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Dr. William van der Woodsen is a recurring character in the Gossip Girl television adaption. William is Lily's first husband and the father of Eric and Serena van der Woodsen. He is also the father of Lola by Lily's sister, Carol Rhodes. William is largely absent half of the series until his appearance as Lily's physician in season three.
In season three, Lily Bass Humphrey hides the fact that she has cancer from her family with the exception of her mother, CeCe Rhodes, and goes to her ex-husband for treatment. When Lily's husband, Rufus Humphrey, finds out, it causes a strain in their marriage. Meanwhile, Serena becomes angry with Lily for concealing her disease and that fact that William was treating her, as Serena had been searching for her father for the past three years.
When William finally returns to the Upper East Side, he is met with an array of mixed reactions: Lily decides that she needs him; Eric remains cautious about his father's agenda; Serena decides she wants to get to know her father; and Rufus is angry at his intrusion. Although William had actually been treating Lily for her cancer, he keeps her just sick enough for her to remain in need of him, as he had fallen in love with her again. When the truth about William's plot to separate Lily and Rufus is revealed, however, it causes a major rift between him and his family. William flees New York when the police begin to close in on him, and is last seen leaving the city.
In the fifth season, William returns to New York for CeCe's funeral, and is revealed to be the executor of CeCe's will. At the wake, he meets Lola Rhodes, who makes an effort to speak with him, only to be interrupted by her mother, Carol. Upon going over CeCe's will, which revealed CeCe had left everything to Ivy Dickens, Carol tells William that he is the father of her daughter, Lola, claiming they were together when he was married to Lily. He later contacts Lola when she was out with her boyfriend, Nate Archibald, and schedules a meeting with her.
William begins an affair with Ivy Dickens in Season 6. It is later discovered that he only wanted to use Ivy to split up Bart and Lily, so that Lily would come back to him. Five years later, William attends Serena and Dan's wedding with Lily. It is presumed that they are remarried at that point, but it is never stated in the show.
- Lily van der Woodsen (wife; 2 children)
- Serena van der Woodsen (daughter)
- Carol Rhodes (sister-in-law)
- Lola Rhodes (niece / illegitimate daughter)
- Lily van der Woodsen (wife; married twice)
- Carol Rhodes (affair / one-night-stand)
- Ivy Dickens (ex-girlfriend)
- Season 3
- Season 4
- Season 5
- Season 6