|Serena van der Woodsen|
Serena Celia Humphrey (nee van der Woodsen)
Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.
July 14, 1991
High School Student (at Constance; graduated)
Lily van der Woodsen (Mother)
Dan Humphrey (Husband)
Serena Celia Humphrey (nee van der Woodsen) is a main character in the Gossip Girl series of novels and its television adaption, in which she is portrayed by Blake Lively. Throughout the series, Serena has an on-again, off-again relationship with Dan Humphrey, the two have the longest running relationship on the show. Dan and Serena finally get married in the series finale.
Serena is regarded as the "it girl" of the Upper East Side, she is best friends with Blair Waldorf and also has a close friendship with Nate Archibald and Chuck Bass. When she was gone, Blair was the "it girl".
She, Dan and Blair are the only characters that appear in every episode of the TV series.
Serena van der Woodsen is the daughter of William and Lily Van Der Woodsen. The story begins with her return to New York from boarding school. Shortly after her return, she realises a lot has changed since she left. Her friends are not too happy about her return, including her best friend Blair Waldorf, considering they were best friends in the past, as well.
She then meets Dan Humphrey and the two begin a romantic relationship and soon fall in love. The two have their ups and downs but her love for him remains constant throughout the series, a fact not lost on her friends, Blair even commented once that Serena believes her romantic fate was sealed in the 11th grade when she met Dan. In the finale, Dan and Serena get married, surrounded by friends and family. She should have ended up with Nate because they are endgame together but instead she ended up with crusty dusty Dan.
In the novel series, Serena was born into Manhattan's elite society. Her mother is Lily van der Woodsen, a very wealthy heiress, and her father William van der Woodsen, a billionaire doctor. Serena also has an younger brother named Erik, who attends Brown. Serena comes back from boarding school for seemingly unknown reasons that are later shown in a prequel. When she comes home she suddenly realises how much has changed. She is often given the good things which makes her best friend Blair Waldorf furious when she has to work for them. Serena goes to Yale at the end of the series. She goes through boys very quickly, Nate; her best friend's boyfriend whom she lost her virginity to. Through the books, she realises that she truly loves Nate, but he is still Blair's boyfriend. In the thirteenth novel, she decides to stay in New York to be with Nate, but at the end, he leaves to not get in between her and Blair.
When first introduced in the pilot episode, Serena is returning from a self-imposed year of exile at The Knightley School in Connecticut. She is the daughter of Lily van der Woodsen, a wealthy socialite. Serena also has a troubled younger brother called Eric. Lily and Serena were first seen living in the New York Palace Hotel, while Eric was in a psychiatric inpatient facility after a suicide attempt. While Eric was the real reason for Serena's abrupt return, but other rumours come about. After some effort, the former "it girl" reunites with her best friend Blair Waldorf, who didn't know Serena was leaving for boarding school until she was already gone. Their friendship is shattered shortly afterwards when Blair finds out that shortly before Serena left town a year before, she slept with her boyfriend, Nate Archibald at a wedding. This leads the two girls being in a rivalry. Meanwhile, Serena meets and goes out on a date with Brooklyn outsider Dan Humphrey after he returned her lost cellphone that she had dropped when they bumped into each other. The date ends up with them heading to Dan's father's concert, but they are interrupted when his sister Jenny repeatedly texts Dan asking for help. When Dan and Serena show up at the Kiss on the Lips party they blew off, they find Chuck Bass forcing himself onto Jenny. Dan punches Chuck, while Serena warns Chuck to stay away from Jenny. In response, Chuck yells at Serena, calling her a "slut" and tells her that her life is over.
At the Ivy Mixer, Blair incorrectly tells everyone that Serena is a patient at the Ostroff Center for a drug addiction. To save her brother the embarrassment, Serena plays along. Then Eric pulls Blair to the side and tells her what really happened. Blair finds Serena and they both reconcile after Blair shows and reads an unsent letter that she was meant to send while Serena was in boarding school. Dan and Serena's relationship is quite solid, but Dan hates the glamorous nature of her lifestyle. Serena continuosly tries to show him how much she's trying to change from her old ways. Serena then finds out that Rufus Humphrey, Dan's father, and Lily are trying to restart their old relationship. Serena pleads to her mother not to go through with it because of her feelings for Dan. This results in Lily accepting a marriage proposal from Bart Bass, Chuck's father.
