Friends Central

If we were in prison, you guys would be like my bitches.

—Phoebe after separating Monica and Rachel during a fight.

Phoebe Buffay-Hannigan (née Buffay) is one of the main characters on the popular sitcom Friends (1994–2004), portrayed by Lisa Kudrow. She is best known for her bohemian lifestyle, silly wit, and somewhat dubious musical skills.


Early life[]

Phoebe Buffay and her older twin sister, Ursula, are the result of a sexual relationship between Phoebe Abbott, Frank Buffay and Lily Buffay. Phoebe Abbott wasn't ready to be a mother as she didn't mean to get pregnant, so Lily and Frank adopted both twins and raised them together. Frank abandoned Lily and the twins soon after and then later married another unknown woman. The children's step-father went to prison and Lily committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning when putting her head in an oven. Phoebe was living on her own homeless on the streets of New York City by the age of 14. When she was 18, she lived in a burnt-out Buick LeSabre. She never attended high school or college, but she met behind a dumpster with a small group of three to learn French. She became fluent in speaking it, as evidenced in "The One Where Joey Speaks French". She also speaks some Italian, and has a short conversation in Italian with Joey's grandmother, Nonnie in "The One Where Ross Can't Flirt". Her language skills are treated somewhat inconsistently. She misunderstands when one of Monica's assistant introduces himself as a sous-chef, and she does not appear to understand Rachel's Italian former boyfriend, Paolo (but neither can any of the other five friends).

Phoebe occasionally resorted to mugging to survive, something the other friends are not very familiar about. At one point, when she was 14, she mugged Ross. (This was when these future friends were still strangers). One of the stolen items was the only existing copy of Ross' comic book, Science Boy. ("The One With The Mugging")

Phoebe mentions that she lived in Prague. She also states that she lived with an albino man who washed windows outside Port Authority, as well as a, "guy named Sidney who talked to his hand." She claims that she got hepatitis, when a pimp spit in her mouth. On her sweet sixteen, she was chased around a tire yard by an escaped mental patient who, "in his own words, wanted to 'kill me or whatever." ("The One With The Home Study") In "The One In Vegas, Part 2", when Phoebe thinks the security guard is going to take her to jail, she exclaims "I'm not going back to that hell hole!" implying that she has previously been arrested or close to been arrested, likely at some point during her life living on the streets. She also alludes to this event in the uncut version of "The One With The Cop".

Her previous lifestyle and wild stories have shocked her friends. When she tells the story of the time she stabbed a cop, their obviously surprised looks cause her to retort, "What? He stabbed me first!" Phoebe has picked up an impressive talent for boxing at a YMCA, where, according to her, the guys, "weren't being Christian enough." ("The One With The Race Car Bed") Phoebe met and moved in with Monica, which began their friendship. While still living with her, Phoebe was married to a gay Canadian ice dancer, Duncan, in order to help him obtain a green card. At the time, Phoebe was secretly in love with him. Monica claims that when Duncan left, she saw Phoebe eating a cheeseburger. Years later, Duncan returns unexpectedly to request a divorce from Phoebe because he has realized that he isn't really gay, and that he is in love with a woman. In 1993, Phoebe, not being able to take Monica's obsessive neatness, started to secretly move out. She moved her furniture piece by piece into her grandmother's apartment. ("The One With The Flashback")

Season 1[]

Phoebe is introduced as the odd one of the group. She has little family history revealed, except for the fact that her mother killed herself and that she has a twin sister (Ursula). She is a masseuse, and she plays guitar in the coffee house Central Perk. She also finds a thumb in her soda, for which she is compensated 7,000 dollars from the Soda company.

Season 2[]

It is revealed that Phoebe is married to Duncan, a gay Canadian ice dancer. They divorce because he wants to get married to another woman, revealing that he was never gay. ("The One With Phoebe's Husband")

She also starts searching for her father and finds out that she has a younger half-brother, Frank Buffay Jr. who she bonds with after he reveals their father abandoned him too.

Season 3[]

Phoebe spends time with her half-brother, Frank Jr., for the first time. She also finds out about a friend of her adoptive mother's, Phoebe Abbott, who lives on the beach. The group (including Ross' new girlfriend, Bonnie) takes a trip to the beach, where Phoebe finds out that Phoebe Abbott is actually her birth mother. ("The One At The Beach")

Season 4[]

