Rachel Karen Green is a fictional character on the popular U.S. television sitcom Friends (1994–2004), portrayed by Jennifer Aniston, who received an Emmy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Golden Globe for her performances.
Rachel first appears in the Pilot episode running into Central Perk in a rain-soaked wedding dress. Rachel had run away from her wedding to Barry Farber after realizing that she didn’t really love him and was attracted more to the gravy boat that they had been given as a wedding present more than him.
It is also revealed throughout the series that Rachel had owned several pets, including a cat, a dog, a pony, a turtle, a hamster, and a tarantula when growing up.
Rachel’s parents are rich and generally cynical of her attempt at an independent life in the city. Her mother, played by Marlo Thomas, is comically snobbish and her father, played by Ron Leibman, is stern and intimidating, although it is revealed in “The One with Rachel’s Sister” that he is in fact proud of Rachel’s success at independent living.
It is revealed that Rachel was born on May 5 when Gunther, manager of the Central Perk coffee house asks Rachel for her birthday. However, in another episode, a policeman says that she is an Aquarius, which would make her birthday between around January 21 to February 19. The episode “The one where they all turn thirty” shows Rachel celebrating her 30th birthday with flashbacks from the 30th birthdays of all other friends. This indicates she is the youngest of the group.
Throughout the series, the character’s sisters are mentioned and appear in several episodes. Amy (played by Christina Applegate) is rude and tactless, while Jill (played by Reese Witherspoon) is spoiled and vain. In one episode Rachel unconsciously reveals that Jill is in fact her favorite sister, after Amy shouts to Rachel through the door (after coming for a surprise visit) ‘It’s your favorite sister!’ to which Rachel & Ross reply ‘Jill?’
Rachel’s on/off relationship with Ross produced a daughter, Emma. Rachel’s pregnancy was the second of the group after Phoebe acted as a surrogate for her brother and his wife. The series ends with Rachel and Ross getting back together after Rachel was moving to Paris to work for Louis Vuitton. It is rumored that they may have married after the series finished. This is hinted at by Joey in the premiere of the spin-off, Joey, where he stated all his friends are married, settled and have started a family.
Rachel’s personality evolves during the series. Early on, she is a spoiled “daddy’s girl” but later, especially after having Emma, becomes less self-absorbed. However, she is still the most focused on image and can be selfish. It was revealed one Thanksgiving (season 4 in 1998) that Rachel is prone to return gifts for other items or store credit. She was often described as one of the most popular but also one of the snobbiest girls in school, and Brad Pitt (Aniston’s husband at the time) even guest-starred as a formerly obese boy from high school, still angry at her nastiness toward him.
Image-conscious Rachel had a nose job when she was a teenager, which she claimed, was due to a deviated septum. She mentioned this in the flashback of Thanksgiving 1987 but she had the nose job in 1988. Flashback episodes show her with a much larger nose and the insinuation is that the operation was for image, a fact confirmed by a flippant comment from her sister Amy, regarding Emma – “Do you ever worry that she’s going to get your real nose?” (which does worry her). She can be arrogant – her involvement with her neighbor, Danny, shows Rachel with some inability to comprehend that a man may not be interested in her.
After working as a waitress, she was encouraged to use her interest in fashion to get a job in the world of high fashion. Her focus on this and image came at the expense of domestic skills or common knowledge, of which she was mocked for having little. In one episode, for example, she accidentally used beef when making a trifle for Thanksgiving dessert after misreading the recipe (the pages were glued together). Another memorable time was when Rachel also thought a breast pump was a “beer bong for a baby”. In season 7, it is revealed that Rachel can sail and tried to teach Joey, who is quite unresponsive. Although described as a spoiled daughter, she becomes a pushover (in episode “The One With The Joke”).
Rachel is perhaps most famous for her turbulent relationship with Monica’s older brother Ross Geller. Ross had apparently had a crush on Rachel since ninth grade.
