Dr. Ross Eustace Geller
(born: October 18, 1967) is a fictional character
on the popular US television sitcom Friends
(1994–2004), played by David Schwimmer
Ross is the older brother of Monica Geller
, and was the favored child of their parents. Ross was described as a "medical marvel" when he was born, because his mother was originally believed to be barren. The two siblings are extremely competitive, as demonstrated in "The One with the Football
" where it emerged that every Thanksgiving during their childhood they had taken part in an football match called "The Geller Bowl". This family tradition ended in its sixth year, after Monica broke Ross's nose. In their childhood, Monica and Ross were also very violent with each other. For example, Monica once hit Ross with a giant pumpkin and Ross once jammed a stick through the spokes of Monica's bike, causing her to flip over and hit her head on the curb. In "The One with the Inappropriate Sister", they told Rachel how they used to wrestle when they were younger.
In college, Ross met Chandler Bing
, with whom he formed the band "Way No Way", and Carol Willick
, who became his first wife. At college, Ross trained for a career in paleontology
, completed his Ph.D.
, and later became employed at the New York Museum of Prehistoric History. In the episode where Rachel
moved out of Monica's apartment, Ross claimed to have "given up a career in basketball" to become a paleontologist. He thinks that he would have been good at advertising and in "The One with the Mugging
", Ross claimed that he invented the phrase "Got Milk?
". He also claimed to have had the ideas for Jurassic Park
and Die Hard
stolen from him. Ross's love of dinosaurs became a running joke throughout the series.
After the director of the museum ate half of Ross's favorite sandwich and threw the rest in the trash, Ross was forced to take a "sabbatical" from the museum due to his subsequent rage. His anger was amplified by the stress of his second divorce. He lost his apartment and had to move in with Chandler and Joey. Afterwards, Ross found a job as a professor at New York University and caused a stir among his colleagues when he dated one of his students. Eventually, he was given tenure despite forgetting classes, boring his students to sleep, and giving away grades without even looking at students' work.
Ross often came into conflict with Phoebe Buffay
. His rationality and Phoebe's self-devised beliefs led to conflict over the theories of evolution, gravity, and whether or not Phoebe's dead mother was reincarnated
as a cat. It was revealed in "The One with the Mugging
" that Phoebe once mugged Ross during her homeless years. The evening Ross found out that Carol was a lesbian, he and Phoebe almost had sex in the club that was to become Central Perk
, but they were interrupted by their friends.
Despite being one of the most financially secure members of his group, Ross is notoriously cheap. He gets his hair cut at the bargain chain "Super Cuts", steals toiletries and other amenities from hotels, and celebrates with Israeli champagne.
In response to his loneliness after his divorce from Carol, Ross adopted a Capuchin monkey
named Marcel. The relationship was troublesome at first, but the two grew quite close, until Marcel's sexual drive forced Ross to donate him to the San Diego Zoo
. An underlying joke was how comparable their relationship was to that of a live-in couple. Ross later felt the urge to see Marcel again, and found out that Marcel had become a famous mascot for a brand of beer called "Monkey Shine" and was starring in Outbreak 2: The Virus Takes Manhattan
. Marcel's favorite song was "The Lion Sleeps Tonight
". Ross, later in the series, admitted to how unusual his purchase was, saying in "The One With Unagi
", "Remember when I had a monkey... What was I thinking?"
In seasons 1-4, Ross lived in the same apartment. In season 5, he moved into the apartment owned by a relative of his second wife, Emily
, but was kicked out after their divorce. He spent a short time living with Chandler and Joey before settling into an apartment across the street from Monica's place, which had been formerly been inhabited by Ugly Naked Guy
. This brought all of the friends, with the exception of Phoebe, into very close proximity with each other.
Ross's unsuccessful marriages to three different women greatly embarrassed him. Ross's string of divorces were a continuous joke throughout the show.
Ross divorced his first wife of eight years, Carol, when it "came out" that she was a lesbian and was having an affair with another woman. They still got along fairly well, however, and shared custody of their son Ben, who was born in "The One with the Birth
"— one of the final episodes of the first season. He and Carol claimed to have been married in 1989, when Ross was 21. He told his second wife, Emily, that he dated Carol for four years before marriage.
In an alternate reality storyline during the show ("The One That Could Have Been, Part 1"), Ross remained married to Carol, but their sex life was stagnant. Not realizing she was a lesbian, Ross suggested to Carol that they have a threesome, an idea that she was much in favor of. Later on, Ross was forced to accept that his wife was gay and ended up consoling Rachel after she discovered that her husband, Barry, was having an affair as well.
Ross's wedding to his British
girlfriend Emily Waltham (played by Helen Baxendale
) took place in London, with Joey and Chandler standing as best men and Monica as a bridesmaid. However, at the ceremony Ross said Rachel's name instead of Emily's, which led to a complete breakdown of the relationship. Ross attempted to reconcile with Emily, but she insisted that Ross never see, nor speak to Rachel ever again. Ross was unable to comply; when Emily found out that Ross had been spending time with his friends, including Rachel, she felt she could never trust Ross again and the marriage quickly dissolved. She later became engaged to someone else, but on the night before her wedding she left Ross a message on his answering machine saying that she was having doubts about getting married. Rachel accidentally deleted the message and convinced Ross not to call her back.