When Serena and Chuck's families are both sampling wedding dinners, an anonymous package full of pornography arrives for Serena. Thinking that Chuck is behind it, Serena naturally becomes angry with him. Shortly afterwards, several crates of champagne are sent to Serena at school, and yet again she believes it was sent by Chuck, who denies it. Serena becomes more furious when Eric brings her another anonymous package, which turns out to be cocaine. Only when Chuck is kicked out by his father, Bart, does Serena discover that it wasn't Chuck sending the packages at all, but a former ex-friend called Georgina Sparks.
Georgina has recently returned from rehab in Utah, and expects her friendship with Serena to be back to its old state. However, Serena insists that she's not the same person anymore, knowing how much trouble she and Georgina used to get into. Not liking this, Georgina persuades Serena to go out with her, and spikes her drink with GHB when Serena isn't looking. Serena wakes up the next morning, having missed her SATs. Realising that Georgina was behind it, Serena confronts her, letting Georgina know that their friendship is officially over. Furious, Georgina brings up a scandal they were both involved in. Serena leaves her apartment distressed, while hiding everything from Dan. This leads to Georgina calling herself "Sarah" and starting up a friendship with Dan, who has no clue about Sarah's true identity. Georgina gives Serena a flash drive, supposedly containing footage of the real reason Serena left Manhattan. At a dinner with Lily, Eric and Serena, Georgina "accidentally" lets it slip that Eric is gay. Serena supports her brother while Lily doesn't know how to react. When Serena goes to meet "Sarah", Dan's new friend, Serena is shocked to discover that it's actually Georgina. Georgina then threatens to show Dan the tape, and tells Serena that either they rekindle their friendship the way it was left, or everything will be revealed.
With no-one else to turn to, Serena tells Blair her secret: she killed someone. Immediately after this, Serena leaves for a club and parties hard, leaving with several guys. Blair spends all night trying to find Serena, but eventually finds her and brings her back to the Waldorf's apartment. Blair enlists the help of Chuck and Nate, even though things are still tense between the three of them. Dan shows up looking for Serena, and the three say that she doesn't want to see him. Still, Dan refuses to leave, until Serena goes to talk to him herself. Dan asked if she slept with someone else, and Serena says "Yes". In response, Dan says, "I'm done" and leaves the apartment. Serena tells the others that she didn't actually sleep with anyone else, but it was better than Dan knowing the real truth. Blair convinces Serena to tell her, Chuck and Nate the full story behind the night she supposedly killed someone.
On the night that Serena and Nate slept together, Serena went to a hotel room afterwards, shocked by what she had just done. Also in the hotel room is Georgina and a friend named Pete, who had abused the drug cocaine for years. Georgina briefly leaves the room and Serena and Pete start making out, but Serena gets uncomfortable and eventually suggests that they both take some cocaine to get in the mood. Pete does a line, overdoses and has a violent seizure. Both Serena and Georgina panic, and when Serena tries to call 911, Georgina stops her because of all the drugs in the hotel room and the fact that they are both underage. The whole incident is caught on tape by Georgina. As the two girls rush from the hotel, Serena calls 911 anyway and is unable to help but watch from across the street, waiting for Pete to come out relatively unharmed. Instead, Pete leaves the hotel in a body bad. A horrified Serena blames herself for Pete's death as she was the one who suggested he take the cocaine in the first place. Meanwhile, Lily finds the tape in Serena's dresser and watches it most of the way through. Thinking it's just a sex tape, and a recent one, she switches it off right before Pete's death occurs. Lily thinks the best path of action is to send Serena to a reformatory school, and tells her this at the rehearsal dinner for the Bass-van der Woodsen wedding. Blair tries to reason with Lily, telling her that Serena is in a lot of pain and has been hiding a dark secret. Serena eventually tells her mother the whole story, and they talk to Pete's parents, who don't blame her at all for Pete's death. Her guilt absolved, Serena goes to a concert featuring Rufus in order to win Dan back. She just misses Dan but gets a call from him at the concert. It's Georgina at the other end of the line, but Serena says that she's ready to tell the truth, so she doesn't care about Georgina's blackmail threat. An enraged Georgina pulls Dan outside, still pretending to be Sarah, and kisses him. Confused and hurt, Serena is left wondering at the concert. At the Bass-van der Woodsen wedding, Serena and Dan ignore the majority problems of their relationship. Leaving Dan to make the final decision in the relationship between Dan and Serena. Dan breaks up with Serena.
