The turbulent relationship of Ross and Rachel is one of the main plot lines of Friends and seem to be the "One True Paring" or endgame of the show.
Prior to becoming a couple, Ross and Rachel were close friends, often confiding one another about their past relationships.
Rachel confesses to Ross about her relationship with Barry and how it was a big mistake. He in turn, tells her about his failed marriage to Carol. Rachel then asks why some relationships just don't work and wonders if she will find one that makes her feel happy. (The One With The Sonogram At The End)
They spend the day at the laundromat, with Ross teaching Rachel how to do laundry after she confesses to be a "laundry virgin". She kissed him as a thank-you for helping her. (The One With The East German Laundry Detergent)
When the city experiences a blackout, Ross (in an effort to tell his feelings for her), tells Rachel that he sees a "bright light" in her future. Missing the point, she appreciatively thanks Ross, greatly disappointing him (The One With The Blackout).
At his grandmother's funeral, when he (Ross) fell into an empty grave, Rachel was greatly concerned about his wellbeing, as she gasped when he fell in. At the reception, a drunken Ross (in an attempt to again tell her his feelings) tells Rachel that he loves her, to which she replies "You know who I love the most? You!". However, an angry Ross stammers " You don't get it!" and passes out on Rachel's lap to which she comforts him (The One Where Nana Dies Twice).
When everyone finds out the sex of his (Ross's) baby except the father himself, Rachel is the one who accidently lets it slip (The One With The Dozen Lasagnas), greatly surprising him and turning him away from their discussion of her giving up on guys. Later, in season 8, Ross is the one whom lets slip that they(Ross & Rachel) are having a girl.
Ross has harbored a crush for Rachel since the ninth grade. When Rachel moves to the city after running out on her wedding to Barry Farber, Ross tries to re-kindle his affection, but his timidness and bad timing prevent this. Ross spends an evening with Rachel in a laundromat, working on boosting her confidence, when she thanks him enthusiastically with their first official kiss. What makes this worse is Rachel dating an Italian stud named Paolo and her ex-fiance's reappearance. Chandler eventually tells Ross to forget about Rachel. Rachel finds out Paolo was not a good guy and breaks up with him. Just before Ross goes on his flight to China for a fossil dig, Chandler accidentally lets it slip that Ross had feelings for Rachel. ("The One Where Rachel Finds Out")
Rachel decides to rush to the airport to meet Ross and discuss their feelings for one another, but Ross returns with a new girlfriend, Julie, and Rachel is hurt and embarassed. She begins to experience feelings for Ross, and the new feelings become a big burden and she becomes jealous of Ross' relationship with Julie. Drunk one night, Rachel leaves a message on Ross's answering machine claiming she is "over him" and that she has had the closure that she needs. When Ross hears this message, he becomes dismayed and has to choose between Julie and Rachel. After a very heated argument at the coffeehouse, Ross and Rachel share a second, and extremely passionate, kiss. ("The One Where Ross Finds Out") Ross, still having to decide between Rachel or Julie, creates a list of pros and cons of the both of them. He ultimately decides that he loves Rachel and picks her. When she finds out about his list, however, their relationship immediately ends, having not lasted even an hour.("The One With The List")
After Rachel sees a video from their teenage years where Ross was filmed planning to ask her to be his date at the high school prom when her date had not arrived, only to miss his chance when her date suddenly turned up anyway, she is touched and passionately kisses him. The two finally get together ("The One With The Prom Video").
After almost a year together as a couple, Ross and Rachel argue over Rachel's friendship with a male co-worker, Mark, and Rachel announces that she thinks they should take "a break." Ross, thinking that Rachel is ending the relationship, becomes so drunk that he sleeps with "the hot girl from the copy place", Chloe. The next morning, Rachel does not know of the one-night-stand and wants to resume their relationship. However, after Ross fails to stop Rachel from finding out, she breaks up with Ross in an emotional scene that involves Ross and Rachel arguing in Monica's living room while the other four friends were trapped in Monica's bedroom eating wax. ("The One With The Morning After") From then on, the two share an almost-on-again-almost-off again relationship. Ross sacrifices the opportunity to be on Discovery Channel in order to take care of Rachel's broken rib in "The One With A Chick And A Duck", and the two share a tender moment when Rachel realises what Ross gave up to accompany her.