Frank Jr. and his wife, Alice, tell Phoebe that they are trying for a baby without success in "The One With Phoebe's Uterus". Frank Jr., asks Phoebe if she will consider being the surrogate for his and Alice's baby, to which Phoebe eventually agrees. Phoebe has the embryos implanted and waits to see if she gets pregnant, trying many methods to ensure that she becomes pregnant, including sitting upside-down, to "let gravity do it's stuff.". She takes a pregnancy test, which is positive. ("The One With The Embryos") Phoebe goes for an ultrasound scan, which reveals that she is pregnant with triplets. This is amazing because, as Phoebe puts it, "The doctor said there was little chance of one attaching. But three ..." Being pregnant, Phoebe is not allowed to fly on an airplane to London for Ross' wedding, so she stays behind in New York and listens to the wedding through a phone held by Joey. ("The One With Ross' Wedding")

Season 5[]

Phoebe feels left out when her friends talk about London, so they arrange for her and the rest of them to go to Atlantic City. But her water breaks as soon as they are about to leave, and she is rushed to the hospital. ("The One With All The Kissing") She gives birth to her brother's triplets: Chandler, Leslie, and Frank Buffay Jr. Jr. ("The One Hundredth"). In "The One With Ross' Sandwich", Phoebe takes a literature class at the new school with Rachel, but when the latter doesn't take the class seriously, she wanted revenge on her. Later, Rachel was replaced by Monica who began to drive everyone, including the professor, crazy.

In "The One With The Cop", Phoebe begins dating a policeman named Gary, after finding his badge and pretending to be a police officer. They move in together, but the next morning she breaks up with him when he shoots a bird. ("The One With The Ball")

During "The One With Joey's Bag", Phoebe attends her grandmother's funeral and meets her father Frank Buffay Sr. who is unaware of who she is. She tells her friends of this encounter and they tell her to give him a chance. Phoebe contacts him and pretends to be a lawyer, she learns that he had no idea of Lily dying or what happened to her and Ursula. Phoebe drops the act and reveals that she is his daughter. They talk more and she reveals her resentment of leaving her behind, Frank accepts that what he did was wrong as he asks for a chance to be in her life. While it is awkward, she forgives him but it is unknown if they kept in contact since he wasn't seen later.

Season 6[]

Phoebe is the only one who knows that Ross and Rachel are still married after Ross had told Rachel he'd got the annulment following their drunken marriage in Las Vegas. Phoebe also hints that she got married in Las Vegas when she says "if you're married in Vegas, you're only married in Vegas". Phoebe has a never-seen roommate called Denise who moves out unexpectedly, allowing Rachel to move in after she is displaced by Chandler Bing. Phoebe babysits the one-year-old triplets. She convinces Chandler and Monica to help her. But Monica takes Chandler to the hospital when a tiny plastic gun is stuck in his throat, leaving her alone with the babies. With Phoebe and Rachel as roommates, more is revealed about Phoebe as we get to see her at home in several episodes, and they hang out together more often. However, a fire breaks out and destroys the apartment, forcing them out. Phoebe moves in temporarily with Monica and Chandler. While there, she discovers Chandler's secret plan to propose to Monica and helps him pick out the ring.

Season 7[]

When Monica and Chandler get engaged, an excited Phoebe believes that she should be able to sing at the wedding. Monica reluctantly agrees to allow Phoebe to sing. Joey breaks the news that Phoebe isn't really singing at the wedding, and an angry Phoebe sings: "Whenever I get married, guess who won't get to sing? Somebody named Geller, and somebody else named Bing!" In "The One With Monica And Chandler's Wedding, Part 1" Phoebe discovers a positive pregnancy test in the garbage. Believing that Monica is pregnant, she tells everyone about Monica's "pregnancy." Eventually, Rachel admits that she's the one who is pregnant, and she begs Phoebe to keep it a secret. To protect Rachel, Phoebe claims that she is pregnant and she said Monica was pregnant because she wasn't ready to tell. ("The One After I Do") Wanting to be there for his friend, Joey proposes to Phoebe. Phoebe agrees to marry him, but becomes angry when Joey proposes to Rachel once he finds out that she's the one who's actually pregnant. Phoebe is anxious to find out who the father of Rachel's baby is, and she eventually finds out that it's Ross. (At first she thinks it's Tag's, and she even calls him up to tell him that Rachel has to talk to him)

During the preparation for Monica and Chandler's wedding, Rachel, Phoebe and Monica come up with a system where they will take it in turns to be Maid of Honor for one another. This meant that Rachel was Monica's and Monica was Phoebe's. As the remarriage of Ross and Rachel occurs after the series finale, it can only be assumed that Phoebe was Rachel's Maid of Honor.

Season 8[]

Phoebe meets her twin's fiance, Eric, and learns that Ursula has lied to him about many things. Eric breaks up with Ursula and decides to date Phoebe. On their first date, Eric admits that he can't look at Phoebe without seeing Ursula, and seeing Ursula angers him. They end up kissing, until Phoebe has to leave for a massage appointment. She comes back to find out that Ursula came in after she left. Eric, thinking it was Phoebe, had sex with her. Realizing their relationship is too weird, Phoebe breaks it off with Eric.

