Portrayed by: Jennifer Landon
Teenager Gwen Norbeck was set up on a date with Will Munson in the Spring of 2005. Unfortunately, the two did not get along at all since Will didn’t seem remotely interested in her. However, Gwen was very interested in Casey Hughes, Will’s best friend. When Casey was anxious to settle a dispute between him and his girlfriend, Celia, Gwen watched from the sidelines. Wanting to be near Casey, Gwen pretended to befriend Celia and encouraged Celia’s friendship with Will. Against Casey’s wishes, Gwen insinuated herself into their little group. Gwen’s presence continued to unnerve Casey and the reason became clear–the pair had slept together. In the meantime, Gwen had actually become friends with the kindhearted Celia. As the night of the prom grew closer, Gwen got edgier and edgier with Casey as she struggled to tell him something. Unfortunately, when Celia interrupted, Casey never let Gwen finish her thought and the news stayed with Gwen. Later, when Gwen and Will overheard Celia and Casey declare their love for one another, Gwen’s reaction (she got sick) caused Will to suspect that she was in love with Casey. However, Gwen had a deeper secret–she was pregnant with Casey’s baby! Realizing that she hadn’t been taking care of herself, Will gallantly took her to get some pre-natal care. Later, although Will urged her to tell Casey the truth, Gwen refused and Will promised he not to reveal her secret. Although Gwen wanted to hide her condition, Celia and Casey accidentally uncovered it. Horrified that someone had gotten Gwen pregnant, Celia demanded to know who the father was.
Knowing how devastated Celia would be if she learned it was Casey, Will lied and stated that he was the father. Although Gwen tried to tell Casey the truth, his attitude caused her to clam up and she went along with Will’s lie. When Will’s mother, Barbara, heard the news, she insisted on a paternity test that proved that Will was not the father. Believing that she couldn’t give her baby a good home, Gwen made plans to give the child up for adoption. She seemed to find the perfect mother for her baby—a very wealthy and sweet woman named Rosanna Cabot Montgomery. Unfortunately, the lack of pre-natal care at the start of her pregnancy caused Gwen to give birth prematurely. Coincidentally, on the same day, Will’s older sister, Jennifer, was giving birth to a premature baby. Sadly, Jen’s baby wouldn’t survive. Meanwhile, tragedy struck when Rosanna was run off the road by her husband and fell into a coma. With Rosanna incapacitated, and her husband in jail for attempted murder, Rosanna’s sister, Carly Tenney Snyder, decided to raise the baby, whom she named Rory. The situation greatly distressed Gwen since she agreed to give the baby to Rosanna—she didn’t know or trust Carly.
Not convinced that her baby would be better off with Carly, Gwen decided to sue for custody. Gwen faced a major obstacle however when the judge demanded that she name the father. Although she tried to refuse, stating that the father wanted nothing to do with the baby, she was finally forced to confess that the father was Casey Hughes. When he continued to deny it, a paternity test was done that proved Casey wasn’t the father! Confused since she knew that only Casey could be the baby’s father, Gwen was hurt when Will seemed to believe what everyone else did—that she was lying. Soon, she was able to convince Will that she was telling the truth—that Casey or someone else must have rigged the test. Meanwhile, the custody battle seemed to be turning in Gwen’s favor with her getting visitation rights. Desperate to make sure she didn’t lose Rory, Carly set out to make to make Gwen look like an unfit mother by arranging her to drink tainted water during an outing so Gwen would fall asleep while watching the baby. Fortunately for Gwen, the plan backfired. In the meantime, Gwen was shocked when her mother, Iris, stepped back into her life. Iris had been a neglectful, alcoholic mother who Gwen got legally emancipated from. Although Gwen was skeptical, Iris claimed that she’d changed and was here to support her daughter. Unbeknownst to Gwen, Iris had a history with Carly as well—she’d dated Carly’s father when Carly was a young girl and apparently had a baby boy who died by Carly’s hand. Painting herself as the perfect mother, Iris petitioned the court to let Gwen have temporary custody of the baby while under her care. The judge agreed and a reluctant Gwen moved back home.
