - January 20, 2008
  4. The L Word Recaps 4.12 “Long Time Coming”
  5. Tina's Interrogation Tape
  6. "Why this season of 'The L Word' might be its most controversial yet". Los Angeles Times . 11 October 2021.
  7. Why 'The L Word's Bette and Tina Deserve a Happy Ending - Collider, December 12, 2022