Phoebe reads her tea leaves and predicts that she's about to meet the man of her dreams. She assumes that the man of her dreams is Jim Nelson, a man she has been seeing everywhere while out on her errands. When she talks to him, he asks her out despite being bemused when she misunderstands the pretty obvious meaning of a remark he makes, but when they go on the date, he makes a number of highly inappropriate, rude, and vulgar comments and he also claims to be a writer of "erotic novels for children" which are "wildly unpopular".

At her new dry-cleaner's, Phoebe meets a different man named Parker, who unlike Jim seems to be a nice guy, which causes Phoebe to decide to date him instead. But when they attend Jack and Judy Geller's anniversary dinner, Parker greatly irritates her by excitedly making a big fuss of anything and everything he sees regardless of how trivial it is and after they both witness Monica's ridiculous, disastrous attempt at a speech which bemuses them and everyone else in the room, Phoebe takes Parker back to her apartment and, when she tires of his constant enthusiasm, angrily tells him she wants him to be "much less happy" causing him to break up with her.

When Rachel's due date comes and goes without her giving birth, Phoebe and Monica bet on when the baby will come. Phoebe bets that it will come later, and she keeps winning. While Rachel is in labor, Phoebe meets a cute man with a broken leg. She convinces Joey to find out his name and hospital room number, as well as personal information from the man himself. When he eventually finds out, he is very mad at Phoebe.

Season 9[]

Joey and Phoebe agree to set each other up on a date with another friend. Joey forgets and sets Phoebe up with Mike, a random guy from the coffee house. They end up meeting again, and start a serious relationship, but they break up when Mike tells her he never wants to get married. Phoebe reunites with David (who she had always considered the one that got away), a scientist who had left and moved to Minsk after receiving a research grant in Minsk. David and Phoebe start seeing each other again, and he decides to propose after getting advice from Chandler. Monica worries that the timing is bad and warns Phoebe, who decides to accept even though she is still in love with Mike. David buys a ring and is about to propose in Barbados, but Mike bursts in and interrupts, proposing to Phoebe first because he realized during their time apart that he can't live without her. Phoebe turns him down. She tells him that she doesn't need to get married now, but just wanted to know she was in a relationship that had a future. David leaves, sad that he has lost Phoebe and wasted years of his life on research that also ruined him financially and professionally. Joey and Phoebe also conspire to set Ross and Rachel up with bad dates in an effort to get them back together but this fails when they realize what Joey and Phoebe had done.

Season 10[]

Phoebe and Mike fly home together from Barbados, when he tells her that he has a girlfriend named Precious. He plans to break up with her on a date that night. Precious gets mixed up and goes to his apartment while Phoebe is there, and Phoebe convinces her that Mike is a jerk. Mike and Phoebe go to a Knicks game where she ridicules couples on the camera getting engaged at the game, and is shocked when she realizes that Mike was planning on proposing to her that way. Phoebe asks her friends what she should do and Monica suggests that Phoebe propose to Mike, as she is worried that Mike will never propose again after being embarrassed at the game. Phoebe invites Mike to another game, where she proposes to him since she gained the knowledge that Mike would like to be proposed to that way. Later, at dinner after she tries to propose to him, Mike, once again, tries to propose, this time like "one of those cheesy guys in a movie, who hides it in the cake," and realized that he is trying too hard and that cliches are not them. They then get engaged. Phoebe and Mike decided to donate the money for their wedding to a charity for the children of New York, and get married at City Hall, but Phoebe then decides she wants to get the money back and have a large wedding. As the wedding gets closer, Monica becomes the wedding planner, and annoys Phoebe with her excessive organization, rigid time schedules, and grandiose wedding plans and changes, then ruins Phoebe's speech at the rehearsal dinner. Phoebe fires her because of it. Phoebe has a hard time dealing with all of the wedding plans herself, so she rehires Monica. Joey comes into his apartment where all of the friends are, bringing the news to them that New York is in the midst of a historic blizzard. When it stops snowing, Rachel tells Phoebe that she could have the simple ceremony that she always dreamed of having. Mike and Phoebe get married outside Central Perk in the snow to the sound of steel drum music. In "The Last One" Phoebe drives Ross to the airport to catch Rachel before she flies to Paris which leads to Ross and Rachel getting back together for good. Phoebe is seen helping Monica and Chandler get the stroller up the steps, and then she is one of the first ones to go down the stairs.