The first episode of the second season begins in the Hamptons, where Serena is rumoured to be dating Nate, but in reality, it is a lie concocted by them both so Nate is able to have an affair with an older, married woman. Meanwhile, she reflects throughout the summer and Dan cannot stop thinking about Serena, resolving to go to the Hamptons. After a few mishaps during the White party, the two resume their relationship.
The couple's return to New York has them returning to old issues as Dan struggles with the differences in their lifestyles and eventually is unable to deal with those differences. The two end their relationship in an elevator during Blair's party, having succumbed to their relationship problems during a blackout.
Gossip Girl cites the new school year, Serena's newly single status, and a possible return of Serena as the Queen Bee of Constance as senior year begins. Serena however, attempts to adjust to a purely platonic relationship with Dan, but she is hurt to find out that he has easily moved on from their relationship when he starts dating a transfer Amanda. Blair intervenes by torturing Amanda so she will distance herself from Dan. Serena apologises to both Dan and Amanda for Blair's actions and the three have drinks, where Blair's clique continues to meddle in their problems by setting her up with a Dalton student. Dan gradually realises Serena is hurt but assumes that she is ruining his date with Amanda. Serena lashes out at Dan by telling him to leave, hurt by Dan's assumption. Isabel and Penelope ruin the night by throwing a Nairtini at Amanda. A frustrated Amanda leaves and Dan lashes out at Serena, who is innocent of the incident but Dan angrily tells her that she should own up to her real self. Serena, angered at Dan's accusation, confronts Blair's clique and tells them that the next time that they mess with Dan, it has to go through her first. Her statement indicates her return as the Queen Bee. The next morning brings back Serena and Blair's old rivalry, as the girls fawn over Serena and when Blair arrives Serena ties a bandanna around Blair's neck, symbolically stating Serena's status as Queen. Serena publicly ostracises Dan at the courtyard connecting Constance and St. Jude's, followed by Blair's clique.
Serena and Blair's rivalry escalates during Fashion Week as the girls continue to fawn over Serena after seeing her with Poppy Lifton, her new high socialite friend. Serena earns public praise and media attention. Blair tries to win her friends back by inviting them to Eleanor's fashion show. Serena tries to reconcile with Blair but Blair turns her down.
Blair is upset when she realises that her mother has given Serena and Poppy Lifton, her new socialite friend, front row seats at her show. Blair again feels that her mother loves Serena more than she loves her own daughter, and is angry that Serena will not be backstage with her as usual. Blair tries to sabotage the fashion show but it ends up being a huge success; this makes Blair even more jealous.
In "New Haven Can Wait," Serena, angry at Blair, decides to watch her own back and attend an interview at Yale, where Blair always dreamed of attending. Serena was given a personal acceptance from the school's dean and is invited to his house for a special party. Though uninvited, Blair bribes her way into the party. After a game goes wrong, Serena and Blair decide they can never be friends and party ways. Then they both realise they didn't want to lose each other so they return back as best friends.
Serena begins a romance with Aaron Rose, an artist and Blair's new step-brother. She accepts his offer to travel to Argentina with him but they break up soon into the fight.
On the New Years, Serena decided that she wants Dan and wants to make sure that he feels the same. They both feel the same way for each other but soon after, discovers about Scott being their half-brother by their parents, then Dan had an affair with Serena's old teacher, Ms. Carr. Their final issues lead them to breaking up for the last time.
