Lillian Wilhelmina "Lily" van der Woodsen (née Rhodes) is the youngest daughter of music executive Richard "Rick" Rhodes and the late Celia "CeCe" Rhodes. Lily is the mother to Serena and Eric van der Woodsen, as well as being the birth mother of Scott Rosson and the adoptive mother to Charles "Chuck" Bass, the latter of whom is the son to her ex-husband Bartholomew "Bart" Bass. She is a fictional character from the Gossip Girl novel series and the series' television adaptation of the same name. In addition, the television series' proposed spin-off, Valley Girls, would have centered on her life as a teenager in the San Fernando Valley.
Lily appeared in 96 episodes.
Not much is known about Lily's past, except that she is the second born daughter in a wealthy family. Her father, Richard "Rick" Rhodes was a music executive and her mother Celia 'Cece' Rhodes was from the Upper East Side. However, Lily grew up on a small ranch in Montecito, California. Carol Rhodes, Lily's older rebellious sister, moved out of home and into San Fernando Valley when Lily was 16 years old. Little more than a year later, Lily ran away after a disagreement with her parents, to join Carol. Although she had always previously behaved as a proper member of upper class society, Lily was influenced by the LA lifestyle, changing her into a wild child.
It was mentioned she is an alumna of Brown University, as well as The Thacher School, a prestigious boarding school in southern California (although she was dismissed).
In Pilot, Lily greets Serena after her year at boarding school in Connecticut.At the Ostroff Center, Lily has an argument with Serena about whether Eric should stay at the center or not. At the Palace Hotel, Lily shows Serena a dress to wear to the Kiss On Lips Party, but Serena says she has plans to see a Lincoln Hawk concert with Dan instead. Lily then goes to the art gallery owned by Rufus, and questions him about why Dan and Serena have a date.
Lily's children, Eric Van der Woodsen and Serena Van der Woodsen, have sometimes come second to her love life. Eric's fortunate fail at suicide, resulting in a rushed but important friendship with Jenny Humphrey(Dan's younger sibling), Serena a forever (sometimes reformed) wild child.
Lilly later tried at a reconciliation after dating Mr. Bass. She starts a relationship with him without letting Serena and Eric know. Rufus Humphrey is hurt by this outcome. In season 2 she has a relationship with Rufus Humphrey, later Mr. Bass dies in a driving accident.
During her late teens/early 20s, Lily met Rufus Humphrey and the two began dating whilst he traveled cross country with his band Lincoln Hawk. Lily was a photographer for the band, who captured the band's iconic image. During the travels of Lily and Rufus, Lily became pregnant, rather than tell Rufus she returned home. Lily's mother sent her to a French institution where she gave birth to their son, Scott. She gave the baby up for adoption and never spoke of him again for years. Later it would be revealed that the son she gave up would return. At some point after the adoption, Lily married Dr. William Van der Woodsen, whom would become father to her daughter Serena and son Eric.
However, William ran off later causing Serena to have low esteem issues and to be worried about her father and why he wasn't with her, that caused her to have "daddy issues" throughout her life. However, the two would later reconcile before he left his children again. Lily later marries Bart Bass and then after his death, a year after, became married to Rufus Humphrey.
In season three, Lily is living in the Van der Woodsen penthouse with husband Rufus, son Eric and step-daughter Jenny.
She is portrayed as a caring, albeit stern mother who combines a need for human warmth (which she finds through Rufus Humphrey) alongside a deep understanding and respect for societal constraint, hierarchy and obedience. This is illustrated by her character's resemblance (in spite of her professed wishes) to her mother, CeCe Rhodes.In season three's Dr. Estrangeloved, we learn that Lily is being treated for cancer by her ex-husband, William.
- "Frankly Carol I'm surprised it took you this long to realize what Mother really thought of you" (to Carol)
- "At least I didn't embezzle my own daughters trust fund so I could go shopping at LuluLemon "(to Carol)
- "This is an adult scandal. And the adult thing to do is for me to pay everyone back. And for you to do absolutely nothing. Now let it go.... Am I understood?" (to Serena)
Trivia / Facts
- She used to love photography
- She never cooks
- She used to have a horse named Rosewood
- She never attended her debutante ball
- She has botox