Regina Phalange[]

Phoebe frequently uses the alter ego Regina Phalange. Once when she is pretending to be French, she even adopts a French version called "Régine Phillange". Phoebe also used it when she pretended to be a fan trying to convince Joey's "identical hand twin" to join him in his hand show idea, though she and Joey were kicked out by a security guard. The first reference to Regina Phalange is when she is trying to contact Ross in England, and pretends to be a Dr. Regina Phalange diagnosing a disease. The last reference is in the series finale when Phoebe successfully stalls Rachel's plane to Paris by saying there was a problem with the "Left Phalange." Phalange is the correct universal name for the bones in the fingers and toes. Ironically, this is not Phoebe's choice for her new name in "The One With Princess Consuela", preferring to go as Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock


Phoebe is a sweet-natured but odd guitar player. Having experienced nothing like a normal, complete childhood, Phoebe is often very dim-witted, sometimes smart and is in some regards still a child at heart. She believed Santa Claus existed, until Joey told her otherwise. Phoebe also shocks some people in the story line with her frankness on occasions that it catches them off guard from her usual self. This straightforwardness is a running gag throughout the Friends series. Phoebe becomes noticeably a little more intelligent during the last two seasons.

Phoebe is the most promiscuous of the three girls, being the one most often referred to as having casual sex. During the episode "The One With Rachel's Phone Number", Rachel attempts to convince Mike to do her a favor by promising that Phoebe will do anything he wants: "Seriously, I'm talking dirty stuff." Mike is surprised that it could "get any dirtier." She also told Rachel that she doesn't always ask the men she sleeps with if they're married. In one episode, it has been suggested that Phoebe has had a threesome. In one episode where Rachel and Phoebe fight over a guy Phoebe says that she hasn't been on a date in very long. Rachel claims then that Phoebe had a date 3 days ago to which Phoebe replies, "That wasn't a date! That was, that was just friends getting together... having sex." Another episode has Phoebe and Mike celebrating their anniversary, Rachel asks her "So which anniversary? First date? First kiss? First time sleeping together?" to which Phoebe replies "Yeah". There are several hints that Phoebe is in fact bisexual. For example, Phoebe kisses Rachel in one episode to experience Rachel's claim to be a fantastic kisser, saying afterwards that she has "had better". Phoebe says that if she had to select Monica or Rachel to have a lesbian relationship with, she would select Rachel because she is "not as high-maintenance" as Monica.

An example of this occurs in "The One with Ross and Monica's Cousin;" after Ross and Monica's gorgeous female cousin, Cassie, is shuffled from Monica's apartment to Ross', and finally to Phoebe's (because Chandler and Ross are uncontrollably attracted to her). Phoebe experiences the same sexual desire for her that the men did. (In voice-over we hear Phoebe's thoughts: "Ask her out! She's not YOUR cousin!"). Phoebe later claims that Monica "has the breasts of a Greek goddess."

She also seems to have a sort of fixation for old men. In "The One Where Ross Got High", she admits to have had a romantic dream with Ross and Monica's father, Jack Geller, and keeps fantasizing with that for a while. When she pretends to be pregnant as a cover up for Rachel, she claims that the father is James Brolin ("The One After 'I Do'"). When Rachel asks Phoebe to dinner with her dad she replies "Sure, yeah. He's kinda sexy." suggesting her interest in Dr. Greene. ("The One With The Stripper"). When she and Rachel compete for a guy and then a much older one appears, she exclaims "We were waiting for a hot guy and then an even hotter one shows up!", before actually going to dinner with him ("The One With Joey's New Brain").

Phoebe often uses her chaotic childhood and traumatic past as sympathy ploys to her friends. References to her mother's death were usually to get her own way. Phoebe does not seem to mind that the other friends know she is only referring to her mother's death to try to get her own way. In one episode Rachel says, "Now, wait a minute, you can't use that to get the cute guy's phone and the last blueberry muffin!" to which Phoebe replies, "Did I use that already today? I'm sorry." However, as the series progressed, the other friends indulge her less frequently.

Phoebe believes in reincarnation and refers to multiple gods; however, not all of Phoebe's beliefs seem internally connected. She is very open to the existence of paranormal phenomena and willing to consider the most bizarre pseudo-scientific theories, much to Ross' confusion and despair. She, however, does not believe the theory of evolution or even that of gravity, claiming she feels more pushed down than pulled. At one point, Phoebe is even believed to be possessed by the spirit of an 82 year-old woman who had unfinished business. Phoebe also claims to hear voices in her head, and at one point, even heard what Joey was singing in his head. In "The One With All The Thanksgivings" Phoebe reveals that she believes she possessed the same look in at least two previous lives, and that Joey does not have any previous life memories because "he's brand new".

