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You will never become a star if you play it safe.

—Shelby Corcoran, I Am Unicorn

Shelby Corcoran is a recurring character on Glee. The former coach of The Troubletones and Vocal Adrenaline, she now runs a Broadway daycare centre. She is the biological mother of Rachel Berry and the adoptive mother of Noah Puckerman and Quinn Fabray's daughter, Beth.

She is introduced as the director of Vocal Adrenaline. She is very talented, a trait passed on to her daughter, Rachel. She is just as competitive, although she doesn't resort to the underhanded tactics that her daughter will sometimes use against her opponents. Shelby resigned her job in order to start a new family with adopting Quinn's and Puck's newly born daughter, Beth at the end of Season One. In Season Three, She is hired as the all-girl glee club The Troubletones director at William McKinley High School. She departed McKinley in the eighth episode of Season Three, Hold on to Sixteen. She later reappeared in Season Four in the nineteenth episode, Sweet Dreams, to help Rachel with her Funny Girl audition. It is revealed that now she runs a Broadway daycare centre in New York, living a really good life.

She is portrayed by Tony Award-winning actress, Broadway star, and singer Idina Menzel.



Will and Shelby

Shelby Corcoran appears as the coach of Vocal Adrenaline. In Hell-O, she is introduced watching Vocal Adrenaline perform "Highway to Hell."

When it's discovered that Shelby's lead performer Jesse St. James is taking a romantic interest in Rachel Berry, Will and the rest of the New Directions group become concerned. Believing that Jesse is a spy, Will confronts Shelby, who denies it and says "the heart wants what the heart wants." Soon after, Shelby and Will end up making out on Will's couch. However, Will stops her and says he can't, partly because of his new relationship with Emma Pillsbury and also partly because of his not-yet divorce from Terri. Surprised that he's not even divorced yet from his wife yet already starting a relationship with another woman, Shelby offers advice to Will about figuring himself out first before pursuing another romance. Feeling he's not quite ready for even casual sex and make-out sessions, she leaves, but not before saying she knew who he was before they met and that he had a "cute dimple chin." When Rachel confronts Jesse about whether or not he's using her and to see if he truly loved her, he assures her that his feelings for her are genuine and proceeds to kiss her. As he does so however, Jesse looks up, to see Shelby standing behind Rachel, watching. She gives him a little nod, implying that Shelby really is using Jesse to spy on Will and New Directions. (Hell-O)


Rachel confides in Jesse her lifelong dream to discover the identity of her biological mother. While they are searching through boxes of records from her basement, Jesse takes a tape from his jacket and pretends that it came from the box. The tape is labeled "From mother to daughter." Rachel refuses to listen to the tape, saying that she is not ready.


Jesse later meets with Shelby in her car, where she reveals that she is Rachel's mother, but a contractual agreement prevents her from meeting with Rachel, to the point that she wasn't allowed to hold Rachel after she had been born. She implores Jesse to convince Rachel to listen to the tape, saying that not being able to meet Rachel is her one regret. Shelby sings "I Dreamed a Dream" on the tape, leading to a duet with Rachel singing in a fantasy sequence. (Dream On)

When Rachel is spying on Vocal Adrenaline she finds out Shelby is her mother when she recognizes her voice while Shelby is singing "Funny Girl." Rachel and Shelby don't have a loving reunion and Shelby tells Rachel she'll call her. Shelby fixes Rachel's terrible Lady Gaga outfit, when Rachel stops by and asks for help. Shelby later admits to Will that she wanted to bond with Rachel as she can't have any more children due to complications but agrees that she isn't ready for a teenage

Rachel and Shelby sing "Poker Face."

daughter and he encourages her to part ways with Rachel. Shelby meets with Rachel and says they should "be grateful for one another from afar." Rachel asks Shelby to sing with her, and they sing "Poker Face" together, accompanied by Brad on the piano. (Theatricality)

Shelby is upset that Puck and Finn slashed the tires of Vocal Adrenaline's Range Rovers, but she decides not to press charges, and she persuades Figgins not to expel Puck and Finn. Instead, she insists that Puck and Finn pay for the damages. She recommends taking it out of the New Directions budget, but Will tells her that the club will go bankrupt. Finn then tells Shelby that he and Puck will get jobs and he promises Shelby that they will pay her within a month. Shelby is fine with that. Afterwards, Figgins tries to seduce Shelby by telling her that she is wise, magnanimous, and beautiful. Shelby then leaves Figgins' office because she was uncomfortable with what Figgins just said to her. (Funk)

Shelby decides to retire from show choir after Vocal Adrenaline wins at Regionals, although Rachel suggests she could lead New Directions with Will. In the end, we see Shelby signing confirmation papers in order to adopt Puck and Quinn's daughter, Beth, as Rachel doesn't need her as a mother anymore. (Journey)

She didn't appear for the entire season, but she was mentioned by Rachel in "Original Song".