Toward the end of the season, Serena begins a relationship with Gabriel, a man who is friends with Poppy Lifton. After getting her parents and their Upper East Side friends to invest in Gabriel's business that brings the internet to third world countries, Serena realises that both he and Poppy are conning them. She and the newly born-again Christian Georgina Sparks hatch a plan to catch them. However, the plan does not work out when Lily gets her daughter arrested. Gabriel and Poppy escape.
In the final episode of the season, "The Goodbye Gossip Girl", Gossip Girl sends a blast during their graduation commencement ceremony. Serena, angry that Gossip Girl has ruined the day and hurt at being called "irrelevant," vows to find out who she is. They don't uncover her and accept that they will never know her true identity. At the end of the episode, Carter Baizen, a friend of Serena, tells her he has found the whereabouts of Serena's father. Serena decides to go with Carter to meet him. Serena also learns that she has been accepted to Brown University.
At the beginning of the season during the summer, Serena had been searching for her father and is in a complicated relationship with Carter Baizen. She decides to defer her acceptance to Brown University for a year, and gets a job as an assistant to publicist Casey. Blair and Serena get into a feud, which is patched up by Nate and Chuck. Later, Serena gets a job in the office of Tripp van der Bilt, who is Nate's cousin and a newly elected Democratic Congressman of New York. Tripp and Serena later have a relationship, even though Tripp is married to Maureen. He tells Serena that he doesn't love Maureen and will leave her. Serena follows him out of town. Maureen however finds them, and blackmails Serena with a letter from Serena's father, that contains gossip about Lily. Maureen says that Serena can be Tripp's mistress, saying that she will be "Jackie" and Serena "Marilyn." Serena refuses and tells Maureen that Tripp won't stay with her. However, when she finds out that Tripp wants to stay with Maureen for his political career, she asks Tripp to drive her back to New York. They have a car accident, and Serena is taken to hospital. Nate shouts at Tripp and stays with Serena in the hospital.
Serena is living in the Waldorf's and is in a relationship with Nate. At the brink of the season, a scheming Jenny Humphrey attempted to steal Nate from Serena as she developed feelings for him. Eventually, Serena found out about her scheming acts and it strained Jenny's relationships with Serena and perhaps, Nate. In addition, Serena finally got to meet her long, lost father for the first time with the help of her ex-boyfriend Carter. Serena meets her father when the family finds out that Lily is in remission from cancer, and he stays when the cancer relapses. However, it is later revealed that she never had cancer and Dr. William van der Woodsen was using this as a scheme. Although Nate calls the police on William, Serena helps his escape. In the season finale, Serena and Dan share a "meaningless" kiss which leads her to break up with Nate as she realises she still has feelings for Dan. She leaves for Paris with Blair, both dignifying themselves as beautiful, single, carefree woman.
In "Belles de Jour," Serena has a thing for waiters and anyone on a vespa in Paris. When Blair meets who she thinks is a prince from Monaco, Serena goes on a double date with her which leads to an awkward identity confusion. Blair finds out about Serena's intentions to attend Columbia and they fight, but later make up. We discover that Chuck has been rescued by a mysterious woman.
In the "Double Identity," Serena finds Chuck after identifying "his body" at the morgue. Chuck and the woman who nursed him back to health, Eva, want to leave Paris after seeing Blair. Even though Blair is supposed to go on a date with her prince (Louis Grimaldi), Serena asks that Blair stops Chuck from leaving. Blair discovers the ring that Chuck had intended for her. Back home, Nate is dating a girl named Juliet that is trying to help Nate with his social life. The episode finished with her removing pictures from Gossip Girl from a cork-board, leaving only Serena's mugshot.
In "The Undergraduates," the Gossip Girl website seems to have gotten an update that allows it to stream video live. Serena and Blair both confidently talk about joining the Hamilton House sorority at Columbia University. It turns out that both Penelope from Constance and Juliet are both members and it is discovered that only Blair got accepted.
