William "Will" Truman is a lawyer living in New York City with his best friend Grace.
Early childhood and family
Will often recalls his rather unhappy childhood, growing up in the closet in a conservative WASP family. His mother has implied that she suffered postpartum depression after giving birth to Will that she would not pick him up for a year. He was mainly taken care of by their Irish housekeeper Fiona. As a boy, Will performed plays during family events but his mother would discourage him, retrospectively admitting she was not prepared to raise a gay son.
Grace says his brothers used to dress him up in his mother's clothes. On his 8th birthday, Will wanted a cowboy-themed party but his mom gave him a clown party instead and he had to fake smile his way through it. Since then, Will has always had aversion to birthdays. He also recalls almost drowning in the neighbor's pool when his mother failed to save him because she just got her hair done. Will was traumatized by this that he never learned to swim until Jack taught him. In any case, his siblings knew that Will is their mother's favorite.
When Will was 9, he and his brothers chipped in to buy their parents a garden gnome for their anniversary which they named Squatsy.
Will has also been described as an insecure, chubby and shiny kid who "was friends with the lunch lady and a girl with a small leg". During elementary, a bully named Kevin Wolchek terrorized him that he ate lunch every day with the janitor and drank kahlua. He mentions kissing a poster of the football team and being caught by the football team.
In 1994, after his brother Sam's engagement to Ginny, Will told him that he should not get married because she is "morose and controlling and icy." This led to the estrangement of the two brothers, and Sam cutting of Will out of his life, splitting the family. Sam and Ginny would later divorce and Will and his brother would resolve their issues after Grace intervenes.
During his high school years, he was best friends with Claire, whom he also used to date. She recalls that while driving at the beach after senior prom, she made her move on him and he panicked, crashing the car into a Dodge Dart. Although he seems to have shown hints of his sexuality early on, Will says that he was confused until his sophomore year in high school when during a game of basketball, he and Jay Barr touched stomachs, and he truly realized he's gay. For his sweet sixteen party, he turned the basement into a roller disco.
While attending Columbia, he dated Grace Adler who lived across the hall from his dorm room. Although there were signs of Will's homosexuality early on, Grace seemed oblivious and they continued to see each other. She recalls how he taught her how to scrunch her hair to keep the curl, and how he used take her every Saturday night to Chippendale's telling her it was because they "made a killer mai tai."
Grace also mentions that she and Will were also part of an improv group called The Zanys. During college, he also met Jack McFarland literally inside the closet of his dorm room. Jack who is openly gay, instantly knew that Will is in the closet and pushed him to be true to himself, asking him the question "aren't you tired yet?". Will says Jack sent him to a job interview wearing leg warmers and Chinese slippers.
Will finally came out on Thanksgiving of 1985 when Grace invited him to her parents' house with the plan of losing her virginity to him. Will panicked and proposed to Grace to keep them from having sex but later admitted that he is, in fact gay. Grace was brokenhearted and humiliated in front of her family so she threw Will out. Will felt miserable and went to another party, got drunk and unwittingly slept with a girl named Diane. This is the only time Will ever had sex with a woman. The next morning Will left before Diane woke up and never returned her calls. He went to see Jack who comforted him saying that everything was going to be better. Jack also admitted to having feelings for Will later on, but says he was just joking after Will politely turned him down.
Will and Grace avoided each for over a year, during which he also came out to his friends and family (causing his father to crash his car into a telephone pole). He eventually started a new relationship with Grace as platonic friends after bumping into her at D'Agostino and realizing how much they mean to each other.
During the 70s, Jack accompanied Will on his first night at a gay bar where Jack bribed a guy named Zack to go out with Will. Will recalls that this built his confidence in dating other guys afterwards. Will also recalls that after saying "I love you" to his first boyfriend, he said "Did you just eat falafel?".
Will occasionally mentions his interest in becoming a playwright even before he became a lawyer. Before he came out, he wrote a play entitled "Bye-Bisexual" about his conflicting feelings about being in the closet. It is implied that his playwrighting professor took advantage of him by pretending to take interest in his play. Jack also mentions the play Will wrote entitled "If Gay Means Happy, Why Am I So Sad?" inspired by bad date.
