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What is known of Trevor's background comes from Trevor's own words.
Trevor was born and raised in Canada, near the American border. Even as a child, he had a history of rage issues and violent impulses that ruined his attempts to fit into society (notably, it is implied that he, in a fit of rage, sodomized his hockey coach with a hockey stick). His father was abusive towards him, while his mother was overbearing and treated him with condescension. Trevor discovered that he had a talent for flying jets. He enlisted in the military to pilot fighter jets, but several days prior of completing his training, he discharged due to his mental instability.
After being discharged, Trevor committed petty crimes with no particular goal in mind. He admits to Lamar that he never committed any serious crimes until he met Michael. They first met each other while escorting cargo across the border, Trevor himself claimed that the money he was receiving for the job was good along with the fact that, at the time he did not "know enough to check references". While waiting on the runway to meet their employers, Trevor sees not one, but two dust trails coming up the road, despite the fact that he was told there would be one person meeting them. As the second guy drives through the gate, the second driver begins yelling at Michael. Trevor gets close to him, shoots off a flare gun he was carrying at the moment into the second mans eye, killing him. He and Michael both dump the body into a lake after landing the plane. Trevor stated that going through the turn of events was horrible, as the flare was still burning from the inside of his head as they dropped him off. It was so disgusting to the point where Trevor and Michael threw up after landing the plane since the dead man's stench was still inside the cockpit. After the incident Michael and Trevor became close friends.
His first job involved robbing a place that cashed checks, however the clerk turned out to be someone who knew Trevor, resulting in a positive ID, which landed him a sentence of six months in prison, of which he served four. Over time, Trevor and Michael's friendship continued to grow, although Michael's developing relationship with a stripper, Amanda, created some friction between them, due to Amanda's outspoken dislike of Trevor. In spite of this, Trevor developed surprisingly friendly relationships with the couple's children, who consider him their uncle, although Jimmy is understandably nervous around Trevor.
Trevor and Michael's partnership remained fruitful, until they undertook an ill-fated heist in 2004 , alongside an accomplice of theirs, Brad Snider, in North Yankton. The heist initially ran relatively smoothly until the trio entered the rural town of Ludendorff. Unfortunately, Michael did not cross the tracks in time, and their escape car was hit by a train and was wrecked. Despite being too far from the helicopter, Michael insisted they stick to the plan, and they continued walking towards their helicopter. They were then ambushed by FIB agent Dave Norton, who fired at the trio, killing Brad and injuring Michael. Trevor refused to leave his friends behind and attempted to fight off the police until a wounded Michael told him to save himself, and Trevor reluctantly made his escape.
Trevor has been described as a difficult person to deal with as he is prone to violent outbursts and destructive rampages. He does everything in a psychotic and relentless manner, (much different from Michael). Although Trevor is this kind of person, he is also honest about it and will never show hypocrisy and he also has his own charm along with his own principles. But, Dan Houser has confirmed that Trevor may not be all he seems but is still too horrible to be a hero kind. He is also quite insecure about being born in Canada, and takes offense to people mocking his accent, almost all of the Rampages are caused by Trevor flying into rage over being mocked over his Canadian accent. During a mission, Ron asks Trevor about his business dealings in Canada, resulting in Trevor getting defensive and demanding for Ron to tell him what he meant by that. Ron hastily corrected himself by asking about Trevor's business dealings in North Yankton "along the Canadian border", defusing a possible violent outburst from Trevor, thus showing his insecurity for being Canadian.
Trevor's mere presence always puts others on edge due to his extremely short temper, odd and unpredictable impulsive behavior. Ron, who is one of Trevor's friends and an unlikely one at that, is constantly terrified of him and frequently tries to appease Trevor whenever he can, especially if the latter is close to getting angry. Michael is also wary of him when they reunite, stepping in front of his son to protect him. However, despite Ron's fear and Trevor's psychotic behavior, they do seem to show a level of trust to each other as Trevor usually tasks Ron to do a few missions for him such as blowing up the Lost MC fuel tank and helping him drop off cargo via a plane, and running Trevor Philips Enterprises in his absence. Wade, another friend or acquaintance, is equally scared of Trevor, though the latter does torment and punches Wade often, this bullying extends to his cousin as well. In the Merryweather Heist, he gets angry quickly that his score was for nothing. In the offshore ending, he gets really angry that he rams his face on to a wooden board and repeatedly smashes his face on it.
