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This article is about the novel character. You may be looking for the film character.

I love him, every part of him. All versions of him. Mostly, I like who I have become with him, we have both been changed for the better by each other. I have somehow gotten him to open up and brought happiness to him and he has taught me how to live and not worry about every detail.
Tessa about her life with Hardin

Theresa "Tessa" Lynn Young is the main protagonist in the After series written by Anna Todd.

An overachiever and dedicated student, Tessa deals with the trauma and dysfunction in her life by focusing on her schooling and making everything appear perfect; an idea that was perpetuated by her controlling mother. Having come from a broken family, she grew up idolizing the concept of love and what it would mean to be in a relationship.

These constructs of marriage and love disappeared when she attended college and met the tattooed rebel, Hardin Scott. His sarcastic and witty remarks that were paired with a kind heart enticed her, though she soon learned the effects of his cruelty first-hand. They were constantly driven apart and pulled back together. In the meantime, Tessa befriended the co-ed Landon Gibson, who happened to be Hardin's impending stepbrother.

Her relationship with Hardin was fast-paced and vibrant, sweeping them and everyone around them up in a whirlwind of drama. When Hardin's cold and uncaring past caught up to him, it tore his relationship with Tessa apart, as the bet he made to take her virginity was revealed. The arrival of his mother, Trish, brought Hardin and Tessa back to one another. After a while, Tessa reluctantly agreed to be romantically involved with him once again. While things were better, their relationship continued to be tested by secrets and lies that they both harbored. She also struggled to regain her trust in Hardin and the world around her. As she continued to evolve into a mature woman, her world was shaken by the sudden arrival of her estranged father, Richard.

Tessa's hero-complex kept her adamant that Richard could overcome his addictions and change for the better, even ignoring the warnings from Hardin, Landon, and everyone around her. Tessa's blind faith in her father came back to bite her every time, and she leaned on Hardin as they attended Trish's wedding. He was soon struck with the revelation of his biological father and, despite Tessa's best efforts to help him, spiraled into a vicious web of destructive behavior that drove Tessa away. She returned to the states where she found Richard in the bathroom of her apartment having overdosed. Now traumatized, Tessa fell into a dark hole that even Hardin couldn't pull her out of.

Hit with the realization that all her energy was going into Hardin and not enough into fixing herself, Tessa begged Hardin to let her go so she could find herself again. They separated for years and she graduated from college, attended Landon's wedding, and moved to Seattle where she made a new life for herself. She repaired her relationship with Carol, whose new relationship helped her not be as overbearing toward Tessa. Hardin and Tessa eventually found their way back to each other and became engaged. Over the next several years, they moved in together and went through the struggles of trying to start a family. She discovered her true passion of being a wedding planner. In the years that followed, Tessa became a doting partner to Hardin, an open-minded and supportive mother to her daughter Emery, and later, her son Auden. While the road to their happily ever after was rough, she finally ended up in a happy place with her life and Hardin.

In the film adaptations, Tessa is portrayed by Josephine Langford.


Early Life

Tessa was born to Carol and Richard Young in a small town in the state of Washington. She had quite a rough upbringing due to her father's ongoing problems with substance abuse.

Her mom helped her father to keep their life a secret. As a coping mechanism, she would hide inside the greenhouse of her backyard when her father would come home drunk and fight with her mom. Because of this, Tessa believes greenhouses are safe places. Tessa befriended Noah Porter, the son of her mother’s two married friends that lived down her block. He would find her in the greenhouse and comfort her. Richard Young eventually abandoned Tessa and Carol, resulting in Tessa's mother working twice as hard to support her. From then on, Tessa was taught and trained to prepare for her education so that she wouldn't have to rely on a man when she grew older.

The necessity that required an overwhelming amount of preparation became an obsession. Every class Tessa chose, every assignment Tessa completed since her first day of high school revolved around her getting into college. When Tessa turned 16, she got a job to help support her mother. Along with the running off to the greenhouse, Tessa fell in love with English literature and reading books became her escape from the real world. Her favorite books are Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights, which eventually have eerie similarities within her romantic endeavors with Hardin. During high school, her friendship with Noah evolved into a romantic relationship. When Tessa wasn't doing things for school or reading, she’d watch movies with Noah and ice-skate with Josie. Her mother picked the college she applied to her senior year of high school, Washington Central University, which is the same college Carol attended but never finished. Tessa’s hard work paid off and she was accepted.

