Leto was the daughter of Coeus and Phoebe. She was an early and favorite lover of Zeus. Zeus married Hera while Leto was pregnant, while the pregnancy began before the marriage Hera was still jealous of Leto. For the duration of her pregnancy Leto was hunted by Hera. First, Leto was exiled from Olympus, as she wandered over the earth no place would allow her to stay, for fear of angering Hera. Hera ordered the snake Python to chase Leto, Zeus saved her by sending the Boreas (North Wind) to carry her out to sea.
Finally, the desolate rocky island of Delos, accepted her, because it had little to lose. The other goddesses gathered to help Leto as she gave birth. Hera stayed away and managed to detain Eileithyia, goddess of childbirth, until Iris fetched her. Leto first gave birth to Artemis and then, after another nine days of labor, to Apollo.
Still fleeing Hera's wrath Leto went to Lycia. There her problems persisted, for example, the peasants did not want her to drink from their well; of course she, being a goddess, promptly responded by turning them into frogs. However, now she had her two children, both of whom were becoming powerful archers, to protect her. When only four days old Apollo was able to slay Python (Apollo's slaying of the Python developed quite differently in another version of the story). Later the Euboean giant Tityus tried to rape Leto only to be killed by her children. As they grew into their full power the twins became willing to avenge Leto's honor as well as to protect her safety. Niobe boasted that she was more deserving of adulation then Leto because she had borne seven sons and seven daughters. The twins replied to this by slaying all but two of Niobe's children; Meliboea renamed to Chloris (pale) after the slaying, and Amyclas were the only ones who survived and only because they prayed to Leto and later erected a temple for her. But according to Homer none of Niobe's children survived.
As the mother of two powerful gods Leto returned to Zeus's favor despite Hera's disapproval. After Apollo killed the Cyclopes, Leto was able to persuade Zeus to lighten his punishment. She spent much of her time hunting with Artemis. During the Trojan War she sided with the Trojans and helped heal Aeneas from his battle wounds.