In conflict with his negative qualities however, is his protectiveness of Michael's family and his apparent grief when he thought Michael was dead, which it is notably a level of geniune emotion not common in most sociopaths as they usually lack or at least have very limited empathy or positive emotions for other people. In addition to this he refused to leave Michael in the prologue, while he was on the floor after being shot. Also when he killed Johnny, he told him to get up as he was apparently unaware that he killed him, It is extremely unlikely that he cared though due to his plans to get rid of The Lost and how enraged he was with Johnny, nevertheless Trevor quickly moved on and made a joke out of the blood and brain tissue on his shoe. Despite his homicial qualities, Trevor also seems to only care about the people very close to him and he can be truly loyal to them whenever he can, which specifically includes his mother, Ashley, Patricia Madrazo, Maude, Michael, and later on even Franklin. Brad's death's affected him in the game, leaving him to blame Michael for what happened nine years ago back in North Yankton.
In contrast with his heavily sociopathic behavior, he has shown many times how needy he is for love, kindness and care. He tells repeated times to Michael how much he mourned him, to the point he got a tattoo with his name on it. As he was being confronted by Floyd and Debra, he told them how much he wanted to be with them. His relationship with Patricia was also a display of true love and, in his words, he enjoyed a lot the time spent with her.
Despite his weak relationship with Amanda and having a strained friendship with Michael, Trevor surprisingly cares for Jimmy and Tracey, viewing them as surrogate niece and nephew. Evidence of his caring is chasing Lazlow Jones when he does a sexual pose against Tracey as she performs a stripper-like dance and forcing him to take off his pants and dance in his underwear. Also, he will not allow Jimmy to drink alcohol when hanging out with him.
Trevor also seems to sometimes dwell on respect. When Wade calls Ashley a bitch, Trevor tells him it's not funny and asks him if he has a mother (probably due to his sensitivity about his mother). He also often tells some of his friends to show some respect to himself, and also sometimes even others when Wade is covered in what seems like waste, Wade's cousin suggests to call the heist off, but Trevor responds telling him to respect Wade for what he went through and so he should carry on with the heist.
His in game actions are also much more aggressive than the other protagonists as he attacks those he car-jacks and always seems to taunt others when pressing right on the D-pad.
Trevor uses threats of sexual violence in order to show his dominance over other men, he also seems to enjoy making them uncomfortable. Many of his sarcastic remarks have been misinterpreted as sincere statements by players. He seems to take it a step further with Floyd, as there are many things that suggest a sexual relationship. Notably, if the player switches to Trevor during his stay at Floyd’s condo, sometimes Trevor can be seen looking over Floyd as he lays in the fetal position wearing women's clothing, uttering an apology to Debra while sobbing. However this could just be Trevor showing his dominance by humiliating Floyd. Also, if the player chooses to catch Ralph Ostrowski, Trevor implies that he sexually abused men while in prison. It should be noted that this behaviour is only present when in the presence of weak people such as Ron, Wade, Floyd, and a meth addicted Johnny Klebtiz.
He is frequently seen wearing a plain and dirty white v-neck, ripped up dirty blue jeans or sweat pants and a pair of black boots to match. He is seen in one screenshot with a different outfit on - a jean jacket with a half buttoned up shirt along with a white undershirt and a pair of blue jeans to match. He also has several cuts on his face along with several tattoos ("CUT HERE" with the dotted line going across his neck, a bird beneath his ear, a dagger on his lower left arm, a flower on his upper left hand, a memorial tattoo of Michael Townley's death and, the words fuck on his right fingers and you on his left fingers). Trevor has a very visible scar on his abdomen, it looks to be a knife wound. Trevor also has numerous sores or boils over his lower stomach and back; likely from his drug and meth addictions. Also, in some screenshots and during the second Grand Theft Auto V trailer, he is seen wearing a calculator watch on his left wrist. Trevor is average when it comes to weight and build.
He seems fond in buying cheap clothing from Binco and the Discount Shop, while he shows total disdain in buying clothes from Ponsonby's.
Skills and attributes
Because he is a former military aviation pilot, he is skilled in both combat and piloting aircraft like helicopters. In the mission Game Informer saw, Trevor was the one that flew the team to the skyscraper they needed to get their target out of. In the aftermath, as the team was pursued by law enforcement helicopters, he proved to be an able pilot under pressure. Trevor is also the master of greed, ambition, and insanity (along with Michael and Franklin), and is seen in many GTA V screenshots performing many challenging (and some illegal) stunts. Some of those stunts include base jumping, jet-skiing, murdering, property destruction, and getting chased by the cops.
Trevor has a special ability where he can go into a violent rage, while in this rage Trevor can take less damage or inflict more damage to enemies, he also has a special melee attack as well.