Ross had been in love with Rachel Green
during her high school days, when he was in college and Rachel was Monica's best friend. When Rachel later moved to the city, Ross's affection returned. Throughout the majority of the first season, Ross tried to admit his feelings to Rachel, but was never successful. At the end of the season, Chandler convinced Ross to stop pursuing her. Ross left on a work trip, and while he was gone Rachel finally learned of Ross's feelings. She went to the airport to meet him when he returned, hoping they could be together. However, Ross arrived with his new girlfriend, Julie, on his arm. Ross found out how Rachel felt in "The One Where Ross Finds Out
" and they shared their first kiss. The two finally got together in "The One with the Prom Video
", and their relationship lasted for a year until Ross's jealousy over Rachel's co-worker Mark broke them apart. Believing them to be "on a break", Ross slept with Chloe (Angela Featherstone
), the "hot girl from the copy place with the belly-button ring". When Rachel found out, she broke up with Ross. The scene was so emotionally intense that both David Schwimmer
and Jennifer Aniston
reportedly started to cry near the end of the episode, and continued after it was shot.
The two shared an "almost on-again, almost off-again" relationship over the years, and actually got married after a drunken night in Las Vegas. This wasn't resolved until weeks later when Ross, unable to get an annulment, realized they had to get a divorce. Ross began to panic over the fact that he was going to be divorced for the third time. Later in the series, they slept together again and conceived Ross's second child, Emma. Phoebe, in the episode where Emma was born, tried to convince Ross to get back together with Rachel. He decided to ask Rachel if they'd want to "start things up again", but she in the meantime said yes to an accidental proposal by Joey out of fear that she might wind up alone. After this misunderstanding was resolved, Ross and Rachel started to raise Emma together until a fight caused Rachel to move back in with Joey.
In season ten, Rachel lost her job at Ralph Lauren but was offered a job at Louis Vuitton in Paris. Ross initially tried to bribe her boss at Ralph Lauren to hire her back, but then realized that Rachel truly wanted to go to Paris. After her going away party, Rachel told Ross that he was the most important person in her life, and they slept together. Ross, hoping the next morning to get back together with Rachel in "The Last One", was shocked to find out that she thought their night together was "the perfect way to say goodbye". After she left for the airport, Ross was unable to deny that he wanted her in his life. Ross rushed to the airport to tell Rachel how he felt about her. Stunned and unable to think of what to say, Rachel still decided to leave for Paris. Devastated, Ross returned to his apartment and found a message from Rachel saying that she loved him too and was going to get off the plane. Rachel appeared at his apartment door and the pair kissed, promising each other that "this is it. No more fooling around." In the final scene of the series, they were shown holding hands.
In Joey, a spin-off show from Friends, Joey stated that all of his friends were married and settled down, so it can be assumed that Ross and Rachel had married again.
Age and birthday
Two episodes state Ross's birthday as October 18. In "The One Where Emma Cries
", Ross named that date as his birthday; it was also the date in "The One With Five Steaks and an Eggplant
", when he was taken to a Hootie & the Blowfish
concert as his birthday present. However, in "The One with George Stephanopoulos
," when Joey and Chandler bought Rangers tickets to celebrate Ross's birthday on the 20th of October, Ross said that his birthday was "seven months ago". In "The One with Joey's New Girlfriend
", when Gunther asked Rachel when her birthday was, claiming to be making a list of people's birthdays, Ross said, "Mine's December..." before being cut off by Gunther.
As to year of birth, in "The Pilot", which aired in September 1994, Ross exclaimed, "I'm only 26 and I'm divorced." That would mean that Ross was born in 1967. A person born on October 18, 1967 would be expected to graduate from college around 1990, and we later learn that Ross and Chandler were Class of 1991. In "The One With The Video Tape", Season 8, Ross mentions a (fictional) event in 1983, and in an aside notes "I was thirteen?," which would indicate a birthdate in 1970.
Ross's age was not, however, always treated consistently. He described himself as 29 in each of Seasons 3, 4 and 5. In Season 3, he told Chandler "No, thanks, I'm 29" when offered chocolate milk. In Season 4, when the guys tried to party without Gandalf, they all said they were 29. And in Season 5, when trying to reconcile with Emily, he said that if they didn't stay together he would be divorced for the second time before age 30. However, when a drunk man referred to Monica as Ross's mother at Ross's wedding rehearsal dinner in London, she expressed her distaste at having a "30 year old son".
Ross had two children. The elder, Ben, was Ross and Carol's son. He was conceived before their divorce. Ben was born in "The One with the Birth
". Ben lived with Carol and her partner Susan. He was named after a janitor's uniform nametag, worn by Phoebe as she attempted to escape from the janitor's closet where she, Susan, and Ross were trapped while Carol was in labor. At first, Ben was a shy boy, but an afternoon spent with Rachel transformed him into a mischievous prankster. He was played by Cole Sprouse
Ross's youngest child was Emma. She was born to Ross and Rachel, conceived during a one-night stand. Emma lived with Ross and Rachel until one of their fights caused Rachel to take Emma and move back in with Joey. She remained there for the rest of the series until Ross and Rachel got back together in the series finale.