Phoebe frequently uses the alter ego Regina Phalange when she is pretending to be someone else, she even adopts a French version called "Régine Filange". The first reference to Regina Phalange is when she is trying to contact Ross in England, and pretends to be a Dr. Regina Phalange diagnosing a disease. The last reference is in the series finale when Phoebe successfully stalls Rachel's plane to Paris by saying there was a problem with the "left phalange."

Her resistance against large corporations is made manifest in several episodes in which she speaks out against chain stores and the ideal of corporate greed, such as in "The One With The Apothecary Table" (against Pottery Barn, which she later admits liking). In season 9, most notably in the episode "The One With The Fertility Test", she tries to convince Rachel not to redeem a gift-certificate to a massage spa because it puts independent massage therapists such as herself out of business. However, when Rachel clandestinely visits the spa to redeem her gift certificate, it is revealed that Phoebe is employed at the spa as a massage therapist because of the good money, benefits, and 401(k) plan (she even exclaims that she has to "pay taxes!").

Phoebe is occasionally referred to as a heavy drinker, although she never demonstrates any dependence that would make her an alcoholic. In a season 7 episode, when describing her feelings for a man she's dating, she tells Monica "I feel like I've had ten drinks today...and I only had 6." She also drank over twenty drinks at a charity event, first saying that she was "helping the kids", and later stating, "I think I've helped the kids so much I might vomit." At Monica's 30th birthday party, when Monica gets very drunk, Phoebe decides to "get twice as drunk so no one will notice Monica". The morning after Ross and Rachel get married in Las Vegas, Phoebe and the rest of the friends have a breakfast buffet. During the breakfast, she explains a few times that she is drunk, after drinking while having breakfast.

Ursula Buffay[]

Ursula and Phoebe

Phoebe's twin sister, Ursula, has always been given more attention since they were kids

Ursula is Phoebe's identical twin sister, yet the two are polar opposites in nearly every way. Unlike Phoebe, Ursula has displayed a more crude and insensitive attitude towards other people, and treats everyone (especially Phoebe) with great disdain. Phoebe refers to Ursula as her "evil twin", due to Ursula's manipulative and deceptive nature, as seen whenever she meets a guy and later breaks their heart. This often leads Phoebe to try and clean up her sister's messes. Ursula does not seem to actually view Phoebe as her sister, as in "The One With The Halloween Party", when she uses air quotes when referring to Phoebe as her sister.

Ursula has always been seen as a source jealousy for Phoebe. Ursula has been viewed as the better of the twins, being given more attention and praise, as well as being the "pretty" and popular one. Due to Ursula's more privileged upbringing, she is shown to be somewhat more sophisticated than her sister, as well as being far more intelligent and clever than Phoebe. Ursula also constantly resorts to manipulating Phoebe and abusing her. Despite this, Phoebe often tries to make amends with Ursula and trying to settle their rivalry, though unsuccessfully. The character of Ursula Buffay originated in another sitcom, Mad About You.

Musical talent[]

Phoebe Buffay 1

The guitar is Phoebe's instrument of choice and she regularly plays in Central Perk.

       See also: List of Phoebe Buffay's songs

Phoebe's music is often different from conventional music. She describes her musical style as "acoustic folksy stuff" in "The One With The Pediatrician". She often sings out of key, showing little actual singing talent, but this is one of the reasons she is a beloved character. She has shown, however, to be a creative and unique songwriter. Her songs include "The Double-Double-Double-Jointed Boy", "Bisexuals", "Sue, Sue, Suicide", "You Suck", "Shut Up and Go Home", "Pervert Parade", "Sticky Shoes", "Saltwater Taffy Man", "Ode to a Pubic Hair (Little Black Curly Hair)", and the famous "Smelly Cat", which became both a jingle for a kitty litter television commercial in "The One With Phoebe's Ex-Partner", and a commercially released song with music video in "The One Where Eddie Moves In".

Other tunes include "The Grandma Song" (a song about grandparent death) and "The Cow in the Meadow goes Moo" (a song about beef production and packaging), both of which she sang to the children in the public library program. Her honest lyrics earned her the nickname "The Lady Who Sings About the Truth". She also sang a song called "Happy Birthday, Emma" in Season 10, on the occasion of the birthday of Rachel and Ross' daughter Emma.

Phoebe's musical influences and favorite bands are heterogeneous: she seems to know some tunes from Lionel Richie by heart, yet a taste for rock, heavy metal and hard rock can be clearly noticed. To name a few examples:

In the first seasons, she plays in open tuning, which requires only one finger to play major chords. In later seasons she plays in standard tuning. While attempting to teach Joey guitar, she professes to be "self-taught" and doesn't know the real names of chords. She refers to G-sharp as "Ice Berg" and A as "Bear Claw" because of her finger formations while playing them.