Early Adulthood

Tessa began college at Washington State University in the fall of 2013. She majored in English Literature (in the movie, Tessa is an undeclared economics major), with hopes of becoming a publisher or author. She also had dreams of working and living in Seattle after obtaining her degree. She befriended her roommate, Steph, who couldn't be more of an opposite of her. Tessa also formed a friendship with Landon after meeting him in one of her classes. Landon grew to be her best friend. Tessa also grew close with Landon’s mom, Karen. Her roommate, Steph, coerced Tessa to attend fraternity parties with her and her group of punk friends. Tessa was resistant at first but gave in to the peer pressure and started attending them with her. From this, Tessa developed a love-hate relationship with Steph's friend, Hardin.

After a series of encounters and bonding moments, she fell for Hardin, the brooding bad-boy with a dark secret. She landed an internship at Vance Publishing with the help of Ken, Hardin’s father. Her relationship with her mother became strained due to Carol's disapproval of her relationship with Hardin. Her whole world fell apart when she uncovered Hardin's dark secret that led them to be together. Hardin, however, made up for his mistakes and they embarked on a toxic, emotionally abusive relationship. After running into him leaving a tattoo parlor with Hardin, Tessa reconnects with her father, Richard. Their reconciliation is cut short when Tessa lands a position at Vance's Seattle branch. After a multitude of tragedy, chaos, and heartbreak, Tessa ends her relationship with Hardin. She proposed that the two take some time apart to grow individually and recover from their loss and pain. Proceeding this, she reconciled with her mother then spontaneously moved to New York with Landon.

While in New York, she worked as a host and waitress. She befriended her coworker, Sophia and briefly dated a man named Robert. After much effort, Tessa finally got accepted into New York University. She reunites with Hardin at Landon's wedding and they renew their relationship. She graduated from NYU. Soon after, she realized that she didn’t want to work in the publishing industry anymore.

Late Adulthood

In the future, Tessa shares an apartment with Hardin in New York and works as a wedding planner. The two have a daughter named Emery and a son named Auden. Emery is closer to Hardin while Auden is closer to Tessa. Hardin and Tessa are presumably married, however, it is never clarified. Hardin wanted to get married as soon as possible, but Tessa wanted time to enjoy the engagement.

Physical Appearance

Tessa is initially described to have an innocent appearance. She is American with a tan complexion. She has naturally straight, dirty blonde hair, blue-gray eyes, and full plump lips that resemble that of Jessica Rabbit. She occasionally curls her hair, something that Carol prefers, but also wears it in a ponytail or bun.

Tessa is described to have a curvy figure with wide hips and thick thighs. At the beginning of the first novel, Tessa preferred old fashioned and conservative clothing. She wore over-sized shirts and long skirts. When dressing for a college party, she wore a maroon dress that fell below her knees. Her signature shoes were her white toms.

Tessa's fashion sense progressed in the series. She began to dress more modern with clothes that flattered her figure. Tessa wears minimal makeup and is described to have natural beauty. When she does wear makeup, she uses eyeliner and mascara to make her eyes appear rounder and bigger. After pregnancy, her body physically changed in the way that her breasts enlarged and her hips widened.


Tessa is altruistic, ambitious, empathetic, bright, studious, and well-behaved. She is described to be very shy, innocent, and soft-spoken, as well as, sensitive. She is an introvert, preferring to stay in to read or watch a movie than go out to a party. Due to being controlled and sheltered her whole childhood and adolescence, Tessa was rather naïve about the dangers of the real world.

While at Washington Central University, Tessa's got involved with the wrong people and gave into peer pressure many times. She struggled with making her own decisions and practicing self-love in that she often put other people before than herself. When her best friend Landon and his family went out of their way to help her, she'd overdo it with apologies and saying thanks. Her defining traits are her intuition, organization, and savior complex.

Tessa is constantly reflecting on her life. She is idealistic. She seeks to make connections and determine the deeper meaning behind things (mostly Hardin's behavior). Tessa can be too invasive with her questions, pushing Hardin where he doesn't want to go. When Tessa does uncover the ins and outs of Hardin, she wants to fix him. She goes through great lengths to save him and help him become a healthier human being.

She needs organization and being in control. She could not function without having things planned out or prepared. She would wake up every morning before class at 6 am to get ready even though her classes didn't begin until 9 am and would get flustered and anxious if her plans changed. She matures at the end of the series, not taking herself so seriously.