When Rachel moved to the city, Ross tried hinting that he would like a relationship with her but other people were involved. Rachel’s ex-fiancé Barry and Paolo (played by Cosimo Fusco), a man she met during an electrical blackout, vied for her affection. She and Ross eventually got together in “The One With the Prom Video” and dated for a year. Their year long relationship had many bumps in the road, like Ross getting jealous of Mark, a man who offered Rachel a job. However, after an argument on their anniversary about Rachel’s constant working, she suggested taking “a break”. Ross, thinking Rachel was ending the relationship, got drunk and slept with someone else. When Rachel found out, she ended things with Ross in a scene that involved them arguing in Monica’s living room while the others hid in Monica’s bedroom.
From then on, the two shared an on/off relationship. When Ross dated Phoebe’s “bald friend Bonnie”, Rachel was clearly jealous when she saw that Bonnie now had long hair and convinced her to shave her head again. Ross asked Rachel why she did it and she admitted she still had feelings for him and found it hard seeing him with other women. While Ross broke up with Bonnie, Rachel wrote Ross a letter, asking him to take responsibility for their break-up. However, Ross fell asleep while reading it, and later bluffed agreement. He later read the letter again and realized Rachel wanted him to take full responsibility for the problems they had while dating. Ross strongly disagreed but tried to accept it but later in bed, Rachel said she was glad she didn’t take her mother’s advice (“once a cheater, always a cheater”), and Ross snapped. They had another row about him sleeping with someone else and they break up again.
Rachel’s history of admitting her feelings for Ross when he is with another woman happened again when Ross met Emily, niece of Rachel’s boss at Bloomingdale’s. Ross and Emily got engaged after a month and plan to marry in London. Rachel doesn’t go, claiming she has to work but later tells Monica and Phoebe that watching them marry would be too painful. However, she changes her mind and flies to London to tell Ross that she loves him but sees them kissing just before the ceremony. She gives them her blessing instead, resulting in Ross using the wrong name at the altar. When Emily does not go to the airport for her and Ross’s honeymoon a few days later, Ross invites Rachel to accompany him instead. However, Emily sees them boarding the plane together and runs away. Ross goes after her. When Rachel returned from Greece, she is determined to tell Ross how she felt, despite Monica trying to persuade her not to. She tells him but realizes how funny it sounds, leaving Ross confused about the state of his marriage so far. Ultimately his marriage ends, when Emily realizes that she cannot trust Ross.
Later, on a trip to Las Vegas, the two get married after getting drunk together. The morning after, they wake up and, not remembering the events of the night before, wonder why they are in bed together. They remember when they meet their friends for breakfast. They divorce as the marriage can’t be annulled, due to false information in the paperwork and their previous relationship. Consequently, they must file for divorce, and when Rachel signs the papers, she admits that it was her idea to get married.
At one point, Phoebe had backup plans with Joey and Ross; should she be single at 40, she would marry one of them. Rachel also wanted a backup and approached Ross, suggesting the same thing but Ross tells Rachel that he already has a backup “wife”, Phoebe. This leaves Rachel mad at Phoebe for having more than one. In the end, they agree that in that event, Rachel will marry Ross and Phoebe will marry Joey.
Rachel and Ross had a baby at the end of Season 8, named Emma. She was conceived after a one-night stand during Season 7. Although Ross wanted to get married, they stayed friends and lived together to raise Emma (until a big argument, after which Rachel and Emma moved back in with Joey).
In Season 10, Rachel is fired by Ralph Lauren and as she leaves, bumps into her old colleague Mark, from Bloomingdales and they go out for dinner. At first Ross is jealous again, until she tells him that Mark is now married with twins. When she returns to Monica’s apartment, she tells Ross and the rest of the group that Mark offered her a job – in Paris. Everyone is mostly surprised and happy for her but Ross is distraught, and Joey freaks out about how everything is changing. Ross, upset at losing Rachel and Emma, bribes her boss to offer her her job back but she decides to go to Paris.
At her going-away party, she says goodbye to everyone except Ross and they have a fight and Ross is upset about how Rachel wants things to end between them. Rachel tells him that she can’t say goodbye because if she thinks about leaving, then she’ll want to stay because Ross is so important to her. After the fight, they sleep together. In the morning, Ross thinks they are back together and is stunned when Rachel says “it was the perfect way to say goodbye,” leaving Ross devastated and hurt. He chases her to the airport and tells Rachel that he still loves her. Rachel gets on the plane anyway, shocked and unable to deal with his feelings for her. Ross goes home, heartbroken, to find a message from Rachel on his answering machine telling him that she loves him too. The line cuts off, leaving Ross wondering if she got off the plane as he repeatedly shouted “Did she get off the plane?!”. As Rachel comes into the apartment saying, “I got off the plane”. The two make up, and start dating again in the end of the series.
