Grace Elizabeth Adler-Markus is a Jewish interior designer living in New York City with her best friend Will Truman. She is portrayed by American actress Debra Messing. She is married to Dr. Leo Markus with whom she has a daughter, Laila.
Grace was born on April 26, 1967 in Schenectady, New York to Bobbi and Martin Adler. She has an older sister named Janet and a younger sister Joyce. As siblings, Grace stated that she was the "perfect one in the middle", and that she is the "glue that holds you two losers together" ("The Accidental Tsuris"). It was shown that Grace was originally a brunette ("Lows in the Mid-Eighties").
When she was 12, she left the door of the house open and let the pet cat escape. Her father, who finds this very funny would tell this story until her adult life ("It's a Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad World").
Grace went to her first boy-girl dance with a boy named Alan Finkelman who ended up dancing with Sandy Simons ("Crouching Father, Hidden Husband").
While Grace was attending Hawthorne Junior High School, she inadvertently started the nickname "Mrs. Lazy Face" for Alice Robinson, an unpopular student with speech impediment. Grace later admits to this and Alice forgives her ("Alice Doesn't Lisp Here Anymore"). While in high school, she dated a boy named Bobby Kay ("Love Plus One") and Campbell.
During the 80s, Grace attended Columbia University with her friend Ellen and lived in a dorm room across Will's. She mentions being part of an improv group with Will called The Zanys ("Sweet (and Sour) Charity"). Grace and Will would later start a romantic relationship but on the day that Grace plans to lose her virginity to him, Will comes out and they break up. A year later, they bump into each other at D'Agostino and rekindle their relationship but as platonic friends. This would later become the basis of a recurring joke that Grace can turn straight men gay ("New Will City"), and is frequently attracted to gay men ("Crazy In Love"). She lost her virginity to a nurse named Ira ("Will Works Out").
At the beginning of the series, Grace was dating Danny, whom Will thinks is not good enough for her ("Pilot"). After Danny proposes and Will reveals what he honestly thinks of him, Grace leaves Danny at the altar and convinces Will to let her room with him ("A New Lease on Life).
Grace's antics mainly toy around her neurotic and childish tendencies, as opposed to the more reasonable and pragmatic Will, although most of the humor on her also stem from her physical characteristics--her fluffy red hair, big teeth, nontraditional wardrobe, flat chest, and big feet. She claims that her feet grew "from a four to an eight in a month" ("My Uncle the Car"). Her stinginess and unladylike demeanor are also often fodder for the show's humor.
Grace is shown to be annoyed by her mother's theatrical antics, critical nature and vanity though she later realized that she inherited quite a few of her mother's personality traits ("The Unsinkable Mommy Adler"). She also constantly strives for the affection of her father Martin ("It's a Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad World"), who "emotionally turned his back" on her during college ("Crouching Father, Hidden Husband").
Grace herself is decidedly selfish and competitive, but it is usually played for laughs, except for Rob and Ellen who later expresses how annoying Grace can be during game night. She is also somewhat vain, once declaring herself to be a "frickin' bombshell" ("Dames At Sea") and believing that she bears a strong resemblance to red-haired celebrities like Rita Hayworth ("Secrets And Lays") and Julia Roberts ("Polk Defeats Truman"), which seems to confuse others. While in Los Angeles, she was mistaken for Kathy Griffin by tourists ("I Love L. Gay").
Will Truman is Grace best friend whom she dated in college. They met during a party in front of Paradise Juice where she told Nancy Jacob that Will is "the man I'm going to spend the rest of my life with" ("Marry Me A Little More") and they eventually started dating. She mentions selling Will's college term papers for a profit of which he had no knowledge of ("Looking for Mr. Good Enough"). On Thanksgiving night of 1985, Will accidentally proposed to Grace to keep them from having sex. Will then came out to Grace later that night and the two broke up and did not speak to each other for a year. After bumping into each other, they resolved their issues and started their relationship as best friends ("Lows In The Mid-Eighties"). Will says that the two of them are destined to meet and that "fate brought us together and fate was gonna keep us together" ("The Finale").
During the fifth season, Will and Grace attempt 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 ("...And The Horse He Rode In On").
Their closeness is constantly made fun of by other characters. 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 ("Grace, Replaced"). They can finish each others sentences at times, which helps them in their fast rounds in trivia and parlor games ("Homojo"). They can also be quite dysfunctional and co-dependent, sometimes even requiring the other's approval of clothing and boyfriends ("Fred Astaire And Ginger Chicken").
