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Ross Geller, Ph.D., is a fictional character from the NBC sitcom Friends, portrayed by David Schwimmer. Ross is considered by many to be the most intelligent member of the group and is noted for his goofy, pathetic but lovable demeanor.[1] He is a compulsive liar to avoid arguments or situations with conflict, often leading to an arcing storyline within a show. His relationship with Rachel Green was included in TV Guide's list of the best TV couples of all time, as well as Entertainment Weekly's "30 Best 'Will They/Won't They?' TV Couples".[2]

Ross Geller
David Schwimmer as Ross Geller.jpg
Friends character
Portrayed by David Schwimmer
Duration 1994–2004
First appearance "The Pilot"
Last appearance "The Last One"
Created by David Crane
Marta Kauffman
Occupation Paleontologist
College professor



Ross is a paleontologist and has a Ph.D. from Columbia University. He is known to refer to himself as "Dr. Ross Geller." An ongoing theme of his narrative arc is his romantic feelings toward Rachel Green, an infatuation that began in high school. A theme of Friends is their on-again, off-again romantic relationship.

Born on October 18, 1967, and raised on Long Island, Ross is the elder brother of Monica Geller. Ross and Monica are Jewish and see themselves as at least cultural Jews, with Ross taking a more active role in wanting to teach his son, Ben, about the faith. Ross got divorced because his wife Carol finds out that she's lesbian in the very first episode. Afterward, Ross gets married to Emily which did not last long. In the whole series, Ross gets divorced 3 times.

A running theme in Ross's narrative is his competition with his younger sister, manifested through wrestling and paranoia. As children, they took part in a football match for the Geller Cup every Thanksgiving. This ended in its sixth year after Monica "accidentally" broke Ross's nose. The siblings came up with a dance in primary school called "The Routine", which later on allowed them to perform in a New Year's Eve TV broadcast.[3]

Ross often comes into conflict with his close friend, Phoebe Buffay. His rationality and Phoebe's eccentricity lead to conflict over evolution, gravity, and whether Phoebe's mother was reincarnated as a cat. It is also revealed that Phoebe once mugged Ross (stealing a copy of the comic book Science Boy that Geller had created) when they were teenagers. The two are roommates for a few weeks when a fire forces Phoebe to move into Chandler Bing and Monica's apartment and Phoebe want to give the newly engaged couple some privacy. In a "flashback" episode, they are alone at the bar and start kissing, but the moment quickly passes when Ross keeps bumping his head.

Ross's best friend since college is Chandler. In college, they were in a band called Way/No Way, and Ross blamed Chandler when he was caught smoking marijuana. Chandler becomes Ross's brother-in-law after he marries Monica. Ross is also close friends with Joey Tribbiani and helps him with movie and stage auditions. He kisses Joey once in order to help him practice a role as a gay man, only to find out that Joey had already done the audition and didn't get the part. Joey and Ross also briefly try to cut Chandler out of their friend group after he ignores them. Joey and Ross fall asleep together on the couch after watching Die Hard. Toward the end of the series, however, Ross and Joey are seen to become closer friends, often hanging out together after Chandler gets married.

Ross has two children. Ross' son, Ben, was conceived while Ross and Carol were still married and born at the end of Season 1. Ross shares a joint custody of Ben with his ex-wife Carol and her wife Susan.

Ben appeared in a total 16 (17) episodes and was played chronologically: as an infant by Michael Gunderson Season 1 to 2, by brothers Charles Thomas Allen and John Christopher Allen from Season 3 to 5, and by Cole Sprouse from Season 6 to 8.

Ross's daughter with Rachel, Emma Geller-Green, was born at the end of Season 8. Rachel's pregnancy was originally revealed in the season finale of Season 7. The conception of Emma, was predominantly, a result of a one-night stand, which was later revealed in the Season 8 episode, "The One With The Videotape".

Ross also had a pet in the earlier seasons of the show; a White-headed capuchin monkey named "Marcel".


