||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (September 2013)|
|Breaking Bad character|
|Created by||Vince Gilligan|
|Portrayed by||Anna Gunn|
|Occupation||Short story writer
Car wash manager
Taxi cab dispatcher
|Significant other(s)||Walter White (husband)
Ted Beneke (ex-lover)
|Children||Walter White Jr. (son)
Holly White (daughter)
|Relatives||Marie Schrader (sister)
Hank Schrader (brother-in-law)
Skyler White (née Lambert) is a fictional character in the American television drama series Breaking Bad on AMC. She is portrayed by Anna Gunn. For her portrayal, Gunn won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2013.
Over the years, Skyler has had several meager sources of income: writing short stories, selling items on eBay, and eventually working as a bookkeeper for the Albuquerque firm Beneke Fabricators. She and her husband, Walter White, have a son, Walter Jr., and an infant daughter, Holly. Skyler is approximately eleven years younger than Walter, whom she met when she was a hostess at a diner near Walt's former place of work, near the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Skyler is in the middle stages of pregnancy with Holly at the beginning of the show. When Walt is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, he initially does not tell his family. When Skyler learns about the diagnosis, she is both devastated by the news and outraged that Walt withheld the information. Their relationship becomes strained, both from Walt's reluctance to seek treatment and from his unexplained absences following his diagnosis. Skyler figures out Walt's connection to his former student, Jesse Pinkman, and confronts Jesse at his house. When she confronts Walt, he claims that Jesse is his marijuana dealer. Unbeknownst to Skyler, Walt has taken up cooking methamphetamine with Jesse in order to ensure his family's financial security after he dies.
Skyler faces other problems, as well. When her sister Marie offers an expensive white gold tiara, with several carats worth of zircons, as a gift for Holly's baby shower, Skyler attempts to return it to the jewelry store, only to learn that her sister — a kleptomaniac — had stolen the item. Skyler is detained by the store's owner and escapes arrest only after faking labor pains. The incident causes serious problems in Skyler's relationship with Marie, who pathologically denies that she has done anything wrong.
When Walt is kidnapped by Mexican drug kingpin Tuco Salamanca, his family — unaware of the connection to Walt's criminal activities — organizes a search for him as a missing person. When Walt escapes, he attributes his disappearance to a non-existent "fugue state". The marriage continues going downhill thanks to Walt's continued absences, devolving to the point where Skyler refuses to speak with him. Skyler is also perturbed by Walt's resistance to his son's efforts to raise money for Walt's exorbitant cancer treatments, unaware that most of the donations actually constitute drug money laundered by Walt's corrupt lawyer, Saul Goodman.
Still unaware of Walt's meth business, Skyler believes his illness has strained the family's finances and returns to her old job working as an accountant for Ted Beneke, whose sexual advances had caused her to quit earlier. She increasingly relies on Ted for emotional support as her husband grows distant; she also reluctantly covers up Ted's tax fraud. Shortly afterwards, Skyler gives birth to a daughter, Holly; Walt is absent for the occasion, having been forced to appear for a meth transaction with the drug kingpin Gus Fring.
When Skyler becomes suspicious that Walt owns a second cell phone, Walt emphatically denies the charge. However, while Walt is doped up prior to cancer surgery, he indicates the opposite by replying, "Which one?", when Skyler asks if he has packed his cell phone. After Walt recovers, Skyler confronts him about that and other lies and then leaves him.
In the third season, Walt has moved out of the house. Skyler appears at his apartment, having deduced that he is in the drug trade. When she confronts Walt with her idea that he is selling marijuana, he admits instead that he is a meth manufacturer. Skyler demands a divorce in exchange for her silence about Walt's criminal activities. Skyler's rationale for remaining silent is two-fold: She does not want her children to ever find out the double life their father has led and she fears that Walter's arrest could damage Hank's reputation and possibly even his career as a D.E.A. agent. She also demands that he permanently move out of the family's home. Her subsequent cold behavior towards her husband arouses Marie and Hank's curiosity as well as Walt Jr.'s anger and rebellion. When Walt forcibly moves back into their home, Skyler retaliates by initiating an affair with Ted Beneke and coldly informing her husband. She enjoys her affair with Ted, as they skip work frequently to go to his home.
Even in her anger, Skyler is conflicted: she permits Walt to take care of Holly and defends some of his actions to her lawyer, who advises that she leave Walt immediately. She later finds that Walter has signed off on their divorce and left the house for good. When Ted arrives at her home and tries to clarify the nature of Skyler's feelings, she refuses to answer and asks him to leave.