She makes her return in the episode I Am Unicorn. She has been hired by Principal Figgins to direct a second Glee Club, made possible by the donation of Al Motta. She plans on reaching out to Rachel and fixing her mistakes. She wants Puck and Quinn to be a part of Beth's life. Even though Rachel is really mad at her, she advises her to not play it safe on her West Side Story audition. She tells Rachel to sing Somewhere and she practices with her. (I Am Unicorn)

Shelby briefly appears eating lunch with Coach Beiste. She is visibly disgusted by Beiste's big creamy bowl of pasta and admits that any girl in the school would join New Directions if they wanted to join a glee club before leaving. At the end of the episode, Mercedes comes to see her to ask if she can join her glee club, becoming the second member after Sugar. Shelby smiles and the episode ends. (Asian F)

Puck and Quinn babysit Beth while Shelby has something to do. Quinn hid items such as hot sauce in the kitchen cabinet and baby botox in the bathroom in hopes she could prove Shelby is an unfit mother even though she isn't. Puck stops by later and secretly grabs all the anti child products Quinn has hid around the house and places them into his pockets. Shelby sets up a job for Puck at for her condo's pool and he gets it. He stops by to say thanks, waking up Beth from her sleep. He grabs his guitar and calms Beth as he plays. Shelby smiles at him. Puck sets down the guitar and walks with Shelby over to the crib to place Beth into. Their eyes then met and at the end of the episode Puck and Shelby share a dramatic kiss. (Pot o' Gold)

At the beginning of the episode, Puck is seen fantasizing about Shelby as he performs Hot for Teacher. Some time later, she is seen approaching Will in the teacher's lounge. She tells Will that they haven't talked since Mercedes, Brittany, and Santana left the New Directions to join the Troubletones. She assures Will that she kept her promise not to recruit any of the New Direction members. It is then revealed that they already received their letters with the information that they will compete against each other
at sectionals. Will then tells Shelby that they would get along but the kids won't. Shelby answers that competition between the Troubletones and New Directions might bring out the best of them. It is then that the idea of a mash-off was conceived so the kids could channel their fighting spirit into something great. Shelby and Will order the two groups to assemble at the auditorium, where they perform You and I/You and I causing the trash talk between the two groups to stop. They explained the purpose of the mash-off and commenced it.

After class, Puck tells Shelby that he is in love with her. Her response was "Oh God." Puck thinks they should be together because one: She's hot, two: he's hot and three: "Beth needs a dad and why shouldn't it be her real dad?." Shelby rejects Puck, claiming he has a crush on her that will go away. Puck pushes further describing his dream of taking pictures for their Hanukkah cards or renting an RV to head out as a family to Coachella. Puck says "you know this is going to happen" and winks at her before leaving the classroom.

Later, while in the auditorium, Rachel approached Shelby so she can sign the recommendation letter Rachel has written ahead. Shelby praised Rachel's CV and expressed her support for her. Rachel then asked Shelby if she could write the recommendation herself, to which she agreed.

At the Troubletones' rehearsal room, she is seen warming up the group. Mercedes arrived and suggested an Adele mash-up and Shelby though it was a great idea. When Santana and Mercedes argued, Mercedes self-nominated herself as Troubletones' president and Shelby and the girls vote in favor of her.

Later in the week, Puck comes over to help Shelby put together the crib, but ends up playing with Beth the entire time. Shelby watches the father-daughter interaction intently and smiles. She tells Puck how good he is with Beth. Puck eventually spills the truth about Quinn's plot to try to get Beth back. The following scene, she is seen watching during the performance of I Can't Go for That/You Make My Dreams.

Quinn comes to Shelby's house bringing a present for Beth. Shelby is outraged about finding out that Quinn tried to take Beth away from her. She tells Quinn that it doesn't matter whose body she came out of but how you put yourself second. She then asks Quinn to leave. Later in the week, she is seen beside Will Schuester during the performance of Rumour Has It/Someone Like You. (Mash Off)


Shelby calls Puck into the emergency room during school stating that she had no one else to call. The doctor informs the parents that Beth will need stitches after her fall which caused her to bite through her skin. Puck demands that his daughter sees a plastic surgeon instead. He comforts Shelby. She is finally unable to resist Puck and they sleep together. Afterwards, Shelby has trouble coming to grips with what she has just done and makes Puck leave. Angry, Puck tells Quinn a secret, presumably that he slept with Shelby. Shelby sings "Constant Craving" with Santana and Kurt. (I Kissed a Girl)