Juliet seems to be playing the jealousy card by telling Serena that Blair called the Hamilton House to tell them about the situation with Pete Fairman. At a party, Serena and Blair stage a fight that is played on Gossip Girl to expose Juliet's manipulative ways. Knowing that Serena's mother, Lily is part of the Hamilton House, Juliet is kicked out, but Nate still forgives Juliet and kisses her. Serena moves into Blair's apartment.
"A Touch of Eva" spends most of its time talking about Serena's internal struggle over who she will choose: Nate or Dan. Even though she promises to stay away from both to Blair, she meets with Dan, which proves to be helpful in unearthing some dirty secrets about Chuck's girlfriend, Eva. It is discovered that she was a prostitute, and Blair tries to use this against Chuck but it turns out he already knew. Serena tempts Dan, thinking that his relationship with Vanessa is on the rocks, but only pushes them further together. Blair succeeds in breaking Eva and Chuck up. Chuck declares war and leaves Blair crying with Serena.
In "Goodbye, Columbia," Serena is having some problems with her classes. Every morning a mysterious man in her building takes her taxi for one of his many one night stands which is making her late. Despite many attempts to meet with her professor, something seems to always get in the way, which makes her professor quite angry with her. We see Juliet meet with a man in jail who "wants to leave Serena with nothing, like she did to him". A post appears on Gossip Girl that Serena has an STD which creates a stir among both Nate and Dan. When Dan accompanies Nate to the health centre, Vanessa gets jealous enough to steal Serena's phone at Juliet's request. Juliet sends a message on her phone and only later do we discover that the message was a request of trading sexual favours for grades to the teacher that is already not pleased with Serena. Serena almost gets expelled when Vanessa confesses to stealing the phone and accidentally takes the blame for the message. Juliet bonds with Serena over the incident.
In "Easy-J," Blair awakes to find Serena's bed unslept in while Serena stands next to it with messy hair and adorning the same clothes from the previous day. Serena admits to having spent the night with "The Cab Stealer." However, they spent the night talking of pop art in lieu of sleeping together. Serena says she refuses to be one of the women he hands off in a cab every morning.
Blair explains her dream to Serena, who believes it to be about recently being Chuck's active target. Blair is unsure, however, and wonders aloud why the attacker would be female.
After spending the night with Nate, Juliet departs early so as "not to be late to class." Nate is disappointed, hoping to have spent more time with her. Via phone, Dan assures him it's probably the truth.As Nate ends his call with Dan, getting in line to visit his dad in prison, he spots a sheepish Juliet.
Jenny returns to New York, only to face an angry Blair, willing to do anything to make "Little J" leave town again. On her way to class, Serena spots her cuddle-buddy from the night before while entering the building. Irked, Serena is further thrown off by the revelation that he is her Psychology of Business professor, a fact that makes her worried about her feelings for him.
As the season progresses it soon becomes apparent Serena will do anything to stay with Colin but eventually, after defying her mother, Blair and all her friends and after realising Juliet is Colin's cousin, Serena and Colin break up for good.
Serena ends up in a situation where she needs to choose between Nate and Dan. Nate still cares for her but is put off when Juliet pretends to be Serena and kisses both Nate and Dan. Nate clarifies that this is typical Serena behaviour and that he is not going to let her pull him back in ever again. Dan disagrees. In rehab, Serena admits to Dan that she had picked him, that he was the only one she came to kiss.
When Dan later confronts Serena, they both realise they have just one more chance to be together. They have already been together three times and they need to be sure the 4th time is forever before getting together again.
It soon becomes apparent Juliet wasn't working for herself but for her brother, Ben. Ben was put in jail by Lily but he thought it was because of Serena. They had decided to take Serena down, but he wasn't ok about his former crush being drugged. It turned out that Ben was convicted of an innapropriate relationship with a student as, at the time, Serena was his English student.
In "Panic Roommate" Serena and Ben almost leave each other for good when Dan, Eric and Damien set Ben up for a fall. However Dan is sorry for what he did and makes sure Ben doesn't go back to prison, instead he and Serena kiss again at last. The last scene of Serena in the episode is of her and Ben together again at last after Dan retreats from the loft where Ben is staying. In the upcoming episode "Petty Pink" a not so thrilled Serena confronts Dan and Blair about their relationship, which could put their friendships at risk.