Fresh out of law school, Will worked at Getman & Denofreyo, before starting his own practice after two years. However he closes down after his biggest client, Harlin Polk fires him and he begins working for Doucette & Stein after Ben Doucette offers him a contract. During his time there, Will manages to get Stanley Walker of Walker, Inc. as one of the firm's biggest clients.
By the seventh season, Will has become increasingly unhappy with his role as a corporate lawyer. Although he gets promoted as partner, he eventually decides to give up his career and dedicate his life to doing something meaningful. After an extremely brief stint as a freelance writer, Will returns to corporate law, working for a mysterious man named Malcolm Widmark. This position is also short-lived, as Malcolm reveals himself as a CIA agent working for Karen's husband, Stanley. Afterwards, still seeking a more meaningful career path, Will takes a job at the Coalition of Justice, a not-for-profit business providing legal support for the impoverished. He also starts volunteering for Project Angel Food, a non-profit organization providing free meals for the sick and elderly. Will ultimately returns to Doucette & Stein, having taken back his old job after being offered a partnership by his new boss at the firm.
In 1990, Will wrote his will, endowing Grace $1400, which is all he had at that time. He would try to rewrite it many times later, but admits feeling he is just another corporate lawyer and has nothing meaningful to give. He would eventually rewrite it 15 years later, after he and Grace almost get hit by a bus.
Will is characterized as the most mature and reasonable character, with a penchant for crafts and good housekeeping. Although he occasionally seems distant and aloof, there have been many times when Will has shown his sensitive side, often going to great lengths to help his friends. In one particular instance, Will was willing to throw away his chances of becoming a senior partner at his law firm in order to take care of his emotionally devastated boyfriend. It is mentioned in various occasions that Will supports Jack who is a struggling actor.
Will's controlling and perfectionist personality also frequently becomes an issue with his friends and they often point it out to be the problem in his romantic relationships.
Being a good lawyer, his friends and family usually comes to him for legal assistance. Will is also portrayed as a person with integrity when he decided to work for the Coalition of Justice.
Will is a die-hard Barry Manilow fan, participating in "Fanilow" chatrooms as 'no1fanilow' and maintaining a website called The Manilow-down. He is also a Jennifer Lopez fan and had a crush on Hugh Jackman before his 2004 film Van Helsing. He has also written fanmail to pop singer Justin Timberlake. Growing up watching Star Trek, Will also considered himself to be a "Sulu-head", which he describes as "an elite subset of soon-to-be-gay men who sensed at an early age a kinship with the character of Sulu, based on his sensitivity and lingering looks at Captain Kirk".
Grace is Will's best friend whom he dated in college. After resolving their issues and starting a new special relationship as best friends, they have become so close that they consider each other in every major decision they make. Will says that the two of them are destined to meet and that "fate brought us together and fate was gonna keep us together".
During the fifth season, Will and Grace decide to make a baby via in vitro fertilization. The plan however does not push through after Grace meets Leo while on the way to the fertility clinic. After her painful divorce, Will devotes his life to helping Grace and raising her unborn child but conflict arise again as Leo comes back.
Their closeness and co-dependence is constantly made fun of by the others. Karen hilariously refers to Will as Grace's husband, "sexless lover", "non-romantic life partner" and the "reason that Grace is not in a relationship". They can finish each others sentences at times, which helps them in their fast rounds in trivia and parlor games, and at least in one occasion imply that the two of them have a telepathic connection. They can also be quite dysfunctional and co-dependent, sometimes even requiring the other's approval of clothing and boyfriends.
Will and Grace often say that "if you are dating one of them, then you are dating both of them".
Karen is friends with Will mainly because of Grace. Initially, they find it difficult dealing with each other, with Karen finding Will dull, lame and humorless. She also makes fun of his clothes while he makes fun of her nasty attitude and addictions.
Later on, they discover interests that they have in common and they begin to bond, at one point even pretending to hate each other to appease Jack who have become jealous of their relationship.
Jack is Will's gay best friend. Will met him after a college party, hiding inside the closet of his dorm room.