Smelly Cat[]

Smelly cat

Phoebe in the studio with her back-up singers

Smelly Cat first appeared in the second season episode "The One With The Baby On The Bus" where it was revealed to be Phoebe's most popular song. At the end of the episode she teaches a character played by guest star Chrissie Hynde to play the song. In "The One Where Eddie Moves In" Phoebe makes a professional recording of the song for possible commercial release, though her voice is replaced by a professional singer. A short video for the song also appeared in this episode and is included in full as a bonus feature on the second season DVD set. In "The One With Phoebe's Ex-Partner" a character played by guest star Elizabeth Daily uses the song as a jingle for a cat litter commercial.

In the fifth season episode "The One With Joey's Bag" Phoebe meets her estranged father, who reveals he sang a lullaby to her when she was a child, called "Sleepy Girl", which has the same melody as Smelly Cat. The "Smelly Cat Medley" track on the Friends Again soundtrack, credited to Phoebe Buffay & The Hairballs (featuring the Pretenders), features a recording of the scene, and then a new, more artistic recording of the duet between Hynde and Phoebe. Hynde then launches into a hard-rock version with new lyrics. The song became so famous that a group of Portuguese comedians had elected Gato Fedorento (Smelly Cat in Portuguese) for their show's name, claiming they were fans of Friends. Also when meeting Mike's parents in ""The One With Ross' Inappropriate Song"", she sings it to them during dinner because nobody had spoken in seventeen minutes.

Animal rights and the environment[]

Phoebe has many principles, though she sometimes fails to stick to them. She is a vegetarian and doesn't eat "food with a face", however she succumbs to her cravings for meat during her pregnancy, though only after Joey agrees to abstain from meat so that no extra animals would need to be killed. She frequently uses her vegetarianism to apologize for some behaviors, especially the ones which make living beings suffer; for example, when she punches Joey, making him bleed, she seems to be reasonably surprised and says: "Wow, and I'm a vegetarian!"

Phoebe fur

Phoebe Fur

She is against the wearing of fur coats, though decides she looks good in one that she inherits although she later stops wearing it because she believes a squirrel is judging her. Once, she became very upset upon witnessing trees being cut down and sold as Christmas trees, and when witnessing a woman stubbing out a cigarette on a tree forced her to apologize to it. She also cries when flowers die (and even arranges funerals for them), and feels sorry about sitting on a line of ants and accidentally killing them. She even once named a rat living in her apartment - "Bob" and a mouse "Susie". When Bob (actually female) had babies and was killed, she tried to raise the babies herself. She stopped when Mike pointed out the impending multiplication of rats, to whom incest was not an issue, and asked her not to let the rats ruin their lives.

The first time Joey and Chandler got the leather lazy-boy chairs, she remarked, "I can't believe two cows died so you people can stay comfort". However, when she is having a baby shower for the triplets she gets leather pants that she wanted.

Although she is a vegetarian, in "The One In Vegas", after remarking about being handed a coupon for a 99-cent steak and lobster dinner, Monica says, "Phoebe, you don't eat animals", to which Phoebe responds, "For 99 cents, I'd eat you." Also in "The One with The Blackout" she sings that she avoids dairy, which implies she is a vegan, or possibly lactose intolerant. On a separate occasion, in "The One With The Dozen Lasagnas", Phoebe is seen in the background finishing off the lasagnas with Monica - despite the fact that they weren't vegetarian lasagnas. However it's possible Phoebe was just scraping the pasta from the lasagna. In "The One With Phoebe's Husband", Monica remarks that when Phoebe's first husband left, she became so upset that she ate a cheeseburger. Also, in "The One With All The Thanksgivings", Phoebe apparently ate turkey. In "The One With George Stephanopoulos" the girls are sharing secrets and Monica says "remember the vegetarian paté you loved so much . . . well unless goose is a vegetable." In "The One With Ross' Inappropriate Song" she reluctantly eats veal when invited over to dinner at Mike's parents' house, remarking "I am a vegetarian except for veal!"

Special abilities[]

  • Phoebe has a gift of breaking up with people without hurting their feelings. However, for some reason she does not display this ability during her difficult breakups with some of her boyfriends throughout the series, like David, Jason, Vince or Mike. It's possible that she can only use this ability with people she wants to break up with.
  • Phoebe can hear Joey's thoughts.
  • Phoebe can speak a little Italian.
  • Phoebe can see and read the auras of others.
  • Phoebe can remember some of her past lives.
  • Phoebe can read tea leaves.
  • Phoebe is an expert on stealing and lying.
  • Phoebe can speak French fluently despite learning it on the streets (of New York).
  • Phoebe has skills of CPR.


