Ross and Rachel's relationship timeline: Breakup to drunk wedding, here's how 'Friends' duo ended up together
From the pilot episode to the finale, Ross Eustace Geller (David Schwimmer) and Rachel Greene (Jennifer Aniston) are arguably the core pair of 'Friends', and their on-again and off-again relationship can be both a sweet and a hair-tearing affair. It actually began before the pilot, as flashbacks reveal that Ross had a crush on Rachel since she was in high school and that he was just Monica's dorky brother to her at the time.
Rachel and Ross's relationship is one of the show's most significant — and longest — plotlines. Let's take a look at the awesome twosome's relationship timeline through the seasons, from Ross' teenage fixation with Rachel to their big breakup, and ultimately how they end up together.
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Season 1: Ross' unrequited love, requited
Theirs is a one-sided love tale for almost the entire first season. Rachel is busy beginning her new life, getting over Barry, finding out how the 'business' stuff works and having a rebound fling with her Italian boyfriend Paolo. All the while, she sees Ross mostly as Monica's brother. Ross, on the other hand, spends the entire season pining for Rachel and gradually gets closer to her.
In the end, Ross goes on a dig in China, and Rachel, thanks to an expensive present, eventually understands how he feels about her. The finale, however, throws a wrench in the works by revealing that Ross has started a relationship with Julie while on business. Not now, Ross!
Season 2: Rachel's hopeless crush
In a reversal of the previous season, Season 2 begins with Ross and Julie dating and Rachel pining for Ross. A few episodes later, in 'The One Where Ross Finds Out', he receives a message from Rachel on his answering machine about how over him she is, despite the fact that she is not over him. When Ross discovers that Rachel has feelings for him, he leaves Julie to be with her.
However, Rachel discovers he made a pro and con list for dating her or Julie and they don't get together until 'The One With The Prom Video' when Rachel learns Ross almost took her to the prom. That's when she realizes he's her lobster, and the video catapults them into full-fledged coupledom.
Season 3: 'On a break'
Season 3 is one of the most important seasons for Ross and Rachel since it is the season in which they go from becoming a happy couple to being separated, and possibly reuniting. Ross becomes envious of Rachel's coworker Mark and their relationship takes a turn for the worse. In 'The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break', they kind of break up but reunite the next morning, leading to one of the show's most heartbreaking scenes, when Rachel discovers that Ross slept with Chloe, the hot copy girl, while they were "on a break".
Season 4: The 18-page letter, FRONT AND BACK
Ross and Rachel almost reconcile in 'The One With The Jellyfish', as he falls asleep reading a letter she sent him that was 18 pages FRONT AND BACK. Ross chooses Rachel, but after a brief courtship, they split up again. And it is still unclear if they were on a break or not (and whether Ross should have stayed awake to read Rachel's long letter to him). Ross is unaware that he has agreed to take full responsibility for sleeping with Chloe, and their friendship is soon over. Tears erupt. Though Ross is engaged to Emily later in the season, Rachel learns she must prevent him from marrying, but once she arrives in London, all she can do is wish him luck.
Season 5: Just friends
Season 5 is the first in which the two are essentially only friends, apart from the occasional chemistry. Ross says Rachel's name instead of his future wife's during his wedding to Emily, which is awkward. Their marriage eventually falls apart because she can't handle his relationship with Rachel, which is a good thing because we wouldn't have had the beautiful scenes of Ross and Rachel drunkenly married in Vegas otherwise.
Season 6: Just married
Ross and Rachel get married in Season 6, but only because they are blackout drunk in Vegas. Ross is so angry seeing 'three divorces by thirty' that he refuses to actually have the marriage annulled, which becomes a major plot point later in the season. They finally get divorced after a lot of back and forth, and Ross dates Elizabeth, a college student, while Rachel dates her father (a truly awkward situation). By the end of the season, they have reverted to the nice dynamic that they had in Season 5.
Season 7: 'Almost' made it
Ross and Rachel almost hook up in 'The One With Monica's Thunder', because she's bummed that Monica is engaged and she's single. Even though Ross has the magical hands, it never happens. For the majority of Season 7, things remain on a friendly even keel, which is a welcome relief after all of the relationship's ups and downs.
Season 8: Rachel is pregnant
Following the almost-sleeping-together of the previous season, Ross and Rachel are confirmed to have actually slept together in Season 8, and Rachel is now pregnant. Rachel learns she's expecting Emma and informs Ross that he will be a dad. Joey tells Ross he has feelings for Rachel later in the season and mistakenly proposes to her after she gives birth, when Ross intended to ask her to marry him.
Season 9: Joey, Ross, Rachel and Emma
Season 9 begins with a flurry of misunderstanding, as Ross considers proposing to Rachel and she mistakenly believes Joey proposed to her. Ross and Rachel do discuss the idea of getting back together, which is a good indication to fans that this is where the relationship is headed. Nevertheless, Rachel understands that caring for a child would take up all of her time and that starting something new now is not the best time.
Season 10: She got off the plane
Despite a wedding and a daughter, Ross and Rachel don't seem any closer to actually being in a functional relationship even after 10 years. This season begins with Joey and Rachel's much-maligned relationship, while Ross tries to date Charlie. However, both of these relationships fizzle out after a short time, and things seem to be straightforward for Ross and Rachel until she receives a job offer in Paris! Ross stops this from happening and they live happily ever after in the series finale.
Whew! Now that's a 21st-century fairytale ending.