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".
Serena van der Woodsen is the daughter of William and Lily van der Woodsen. She's had many step-fathers. The story begins with her return to New York from boarding school. Shortly after her return, she realizes 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 appears to be 16 through 21 years old in the series and also as a teenager. She seems to have a taste of preppy clothes.
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 older 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 realizes 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 realize 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.
In the television series, Serena is seen to have a complicated past; when first introduced, she has come back to New York after her brother, Eric van der Woodsen, has tried to commit suicide. Serena is also finding it difficult to re-connect with her best friend, Blair Waldorf, especially when it is revealed to Blair by Nate Archibald that he and Serena slept together years before. Her mother has already had three husbands and is revealed to be dating Chuck Bass's father, Bart Bass.
Serena's life only gets more complicated, at present she has just admitted to Dan Humphrey that she has feelings for him and appears to be re-starting their relationship.
The two talk about their relationship and decide that they will wait till the time is right. The two of them realize that this will be the last time they are together so they need to make sure they will last the distance.
In the finale flash forward, Dan and Serena get married, surrounded by friends and family.
- Serena returns to the Upper East Side after a year at the Knightley Boarding School in Connecticut. She rejects romantic advances from Chuck and Nate. Nate reveals to Blair that Serena and him had sex, and Blair is once again mad at Serena. Dan and Serena go on their first date (Pilot)
- Blair reveals to Dan that Serena had sex with Nate.Serena and Dan have a big argument (The Wild Brunch)
- Blair tells everyone at the Ivy Mixer that Serena had an alcohol problem.Serena makes up with Dan and Blair (Poison Ivy)
- Serena and Dan share their first kiss (Dare Devil)
- Serena finds out about Vanessa (The Handmaiden's Tale)
- She has sex with Dan for the first time (The Handmaiden's Tale)
- She finds out that Rufus used to date her mother (Blair Waldorf Must Pie)
- Serena attends the debutante ball and reunites with Cece. However, she finds out that Cece has been manipulating everyone (Hi,Society)
- She is charged with community service after she gets caught for breaking into the school pool to start a party, where a guy nearly died (School Lies)
- A rumour goes around that Serena is pregnant with Dan's baby, it's revealed to be false. Dan confesses that he's in love with her for the first time (A Thin Line Between Chuck and Nate)
- Serena reunites with Georgina, and she makes Serena miss her SAT test. Serena declares that their friendship is over (Desperately Seeking Serena)
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 other 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 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 were 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 bag. 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 full 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 ignores 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 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 apologizes 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 realizes Serena is hurt but assumes that she is ruining his date with Amanda. Serena lashes out at Dan by telling Dan 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 neck, symbolically stating Serena's status as Queen. Serena publicly ostracizes 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 seening 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 realizes 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 daugther, 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 uninivited, Blair bribes her way into the party. After a game goes wrong, Serena and Blair decide they can never be friends and part ways. Then they both realize 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 flight.
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 a 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 realizes 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.Trip Vanderbilt, who is Nate's cousin and a newly elected Democratic Congressman of New York. Trip and Serena later have a relationship, even though Trip 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 Trip's mistress, saying that she will be "Jackie [Kennedy]" and Serena "Marilyn [Monroe]." Serena refuses and tells Maureen that Trip will stay with her. However, when she finds out that Trip wants to stay with Maureen for his political career, she asks Trip to drive her back to New York. They have a car accident, and Serena is taken to hospital. Nate shouts at Trip 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 about her scheming acts and it strained both her (Jenny) relationship 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 (William Baldwin) was using this as a scheme. Although Nate calls the police on William, Serena helps him escape. In the season finale, Serena and Dan share a "meaningless" kiss which leads her to break-up with Nate also she knew that she had feelings for Dan. She leaves for Paris with Blair, both dignifying themselves as beautiful, single, carefree women.
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 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, him 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 apart. 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 behavior 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 okay 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 epsode 'Petty Pink' a not so thrilled Serena confronts Dan and Blair about their relationship, which could put their friendships at risk.
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 realized at that party that he could never pull Serena out of her world but he couldn't give up either. He realized that the only way he could get Serena was to write himself in to the UES 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 realize that she belongs in the UES 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, slutty 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.
Relationship with Dan
Serena's defining relation on the show is with Dan Humphrey. The two met at a party a year before the pilot episode, the meeting caused Dan to fall for her immediately. The two start dating in the first episode of the show and continue their on-off relationship all throughout the series, leading to their wedding in the series finale.
- Dan Humphrey (Husband)
- Lily van der Woodsen (Mother)
- William van der Woodsen (Father)
- Eric van der Woodsen (Brother)
- CeCe Rhodes (Maternal Grandmother)
- Richard Rhodes (Maternal Grandfather)
- Carol Rhodes (Maternal Aunt)
- Scott Rosson (Half-Brother)
- Lola Rhodes (First cousin; Half-Sister)
- Chuck Bass (Adopted brother, former step-brother)
- Bart Bass (Ex Step-Father)
- 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
- Gabriel Edwards
- Aaron Rose
- Colin Forrester
- Ben Donovan
- Tripp Vanderbilt
- Carter Baizen
- Steven Spence
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Jenny: You don't leave much room for surprise
Serena: Well I don't know how to dress for surprise. Not everything goes with it, you know.
Serena ( to Dan): There's something vibrating in your pocket and I really hope it's your phone.
Serena(to Nate): Look, Blair's my best friend and you're her boyfriend, and she loves you. That's the way things are supposed to be
- Serena (to Lily): Tell me that Rufus is that important to you. Tell me that whatever the two of you have is the most important thing in your life. Because that's what Dan is to me mom. The most important.
- Serena (to Blair): B, you know that Dan is the one.
- Serena (to Dan): When I told my mom not to go away with Rufus, I said it was because you and I were forever. I know I was right.
- Serena (to Dan): I love you Dan Humphery. Always have, always will.
Hobbies & Skills
- Modelling - In season 1,Serena accompanied Blair to her photo shoot for Eleanor's fashion line. Even though Blair was the designated model, the people wanted Serena to be the model as she was better at posing and being natural.Serena's modelling skills are summed up by the fashion photographer in this quote," This girl has it. She is warm like sunshine, she has fun. She will make your clients think if they buy these clothes then they will have fun too." Serena also modelled in a print advertisement for GAP when she was 12, and still has her account on the look-book model management website.In season 2, Serena and her friends modelled for Eleanor's fashion line at New York Fashion Week.
Trivia / Facts
- She loves truffles
- She spent a summer in Italy
- She loves riding Vespas
- She wanted to take a year off school to teach English in South Asia
- She's been taking birth control pills since she was 15 years old
- She dated the captain of the swim team at the end of freshman year