After a few weeks, when Iris accused Will of poisoning her, Gwen and Will ran off with Rory to New York City. It was in NYC that Gwen and Will shared their first kiss. Meanwhile, Carly and her husband, Jack, went to NYC to locate them. Finally they found them. on the steps of the NYC university, Carly and Gwen were on the top steps and Jack, Will and Iris were near the bottom of the steps. Gwen was holding on to the baby carriage, when Carly and her got into fight over Rory, Gwen lost her balance. The carriage went over first, and Jack caught the carriage, and saved Rory, Unfortunately, Gwen lost her balance and fell down the stairs. At that moment, Carly had a memory flash—Iris didn’t have a baby boy—she had a girl! Carly suddenly put two and two together and figured out that Iris set up Carly in order to get her and her baby away from the Tenneys. That meant that Gwen was her half-sister! Iris then went to jail for falsely accusing Will of poisoning her (she’d set him up). Meanwhile, despite the revelation, Carly refused to acknowledge any sisterly bond and was still determined to keep Gwen away from the baby. In the end, both women ended up losing when another major revelation came out—Rory was NOT Gwen’s baby! He was actually Jennifer’s. Unknown to everyone, Craig had switched the babies so everyone thought that Jen’s baby had died. That explained why the paternity test showed Casey wasn’t the father—because Gwen wasn’t the mother!
With the truth finally discovered, Rory was given to Jennifer and, saddened by Gwen’s loss (since it reminded her of her miscarriage of Nora), Carly truly bonded with her sister. Saddened by the loss of her baby, Gwen relayed the news to Casey. Although he continued to deny the child was his, he was finally forced to accept the fact that he lost a child he never knew. Not long after, Jennifer died of pneumonia. On Jennifer’s deathbed, Jen told Gwen how much she had changed and how much she liked her.
In love, Will and Gwen wanted to live together but met resistance from everyone since they were too young. This wouldn’t have been a problem if Will had his trust fund but he was underage and his parents refused to give him his trust fund early. Finally, Will came up with a plan to steal the money from his mother, Barbara. Unfortunately, the plan went awry with Barbara catching them. In the process of threatening to call the police, Barbara was accidentally knocked unconscious by Will in the struggle to get the phone. When she woke up, she lied and stated that Gwen had done it. Will and Gwen then went on the run to avoid the authorities. With help from Casey and Maddie Coleman, the pair was able to hide out at Metro, which was long-abandoned. After a few weeks, they were discovered and Barbara changed her story when it seemed that Will, as well as Gwen, would go to jail. Not long after, Will and Gwen decided to run away and get married. While Barbara, unsuccessfully, tried to pay Gwen to leave Will, Will’s father, Hal accepted the pair into his home and offered to support them as long as they went back to school. Although Will objected to the arrangement, since he felt Hal was trying to control him like Barbara did, he conceded for Gwen’s sake. During this time, Gwen and Casey patched up their problems and started to become friends. Meanwhile, Will was desperate to graduate so he and Gwen could move out. Noticing that Will was struggling to write a term paper that was due ASAP, Jade Taylor offered a solution–why not buy a term paper off the internet? Unfortunately, someone found out and Will ended up not graduating. Gwen blasted Will for what he’d done but soon forgave him.
Gwen befriended Jade and let her stay with them at Carly’s when she had nowhere to go. When Will found out about the arrangement, he strenuously objected but wouldn’t tell Gwen what his problem with Jade was. Later, Gwen found out a horrible truth after she saved Maddie from being killed by an unknown slasher. Dazed and confused, Maddie wondered out loud if Will was responsible for the attack since she found out he and Jade slept together. Rocked, Gwen confronted Will who admitted that he and Jade had a drunken affair the night of Gwen’s graduation. After throwing Will out, Gwen was attacked by the slasher but was saved by Will. However, Gwen was still unable to forgive him. During this rough time, Gwen received support from Casey who talked her into accompanying him and a group of friends to Raven Lake. The trip turned into a nightmare when several kids ended up dead. Gwen found herself targeted again, but luckily was saved by Will. She and Will seemed to be on the road to reconciliation. That was until Will made a shocking revelation—Jade was pregnant. Gwen refused to forgive Will for this betrayal and proceeded to leave him. However, when they got stuck in a freak snowstorm, the two talked things over and ended up making love. However, no matter how much she still loved Will, Gwen could not get over the fact that Jade was having his baby. In the meantime, Jade and Gwen continued to clash and finally Jade forced Gwen into a confrontation. Jade fell and was rushed to Memorial where Will and Gwen were shocked to learn that Jade was not pregnant after all! Realizing that Jade had lied all along, Gwen forgave Will and the two reunited.