Monica Geller[]

Monica and Phoebe met in the city and for a short period of time lived together as roommates. Phoebe ended up moving out though after Phoebe couldn't handle dealing with Monica's neatness. They stayed fairly close though, and they will often hang out together with he rest of the bunch. Phoebe and Monica have fairly different personalities, so the are often able to teach each other lessons about different things that they have experience in.

Rachel Greene[]

Phoebe'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' wife at the time) 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 is living with Joey.

In "The One Where Joey Moves Out", 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 seen from a great great distance or as (her) mother sees it from heaven'.

Phoebe and Rachel have a very strong relationship throughout the series, despite occasional and humorous squabbles over things like jogging, massages, Pottery Barn furniture and a lesbian encounter Rachel had in college (which Phoebe refused to believe, even though it turned out to be true). Like with Monica, Rachel and Phoebe have kissed (screen). In the run-up to Monica and Chandler's wedding, the girls make arrangements to be each other's Maid of honor. As Rachel's remarriage to Ross occurs after the series finale, it can only be assumed that Phoebe was her Maid of honor.

Chandler Bing[]

Phoebe is a close friend of Chandler's. In The One With The East German Laundry Detergent, she helps him break up with Janice by breaking up with Tony at the same time to make things easier for Chandler. In The One With The Ick Factor she temps as Chandler's secretary, and tells him how the others in the office actually feel about him.

She was also the first one who knew about Chandler's plan to propose to Monica, even helping him pick out the ring.

Joey Tribbiani[]

Joey meets Phoebe at the bar that will eventually become Central Perk, shortly after he becomes Chandler's roommate. They seem to be on the same wavelength, partially due to them being the only members of the group who lack a college education. Joey is Phoebe's best male friend, and they have dinner once a month to talk about the rest of the group. There are hints that they have a crush on each other, but it's unknown if they sleep together at any point.

When Joey decides to learn how to play the guitar as his New Year's resolution, it is Phoebe who decides to teach him. He becomes fed up with her when she forbids him to touch a guitar until she feels that he's ready, and they have a brief falling out when he hires a professional guitar teacher. Phoebe also tries to teach him how to speak French, as he has claimed to be fluent in the language. Much to Phoebe's annoyance, Joey has no aptitude for foreign language and speaks gibberish. When they realize that the group may have to split up because Emily has forbidden Ross from being friends with Rachel, Phoebe and Rachel conspire to form a separate group by themselves. Phoebe insists that Joey come to their new group. Her loyalty is proven again when she states that she could live in Las Vegas, since it has everything she needs, "Including Joey!" He, in turn, invites her to live with him in the thumb of the hand-shaped mansion he expects to own when he becomes rich from having a hand twin. Phoebe once said to her friends, "When the Revolution comes, I'll have to kill you all." After a moment's pause, she adds, "Not you, Joey."

For a time, Phoebe seems to have a crush on Joey. She becomes jealous of his relationship with her twin sister, Ursula, especially when Joey sleeps with Ursula instead of choosing to attend Phoebe's surprise birthday party. Phoebe and Joey's relationship never progresses beyond a few kisses. When Phoebe realizes that she is 31 and not 30, she laments all the things she has failed to do before turning 31 - including having the perfect kiss and meeting Portuguese people. To make her feel better, Joey gives her a kiss and says, "Plus, I'm one-sixteenth Portuguese.". He has also stated that Phoebe is his "number one girl", and went as far as not eating meat for several months when she was pregnant and craved it, just so, in his words, no additional cow would be killed, because she would be eating the beef he would normally be having. When he and Phoebe are discussing the pairings of their other four friends (Ross and Rachel, and Monica and Chandler), Joey wonders aloud when he and Phoebe "are gonna hook up." Phoebe responds with, "All in good time, my love."

Ross Geller[]

In the episode "The One With All The Candy" Phoebe tells the friends that she never had a bike growing up but the girl across the street did and gave Phoebe the box that the bike came in to Phoebe which Phoebe's stepdad pushed her around in, after learning that Ross goes out and buys Phoebe the prettiest pink bike with daisies all over the basket and so Ross spends the episode trying to help Phoebe learn how to ride a bike.


Phoebe revealed that her birthday is February 16 in an early season, and in "The One With Phoebe's Birthday Dinner" she said that the restaurant could only have a table for them on Thursday and Joey replied saying that Thursday is Halloween, implying that Phoebe's birthday is around Halloween. However, in a flashback to Phoebe's thirtieth birthday in "The One Where They All Turn Thirty", it is revealed by her twin sister Ursula that they are actually 31 and not 30 like she previously thought, this would make her the oldest of the six friends. She is the younger twin of her and Ursula by a minute as revealed in "The One With The Halloween Party".

