One Tree Hill Wiki
One Tree Hill Wiki

"Deb" Lee (formerly Scott) was one of the main characters between the first and second seasons of "One Tree Hill".


Deborah Lee, known simply as Deb, is Nathan Scott's mother, Jamie and Lydia Scott's grandmother and the ex-wife of Dan Scott. Her marriage to her college sweetheart Dan is initially stable but becomes strained when Lucas and Karen become more involved in their lives. Her desperation to get Dan out of her and Nathan's life leads to a drastic change in her personality as she starts to take desperate action to free herself, including an attempt on Dan's life. Her fear of her ex-husband leads her to develop an addiction to prescription pills which, through the support of her family and friend Karen, she eventually beats. She returns to Tree Hill after a brief absence to become Jamie's nanny and, with Dan repenting for his crimes, she takes a more carefree and relaxed approach to life.

Character arc

Season 1

Deb visits the cafe to ask Karen for a clean slate. ("Crash Into You")

After spending some time away from her family due to work, Deb finally returns thrilled to see her husband and son, but she soon becomes aware of her family's struggles - with the relationship between Nathan and Dan becoming ever more strained and Lucas and Karen having a greater presence in their lives. She also feels increasingly distant from her son, not even knowing what he likes anymore. She mentions her concerns to Dan, saying that she feels powerless to stop him from pressuring Nathan about his performance in basketball. Dan, however, blames Nathan's distance on Deb's constant business travel. Deb then visits Karen's Cafe and tells Karen that, despite the fact that Dan chose her, she is jealous of Karen and Lucas's relationship. She then tells Karen that her history with Dan doesn't have to be their history and that they can be friends. Believing Nathan isn't happy, Deb decides to cut back at her work to ensure he is okay. ("Crash Into You") ("All That You Can't Leave Behind")

In a bid to salvage her marriage, Deb takes the opportunity of the upcoming Small Business League dinner to spend some much needed alone time with her husband - without basketball. However, upon arriving at the dinner Deb discovers she and Dan are seated with Keith and Karen and she knows an awkward night will ensue. During the night, an increasingly drunk Keith asks Deb why she stays with Dan, even though she is clearly unhappy in her marriage, Deb responds that sometimes he is still the man she fell in love with - and she has Nathan to think about. ("Every Night Is Another Story")

Deb and Dan's marriage starts to strain when her friendship with Karen starts to develop. Deb invites both Karen and Keith to the annual basketball appreciation party and, having decided to stop hiding from her past, Karen agrees to attend, much to Dan's dismay. When the desserts for the party are delivered to the wrong address, Karen comes to Debra's aid by having Haley deliver cakes from her cafe. At the cafe the following day, Deb and Karen talk as Karen receives a letter inviting her to join a six-week cooking course in Italy, but Karen is insistent that she can't go because of Lucas and the cafe. To try and persuade Karen to go, Deb offers to run Karen's Cafe for her while she is away. Karen eventually agrees to let Deb help her and she leaves Deb in charge. Dan is furious with Deb for agreeing to this without asking him, but Deb remains insistent that she is going to help Karen. ("Life in a Glass House") ("The Search for Something More")

Deb threatens Dan when she discovers he didn't tell her about Nathan's overdose of amphetamines. ("With Arms Outstretched")

Deb's decision to run Karen's Cafe means that, once again, she must spend time away from her family, causing tension between her and Dan. When Nathan collapses on the basketball court after taking amphetamines to boost his performance, Dan decides not to tell Deb knowing that she will blame him for pressuring Nathan to improve his game. Haley goes to the cafe to relieve Deb so she can go see Nathan at the hospital, but Deb has no idea about Nathan's collapse. After Haley fills her in, Deb heads to the hospital and learns from Dan that Nathan is okay, but he has disappeared. Later at home, she confronts Dan about his decision not to tell her that her son nearly died. Dan, however, protests that Deb isn't there for him anymore now that she's running the cafe, prompting Deb to kick him out of the house, but he returns later expressing regret about not being the best dad he can be. ("With Arms Outstretched") Deb sticks to her resolve and tells Dan she wants a divorce.

Deb persuades Karen to go to Italy by agreeing to manage the cafe for her. ("The Search for Something More")

Throughout the divorce proceedings, Deb and Dan put Nathan in the middle, pressuring him to choose a side. Nathan decides instead to seek emancipation from both of them, much to their shock. He succeeds and moves out of the family home and into his own apartment. ("All That You Can't Leave Behind")

One night, upset about the dissolution her family, Deb sleeps with Keith who is about to move to Charleston after Karen declined his marriage proposal. As the two lay sleeping on the living room floor afterward, Dan walks in and sees them. The next day, Deb goes to the beach house where Dan is staying and finds him collapsed from a heart attack. She runs to his side, asking if he's okay and Dan threatens her saying, "You better hope I die." ("The Games That Play Us")

Season 2

During season 2 Deb has to live with the fact that she did not call 911 immediately after finding Dan. On top of this Deb also finds out that Nathan and Haley are married. She blames Haley for Dan's heart attack because she can't bare to blame herself. Deb also creates a business partnership with Karen, when she opens Tric, an all-ages nightclub. Deb continues to take pills, throughout season 2. She also tries to get Nathan to divorce Haley, after Haley goes on tour.

Season 3

All through season 3, Dan investigates the auto dealership fire. He first suspects Lucas of setting it, then Keith, eventually killing Keith and blaming it on a school shooter, getting away with murder. It is revealed that Deb is actually the one who drugged Dan's drink and set the auto dealership on fire, tired of his constant abuse and manipulation.