Soon after, the Munsons received devastating news—Will’s father was killed in a shoot-out. Will’s brother, Adam, a successful record producer, arrived for the funeral and decided to stick around. One of the first new people he met was Jade and the pair struck up a friendship. He was also impressed with Gwen’s singing, and offered her a record deal. The problem was that Gwen was leery of working with anyone who was friends with her rival. Ultimately, Gwen opted to work with Adam anyway. Unfortunately, Gwen was inexperienced and her unprofessionalism irked on Adam. That put him in conflict with Gwen as well as Will and Casey who defended her against Adam’s criticisms. In the meantime, Iris was released from prison. Gwen tried to tell her she didn’t want her around, but when Iris pulled at her heartstrings, Gwen relented and cautiously let her into her life. When Gwen finally recorded her demo, Gwen and Adam finally softened to one another. That all changed though when Gwen discovered Adam and Jade in the record studio fresh from love-making. She blasted Adam and refused to work with anyone who was involved with Jade. Not wanting to lose the talented Gwen as a client, Adam agreed. Later, Adam took Gwen to Los Angeles for a singing gig. Unfortunately, Iris came uninvited and, before Gwen was scheduled to perform, Iris showed up backstage drunk, and Gwen told her to go. Angry, Iris called Gwen trash, and Gwen slapped her. Upset, Gwen was in no shape to perform, but Adam convinced her to go on stage. Gwen’s performance was a hit and Adam spontaneously kissed her. Unfortunately, Iris saw the kiss and later mentioned it to Jade. Jade lashed out at Adam and Gwen confessed the kiss to Will and then decided to quit the record business to work on her marriage. Adam later tried to downplay kissing Gwen to Will, but then took full responsibility, and convinced Will to get Gwen to stick with her career.
After Will’s trust fund was wiped out, Barbara offered Will and Gwen $10,000 in bonds to finish the demo. Will reluctantly accepted and stored them in the safe at Crash. Casey, who had a gambling addiction, followed Will to Crash and stole the bonds. Adam spotted Casey at Java paying off his debt with the stolen bonds. Adam offered Elwin money for some of the bonds and set it up to look as if Will had stolen them. Finally, Casey was arrested and accused of setting Will up. After Casey’s arrest, Adam was on his way out of town, not knowing that Jade had figured out that he was the one who set Will up. Looking for Adam, Gwen spotted him in the woods attempting to leave. He forced himself on Gwen, only to be stopped by Maddie hitting him over the head with a tree branch. Believing that Adam was dead, they covered their tracks and buried him. Afterwards, Gwen went home to clean up before Will got home. However, unbeknownst to the girls, Adam was still alive and remained in hiding for several weeks, sending Gwen mysterious packages.
Finally, Adam showed himself to Maddie and Gwen and attacked them. Also at the scene was Jade who begged Adam to leave with her, but Adam was too focused on Gwen and tried again to rape her. This time, he was stopped by Will who had to restrain himself to keep from killing Adam. At that point, Casey arrived and both he and Will ordered their brother to leave town. Later, Jade happened upon a scheme to get Will for herself by hiring a woman named Cleo to impersonate Gwen. Jade hid Cleo away for weeks and taught her how to be Gwen. The plan was for faux Gwen to make love to Will. Unfortunately, Will caught on that Cleo was an imposter and suspected that Jade was behind it. Jade ordered Cleo to leave town but she refused. Things turned disastrous with Cleo having designs on Will herself and deciding to get rid of Gwen permanently. Not only did she cause Gwen’s car to crash but she framed Jade for the crime. Jade admitted to the impersonation scheme but denied trying to kill Gwen. Jade rushed to stop Cleo but was quickly subdued and tied to a railroad track. Luckily, Will came and saved her life.