When Phoebe fixes Ross up with her "bald friend" Bonnie in "The One With The Ultimate Fighting Champion", Rachel is clearly jealous when she sees that Bonnie is no longer bald, with beautiful flowing hair. While at the beach, where Phoebe learns the true identity of her birth mother, Rachel convinces Bonnie to shave her head again. When Ross asks her why she did it, Rachel admits that it's because she still has feelings for him and the pair share a passionate kiss. Ross is then seen standing outside the doors of Rachel and Bonnie's bedrooms, forcing himself to choose between them. ("The One At The Beach")
While Ross is next door breaking up with Bonnie, Rachel pens a rather long letter to Ross ("18 pages, front and back!") asking him to take responsibility for their first break-up. However, Ross falls asleep whilst reading the letter, and later bluffs that he agrees with what the letter has to say. After reading the entire letter, which asks him to take full responsibility for all the things that went wrong in their relationship, he finds out that he strongly disagrees. He tries to swallow his pride and act like he accepts it; however, when the pair are in bed, and Rachel is saying she's glad she didn't accept her mother's advice "once a cheater, always a cheater" he finally snaps. A very loud "WE WERE ON A BREAK!" is heard being shouted by Ross from the bedroom and they angrily break up again. ("The One With The Jellyfish")
Later, after Rachel is asked by her boss Mr. Waltham to take out his niece Emily who is visiting from London, but she asks Ross as she wants to go to Joshua's nightclub on the same night. After they meet, he agrees to do so. Rachel is unable to see Joshua at the nightclub, and is dismayed when Ross calls from Vermont, where he and Emily are staying in a bed and breakfast. ("The One With Joey's Dirty Day") In order to get better reacquainted with Joshua, she secretly invites him to a fake "bon voyage" party for Emily, who is returning to London after two weeks of dating Ross, inadvertently interfering with Ross' romantic plans with her. After several failed attempts to get Joshua to notice her, including trying to kiss him during a game of "Spin The Bottle" and doing a cheerleader number for Emily, where she ends up with a sore lip. She eventually admits her feelings to Joshua, but he reveals that although he likes her back, his marriage has only just ended so he is not ready to start dating yet. Rachel eventually consoles Ross and tells him how much Emily really does like him. After this, Joshua returns and the pair begin a casual and uneasy relationship, starting with her inviting him over for coffee. ("The One With The Fake Party") When Emily leaves, Ross tells her he loves her at the airport. Much to Ross' despair, she responds with "thank you". The next time he hears from her, he finds out that she is dating another man named Colin. He goes to London to see her, while Emily returns to New York and calls Ross to tell him that she loves him too. ("The One With The Free Porn") When Emily is about to leave again, Ross asks her to move in with him. She rejects his offer, inadvertently mentioning marriage in the process. Ross and Emily decide to get married and announce their engagement right in front of Rachel. She congratulates the couple. ("The One With All The Haste") In reality, Rachel is jealous and upset and flippantly says to Joshua that they should also marry as if it would be no big deal. He rejects this offer, as his divorce is not yet final. Rachel later tries to call him to tell him she is going through a hard time, but only leaves a message on his answering machine. ("The One With All The Wedding Dresses") Ross invites Rachel to the wedding, but after thinking about her time with Ross, she decides not to go as it would be too hard for her. ("The One With The Invitation") After Ross leaves, Phoebe manages to make Rachel realize that she is, in fact, still in love with Ross. She, however, fails to stop her from going to London to tell Ross. ("The One With Ross' Wedding, Part 1") Rachel finally gives up her chance to tell Ross after seeing how happy he is with his wife-to-be, and gives him her blessing. When Ross accidentally says Rachel's name instead of Emily's ("The One With Ross' Wedding, Part 2"), Emily is humiliated and runs away, and Rachel is left wondering if Ross said her name because he still loves her.
