Ross Geller

Ross Geller

Ross Geller
Friends character
David Schwimmer as Dr. Ross Geller
First appearance "The Pilot"
(episode 1.01)
Last appearance "The Last One, Part 2"
(episode 10.18)
Created by David Crane
Marta Kauffman
Portrayed by David Schwimmer
Occupation Paleontologist
College professor
Title Doctor
Family Jack Geller (father)
Judy Geller (mother)
Monica Geller (sister)
Spouse(s) Carol Willick
(1989–1994: divorced)
Emily Waltham
(1998–1999: divorced)
Rachel Green
(1999–2000: divorced; remarried: 2004/5-present)
Children Ben Geller
(son with Carol; b. May 11, 95)
Emma Geller-Green
(daughter with Rachel; b. May 16, 02)
Relatives Althea (grandmother)
Chandler Bing (brother-in-law)
Erica Bing (niece)
Jack Bing (nephew)
Sylvia (aunt)
Freddie (uncle)
Cousin Charlie (cousin)
Murray (uncle)
Religion Judaism

Ross Eustace Geller, Ph.D. is a fictional character from the NBC sitcom Friends, portrayed by David Schwimmer. Ross is the smartest member of the group and is noted for his geeky, lovable demeanor.[1] 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 is a paleontologist and has a Ph.D. from Columbia University, frequently referring to himself as "Dr. Ross Geller." Ross is noted for being geeky, charming, lovelorn, witty and shy. Ross has had a crush on Rachel Green since high school, and the two of them have an on-again, off-again romantic relationship; eventually they have a daughter, Emma, together. He has a son, Ben, with his ex-wife, Carol, who left him for another woman.


Born and raised on Long Island, New York, Ross is the older brother of Monica Geller. His birthday is October 18. The two siblings are extremely competitive as they tell the others that, as children, they used to take part in a football match for the Geller Cup every Thanksgiving. This ended in its sixth year, after Monica "accidentally" broke Ross' nose. They also tell Rachel about how they used to wrestle as children and had various complications in their relationship, such as Ross having a recurring nightmare that the then-overweight Monica would eat him. They also 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 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 about the faith.


Ross often comes into conflict with his close friend, Phoebe Buffay. His rationality and Phoebe's eccentricity leads to conflict over the theories of evolution, gravity, and whether or not Phoebe's dead mother was reincarnated as a cat. It is also revealed that Phoebe mugged Ross during her homeless years (stealing a copy of the comic book Science Boy that Ross had created) when they were teenagers. The two are also roommates for a few weeks when a fire forces Phoebe to move into Chandler and Monica's apartment and Phoebe wants to give the newly engaged couple some privacy. Also on 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 Bing. In college they were in a band called Way/No Way[4] and blamed him when he was caught smoking marijuana in college. Chandler is also Ross' brother-in-law after he marries Ross' sister Monica Geller. 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 he had already done the audition and that he had not gotten the role. They also briefly try to cut Chandler out of their friendship group after he ignores them. Towards the end of the series, however, Ross and Joey are seen to become closer friends, often hanging out together after Chandler gets married. At one point, Ross tells Rachel Green that Joey is his best friend, to which Rachel replies, "I thought Chandler was your best friend?" Ross begins explaining, "Well, Chandler's my oldest friend", but refuses to discuss it further.


Ross is said to be a former practitioner of karate and pronounces it "ka-raa-tay", for which the others make fun of him. He claims that Unagi is a state of total awareness, despite his friends repeatedly telling him (correctly) that unagi is Japanese freshwater eel. He ridicules Rachel and Phoebe's self-defense class and surprises them to demonstrate that they lack Unagi. Rachel and Phoebe later surprise Ross and overpower him, however (then Rachel mockingly implies that her practice is "Salmon Skinroll" as opposed to Unagi). In a flashback episode, Ross is practicing karate, claiming that it was his means of releasing his frustration at not having sex with his wife. Ross is however shown to be an at least adequate fighter after fighting with a mugger (off-screen) as he stole Ross, Chandler and two bullies' personal belongings. He also attempts to punch Joey after being given a "free shot" but Joey ducks and Ross hits a post in the Central Perk Coffee House.


In seasons one-four, Ross lives in the same apartment. In Season 5, he moves into a new apartment that he and Emily are subletting from her cousin. However, when they separate, Emily's cousin evicts Ross so he moves in with Chandler and Joey before settling into Ugly Naked Guy's apartment, across from Monica's place. Ross got this apartment by meeting him naked, which is seen by all the other friends.

Catch Phrases

Ross has many catch phrases including "We were on a break!", "Hi.", "unagi" and "ka-ra-tay".


Over the course of the show, Ross was married three times, and divorced three times. This became a running gag within the series.