Season 4

Deb starts off the season back on pills and is back to her old junkie ways. Dan, along with Karen, Nathan, Haley and a therapist, throw Deb an intervention, to which she storms out. Because of this, Deb is angry at Karen, to whom she throws out of Tric. She is arrested after writing a fraud prescription, for more pills. When she learns that she may be facing up to 3-4 years of prison time, Dan Scott proposes he get her out of there, as long as she signs 'Tric' back over to Karen. During the trip to the state championship game, Deb takes pills and falls asleep. Karen can't take much more so she drives her to rehab instead of taking her to the game. Away at rehab, Deb feels as though she doesn't deserve to be there and constantly insults the other patients. She finally has enough, and attempts to escape. A staff member finds her and tells her that it is a volunteering program, and all she had to do was sign out. In "Resolve", Dan tells her that he never loved her and settled for her since Keith had Karen. This angers her, and she goes to find comfort in Nathan. Deb accidently pushes Haley, to which Nathan responds by saying "Mom just leave and stay out of my life and we'll call it even" and pushes her out. Deb returns home and attempts suicide by taking all of her pills. By the end of the season, Deb is healing and healthy and ready to take care of baby Jamie while his parents go to their last high school party.

Missing years

Not much is known about Deb during the missing years. She is obviously living in Tree Hill as she comes to be Jamie's nanny in season 5.

Season 5

Deb returns to Tree Hill to be Jamie's new nanny after Carrie is fired for her sexual advances and Nathan and Haley cannot find an ideal nanny that isn't a threat to their marriage. Deb meets a stranger on an erotica website and learns that it is Skills Taylor, Nathan's best friend and former classmate. Although initially wary of dating due to their age difference, they eventually give in to their temptations and have a secret relationship behind Nathan's back. 

Season 6

She is dating Skills who she met online.  Deb is brought in by Haley who asks her to be Jamie's nanny. Jamie is required to call Deb "Nanny Deb" instead of "Grandma". Deb and Skills make their relationship public during Quentin's funeral and although Nathan is disturbed by it, he eventually accepts as Skills makes Deb happy but he doesn't want to see their affection in front of him. Deb manages to rescue Jamie and Haley from Carrie, who was intending on killing Haley and Dan so that she could take Jamie for herself as a replacement for her deceased son. 

She breaks up with Skills after keeping a long time relationship because she says he deserves to have kids, and Deb doesn't want kids. 

Season 9

Deb returns back to Tree Hill to console Haley during the time that Nathan is kidnapped. Deb visits Dan in his trailer, where he has been gathering evidence to find out Nathan's whereabouts and he assures her that he is going to find their son. Deb manages to convince Haley to put her trust in Dan because even though he's done horrible things in the past to not earn their trust, he is their only hope in finding Nathan. Deb picks up Jamie and Lydia from the airport when Lucas and Peyton sent them back. She stays when she hears that Dan is dying, and says her goodbyes. It is unknown if she stays in Tree Hill after his passing.



Deb is the mother of Nathan, the grandmother of Jamie and Lydia, the mother-in-law of Haley. Her relationship with her son was first hard but with years they became close and Deb supported Nathan and his wife during Haley's pregnancy. She has a close bond with her first grandchild Jamie. During a period Deb was his nanny and took care of him when his parents worked. Her relationship with Nathan's second child, Lydia, is presumably good.

Romantic Life

Deb was married to the father of her son, Dan Scott whom she had been dating since they were in college. However they later divorced and she was in a relationship with Skills in Season 6.


She is very nice and caring. When she was an alcholic, she was crazy and a lunatic. She was born wealthy, unlike Brooke she never flaunted her money. She has a good relationship with her brother Cooper. She always hated Dan, because he bullied their son Nathan into something he wasn't. She finally stood up to Dan, when Nathan almost died of an overdose. She was also worried about what Nathan was becoming, when Dan influenced him. When she was clean and sober, she was a very good mother. Mostly when Nathan and Haley got married. She was mad at Haley stealing his son from him, but she warmed up to her and she was the best thing for him. She was more like Haley James Scott on the show and she was more like her. She was funny and smart. When Jamie was born, she was a good grandmother and when Nathan and Haley needed a nanny. She took over and become a good grandmother. She was happy Dan finally behind bars, when he turned himself when he killed Keith. She set the dealership fire to get rid of him, everyone understood and doesn't blame her. Keith took a bullet for her, but Keith was never charged. She also felt bad about what happened that day. But when Dan killed Keith, it was never about the dealership fire. When Deb told Dan, it was that set the fire. He could have killed her in a minute. She and Dan finally patch things up in season 9. She and Karen are good friends, they both run Karen's Cafe and Tric together. They were both victims of Dan's bullying and both care about their sons.


In season one, it is mentioned that Deb travels doing "business".

Later in the seasons Deb becomes a partner along side with Karen Roe at Karen's Cafe, and Tric. In a much later season, Dan gets Deb to sign full partnership of Tric over to Karen after Deb was arrested.


  • Deb is the only main female character (with the exception of Karen and Peyton) to not appear in Season 7 and Season 8.
  • Deb is the second former main character to appear in the ninth and final season of OTH. Lucas was the first and Keith was the third.
  • After the death of Keith. Deb left town as she thought it was her fault that Dan killed his brother.
  • The third season revealed that Deb was the hooded figure who attempted to kill Dan by fire in the season two finale.
  • When she was clean and sober, she is a good mother to Nathan Scott.  She is very loyal to him. 
  • She always hated Dan bullying his son which is why she became an alcoholic.  
  • She finally stood up to him, when she saw Nathan collapsing in the Gym. He almost overdosed of steroids to live up to Dan's record.  
  • She and Karen were the victims of Dan's bullying and both of them are really protective of their sons.