Convinced that Emily will not be coming on their honeymoon, Ross sees Rachel at the airport and asks her if she wants to come, but sees Emily before he can get on the plane. She runs off again, and Ross chases after her, abandoning Rachel in the process. Rachel returns from the honeymoon and is not mad at Ross for abandoning her, but at herself for making the wrong decision. After hiring Monica to help her make better decisions, she goes on a date with a handsome guy, but abandons her date to comfort Ross. Monica discovers this and Rachel fires her on the spot. The following day, she tells Ross of her feelings, but laughs about it, feeling ridiculous, because he is married. She tells him to forget about it as she feels that he should make his marriage work ("The One With All The Kissing"). Ross finally contacts Emily, and she tells him that she will come to New York if he stops seeing Rachel altogether. Rachel, oblivious to this, tells him to do what he can to make his marriage work. ("The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS") When Ross tells Rachel about his agreement with Emily, she is angry and distraught as she worries she will become the next "Kip." ("The One With The Kips") When Ross moves into a new apartment, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Monica become convinced that Ross will soon stop seeing them, too, and Joey tells him everything. Unable to stop seeing Rachel and his friends, Ross ends his marriage with Emily over the phone. ("The One With The Yeti")
At one point after a drinking binge in Las Vegas, Rachel and Ross get married. ("The One In Vegas, Part 2") They don't realise they got married even after they wake up next to each other. It is at breakfast that their friends tell them that they got married. Ross, terrified of being divorced for a third time, tells Rachel that he will take care of getting the marriage annulled, only to secretly stay married to her. He reveals this to Phoebe, and after a secret attempt to annul the marriage, she soon becomes convinced that he is still in love with Rachel. He adamantly denies that fact, claiming that their marriage was just a drunken mistake. There are hints that Ross does in fact still love Rachel, especially when he offers to let her move in with him when Chandler moves in with Monica. ("The One With Ross' Denial") When she tells him, upon learning of his deceit, that she is now more angry with him than she has ever been before, he responds by asking if she's more angry now than she was "when I said we were on a break?" The two fail to get the annulment because of their previous relationships and differences and Rachel filling in false statements, and they are forced to get a divorce. Rachel moves out, but before doing so, confesses that getting married in Vegas was her idea. ("The One With Joey's Porsche")
When Rachel's sister, Jill Green, comes to visit, Rachel accidentally convinces her to ask Ross out, even though she is against the idea of them dating. Ross agrees to break it off with Jill because he didn't want to ruin the chance to possibly get back together with Rachel in the future.("The One Where Chandler Can't Cry"). Later on, during talk with Phoebe about backup, marriage plans, she switched her napkins indicating that she still prefers Ross and still thinks about her chances of ending up with Ross.
The two almost sleep together again as a "bonus night", on the night of Monica and Chandler's engagement. Later in the episode, Rachel admits it was only because she was sad about the fact that she will not be getting married. ("The One With Monica's Thunder")
Secretly, Rachel and Ross do end up sleeping together a month before Monica and Chandler's wedding, which results in Rachel becoming pregnant. While Rachel is pregnant, Joey develops feelings for her, and when he tells her (on Ross' advice), it is clear that she does not feel the same way. After some awkwardness, the two become friends again. It is at Joey's suggestion that Rachel and Ross move in together, which Rachel agrees to, much to the delight of Ross who had been feeling left out of the pregnancy. ("The One With The Secret Closet")
Near the end of her pregnancy, Rachel becomes terrified when she realizes that she knows virtually nothing about how to care for a baby, but Ross manages to convince her that she will be a good mother. ("The One With The Baby Shower") She also becomes jealous and irritated with Ross when he goes out on a date a week before the baby is due. When Ross returns from his date, she tells him that she doesn't want him to date because she wants him to be constantly available to her. Despite her being unreasonable, Ross agrees to put dating on hold to be there for her and the baby. ("The One With The Cooking Class") When Rachel is days past her due date, she becomes moody, and snaps at everyone, making everyone around her miserable. Ross in particular is on the receiving end of her moodiness. However, he agrees to have sex with Rachel at that chance it might cause her to go into labor. After a few seconds of kissing, her waters break, and Rachel and Ross share another kiss before going to the hospital.(" Where Rachel Is Late")
After 21 hours of labor, Emma Geller-Green is finally born to Rachel and Ross, who are extremely happy at her arrival. Janice later stops by and convinces Rachel that Ross will not stay around forever and might meet someone else, which causes Rachel to feel very lonely. She tries to talk to him about the kiss they had, but Ross does not want to have a relationship with Rachel again because it would hurt Emma if they broke up again. However, Phoebe convinces him that it could work out and that he would have everything he has dreamed of since he was fifteen. Joey tries to comfort Rachel while Ross is talking to Phoebe, and accidentally proposes to Rachel, which she accepts. In another part of the hospital, Ross decides to try and go for it with Rachel and buys some flowers for her.("The One Where Rachel Has A Baby, Part 2")
After Emma is born, Ross wants to talk about becoming a couple again to Rachel, who thinks she is engaged to Joey, but he doesn't get the chance to talk to her due to constant interruptions. After talking to Phoebe and after 48 hours of being awake, Ross manages to convince himself that he proposed to Rachel. Eventually, Ross, Joey, and Rachel clear up the misunderstandings, and Rachel and Ross finally speak about potentially starting to date again. However, Ross realizes that Rachel agreed to marry Joey right after having their child, which angers him. ("The One Where No One Proposes") Despite wanting to make things work before, Ross decides to only be friends with Rachel because she would have accepted anyone's proposal, and Ross wanted to be more than just "anyone". ("The One Where Emma Cries") Ross and Rachel continue living together to make things with Emma easier, but they move apart when Ross intereferes in Rachel's social life and hides a message from a man that she meets in a bar. "The One With Rachel's Phone Number")
Rachel does develop feelings for Joey, and when he finds out, he decides not to pursue a relationship with her until Ross is okay with it. However, Joey sees Ross kissing his ex-girlfriend Charlie and decides to start dating Rachel regardless.
