Elisabeth von Lahnstein
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|Elisabeth von Lahnstein|
Martina Servatius as Elisabeth von Lahnstein
|Verbotene Liebe character|
|Portrayed by||Martina Servatius|
|First appearance||Episode 1091
2 August 1999
Elisabeth von Lahnstein (née Cornelius; formerly Ryan and Brandner) is a fictional character from the German soap opera Verbotene Liebe, portrayed by actress Martina Servatius. She made her first appearance on screen on 2 August 1999.
Considered to be the show's matriarch of first the Brandner family and then the Lahnstein family, the character takes a huge part in the series history. Her stories revolve around her troubled marriage with Arno Brandner, her latest luck with Johannes von Lahnstein, her ongoing fight with stepson Ansgar von Lahnstein and newfound romance with Johannes' brother Ludwig.
Creation and development
Planned as a short-term role Elisabeth becomes the love interest for Arno Brandner, who hadn't much luck in his love life after the death of his first wife. It also gave character Nina Ryan a mother and developed her family history with having a child that grew up with Elisabeth's sister Irene. In the beginning, Elisabeth is shown as a very independent woman, who has standards in life which she is living after. With her later development, the character is formed to be much warmer and more supportive of the people around her. As she becomes Arno's wife she also is involved in much of the stories of the younger characters since the Brandner residence and Arno have always welcomed friends and distant family members to stay. As Elisabeth's marriage with Arno finally falls apart and she finds herself in the arms of Count Johannes von Lahnstein, Elisabeth seemed to have started a new life. She showed new elegance and with time seemed to grow in her new role as the matriarch of the Lahnstein family. When Johannes tragically dies in a plane crash Elisabeth is determined to hold the family together and fulfill her husband's last wishes. With the role of the widow the character is time and time again shown with loyalty to Johannes by doing everything she can to live up to what he lived for.
Elisabeth is a successful businesswoman and owns the American company Ryan Cosmetics while she also is a family person. She arbitrates almost every fight and is someone who people can talk to. After her first husband dies she meets architect Arno Brandner and enjoys her life with him, while being proud of her daughter Nina and her grandchild Lara Cornelius. The young residents of the Brandner house are like family and she is a good foster mother for them. In the beginning Elisabeth has her problems with Arno's niece Nico, but eventually both women make peace with each other and Elisabeth becomes a real mother figure to Nico and her sister Jana. As she becomes friends with Isabell Mohr, girlfriend of Arno's son Florian, Elisabeth finds out that she was raped by Florian's friend Sven and is expecting a child, she has to promise her to keep quiet. When the truth eventually comes out, Arno is disappointed and feels that his wife is disloyal to him. The two begin to have serious problems and their marriage is in danger. Elisabeth moves out and meets the young and charming Luke Esser, which whom she starts an affair. When Arno finds out about the cheating he discovers that Luke is a con-artist. Meanwhile Elisabeth is about to put her trust in Luke and put money in a real estate project. But Arno can show Elisabeth for the man Luke really is in the very last minute and she ends things with him. Arno realizes how much he still cares about Elisabeth and he doesn't want their marriage to end. He attempts to win her back and gets his way by Elisabeth moving back into the Brandner house.
But new problems are already in sight, when Sylvia Jones sells Beyenbach AllMedia, together with all divisions, which Ryan Cosmetics is a part of, to the Lahnstein family. Ansgar von Lahnstein isn't happy with Ryan Cosmetics finances and wants to sell the company. Nico, who just found out that Johannes von Lahnstein is her father, tries to rescue Elisabeth's company but hasn't any success by learning that Johannes supports Ansgar's business decision. Elisabeth can't change what's coming and loses her life's work. But she soon finds a new assignment and becomes partner of Arno's construction company Brandner Bau. With more free time she also loves it to spend time with Isabell's daughter Carolin. As Elisabeth begins to disagree with some of Arno's business decisions, the couple decides to separate their business from their private life and Elisabeth leaves Brandner Bau.
She then begins to work for Johannes by becoming his personal assistant in his new founded company JCL Investment, after he lost the Lahnstein Holding to his son Ansgar, who double crossed him. Elisabeth loves her new job and spends much time at work, leading to new problems with Arno. As he spends more time with his nephew's girlfriend Coco Faber, they both share a kiss after Robin dumped her. Confused over what happened, Arno tells Elisabeth the truth, who is outraged by his behavior and moves out again, after Arno blamed her for the kiss with Coco. The Brandner family tries everything to reconcile Elisabeth and Arno as they want him to fight for his wife. In the end Arno apologizes and Elisabeth moves back in once again. But new problems come their way as Elisabeth develops feelings for Johannes, who has become one of Arno's closest friends. She tries to hide her feelings for him at first and can't be anywhere near Johannes anymore. Elisabeth wants to form a distance between Johannes and herself, while Johannes' friendship with Arno grows. They become family as Susanne Brandner and Carla von Lahnstein get married on Castle Königsbrunn. The same day Nico returns from a world tour with her grandmother and finds Elisabeth and Johannes kissing in the library. Nico is shocked and instantly wants to tell Arno about the incident as they and a few other wedding guests get taken hostage by Susanne's schizophrenic ex-husband Alex Wiegand. As Susanne gets into an argument with Alex he wants to shoot her but Arno throws himself in front of Susanne and takes the bullet. Fatally injured Arno is taken to the hospital while Elisabeth tortures herself. She promises Nico that she just wants Arno to get better and something like the kiss with Johannes would never happen again. In the end it's Johannes who can rescue Arno's life with a blood donation and he gets through the night. Johannes organizes a place for him in a rehabilitation center. Elisabeth says goodbye to Johannes before going with Arno who she decided to rescue her marriage with. After she returns Elisabeth resigns as Johannes' assistant but as she can't name Arno any reason why she would leave her job, Elisabeth begins to work for Johannes again. They both have big problems with their feelings for each other which eventually leads in another kiss, followed by a passionate night in a hotel. Elisabeth disconnects with Arno and isn't much home anymore. As she can't figure out what to do she tells her good friend Charlie Schneider the truth, who advises that Arno deserves to know the truth. Feeling that her feelings for Johannes don't go away she is ready to decide in favor of him as Elisabeth finds out about Johannes' previous affairs. When he ends their affair, Elisabeth fears that she has been confirmed with her suspicion about Johannes - only to get a confession out of him eventually that he has fallen in love with her. Elisabeth doesn't know what to say or do and asks Johannes for time. She realizes her feelings for Johannes won't go away and they reunite on a business trip. But Arno already thinks that something is wrong and as Charlie keeps having strange behavior towards him, he gets a dangerous suspicion. He tries to find Elisabeth and eventually catches her in bed with Johannes. Arno doesn't want any explanation as Elisabeth leaves the Brandner house one last time and receives a slap in the face by Susanne the next day.
Johannes and Elisabeth's affair is the beginning of an ongoing feud between the two families. As Johannes wants Elisabeth to move into Castle Königsbrunn, Johannes' children refuse to accept the new woman at their father's side. Leading for everyone but Leonard to want to leave the castle. Eventually Elisabeth makes peace with Carla and Nico but remains the dissembling mistress to Ansgar. He believes that Elisabeth is only after the family's fortune and tries everything to get rid of her. But it doesn't take long and Johannes wants to marry Elisabeth and takes the wedding ceremony as a surprise to his children.