All the Friends season finales (including the series finale) except Seasons 2 and 6 involves a Ross and Rachel storyline.
Emma Geller Green,Ross and Rachel’s daughter, who is born in Season 8. Rachel’s pregnancy was revealed in the season finale of Season 7. Monica told Rachel that she planned to name her future daughter Emma (and her future son Daniel) and gave Rachel permission to use it. Before deciding on “Emma”, Ross and Rachel had considered “Delilah”, “Ruth” and “Isabella”. She is referred to as “Ella” by one of Rachel’s sisters, Amy. Rachel proved to be a protective mother and was furious when her sister, Amy, got Emma’s ears pierced without permission. At first, Emma lives with her parents in Ross’s apartment, but later moved in with Joey (after Rachel and Ross have a fight). In the series finale, her parents reconcile, and later it’s hinted on Joey that they marry.
Later in the series, Joey and Rachel have a brief relationship. In the episode “The One with the Donor”, Rachel tells Phoebe about her feelings for Joey. Then, in the episode “The One in Barbados, Part One”, Ross and Charlie (his female work associate) discover that they have a lot in common, while Joey and Rachel discover their feelings for each other. Earlier on in the series, Joey was jealous of Chandler and Monica’s love and thought that he could have a relationship with Rachel since they are already friends. Then in the episode “The One in Barbados, Part Two”, Joey and Rachel decide to be a couple. In the episode “The One Where Ross is Fine,” Ross pretends to be fine with Rachel dating Joey, but isn’t, so he acts really crazy when he and Charlie decide that they were going to have a relationship and had Rachel and Joey over for a “Double Date.” Later that episode, Ross said that he was really fine. In the episode “The One with Ross’s Tan,” Joey and Rachel decide not to date and settle for being best friends. They never slept with each other as they couldn’t, the implied reason being that they were closer friends than Monica and Chandler were prior to their relationship.
Another close friend of Rachel’s was Monica, her friend since they were 6. In their high school years, it is revealed that Rachel was a popular cheerleader with a string of boyfriends, while Monica was her less attractive, overweight best friend. They lost contact for a while, but became close again when Rachel jilted Barry before their wedding and chose to move in with Monica. It is revealed that Monica didn’t expect to become close friends with Rachel again, as during a flashback episode, set shortly before Rachel’s and Barry’s wedding, Monica and Rachel have a chance encounter, resulting in Monica remarking: “Ten bucks says I’ll never see that woman again in my life.”
During the time they lived together, the pair coexist in relative harmony, despite Rachel being rather a selfish roommate. This causes tension between them, such as in “The One With all the Wedding Dresses” where Monica displays her frustration as Rachel’s purposeful avoidance of doing the dishes, knowing Monica’s compulsive nature will make her do them. This is furthered when Monica/Rachel and Joey/Chandler switch apartments. Rachel is distraught at the loss of her “girl’s apartment” and repeatedly complains despite Monica’s attempts to make the apartment a nice place to live. Yet, even her distaste of the new apartment doesn’t make her do anything to improve the situation.
Despite these tensions, the two display a true affinity for each other. As Monica tells Phoebe, Rachel has sweet little quirks, such as folding back the pages in catalogues of things she thinks Monica would like. She leaves messages on the mirror when Monica takes a shower, and lets Monica borrow her hundred-plus pairs of boots. Rachel and Monica got on well as roommates as compared to Phoebe and Monica as Phoebe could not stand Monica’s clean organized ways. Their living situation lasted for the first five seasons until eventually Chandler moved in with Monica during Season 6. Rachel’s moving out drew the two women to tears. Their relationship mirrors that of sisters.
It is assumed Monica becomes her sister-in-law when it was hinted by Joey in the spin-off that Rachel marries Ross.
Rachel’s other best friend. Phoebe first met Rachel in the pilot episode when Rachel leaves Barry and comes to live with Monica.
