Oct. 12, 2007
30 min.
Disney Channel TV Network

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Wizards of Waverly Place tv show photo

Wizards of Waverly Place

"Wizards of Waverly Place" focuses on the Russos, a typical family, which includes a mother, Theresa Russo; a father, Jerry Russo; a daughter, Alex Russo, and two sons, Justin Russo and Max Russo. The family live normal lives, but what their friends don't know is they are wizards.

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Theresa Russo Wizards of Waverly Place
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Theresa Russo

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  Played by:
Maria Canals-BarreraMaria Canals-Barrera
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Character Bio

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Theresa Magdalena Margarita Russo is the mother of Alex, Justin and Max Russo and co-owner of the Waverly Sub Station, with her husband Jerry; and is also the slightly more serious one of the couple. Theresa is Mexican American.

Theresa Russo is a typical mother. She's fussy, caring and can be pretty embarrassing. Unlike her children, she is a mortal. She dislikes magic, probably because she was once possessed by a wizard's love spell for twelve years. Theresa lives on Waverly Place in Manhattan with her husband (and former wizard) Jerry Russo (David DeLuise) and her children: middle daughter Alex Russo (Selena Gomez), eldest son Justin Russo (David Henrie), and youngest child Max Russo (Jake T. Austin). She owns a sandwich shop called the Waverly Sub Station with her husband in which her children work. She is overprotective of Justin and Max, but Max especially. She tries to relate with her kids but it doesn't always work.

Theresa stated that she is a "Proud Latina" and tries to get her children to learn about her and their Mexican heritage. In season one's "You Can't Always Get What You Carpet", Theresa states that she once played guitar in an all-girl mariachi band — though when Justin says "I didn't know you played the guitar", Jerry says "she doesn't" – implying that Theresa is not a very good guitar player. This is shown in season 3.

At times, Theresa can be somewhat controlling of her kids and their lives; for example, in "Quinceañera", she completely takes control of the plans for Alex's Quinceañera fifteenth birthday party and turns it into the party that she wants. She refuses to listen to Alex's objections all because she herself never got to have a Quinceañera of her own. This eventually gets so irritating to Alex that she casts a spell to switch bodies with her mother, partially so Theresa would be able to have the Quinceañera that she never got to have. In the end, however, Theresa realizes her mistake and allows Alex to have the party that she wants. Theresa wanted a much girlier Quinceanera (much to Alex's dismay) which is what Theresa likes, which shows you a girlier and more innocent side of her. For example, in 'Doll House' Alex tries to clear out the basement to make her own art studio, and distracts her family with their favorite things from the past. Alex then shows Theresa her old poster of 'Shaun Cassidy', which is covered with lipstick.

Theresa is the reason why Jerry could not keep his wizard powers. Since wizards are not allowed to marry non-wizards, Jerry chose to give up his powers to his younger brother Kelbo in order to marry Theresa, as was revealed in season one's "Alex in the Middle" – previously unbeknownst to Justin, Alex and Max, when it is revealed that in his family's wizard competition that Jerry was originally the one who got to keep his magic powers. However, Jerry says he does not regret marrying her.

It has been mentioned several times that Theresa hates magic. Being mortal, she finds it difficult to live in a house full of wizards, especially when her children (and sometimes, Jerry) misuse magic in the house, most notably when the boys of the family want to play indoors and either directly or indirectly end up destroying a prized lamp she owns, which always ends up repaired. An example of this is in season one's "Art Museum Piece", when a spell which causes Theresa to go through objects wears off—and she accidentally walks into the front door and she exclaims "I hate living with wizards!" She has also been shown to have very little concern for major issues in the magical world, which don't concern her since she isn't a wizard (including issues that involve her kids losing their powers).

She also can be annoyed by the magic futility, was visible in "All bout You-niverse", when Alex broken a magical mirror (and thus trapping herself in a parallel universe), Theresa find out that fixing a magical mirror is no different from fixing a normal mirror, and she remarks "Magic is lame". Despite this, when Alex and Justin's antics cause Max to fail the wand quiz in "My Tutor, Tutor", Theresa lends a sympathetic ear to his problem (even supporting his plans to get revenge), and even told Alex to use her magic to make their haunted house scarier in "Halloween". In "Positive Alex", Theresa and Jerry realized that Alex had put a spell on herself to become positive, and they agree to do nothing against it, because they believe that there's nothing wrong in being positive, though they quickly change their minds when the newly optimistic Alex turns out to be unbearably annoying. Ironically in "Retest", despite constantly hit in her family face how their attempts to maintain their magic could be fruitless, she ended up giving a lecture to Megan about how she is going too far in her selfishness and that she, not Jerry, was wrong in their argument about the family powers. But when Megan clearly states that she won't apologize over her actions, Theresa freely added that she isn't a member of the Russo's family anymore, and leaves her for good.

Though normally, Theresa is a kind and caring mother, but she has a prevalent selfish side. For example, in "Retest", when Alex, Max, and Justin were upset over the possibility of losing their powers, Theresa relished the thought of having a normal family, going so far as to suggest turning the wizard lair into a den and, although she has no intention in hurting them, Theresa often hints this fact in a very unkind form. Similarly, in "Wizards vs. Vampires on Waverly Place", she openly refused to let Justin date Juliet at first and freely stated she cared more about her business than her children's happiness, which even Alex was appalled and disgusted by. Alex then cut into the argument as Justin was losing it badly against their parents and fixed everything up, ending with Justin able to date Juliet and their parents happy.

In "Marathon Helper", Theresa was too shamed and upset with her family's lack of physical attributes that she said none of her own children are members of her family, openly added Harper is her only daughter, since Harper had taken it on herself to be involved in healthy activities, and later, she goes farther, hurting Justin's feelings by she saying she was not proud of his academic success. Both in "Wizards vs. Vampires on Waverly Place 2" and in "Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie," she openly remarks since she is the Russos' mother, she doesn't need to care about their opinions and in more than one occasion, she arrogantly expressed the belief that she is immune to the Wizard Rules, since that she isn't (unfortunately, the "Wizard" Rules apply to all normal and supernatural beings that is aware of the Wizard World.). In the episode "Alex's Logo", she was referred to as popular in school, though it turns out she was the first girl admitted to a formerly all-boys school. In "Uncle Ernesto," Alex encourages her to invite her brother on her birthday, however, it goes wrong and she ends up with a crashed birthday party.

Episode Screenshots

02x08 - Harper Knows
Season 2, Episode 08
02x15 - Art Teacher
Season 2, Episode 15
01x07 - Alex's Choice
Season 1, Episode 07
02x24 - Cast-Away (To Another Show)
Season 2, Episode 24
[More Episodes]

Theresa Russo Photos

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