Carol Willick

Ross divorces his first wife of three years, Carol, when she reveals that she is a lesbian and is having an affair with Susan Bunch, whom she met at the gym. After the initial post-relationship complications had been overcome, however, they have been generally able to get along, and share custody of their son, Ben. Ross even achieves mutual respect with Susan after Phoebe makes them realise that they would all be parents to Carol and Ross' son. Ross later helps Carol and Susan reconcile when they have an argument about Carol's parents' disapproval of their marriage.

In an alternative reality storyline shown in flashbacks during the show, Ross is still married to Carol but their sex life is stagnant. Not realizing that she is a lesbian, Ross suggests to Carol that they have a threesome, to spice things up, to which Carol instantly agrees. The other person in the threesome turns out to be Susan which ends as a twosome when the two women show no interest in Ross. Later on, Ross is forced to accept that his wife is a lesbian and ends up consoling Rachel after she discovers that her husband, Barry, is having an affair as well with the neighborhood dog walker.

Ross claims several times in the series that up until their divorce, Carol was only woman he ever had sex with (according to Ross, on October 20 - year unmentioned). This is called in question, however, when it is revealed in season 7 that he slept with "the lady who cleaned (his and Chandler's) dorm."


While in China, Ross meets Julie (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.

Rachel Green

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 growing up. He developed an unrequited crush on her, but never followed through on it. After leaving college,[4] Ross married Carol and had seemingly put his feelings for Rachel aside before she re-entered his life in the pilot episode.

Their early relationship is marked by mutually exclusive affection for one another, with each realising their feelings for the other at inopportune moments, usually when one of them is settling into a new relationship. Rachel finally finds out about Ross's feelings for her in the first season finale, "The One Where Rachel Finds Out". She goes to receive him at the airport but leaves brokenhearted when she sees him walking out of the terminal with Julie, the girl whom he met on a tour to China. She spends the first six episodes of the second season struggling with it, until admitting everything in a drunk-dial to Ross in "The One Where Ross Finds Out". Later, Ross breaks up with Julie to date Rachel, but in that process, makes a list of pros and cons of dating Rachel and Julie (at Chandler's suggestion). Rachel accidentally catches sight of the list and becomes highly offended at some of her cons. She gets mad at Ross and breaks up with him immediately.

They finally get together in "The One with the Prom Video" when Monica discovers a video from her and Rachel's prom night. Mortified at the thought that Rachel's date had stood her up, Ross's parents convinced him to ask Rachel to go to the dance with him in her date's place. Ross readies himself with a tuxedo and a bouquet of flowers, only to find that Rachel's date had arrived. Rachel is so moved by the previously unknown romantic gesture that she kisses Ross and the two start a relationship.

Ross and Rachel come into conflict during the third season, primarily due to Ross's insecurities that lead to a pattern of bizarre behaviour. After Rachel quits her job at the coffee house, she meets a stranger named Mark who works at Bloomingdale's, and offers to arrange for a job interview. Rachel starts to become more distant due to her work. This causes Ross to inundate Rachel with gifts, frequently call her and even shows up at her office uninvited. This comes to a head in "The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break" when they fall into a bitter argument that ends with Rachel suggesting they put their relationship on hold by "taking a break". Ross interprets this as the relationship being over, storms out and drunkenly sleeps with another woman. In the next episode, "The One with the Morning After", Rachel finds out and ends the relationship altogether.

Despite this, Ross and Rachel continue to have an on-again, off-again relationship throughout the series. At the end of the season 5, they get married in a drunken stupor in Vegas and get divorced the following season. During season 8, they have a baby girl together, Emma. Their relationship never lasts for more than a single night until the finale of the series, "The Last One". In which Phoebe drives Ross to the wrong airport, before causing a diversion, so they could get back to the other airport. Ross reaches Rachel at the gate, but Rachel says that she is getting on the plane. Upset at the news Ross went back to his apartment, where he got a message from Rachel. In it she admits that she loves him too and was trying to get off the plane. When the message gets cut off, Ross panics (wondering the outcome), only to find Rachel standing behind him. They kiss and finally get back together for good.


In season 3, Phoebe sets Ross up with Bonnie, a formerly bald friend of hers (Christine Taylor) in "The One with the Ultimate Fighting Champion". Phoebe asks Rachel's permission, to which Rachel agrees, assuming that Bonnie is still bald. It turns out she's not bald anymore and is indeed very attractive now that she has long hair. During the final episode of the season, Rachel convinces her to shave her hair off again out of spite for Ross in "The One at the Beach". She makes a brief appearance at the beginning of "The One with the Jellyfish", when Ross decides to dump her and get back together with Rachel.


In season 4, episode 6, Ross falls for Cheryl (Rebecca Romijn) the paleontologist but he has to end his relationship with her when he realizes how much of a slob she is.