On a psychoanalytic personality scale, Tessa would very much fit the INFJ-T Myers Briggs personality type with an Enneagram type of 1 wing 2.

Significant Relationships

  • Carol Young - Tessa's relationship with her mother used to be strong and doting. She shared everything with Carol. However, when Tessa went to college Carol's overprotectiveness started to cause problems between the two. When Tessa broke up with Noah to be with Hardin, Carol strongly disapproved and told her that Hardin would only be bad for her and tried to force them to break up. When Tessa refused to end her relationship with Hardin, Carol cut her off and they didn't speak for some time. After that, their relationship went through many tumultuous moments, good and ugly, before the eventually reconciled. They have a functioning relationship now.
  • Richard Young -
  • Emery and Auden Scott - Tessa is the mother of Emery and Auden. She loves them immensely and explained Emery as a miracle.
  • Addelyn Gibson - Addelyn is the daughter of Landon Gibson, Tessa's best friend. He appointed Tessa to be his daughter's godmother.

  • Hardin Scott - ("Hessa") Tessa's relationship with Hardin is the catalyst of her life and what shaped her into the person she is today. The pair met during Tessa's freshman year of college and had an eventful and triggering on-off again relationship ever since. Tessa is often described to be Hardin's light, as she led him out of the darkness, while Hardin pushes her to accept her desires and impulses. They are currently engaged and parents to their two children, Emery and Auden Scott.
  • Noah Porter - Tessa dated Noah in high school. Their relationship evolved from best friends to dating, but neither one of them felt a strong connection. When Tessa met Hardin, she realized what love was supposed to feel like, and planned to end her relationship with Noah. Noah found out about Hardin before Tessa could explain, and their relationship ended badly. However, they later reconciled and remained close friends.
  • Zed Evans - Tessa met Zed in college. He had a crush on her since they met but didn't say anything out of fear for what Hardin would do. After the bet was revealed, the pair grew close and eventually went on a date. Their relationship was rocky and didn't last long, mainly due to Hardin's interference, and they ended things despite Zed's lingering feelings for her. He looked out for her and saved her from Steph and Dan's plan to sexually assault Tessa. In the end, they worked better as friends and eventually fell out of contact.
  • Robert -

  • Landon Gibson -
  • Trevor Matthews - Trevor and Tessa were co-workers and Vance Publishing and were friends during their respective times at the company. Trevor had a crush on Tessa and they kissed, but their relationship never went further. They remained good friends and colleagues.
  • Kimberly Vance -

  • Steph Jones -
  • Molly Samuels -
  • Dan - Dan attacked Tessa and worked alongside Steph in exploiting Tessa's weaknesses to make her vulnerable to be humiliated. He took things a step further and attempted to assault Tessa, though Zed was able to save her before anything could happen. Dan disappeared from WCU and Tessa never had to see him again.

  • Adaptations

    Tessa Poster1.jpg
    Main article: Tessa Young

    In the After film series, Tessa is portrayed by Australian actress, Josephine Langford. Tessa is quite similar to her novel counterpart in terms of personality and her relationships with those around her. Some character differences remained, such as Tessa defending herself and being more extroverted compared to her novel counterpart. "Tessa Young" is the female lead, female protagonist and the main love interest of the anti-hero and protagonist, Hardin Scott. She remains intelligent and cautious but is pursuing an economics degree as opposed to a literary one. Her background differs slightly in the film series, as her traumatic childhood and controlling relationship with Carol is not explored in-depth. She also does not have a rivaling relationship with Steph, her budding romance with Zed is absent, and her relationship with Molly does not last longer than the first film. Her attack in After We Fell is also not adapted.

    Notes and Trivia

    • In the original Wattpad fan-fiction version of After, Tessa was imagined to look like an Australian actress, Indiana Evans.
    • Tessa has a degree from New York University. She previously attended Washington Central University and Washington Central University in Seattle.
    • She hates ketchup.
    • Tessa has a condition called, "cervical insufficiency", meaning that her cervix is shorter than the average woman. Her condition made it difficult for her to get pregnant and carry a child to full-term, which caused her to have a miscarriage.
    • Tessa has a smiley-face tattoo on her wrist. She got it with her friends after losing a bet on her twenty-first birthday.
    • Tessa is roughly forty-two by the end of "After Ever Happy".