Cora was born in 1953 to Madea and Mr. Brown. In Madea's Big Happy Family, it was revealed that Mr. Brown is not Cora's Father. The two were seniors in high school and had a one nightstand during their prom. Madea reveals this in Class Reunion, and it's revealed again in Meet the Browns the Play. She had an older sister who Madea failed to keep in line, possibly due to being a young teen when she was born. She also has a younger brother named William. In 1995, Cora Simmons contracted rabies from a dog bite and became hysterical. As Cora grew older, she developed a relationship with the Lord. She later married sometime in her twenties and had two children. Her husband died while she was still in the process of raising two young daughters, making her a single mother.
In the play, Cora first appears in I Can Do Bad All by Myself as the middle-aged Aunt of her two nieces, Maylee and Vianne. She gives them Godly wisdom, and attempts to lead them down the right path while avoiding the agressive methods of her mother. Madea reveals that she was brought up right after a failed attempt with her older sister who died sometime before the play began. Cora goes on to appear in other plays as well, revealing she has two adult daughters of her own, Tina and Lisa Simmons in Family Reunion. The daughters were raped by her late husband, unknowingly, to her. She also has a grandchild by Tina, a baby her daughter neglects to care for at times. She refers to her daughters in Meet the Browns when Brown tries to lecture her on men.
In the plays, Cora is first 50 years old in I Can Do Bad All by Myself and Class Reunion. She is shown to be much older in Family Reunion, having grayish hair, meaning it does not take place chronologically before Meet the Browns in which Cora states she is fifty-two. Her ages in the other plays are not revealed, though, she is still in her fifties in each.
In the television series, Cora is no longer the middle-aged mother of two kids, but Brown's daughter who seems to have known him quite well throughout their childhood, despite the two just figuring they were related not too long ago. Differences in the series is that her kids are nonexistent, and she has never been on a date until the series when a young man is interested in her. Her age has changed as well, and implied somewhere in her forties. Since Brown is said to be in his mid sixties and she was born to him and Madea around the same time, she would be in her late forties instead of her fifties. Cora is also more child-like, while in the play she takes more of a motherly and authoritative role, however, this could be because of her overbearing father who is shown to be very overprotective of her. Her sister has also been eliminated.