Following Hank's shooting, Skyler tells Marie that Walter earned millions through card counting at underground blackjack games and offers to pay for Hank's physical therapy and anything else not covered by insurance. She does this because she suspects the attempted assassination of Hank by the twins was somehow the result of Walter's decisions & insists he rectify the situation financially. She later admits to Walt that she never filed the divorce papers, slyly beginning to work her way into Walter's criminal activities by reminding him that spouses cannot be forced to testify against each other. She suggests an alternative money-laundering scheme after being thoroughly unimpressed by Saul's plan to launder the money through a laser tag facility. Skyler suggests Walter instead purchase the car wash facility where he worked in the pilot and offers to run the business for him. She tries to frame these decisions as being forced on her by Walt's criminal activities, but she ends up letting Walt spend more time with the kids and participate in family dinners when Walt, sensing an opportunity to regain his place in the family, tells her that's the only way her cover-up can succeed.
Skyler, through a combination of business planning and underhanded tactics, buys the car wash and begins laundering Walt's drug money. There is a growing perception that Skyler is starting to enjoy her new life as a criminal accomplice as she becomes more confident in her abilities to carry out the money laundering operation and less concerned about his criminal transgressions. She and Walt eventually have their first sexual encounter since the separation and slowly begin to rebuild their relationship. Her fear of Walt is brought up however, as she begins to understand what kind of man he has become and what troubles he has gotten himself and their family into. At one point, she's so consumed with panic that she considers fleeing the state with Holly. She is also indirectly responsible for the accident that Ted Beneke has, the man with whom she has been having an adulterous affair. Later, when Hank and Marie are under witness protection at their house, Skyler, Holly, and Walter Jr. join them while Walt deals with Gus.
Following Gus' death, Skyler's attitude toward Walt takes a drastic turn. Where she once considered the notion of Walt as a formidable gangster ludicrous, the prospect now terrifies her, despite the fact that she recognizes her own ongoing criminal activities. After a nervous breakdown in front of Marie at the car wash, Skyler lapses into a deep depression. She realizes that Walt insists on staying in the family home, and she loses the will to speak or get out of bed. During a tense dinner with Hank and Marie, she stages a spectacular suicide attempt in an effort to convince the Schraders to temporarily take custody of Walt Jr. and Holly. With the children gone, Skyler makes it plain to Walt that she will do anything she can to keep the children out of the house until Walt's lung cancer takes his life, and demonstrates her hostility by smoking in the house. Walt explains Skyler's emotional distress to the Schraders as the effect of serious marital discord, and he exposes Skyler's affair with Ted Beneke in the process. This taints Skyler's relationship with her sister Marie, closing off a potential path of escape. Skyler then effectively becomes a hostage in her home. While she continues to launder money through the car wash, her attitude toward Walt devolves into a barely concealed hatred that shocks Jesse when he is exposed to it in an extremely uncomfortable evening as their dinner guest, evident in her emptying a bottle of wine into her large wine glass. Skyler eventually forces Walt to face things by bringing him to a storage locker packed with millions of dollars in cash, letting him realize he no longer needs money.
When Hank discovers the truth about Walt, he goes to Skyler, assuming she was forced to keep quiet but she refuses to give evidence. When Hank tells Marie, Marie meets her sister and is outraged to learn Skyler knew about Walt before Hank was shot. The two sisters fight with Marie threatening to take Skyler's baby with her but leaves the baby behind at Hank's insistence. After Hank's death after attempting to arrest Walt, Skyler orders Walt out of their house at knife point as Walt Jr. calls 911, to protect everyone from his father. Walt then drives off with Holly, leaving Skyler in tears. In the evening, an emotional Walt calls up Skyler, as the police monitor the call, and essentially exonerates her of his misdeeds. He leaves Holly at a fire station.
As a national manhunt is launched against Walt, Skyler is questioned by federal prosecutors about his whereabouts. Upon Lydia's orders, Todd and his gang break into the White home and order Skyler to never mention Lydia to the authorities.
A few months later, Walter learns that Skyler works as a taxi dispatcher and is using her maiden name; no court date has been set. Skyler and her children have moved out of the house, which is now abandoned. After Walt is sighted in Albuquerque, Marie calls her sister to warn her. But Walt is already at the home and has a long talk with his wife, who is still angry at him. Walt finally admits to Skyler that he did everything for himself - not the family - because he "enjoyed it, was good at it" and that it made him "feel alive." Walt leaves the lotto ticket with the coordinates of Hank's and Gomez's bodies with her to use as leverage for striking a deal with the prosecutors. Skyler then allows Walt to see Holly one last time before he leaves to execute his plan of killing Uncle Jack and his gang while saving Jesse.