Although Jack is shown to be irresponsible and immature, Will trusts him as Jack was the one who helped him put his life back together after he came out, which Will considers as the most difficult time of his life. For most of their adult life, Will has been supporting Jack who has been having a hard time with his acting career. They have also admitted attraction to each other though they resolve to remain platonic friends.
Vince is a member of the NYPD Will meets after he and Karen are pulled over for speeding. Will challenges him in court and during the hearing, realize that they were supposed to be set up by mutual friends Joe and Larry. Vince shares Will's interests in crafts and homemaking.
After Vince is fired from the force, the couple decide to take a break so Vince could put his life back together. They reconcile shortly after Will's father dies. They break up again however after Vince realizes that he will always take second place after Grace, who at the time is alone and heavily pregnant.
In the 9th season, Vince and Will have broken up and their son, Ben, was all a figment of Karen's dream. In the 10th episode, The Wedding, Vince, having overcome his commitment issues, decides to get married to his fellow officer, Ryan. He invites Will and his friends to the wedding. At the wedding, Vince reveals that the reason he dumped Will was because he always picked at him. Later, when Vince asks Will if he's making a mistake getting married, Will assures Vince that he is doing the right thing. Vince then tells Will that he will always think of him as his ex-husband.
Other romantic relationships
- Will's chat nickname is "hat_lawyer".
- He is angry at the ending of Titanic because it makes him feel vulnerable.
- He had a pet dog when he was young, named Daisy who died while he was in college.
- He mentioned holding his mother's curling iron and pretending he was Eartha Kitt when he was young.
- He is 5'11", not into games, likes horseback riding, skiing, and men who aren't afraid to cry.
- His favorite color is antique paper and his favorite song is As by Stevie Wonder.
- He hates cilantro.
- Series co-creator Max Mutchnick said Will was originally going to be named Will Herman ("her man") because the staff wanted to use names that "speak exactly to the essence" of the characters. However, they changed it to Truman ("true man") since they thought it was more accurate, as Will "really lives his life in an honest way".
- Eric McCormack admitted that his penchant for making accents was incorporated into Will, as seen in various episodes.
- Will is right-handed.
Don't lie. Not here. This is a gym. This is gay church. — Stakin' Care of Business
Please don't tell me you're still blaming me for your crappy love life. Can't you just blame your parents like everybody else? — Where There's a Will, There's No Way
I am not weird, Grace. Gay republicans are weird. — Big Brother is Coming (Part I)
You said you like my vest. You said I look like a movie star. If that's not a meaningful connection, I don't know what is. — Strangers with Candice
- Christmas Break
- A Little Christmas Queer
- Will on Ice
- The Old Man and the Sea
- Moveable Feast
- Went to a Garden Potty
- Swimming Pools...Movie Stars
- Past and Presents
- I Second That Emotion
- Big Brother is Coming (Part I)
- Seeds of Discontent
- Blanket Apology
- Homo for the Holidays
- The Kid Stays Out of the Picture
- Fagmalion Part One: Gay It Forward
- Last Ex to Brooklyn
- Fagmalion Part Two: Attack of the Clones
- No Sex 'n' the City
- Terms of Employment
- Polk Defeats Truman
- Terms of Employment
- Tea and a Total Lack of Sympathy
- From Queer To Eternity
- Friends with Benefits
- Kiss and Tell
- Swish Out of Water
- Steams Like Old Times
- The Hole Truth
- Forbidden Fruit
- Head Case
- I Do. Oh, No, You Di-in't
- Friends with Benefits
- Buy Buy Baby
- Whatever Happened to Baby Gin?
- The Finale
- ...And the Horse He Rode in On
- Grace, Replaced
- I Never Promised You An Olive Garden
- Grace 0, Jack 2000
- Something Borrowed, Someone's Due
- Object of My Rejection
- Wedding Balls
- A Chorus Lie
- Lows in the Mid-Eighties
- Dames at Sea
- Courting Disaster
- Fred Astaire and Ginger Chicken
- The Mourning Son
- Fagmalion Part Three: Bye Bye Beardy
- Gypsies, Tramps and Weed
- Crazy in Love
- I Love L. Gay
- The Definition of Marriage
- Grace Expectations
- Karger, Dave (October 16, 1998). "Flashes: October 16, 1998". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-04-21.
- Will on Will & Grace