Bess is a single mother most of the series and the older sister of Joey Potter. At 23 years old in 1996, her mother Lilly Potter dies of cancer, her father Mike Potter is jailed for trafficking cocaine, and she is left in their house to raise her 13-year-old sister. As they would anyone, these events shape Bess into an incredibly strong, independent woman who has to redefine her life and figure out how to create a somewhat stable structure for herself and her younger sister Joey Potter, to grow up in.
In 1998, Bessie is raising 15-year-old Joey by herself and is pregnant with her first child. She is with her boyfriend, and the father of her child, Bodie, but Bodie's profession has him travelling a lot to make money for the family. Like many siblings, Bessie and Joey bicker a lot, and Bessie's due date nears, making her tolerance for Joey's teen angst minimal. All the same, Bessie finds a way to reach out to her sister, knowing how hard it is for Joey to live the life she's leading without parents and financial stability.
- ❝Not about school, about Dawson!❞
- —Bessie to Joey[src]