If you’re worried about Eric van der Woodsen sliding back to drugs and suicidal tendencies now that Damien is around again, don’t be. “Eric is absolutely committed to not going back to the place that he was when we first met him,” actor Connor Paolo assured Zap2it. “He made that commitment when he wasn't successful in his suicide attempt. I don't think he was ever at risk of going back there.”
He continued, “Those feelings aren't feelings that are totally gone, and there are things that he still struggles with that happened a couple of years ago that are still fresh in his mind as much as his family would like to forget about it. Certainly what happened with Serena going to the same treatment center this year brought all of that rushing right back to him, which is why he was so involved and got so protective of her. The last thing he wants to do is see someone else in that place. I think that was a terrifying thing for him, seeing his sister in that place. She's somebody that, despite all of her problems, he looks up to.”
Of course the idyllic world might run into trouble when Eric’s father, William, returns to the fold. “Things may be on the upswing, a bit, but then we have Daddy van der Woodsen coming back. That throws a wrench into things, because that's a really tough thing for Rufus, which makes things very difficult in terms of the children’s loyalties. Serena has always been more attached to William, whereas Eric is much more attached to Rufus, so that creates a bit of a rift there,” Connor says. “This season with the family you really see Eric building much tighter relationships with the Humphrey end of his family. In the last couple of episodes, he's confided in Rufus a bit, and we're going to see his relationship with Dan get a lot stronger in the next couple of episodes as well. In the van der Woodsen Humphrey joint situation, the Humphreys are more positive, and that could be a good thing for him.”
As for Eric’s love life, Connor isn’t sure that a Glee-like bisexuality is in the cards. “You know, I thought maybe they might go that way in the first season, when Eric was dating Elliot, because Elliot was bisexual, and I thought that Eric might go that way because his boyfriend was involved in it. I think it would make sense, in a lot of ways, but only because as we've seen from Eric, he's very much still figuring out who he is and trying on different hats. From the blonde hair to the change in clothing, Eric has consistently been very aware of the scrutiny of people around him, and he's still nowhere near being assured with himself. Every relationship he's had, since he's coming up, has been very messed up, so he'd have more than enough reason to give other things a try. I think he's still very much in that place of trying to see who he is.”
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For more from Connor...
Connor Paolo Spills Gossip Girl Family Secrets
Will Eric Get a Boyfriend on Gossip Girl?
Connor Paolo Wants His Gossip Girl Character Eric to Get Angrier