Grace moves in and out of Will's apartment throughout the series. In season 2, she moves into the apartment across the hall from Will which she eventually gives to Jack.
Karen Walker is Grace's rich, alcoholic socialite secretary who admits going to the office just to get away from her husband and stepchildren ("Girl Trouble"). Although she virtually does no secretarial work, Karen is nevertheless useful to Grace, as she pays for her health insurance and bonuses ("Fanilow") and occasionally uses her society connections to help Grace get work ("Saving Grace"). In the office, Karen is routinely seen drinking or flipping through magazines, if not criticizing Grace's wardrobe and overall appearance, usually by disdainfully asking "Honey, what's this all about?".
Grace and Karen became close friends over the years. Grace eventually learns to look past Karen's faults, and Karen occasionally does stop ridiculing her to reveal a softer, more caring side, especially after both of them got divorced ("Women And Children First"). In "Field Of Queens", Grace stands up to Milo (played by Andy Garcia) who refuses to go on a second date with Karen, who is going through a divorce and is very vulnerable at the time. In another instance, Karen seemingly turns down Grace's proposal for a business loan out of mean behavior. But she reveals it is to protect Grace, who doesn't have a strong business plan, from failing ("Stakin' Care Of Business").
Grace and Jack became friends mainly because of Will. They initially expressed that they didn't have anything in common until they discovered they both love figure skating ("Will On Ice"), Antiques Road Show ("Tea And A Total Lack Of Sympathy"), and gay porn ("New Will City") and they begin to bond. Along with Karen, Jack frequently makes fun of Grace's physical attributes as well as her wardrobe. By the start of season three, Grace and Jack had become really close which drove Will jealous.
Leo is a Jewish doctor Grace met while on her way to the fertility clinic to get fertilized by Will's spem at the beginning of season five. Leo pursues Grace who initially rejects him due to an agreement she made with Will to give up dating. Grace and Leo spontaneously get married in "Marry Me A Little" while walking at Central Park but later find out that it was invalid. Grace is disheartened after realizing how much he doesn't know about Leo (whose real name is actually Marvin) but soon after agrees to get married officially in a synagogue in "Marry Me A Little More".
Their marriage becomes difficult after Leo continued working with Doctors Without Borders and left the country often. Grace briefly joins him in Cambodia but returns to New York after she realizes that her marriage is in trouble ("Swimming From Cambodia"). They divorce after he admits to have had a one-night stand with a fellow doctor while in Cambodia ("I Do. Oh, No, You Di-in't.").
Grace and Leo later bump into each other while on a plane to London and seem to rekindle their romance. They have unprotected sex but decide to go on their separate ways ("Love Is In The Air Plane"). Grace, however finds out later that she is pregnant ("The Definition Of Marriage"). After learning of Leo's engagement, Grace chooses not to tell him and to raise her child with Will as the father. During the finale, Leo comes to see Grace and tell her that he still loves her, which she accepts. This causes Will and Grace to fall out (off-screen) one last time and finally separate.
Laila is Grace's daughter with Leo only seen in the finale. Will observes that Grace has grown to be more independent and caring after her pregnancy with Laila.
Bobbi is Grace's mother who visits her from time to time.
Martin is Grace's father. Grace frequently mentions him along with her mother and implies them to be stereotypical Jewish people.
Janet is Grace's elder sister.
Joyce is Grace's younger sister. She is only seen once during the flashback episode "Lows In the Mid-Eighties", though mentioned in several episodes. Grace describes her as her "heavy younger sister" who stress-eats. As teenagers, Joyce seemed to be spiteful of Grace but this may only have stemmed out jealousy because she is attracted to Grace's then-boyfriend Will.
- Grace is the only main character not to appear in all episodes. This is due to Debra Messing's pregnancy during the sixth season where she, although mentioned, does not appear in 5 episodes.
- Grace has displayed a skill in telling food's shelf life/cooking time in several occasions only by its smell.
- Will often pokes fun of Grace's nose saying she had it done, which she adamantly denies. During a flashback in "Lows in the Mid-Eighties", Grace had a thicker nose, implying that she indeed had surgery.
- Similar to Grace, Debra Messing also has natural brown hair.
- Nicollette Sheridan almost won the role of Grace. She later makes a guest appearance on the show in episode "24" as Dr. Morty.