Over the course of the show, Ross dates a considerable number of women. He married three times and is divorced three times. This is a running gag within the series.

  • Carol Willick. Ross's first wife. The mother of his biological son, Ben. In the very first episode, Carol has just moved out of their apartment after revealing that she was lesbian and was leaving Ross for a woman named Susan Bunch, who she later marries. But, the two are on good terms with each other.
  • Julie. Portrayed by (Lauren Tom), an old graduate school colleague. She first appears in the final scene of the season 1 finale. They start dating in season 2 but break up after Ross discovers Rachel's feelings for him and he decides he wants to be with her instead.
  • Bonnie. A love interest introduced to Ross by Phoebe, formerly a militant bald woman who's become georgeous (played by Christine Taylor) who enjoyed a sex-filled relationship with Ross until a conniving Rachel broke them up by first setting Bonnie up to shave her head and later by revealing she was interested in reuniting with Ross.
  • Mona. A love interest portrayed by Bonnie Somerville he met at a wedding who later broke up with him when she found out that his roommate, Rachel Green, was pregnant with Ross's child.
  • Chloe. Ross's only relationship with Chloe was a one-night stand during the break with his relationship with Rachel Green. This relationship messes his history with Rachel.
  • Janice. Ross has a brief fling with Janice, Chandler's ex-girlfriend, in season 5. Phoebe said they would have very hairy children. Janice ends up dumping Ross because she thinks he whines a lot about his failed marriages. Ross, worried about how he would react, tells Chandler, who, to his surprise, laughs.
  • Elizabeth Stevens. A young, pretty student who Ross dates. They break up due to her immaturity.
  • Charlie Wheeler. Ross meets Charlie (Aisha Tyler) in "The One With The Soap Opera Party".[4] She is a paleontologist who has recently joined Ross' department. She initially dates Joey before breaking up with him and gravitating toward Ross, after realizing she has more things in common with Ross. She eventually reconciles with her ex-boyfriend, so she and Ross break up.
  • Emily Waltham. Helen Baxendale is a British girl who appears in the fourth season. Ross takes her out on a date, and ends up marrying her in the end of season 4. They later get divorced as Ross accidentally says "Rachel" at the altar.

Rachel GreenEdit

Rachel is Ross's most significant relationship in the series. His attraction to her is established early on; Ross met Rachel through his sister Monica, who was Rachel's best friend in high school. He developed an unrequited crush on her, but never followed through on it. After leaving college, Ross married Carol, whom he had met at college, and had seemingly put his feelings for Rachel aside before he met her again in The Pilot.

They have an on-again, off-again dynamic throughout most of the show.

In the 8th season, Geller has a daughter with Rachel named Emma Geller-Green.

In the final episode, they profess their love and decide to begin dating once again.

Emily WalthamEdit

During the fourth season, Ross meets and falls in love with Emily Waltham (Helen Baxendale), a British woman who is set up with Ross by Rachel. Ross spontaneously asks Emily to move in with him. This escalates into a marriage proposal. The two plan a wedding in London, to which Rachel is invited.

During the ceremony, Ross, upon seeing Rachel, has a slip of the tongue and says Rachel's name instead of Emily's during his vows. Emily is furious and exits her own marriage. Emily however decides to forgive Ross, and reaches the airport but is annoyed to see Rachel and Ross boarding the plane together. She flees away again, and Ross follows her only to lose her and also Rachel goes to the place alone. Emily, later, calls Ross only to confront him by saying that he has to stop calling / harassing her relatives, but Ross makes her reveal her love for him. She said that she will return only if Ross stops being friends with Rachel. Unable to do so, Ross ends his marriage with Emily.


Ross Geller has become a well-known figure in pop culture, in particular due to his relationship with Rachel Green. He is arguably the most polarizing of the Friends characters, appearing as a figure of controversy.

In 2015, a play titled Ross & Rachel debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.[5]

In October, 2016, Ross Geller was voted "the Best Friends Character" in an international poll held by Comedy Central, during six weeks of "FriendsFest" on the channel.[6]