Rachel and Joey find it difficult to consummate their new relationship and decide to remain friends.
When Rachel's dad has a heart attack, Ross goes to the hospital with her and comforts her. Later, when they are at the house Rachel grew up in, she tries to seduce him. He rejects her however, knowing she is just upset about her dad. When they get back to New York, Rachel tells Ross that they will never fully be "off the table", as there will always be a chance for something to happen between them. ("The One Where Joey Speaks French")
After Rachel loses her job at Ralph Lauren, Ross comforts her and helps her move her stuff out of her office. The two run into Mark Robinson, Rachel's former co-worker, who Ross was jealous of while he and Rachel were dating. Mark offers to talk to Rachel about a job opening at Louis Vuitton over dinner, which leaves Ross feeling jealous. Ross gets over his jealousy when Rachel reveals that he is married with children, but he is shocked when Rachel announces that her new job is in Paris. ("The One With Princess Consuela")
Ross agrees to try to work things out with Rachel for Emma since this job opportunity is important to her. However, not wanting her to leave, Ross goes to Ralph Lauren and attempts to get Rachel's old job back for her, which proves successful. After seeing how much having a job in Paris means to Rachel, he decides to drop his efforts, though, and agrees to let her leave for Paris. However, Ross is visibly upset by her decision to leave. ("The One Where Estelle Dies")
Monica throws a leaving party for Rachel ("The One with Rachel's Going Away Party") - during this Rachel talks to everyone about how she will miss them, but doesn't speak to Ross. This makes Ross furious and he confronts her, only for her to tell him she will miss him most of all and the only reason why she didn't speak to him at the party was merely because it was emotionally too hard for her. This revelation leads to a kiss.
In "The Last One", it is revealed that they slept together after kissing. Ross then tells Phoebe and Joey that he loves her and doesn't want her to move to Paris. Ross is about to tell Rachel he loves her when she states that sleeping with each other was the perfect way for them to say goodbye, causing Ross to change his mind about declaring his love for her. Later, when Rachel has set off to the airport, Ross, regretting his decision, chases after her with Phoebe at his side so he can confess his love to her. When he tells her at the airport however, she leaves looking flustered.
Later on, Ross is in his apartment, feeling rejected. He receives a message from Rachel, who repeatedly says that she loves him and realizes that she wants to be with Ross. However, a flight attendant tries to make her sit down and the machine cuts before we can know if she did get off the plane. As Ross tries to make the machine work, we hear Rachel's voice saying that she indeed got off the plane. Ross turns around and Rachel is here, standing in the doorway. They kiss passionately and get back together for good, both stating that this is where they want to be. They are seen happily together in the final scene, cuddling and holding hands.
It is assumed that Ross and Rachel eventually got married shortly after the series finale. This is mentioned in one of the episodes of Joey (TV Series), with Joey claiming that all his friends are married (Chandler and Monica, Phoebe and Mike and presumably Ross and Rachel). popular culture
- Arguably, more than any other aspect of Friends, the infamy of the "Ross and Rachel" pairing most entered the lexicon of popular culture. To this day, many off-again/on-again relationships on television are inevitably compared to Ross and Rachel.
- The relationship of Ross and Rachel has been listed by TV Guide as the greatest "Will They/Won't They" television couple of all time.
- Ross and Rachel are often considered a prime example of a "supercouple."
- Ross and Rachel share the same initials (R.G.)
- Their relationship starts with Rachel trying to catch Ross in an airport and the series ends with Ross trying to catch Rachel in an airport.
- Ross and Rachel had sex 301 times: In The One With The Cop Ross tells a store clerk that he and Rachel had sex 298 times. The night in Vegas when they're married. And if you count the one where Emma got conceived (The One With The Video Tape) and when Rachel gets ready to leave for Paris in The Last One, Part 1 it adds up to 301 times.
- Ross and Rachel have done everything together over the span more than 10 years knowing each other: they started out as friends, moved on to dating, definitely had sex, drunkenly got married to each other, then divorced each other, had a child (Emma Geller-Green) and finally ended up back together for good in The Last One.