Soon after, Gwen was elated to learn that she was pregnant. Unfortunately, she would end up miscarrying midterm and was later devastated to learn that she would never be able to conceive a child. Gwen and Will quickly decided to have a child through in vitro fertilization. Will’s old friend, Alison selflessly offered to be an egg donor. Though the procedure was successful, Gwen had a second miscarriage. Learning that she could never have a child, the Munsons tried adoption. Unfortunately, thanks to Will’s juvenile record they were told that was impossible. Later, Iris’s son, Cole, returned home. Ten years older than Gwen, Cole left as soon as he was old enough and never looked back. That was until he learned Gwen had a somewhat successful career as a singer. Hoping to capitalize on it, Cole asked Gwen to help him launch his own music career. Gwen refused since she was upset that Cole abandoned her with Iris when she was a kid. Already frustrated by Gwen, Cole was not happy to learn that his girlfriend, Sophie, was pregnant. When Iris found out, she wasn’t happy either and gave Sophie money to take care of the situation. Not long after, Barbara told Will and Gwen that she arranged a closed adoption through a lawyer. Though Will and Gwen were thrilled at the thought of being parents, Gwen was worried about the birth mother. She knew from experience how hard it was to give up a child and wanted to meet the woman. Barbara informed her that was impossible—the woman wanted to remain anonymous.
Not long after the Munsons got a visit from Alison who informed them that their adoption sounded an awfully lot like Sophie’s, who had just delivered a baby girl. In fact, she thought it was Sophie’s baby they were adopting. She then revealed another shocker—that Barbara knew about the whole thing. The pair confronted Barbara who admitted that she and Iris set out to buy Sophie’s baby since Gwen wanted a baby so badly. Gwen and Will wrote both of their mothers out of their lives. While Iris fled town with the money, Barbara pleaded for forgiveness.
As for Sophie, Cole abandoned her the minute he learned he wouldn’t be getting any money. Alone, Sophie decided to let the Munsons adopt her baby after all. Gwen named the baby Hallie Jennifer and, weeks later, convinced Will to forgive his mother. Sofie was given a thirty day window to reclaim custody of her baby. As the days went by, Sofie regretted her decision and, immediately after the deadline, kidnapped Hallie from the Munson home and fled to New York City with the baby. However, when Hallie became sick, a desperate Sofie called Will’s cousin, Chris Hughes who convinced her to return to Oakdale for Hallie’s sake. Though he was family, Chris took pity on Sofie and, believing that she suffered from post partum depression, he aided in her fight to get custody of Hallie. After a custody battle, the judge decided that Gwen and Will should retain custody. However, Gwen knew exactly what it was like to lose a child and gave Hallie back to Sofie—a decision which broke Gwen’s heart. Mere days later, Hallie became ill. Sofie took her daughter to the hospital where it was determined that she needed an emergency blood transfusion. Sofie wasn’t a match so she desperately called Gwen and Cole for help. Luckily, Gwen was a match and saved Hallie. Not long after, Cole arrived and talked about how he’d changed and how he wanted to be a father to Hallie. Though months earlier, this was exactly what Sofie wanted to hear she had serious doubts that he was sincere. She was proven correct that very day when Cole suddenly snatched Hallie. Luckily, security was notified and Cole literally tossed the baby to Will as he ran off. At that point, Sofie decided that Hallie was better off with the Munsons and returned Hallie to them.
Realizing how hard it would be on Sofie to live in the same town with the child she would never raise, Will and Gwen decided to leave town with Hallie. Almost immediately after telling Barbara their decision, Barbara informed the pair that she was being treated for oral cancer. When Will and Gwen declared that they were going to stay in town for her sake, Barbara refused to allow that. She argued that Paul was there for her and Sofie even offered to help her. After saying goodbye to their friends and family, Gwen and Will toasted to their new life at Southern Illinois State.
A few years later, Gwen and Will returned to Oakdale when Barbara failed to show up for a surprise visit. Though Paul was certain that Barbara went on a vacation, Gwen and Will weren’t so sure since they didn’t think Barbara would pass up an opportunity to see Hallie. At the same time, Iris returned to town and Gwen asked Paul to let her stay with them at Fairwinds. Soon, the family became worried that Barbara was being held captive but had no clue as to who the culprit was. Later, Henry Coleman caught Iris strutting around in Barbara’s clothes and deduced that Iris had kidnapped Barbara (and Emily Stewart) for ransom. Luckily, the ladies were found and Gwen detained her mother long enough for her to be arrested. Though Gwen felt immensely guilty for what her mother had done, Barbara assured Gwen that she was not to blame and she was still family.
Afterward, the couple happily attended Barbara and Henry’s wedding. A few months later, the couple returned for another wedding—Carly and Jack’s.