Emily Waltham

During the fourth season, Ross meets and falls in love with Emily Waltham (Helen Baxendale), a British woman visiting New York. They quickly develop a rapport, despite the knowledge that they will only be together for the two weeks that Emily is in New York, and soon settle into a relationship. They continue for another month, only seeing each other whenever Emily is able to travel to New York, but the logistics of living on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean make having a relationship difficult until Ross spontaneously asks Emily to move in with him. Emily laughs this off as being too soon in the relationship, saying it'd be different if it was way down the line and they were getting married. Ross takes the idea seriously and proposes, and Emily accepts. They make arrangements to get married in London, and invite Rachel out of courtesy. Rachel decides not to go to London as it would be too awkward for her, but realises that she still has feelings for Ross and takes a flight at the last minute, planning to tell Ross that she still loves him. She decides not to when she sees how happy Ross is with Emily. But during the ceremony, Ross says her name instead of Emily's. This drives a wedge between him and Emily, and although she is initially willing to work on the relationship, asking him to cut Rachel out of his life for good. She eventually realises that she doesn't trust Ross to keep to this and they are divorced shortly thereafter.

Janice Goralnik

Ross has a brief fling with Janice 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. When Ross eventually tells Chandler, he was worried about how he would react. To his surprise, Chandler laughs.

Elizabeth Stevens

During Season 6, Ross starts dating one of his students, Elizabeth (Alexandra Holden). Though he initially fears that this might jeopardize his career, they decide to go continue the relationship anyway. His career is in danger again when Elizabeth's father, Paul Stevens (Bruce Willis) threatens to get Ross fired if he continues going out with his daughter. But in "The One Where Paul's the Man", Ross catches Paul doing an embarrassing little dance and demonstrates to Paul that he knows about it. Paul understands and they call a truce. Despite all these efforts, at the end of this season, Ross realizes that he could not see his relationship with her going any further. So, he chooses to end his relationship with her, which was confirmed by Elizabeth's immaturity when she drops water balloons on his head.


In season 8, Ross has a relationship with Mona (Bonnie Somerville), who wants to move their relationship forward. But since Ross is having issues, she ends up breaking up with him for multiple reasons. For example, him changing the locks to his apartment after giving Mona a set of keys and not telling her that Rachel had moved in with him. She also makes an appearance in "The One with Monica and Chandler's Wedding" where Ross tries to dance with her but with no success. Again she reappears in "The One With The Tea Leaves" when Ross leaves his "salmon sweater" at Mona's apartment and goes to get it but ends up hiding beside her couch while Mona and a man kiss on the couch.

Charlie Wheeler

Ross meets Charlie Wheeler (Aisha Tyler) in "The One With The Soap Opera", a paleontologist who has recently joined Ross' department. She first goes out with Joey until she and Ross start dating in "The One in Barbados". She breaks up with Joey because she and Ross have more things in common.


Ross trained for a career in palaeontology, completed his Ph.D. and later works at the New York Museum of Prehistoric History. In season six "The One on the Last Night", Ross claims to have "given up a career in basketball" to become a palaeontologist, and has mentioned on several occasions that he wanted to pursue a career in music. At another point, however, he says that he picked paleontology on a dare. He thinks that he would have been good at advertising and in "The One with the Mugging", Ross claims that he invented the phrase "Got Milk?". In high school, he got a 1250 on his SATs, although it is evident that he lies about his scores when he claims he scored 1450, only for Monica to correct him.

Ross has always been obsessed with dinosaurs since he was a child, which is a source of both amusement and terror among his friends as they mock him for his fascination, and attempt to avoid showing too much interest in the subject lest they be invited to his lectures and seminars. As the series goes on, Ross becomes increasingly self-aware with regard to his job; after breaking his hand, Joey lists his occupation as "dinosaurs" on a hospital admission form, which Ross does not bother to correct when he realises that Joey probably wouldn't be able to spell palaeontologist. After breaking up with his girlfriend and fellow palaeontologist Charlie in the tenth season, Ross admits that he is never going to find a partner who shares his enthusiasm for palaeontology because "there was only one hot palaeontologist".

In season six, Ross begins to work as a professor at Jurassic Park first".


Ross has two children. The elder, Ben, is Ross and Carol's son, conceived while the couple were married, and born at the end of season 1. Ben lives with Carol and Susan, and his name came from a name tag on an overall seen in the episode where he is birthed. Ben is shy at first, until Rachel transforms him into a mischievous prankster. The role was played by Cole Sprouse.

Ross' younger child, Emma, was born at the end of season 8. She is conceived during a one-night stand between Ross and Rachel and lives with them until Rachel moves back in with Joey and takes Emma with her. She remains there until Ross and Rachel get back together in the series finale. Emma got her name because it was what Monica wanted her daughter to be named but she lets Rachel use it.


  1. ^ Couric, Katie (2004-05-05). "Dateline NBC - Newsmakers -". MSNBC. Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  2. ^ Bierly, Mandi; Fog, Henning (July 25, 2013). "30 Best 'Will They/Won't They?' TV Couples | Photo 24 of 30".  
  3. ^ Anonymous. "Plot Summary for "Friends" The One with the Routine (1999)". 
  4. ^ a b Ross and Chandler graduated from college in 1991. "The One Where the Stripper Cries". Friends. Season 10. 2004-02-05. NBC.