Cruel Intentions character

Kathryn MerteuilEdit

Kathryn Merteuil

Pierre Choderlos de Laclos (original character in the novel)

Roger Kumble (film character)

Portrayers: Sarah Michelle Gellar ( in Cruel Intentions)Amy Adams (in Cruel Intentions 2)

Kathryn Merteuil is a fictional character and main villain from the 1999 hit teen drama Cruel Intentions. She is portrayed by actress Sarah Michelle Gellar.


Kathryn was born into Manhattan's most elite social circles to Tiffany Merteuil a well-respected New York socialite, she attended Manchester Prep, a prestigious co-educational private school on just outside of the city and lived on the Upper East Side with her mother, when Tiffany got married to Edward Valmont her and her daughter moved into the Valmont House his and his son's (Sebastian Valmont) opulent Fifth Avenue town-house mansion. As Kathryn came-of-age, she excelled in many academic fields and became fluent in the French and Vietnamese Languages. Kathryn also mastered the Piano and became known throughout the school community as a role-model and a inspiration to all parents, even though secretly developing addictions to both alcohol and cocaine. She also has at least one cousin, Cassidy, who is even more deceptive than Kathryn.

In the film, she's first seen discussing her prep school with Mrs. Caldwell and her daughter Cecile. Kathryn promises Mrs. Caldwell that she will look out for the sheltered and naive Cecile. However, she reveals to her step-brother Sebastian that her real intention is to use Cecile to take revenge on Court Reynolds, her ex-boyfriend, who had dumped her for Cecile. Kathryn asks Sebastian to seduce Cecile; yet he refuses as he is planning to seduce virgin Annette Hargrove, the daughter of their school's new headmaster. The two make a wager: Kathryn believes he cannot get Annette to bed, yet Sebastian believes he can. If Kathryn wins, she gets Sebastian's vintage Jaguar XK140; if Sebastian wins, Kathryn will have vigorous sex with him. Kathryn must convince him even more, as he rejects the deal, by saying he can do whatever he wants to her body, in a sexually charged pose, showing off her assets.

After numerous failed attempts of seducing Annette, Sebastian agrees to seduce Cecile. Cecile confesses to Kathryn that her music teacher, Ronald Clifford is in love with her. Afterwards Kathryn secretly tells Mrs. Caldwell about Ronald and Cecile's romance and Mrs. Caldwell intervenes in their relationship. Sebastian, in turn, calls Cecile to his house, ostensibly to give her a letter from Ronald. There, he blackmails Cecile and performs oral sex on her. The next day, Cecile confides in Kathryn, who advises her to learn from Sebastian so that she can make Ronald happy in bed.

After Sebastian sleeps with Annette, Kathryn offers herself to Sebastian as he has won the bet, but he refuses; he now only wants Annette. Kathryn begins showing signs of possessiveness towards Sebastian, and it is suggested that she is in truly in love with him.[2] The next day, Kathryn taunts him and threatens to ruin Annette's reputation, so Sebastian pretends indifference to Annette and coldly breaks up with her. After Sebastian tells Kathryn that he has broken up with Annette and arranged for Cecile and Ronald to be together, Kathryn reveals that she has known all along that he was truly in love with Annette and manipulated him into giving her up. Kathryn knowing he came to make plans for them to have sex, rejects him. Once he leaves Kathryn calls Ronald to tell him that Sebastian slept with Cecile and (falsely) inform him that Sebastian hit her. This false information leads to Ronald attacking Sebastian and engineers his death. Only when he watches Sebastian and Annette profess their love before his death, Ronald realizes that Kathryn lied to him in order to get him to kill Sebastian and feels guilty for his actions.

The new school year is inaugurated with Sebastian's funeral. During the service, Kathryn gives a self-important speech to the school about how she had unsuccessfully tried to get Sebastian to mend his ways and become a model student like herself. Halfway through her speech, students start walking out. Flustered, Kathryn rushes outside the chapel, where Cecile is distributing copies of Sebastian's journal (entitled "Cruel Intentions") to all the students. The journal shows all of Sebastian's inner thoughts: his conquests, his description of the bet, and a page on Kathryn, which finally exposes her manipulative and deceitful ways, including the fact that she hides a vial of cocaine in a crucifix she wears in the rosary beads around her wrist. The headmaster takes Kathryn's crucifix and opens it, spilling the cocaine. Kathryn's spotless reputation is destroyed, and people finally see her for the troubled, callous mastermind that she is.

Sixteen years later, Kathryn is now living in San Francisco. She is married to the wealthy Pascal Barrett and spearheads an inspiring youth rehabilitation movement, as well as being involved in a local private school, Brighton Preparatory Academy. Kathryn is privately shaken by the arrival of Sebastian’s son, Bash Casey, and the re-appearance in her life of the girl she wronged years ago, Annette Hargrove Casey. A force of nature, Kathryn has many secrets in her life. She vies for control of Valmont International, as well as the soul of Bash.


Kathryn's personality is a very complex and elusive one. The few who know the real her believe she is an emotionally unstable psychopath (possibly with borderline personality disorder or BPD, even though 'psychopath' does not apply to people with only this disorder). She's extremely manipulative and callous. Her charming and brilliant persona seduces everyone around her. Although she's very intelligent, she lacks empathy, sympathy and a conscience. She is also completely self-absorbed, not even appearing upset at her step-brother's memorial, but making sure she looks perfect in the bathroom's mirror. She is referred to as a bulimic once by Cecile Caldwell  and then by Sebastian in his journal.

Even before the events of the movie, Kathryn was already accustomed to destroying her fellow peers' lives and using sex as a means to control the men in her entourage, but still maintaining that she is a virgin and is planning to wait until marriage. Though Kathryn is self-obsessed (which may be a symptom of her borderline personality disorder), she still has had feelings for a few men in her life, such as Court Reynolds a jock from her school who broke up with her on the 4th of July weekend in 1998 (who later fell for Cecile Caldwell, which led Kathryn to set out to destroy her life) and Ronald Clifford, Cecile's music tutor who's romantically involved with her, and with whom Kathryn openly sleeps with. She also shows great list towards Sebastian, wanting to sleep with him even after he claims he is in love, possibly due to her seeing him as her only equal, and hints at her actual list and I love by trying to make sure he doesn't hook up with Annette. After being rejected by him, she seemed to show even more clingly feelings, trying to convince him that he is meant to be with her, a parallel to her previous relationship. Kathryn also suffers from bulimia nervosa and is mildly self-conscious about her body.

Notes Edit

Amy Adams who played Kathryn Merteuil in the prequel had blonde hair in 1997 in her sophmoree year. Two years later she dyed her hair as a brunette.

She was an over-achiever and mean girl of Manchester prep.

She was similar to Blair Waldorf of Gossip Girl.


See: Kathryn Merteuil/Gallery