In season 5, Serena's grandmother CeCe died and left her money to Ivy who had been pretending to be her cousin Charlie. At Blair's wedding to Louis, Serena tells Dan that she never stopped loving him and she will always love him.
She later learned that her dad had an affair with her aunt Carol causing Lola to be her half sister. In the midst of this, she found out that Diana was Chuck's mum, Georgina was Gossip Girl (2.0), and that Dan and Blair liked each other. After Georgina got bored, Serena became Gossip Girl (3.0). Serena's computer is later stolen by the real Gossip Girl. Serena confronts Nate and Lola and tells them they set her up. Nate and Lola tell Serena it was all a plan to get back at her. Serena tells Blair she is Gossip Girl but Blair is not mad. Serena and Dan slept together because Dan thought Blair was cheating on him with Chuck. When Dan realises Serena just used him, he gets angry and confronts her. At the end of the season we see Serena in the same way she was when she left the Upper East Side five years ago. She's on a bus, driving away and with a guy that gives her drugs and starts touching her and when he tells Serena his name she simply replies "I don't care what your name is."
Dan tells Serena that the reason he didn't give her an answer to the "I love you" was due to the fact that it was easier to focus on his anger at Blair, than to face the possibility of getting what he always wanted in the fear of losing it again. Dan and Serena throw their first Thanksgiving as a couple, where Serena affirms her love for Dan by rejecting both Steven and Blair by saying that Dan is her soul-mate and the only love of her life. Dan also solidifies his love by telling Georgina and Rufus that he had a plan all along to win and that there is no winning without Serena.
In the finale, Dan reveals to Serena their first meeting at a party, where Dan first spoke to her and fell madly in love. Dan realised at that party that he could never pull Serena out of her world but he couldn't give up either. He realised that the only way he could get Serena was to write himself in to the Upper East Side by using a blog to create a legend, the blog came to be known as Gossip Girl. Dan then revealed his secret to all by giving Nate his final chapter to publish in the struggling Spectator. Revealing to all that the only purpose of Gossip Girl was the love Dan had for Serena. Serena was joyed at the revelation, stating that Dan through Gossip Girl, wrote her and everyone else a seven year love letter and made her realise that she belongs in the Upper East Side with Dan.
Five years later, Dan and Serena get married, surrounded by their closest friends and family.
Appearance and Style
Serena is famous for her modelling gigs and her notable natural beauty. She is much admired for her beauty, and is considered to be really gorgeous without even trying. She has long, voluminous blonde hair, flawless skin, blue eyes and a tall, striking figure. She often wears sexy and tight clothes that flatter her body, sequins and attention-grabbing accessories. It is said that Serena's face is so pretty and her skin is so flawless that she barely wears makeup, and still looks gorgeous. Serena is considered, along with her on-again, off-again best friend Blair, one of the most beautiful girls on the Upper East Side.
Unlike Blair, who is considered to be the show's antiheroine, Serena can be considered more as a traditional heroine. Her motives are rarely selfish and she truly wants to be a better person. Also, her negative actions are generally motivated by a lack of foresight rather than real malice.
She has recently also shown a slightly jealous and scheming side whenever Dan and Blair are involved, though it dissipated when Dan and Serena got married.
- Lily van der Woodsen (Mother)
- William van der Woodsen (Father)
- Eric van der Woodsen (Brother)
- CeCe Rhodes (Maternal Grandmother)
- Carol Rhodes (Maternal Aunt)
- Scott Rosson (Half-brother)
- Lola Rhodes (Cousin and Half-sister)
- Chuck Bass (Adopted Brother)
- Rufus Humphrey (Father-in-Law)
- Jenny Humphrey (Sister-in-Law)
- Alison Humphrey (Mother-in-Law)
- Blair Waldorf (Adopted Sister-in-Law)
- Dan Humphrey (Husband)
- Nate Archibald
- Aaron Rose
- Gabriel Edwards
- Carter Baizen
- Ben Donovan
- Steven Spence
- Tripp van der Bilt
- Colin Forrester
- Max Harding
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