In a season 5 episode “The One With The Kips”, Phoebe and Rachel consider starting a new group of friends with Joey after Emily (Ross’s current wife) demands that Ross doesn’t see Rachel anymore. Rachel says “We can start a new group, you and me, we’re the best ones,” to which Phoebe responds “Okay. But let’s try to get Joey.” This never happened as Ross could not go without seeing Rachel and the group remained as it was.
From seasons 6-7, Rachel and Phoebe lived together after Chandler moved into Monica’s apartment. In “The One Where Ross Dates A Student”, Phoebe and Rachel’s apartment catches fire, causing Phoebe to temporarily live with Monica and Rachel to live with Joey. Later on, in “The One with the Holiday Armadillo”, the apartment is fixed and Phoebe and Rachel decide to move back but the repair work left them with only one bedroom, so Phoebe lives there alone while Rachel stays living with Joey.
In an early episode, Phoebe and Rachel go to get tattoos together. Though Rachel ends up getting a heart tattooed on her hip, Phoebe does not get the intended lily (for her mother) on her shoulder because she ‘didn’t know they did it with needles’. Rachel tried to convince her to get the tattoo, but the artist barely touched her with the needle before she ran off screaming. She now has a ‘blue freckle’ which she claims is ‘the earth as (her) mother sees it from heaven’.
Phoebe and Rachel have a strong friendship throughout the series, despite occasional and humorous squabbles over things like jogging, corporate massages, Pottery Barn furniture and an alleged lesbian encounter Rachel had in college (which Phoebe refused to believe).
Although it appeared that Rachel and Chandler met for the first time in the pilot episode, they had actually known each other for years. They first met in 1987 when she was introduced to him by Ross. They met at Thanksgiving celebrations at the Geller home initially and met again at a party at Ross and Chandler’s college in the winter of 1987, as revealed in the Season 10 episode “The One Where The Stripper Cries.” At this party, Chandler and a drunk Rachel shared a kiss (but it was revealed that the only reason Chandler kissed Rachel was to get back at Ross). In 1993, they met again at a bar that was later torn down to make room for Central Perk. Rachel hadn’t seen Monica, Ross, or Chandler since her days in high school. At the bar, Chandler overhears Rachel talking to some friends about how she wants to have one last night of meaningless sex before her marriage to Barry, and that she wants to have it with the first guy she lays her eyes on, which happens to be Chandler. They never did hook up, but Rachel did fantasize over him, regretting not letting him take her, but by this time it was too late. This was shown in the Season 3 episode “The One With The Flashback.”
At the start of the show, Rachel and Chandler would cross paths again, this time in 1994, when Rachel, having just left Barry at the altar, goes to Central Perk, looking for Monica. During the series, Rachel and Chandler’s relationship grows, and they are close friends, often consoling and confiding in one another. On one particular occasion, they share a stolen cheesecake and concealed it from the others. Particularly in earlier seasons, they go out to lunch together a few times.
The two have also set each other up on dates, although the results were mixed; Chandler’s first date with Rachel’s boss, Joanna, ended because he thought she was too dull while their second date culminated in him being handcuffed to a chair in Joanna’s office, while his attempt to set her up on a date with a colleague went abysmally when he claimed she only wanted a fling but later told the guy she was looking for a serious relationship. In Season 2, it is worth noting that Chandler, being the child of divorced parents, is the only friend able to empathize with Rachel when her parents are unable to be in the same room on her birthday. In the episode where Joey and Rachel go on a date, Joey asks Rachel who of the Friends she would punch if she were forced to. Rachel refuses to answer but when Joey prompts, “Chandler?” she replies, “Yeah but I don’t know why.” In the season 10 episode “The One With Rachel’s Going Away Party,” Chandler and Rachel share a strong private moment, and Chandler tells her that he loves her, and is going to miss her, and is sad that she’s leaving for Paris, to which Rachel responds tearfully “I love you, too.”
Like all the main characters, Rachel has slight problems within her family.