Quinn wants to tell Principal Figgins about Puck's affair with Shelby, continuously giving hints to Shelby. Then, at Sectionals, while The Troubletones perform, Shelby tells her that it was a mistake and that she thought it would make her feel younger, but it just made her feel older. Then Shelby leaves saying that she was going to enjoy her last moments of being a teacher, she obviously would prefer to quit than be fired under such circumstances. After the Troubletones join the New Directions, nothing is known of what happened to Shelby afterwards. (Hold on to Sixteen)

While in the cafeteria, talking about who's going to bring who at Sugar's party, Puck comments he has tried true love, on which Mike responds "Yeah, with the teacher," obviously referencing Puck's crush on Shelby. (Heart)


Shelby and Rachel about to perform Next to Me

Shelby arrives to help Rachel with her Funny Girl audition, telling her that she shouldn't use a Funny Girl song, that instead of being a Barbra clone, she should be original and pick a different song. They then start to sing Next to Me together. It is revealed she is currently living in New York with Beth and is running a Broadway daycare center, where Broadway actors and actresses will drop off their kids and Shelby watches over them, as well as playing theatre games with them. This marks her last appearance on Glee. (Sweet Dreams)

When Will asks how April Rhodes and Holly Holliday know each other, Holly mentions that there is a Facebook page for people who were guests for the New Directions, which included Shelby. (100)


Will Schuester[]

Main article: Shelby-Will Relationship (Willby/Welby)

They make out in Hell-O, but Shelby pulls back when she finds out he's just divorcing his wife. She suggest him to call her as soon as he sorted everything out. In Season Three, their Glee Clubs compete against each other.

Noah Puckerman[]

Main article: Puck-Shelby Relationship (Shuck)

When Shelby comes back to Lima, she lets Puck see Beth, and then she falls for him while he is singing Waiting for a Girl Like You and they share a kiss. Later he dedicates Hot for Teacher and I'm the Only One to her. Puck tries to pursue Shelby for a couple episodes and succeeds, but after sleeping together, Shelby calls it a mistake and ends their relationship.


Total - 8



  • She often wears the colors black or purple.
  • She is left-handed. (Asian F)
  • She plays the piano. (Mash Off)
  • After giving up Rachel, she cut her hair like Sinéad O'Connor and got a Regis Philbin tattoo, similar to Quinn in early Season Three. (I Am Unicorn)
  • She was told by Sugar that her voice has a "nasally quality."
  • She was former show choir coach of Vocal Adrenaline before adopting Beth and then stepping down.
  • She can't do math without a calculator. (Funk)
  • In the original pilot episode script, Rachel's mom was supposed to be called Amber. However, she didn't share many characteristics with Shelby.
  • Even though she failed as an actress and never married, Shelby's only regret in life is giving up Rachel.


I want you to look so talented, it's hurting you, I want a look so optimistic it could cure cancer.

—Shelby Corcoran, Hell-O

Are you gay? Because most of the show choir directors I make out with are gay.

—Shelby Corcoran (to Will), Hell-O

I failed as an actress. My walls are lined with trophies instead of wedding pictures. But through all of that, I only have one regret. You get her to listen to that tape!

—Shelby Corcoran, Dream On

Hi baby. It's your mom. I think this pretty much says it all.

—Shelby Corcoran, Dream On

Ladies, I don't want to hear complaints about chafing because you're being forced to wear metal underwear.

—Shelby Corcoran (to Vocal Adrenaline Girls), Theatricality

They actually sent a head hunter to track me down in New York.

—Shelby to Will, I Am Unicorn

First step to becoming an adult, stop punishing yourself for things you did when you were a child.

—Shelby to Quinn, I Am Unicorn.

You will never become a star or get the lead if you play it safe

—Shelby Corcoran, I am Unicorn

Sugar: I am a shining star
I am a shining star
I am a shining star
Shelby: Stop stop stop!
I am a shining star
I am a shining star
Do you hear the difference?
Sugar: Yes, I sound good!

Sugar and Shelby, I Am Unicorn

Nobody's hopeless.

—Shelby Corcoran, I Am Unicorn

Enjoy your enormous bowl of disgusting creamy pasta.

—Shelby to Coach Beiste, Asian F

I am sorry, Quinn.

—Shelby to Quinn, Hold on to Sixteen

Quinn: You shouldn't have come here with her! I would've been fine! What you did was wrong, what you're doing with Puck is wrong!
Shelby: You're so young. Pretty.
Quinn: Don't talk down to me!
Shelby: It goes away you know. Not the pretty, you'll always be pretty. But the young. It happens really slow and you don't even notice it. And then one day... everything just feels... different.
Quinn: I can't wait to feel different!
Shelby: Don't wish away your life. You're exactly where you're supposed to be.

I have no regrets!

—Shelby to Rachel, Sweet Dreams