This is how Phoebe's age should have gone in the series: 1 (27-28), 2 (28-29), 3 (29-30), 4 (30-31), 5 (31-32), 6 (32-33), 7 (33-34), 8 (34-35), 9 (35-36), 10 (36-37)



  • When Phoebe became pregnant during Season 4, it was to account for Lisa Kudrow's actual pregnancy. Kudrow gave birth to a boy on May 7, 1998.
  • Phoebe Buffay was made a twin because the actress playing her, Lisa Kudrow, wanted to remain playing Ursula Buffay in Mad About You which aired in the slot before Friends during Season 1.
  • Phoebe stated in the first episode that she lived with an albino guy when she first arrived in New York City at 14 years old. This happened after her mother killed herself and her stepfather was back in prison.
  • Phoebe's hair in "The One That Could Have Been" was Lisa Kudrow's real hair. Most of season six she wore a wig because her hair was thought to be too short for Phoebe's character.
  • In the show's original script, Phoebe and Chandler were secondary characters, but this was changed due to rewrites.
  • She probably had a threesome with her friend Mary Ellen Jenkins, as is revealed in "The One With The Pediatrician".
  • Phoebe makes the best oatmeal raisin cookies, but she doesn't bake them often because she thinks it's unfair to the other cookies.
  • Phoebe is the only "Friend" whose middle name is not known to anyone on the show, herself included. (Her sister Ursula's middle name is Pamela) revealing that Ursula sold Phoebe's birth certificate to a Swedish runaway.
  • Phoebe is the person in the group of friends that knows the least about her family (it is shown in a few episodes that her twin sister Ursula has her birth certificate and their mother's suicide note that says their birth mother Phoebe Abbott lives in Montauk and her grandmother knows about the whereabouts of her father Frank Buffay)
  • In "The One Where Rachel Goes Back to Work" Phoebe claims she was friends with actor Richard Dreyfuss.
  • In "The One With The Blackout", Paolo asks Phoebe a question in Italian and Phoebe replies with "you betcha!". This means that she can understand Italian.
  • Phoebe is the only one of the Friends group to not date or marry one of the other friends. However she does kiss Ross, Chandler, Joey, and Rachel, and in multiple episodes alludes to having a crush on Joey.
  • The actress who portrays Phoebe, Lisa Kudrow, was actually terrified of Chandler and Joey's duck.
  • Phoebe and Ross are the only two friends to marry more than once, but also to marry outside the Friends group: Phoebe married Duncan, Mike Hannigan and someone from Vegas, while Ross married Carol, Emily, and Rachel.
  • Phoebe stated that she went through a phase in junior high school where she thought she was a witch.
  • Phoebe is also the only left-handed friend out of the group, but plays the guitar with her right-hand. Lisa Kudrow is also left-handed. This can be seen at least four times: in "The One With The Blackout"; in "The One Where Ross Meets Elizabeth's Dad" where she writes her new book; very early in "The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs"; and in "The One Where Emma Cries", where Phoebe writes on the "It's a boy" banner using her left hand.
  • Phoebe unknowingly meets her brother in a second season episode, "The One With The Baby On The Bus", when he comes to retrieve a condom he threw in Phoebe's guitar case.
  • Phoebe likes the Beatles, pizza, and puppies, as said to her real mother Phoebe Abbott in "The One With The Jellyfish".
  • In "The One With Phoebe's Cookies", she claimed that she will die October 15, 2032, by which time she would be about 66.She also told Ross that he will die before her in the same episode.
  • Phoebe is 57–58 as of 2024.
  • Phoebe reveals in "The One With The Tea Leaves" that she gets diarrhea when she drinks tea.
  • Lisa Kudrow, the actress who plays Phoebe, is fluent in French and has a degree in biology.
  • Phoebe was dubbed in Italian by actress Rossella Acerbo.
  • Phoebe has a Google Easter Egg. It can be found by searching "Friends Phoebe", then clicking the guitar icon. A dirty cat will be shown walking across the screen while Phoebe (in voice-over) sings, "Smelly Cat".
  • She said in "The One With The Sharks" that she has never been in a romantic relationship for more than a month.
  • She carries a knife in her boot, as seen in "The One With The Yeti".
  • She along with Chandler, Joey, Rachel, Monica and Ross are the only main characters to appear in every episode.
  • She makes a cameo in the short lived NBC sitcom Hope & Gloria episode A New York Story.
Friends Main Characters
Rachel GreeneMonica GellerPhoebe BuffayJoey TribbianiChandler BingRoss Geller


  1. Mentioned in "The One With Rachel's Phone Number". He's a paleontologist.