Mrs. Green can be quite dominating and unpleasant without going overboard. She can also be quite harsh with her opinions (such as, for instance, when she suggested moving into Ross’s apartment after Emma’s birth and saying that his “dinosaur things” belonged in the garbage). It is implied that Rachel was very like Mrs. Green before she turned things around and started a life in the city, running away from her marriage, whereas Mrs. Green actually married “her Barry.” During her first visit, she says that Rachel’s life is what she wants.
Dr. Green, however, is quite a dominating and harsh man when it comes to speaking. He’s very concerned about discipline. He has a striking sense of sarcasm and what he deems right or wrong, but he’s not afraid of spoiling his daughters (as shown in one episode when Rachel reveals that her father bought her “her own boat” to cheer her up after her “pony was sick”). However, when disagreeing with them, he disables their unlimited use of money. However, despite being quite generous when it comes to his daughters, he shares very little of his wealth with others, as reflected when he leaves a 4% tip at a restaurant after eating out with Rachel and Ross. He was against Rachel leaving Barry at first, but her success in taking control of her life eventually made her, according to her sister in “The One With Rachel’s Sister”, the only daughter Dr. Green was proud of.
Rachel’s parents have had barely any love life, as they married for the sake of money; according to Rachel, they barely even spoke (except when they argued) and divorced in Season 2. They could not be in the same room together, as shown when the Friends throw Rachel two birthday parties; one with Rachel’s mother in Monica’s apartment and one with her father in Joey and Chandler’s. Rachel also has two sisters, Jill, (Reese Witherspoon) and Amy (Christina Applegate), with whom she has a typical sibling-rivalry relationship; when they were younger, they would constantly pull pranks on each other. Jill is supposedly her “favorite” sister, despite being extremely spoiled, and during her visit when their father decides to financially cut her off, Jill starts dating Ross, but does it to get back at Rachel (Only for Ross to end it because he wanted to be with Rachel). Unlike Jill, who at least found Ross “cute, but nerdy,” Amy does not even recognize him and believes he’s a falafel-seller. In spite of her tactless nature, it is also revealed that Amy is the “biter” one, as questioned by Phoebe in the Thanksgiving episode in which Amy comes to spend the holidays with the Friends. Rachel isn’t as close to Amy as she is to Jill. When Amy visits during Emma’s first Thanksgiving, she only says Hi and tells her she came by to borrow a hair-straightener. She says how “Emmett” is cute and then realizes the baby is a girl.
In “The One with Rachel’s Phone Number,” some guys in a bar live in her grandmother’s building. Her grandma’s name is Ida Green and the men’s affectionate nickname for her is “Spuds”. Rachel says that she has “no sense of personal space, kinda smells like chicken, looks like a potato–that’s my bubbe!” This is another indication that the character is of Jewish descent; the word “bubbe” means “grandmother” in Yiddish. She also wears a “Magen David” (David Shield – A symbolic 6 corners star) in one of the episodes (Season 3, the episode that Chandler keeps saying to her boss that he will call her again)
Rachel gets a job as a waitress at Central Perk but is careless, taking long breaks to sit with her friends and regularly mixing up orders. In the third season, with encouragement from Joey and Chandler she quits her job as a waitress to pursue a career in fashion. Joey is able to get her a job with Fortunata Fashions as a personal assistant and Rachel begins her career in fashion here. Later on, she gets a job as an assistant buyer at Bloomingdale’s with the help of colleague Mark, but after Mark leaves and her boss Joanna dies, she is demoted to personal shopper. She then begins a job at Ralph Lauren in “The one with Rachel’s Inadvertent Kiss” where she is the coordinator of the women’s collection. Ralph Lauren is impressed by her work and in “The one with Rachel’s Assistant” she is promoted to merchandising manager where she memorably has an affair with her assistant, Tag Jones.
In the final episodes of the last season, Rachel is fired from Ralph Lauren when her boss overhears her job interview with Gucci, but is offered a lucrative job in Paris with Louis Vuitton by her ex-colleague, Mark. Upset by Rachel’s impending move to Paris, Ross, through bribery, manages to convince Rachel’s old boss from Ralph Lauren to give Rachel her job back for more money than the offer in Paris. Initially, Rachel declines this offer and decides to accept the job with Louis Vuitton. However, she cancels her plans after realizing she is still in love with Ross.