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Phoebe Buffay-Hannigan
Phoebe in The One with All the Candy
First appearance The Pilot
Last appearance The Last One
Created by David Crane
Marta Kauffman
Kevin S. Bright
Portrayed by Lisa Kudrow
Nickname(s) Pheebs/Phoebs
Aliases Regina Phalange, Princess Consuela Bananahammock, Phyllis, the Lady Who Sings About the Truth
Occupation Masseuse
Family Frank Buffay
Phoebe Abbott
Lily Buffay
(adoptive mother)
Frances Buffay
Ursula Buffay
Frank Buffay Jr.
Frank Jr. Jr. Buffay
Leslie and Chandler Buffay
Spouse(s) Duncan Sullivan
(m.1988 – div.1994)
Mike Hannigan
Religion Paganism

Phoebe Buffay is a fictional character from the television series, Friends (1994–2004), portrayed by Lisa Kudrow,[2] who won an Emmy Award, as well as receiving a Golden Globe nomination for her performances.



Early life

Phoebe Buffay is the younger (by one minute) twin daughter born to Phoebe Abbott and Frank Buffay on February 16, 1967. Frank was married to Phoebe Abbott's best friend Lily at the time, and Lily adopted Phoebe and her twin sister, Ursula. The sisters were unaware until adulthood that Lily was not their biological mother. Phoebe does not talk much about her early years except to note that her father abandoned the family when she was very young and that Lily remarried. She occasionally mentions Lily's strange behavior and methods of raising her children, such as keeping candy in a human skull at Christmas to remind Phoebe and Ursula that, even though it was Christmas, people still died.

Phoebe's life changed dramatically when she was thirteen, when Lily committed suicide just before Christmas. Phoebe's stepfather was in prison at the time. By the age of fourteen, Phoebe was living on the streets of New York. She never mentions what happened to Ursula after their mother’s death, but they did not stay together. She lived in many locations such as a burnt-out Buick Lesabre automobile. She never attended high school or college, but claimed that she met behind a dumpster with a small group to learn French, in which she is fluent. She also speaks some Italian, and has a short conversation in Italian with Joey's grandmother. However, her language skills are treated somewhat inconsistently. She misunderstands when one of Monica's assistants introduces himself as a "sous-chef" (although this could have been to simply endear herself to him by appearing dim, a device which Phoebe uses many times), and she does not appear to understand Rachel's Italian boyfriend when he speaks.

Phoebe occasionally resorted to mugging to survive. At one point, when she was fourteen, she mugged a teenage Ross near a bakery, stealing the only copy ever existing of Ross's comic Science Boy. Phoebe claims this book "taught me well". Phoebe also mentioned that she once lived in Prague, Czechoslovakia and also she lived with an albino man who washed windows outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal, as well as a "guy named Sindy who talked to his hand." Phoebe claimed that she contracted hepatitis when a pimp spat in her mouth. Her previous lifestyle and wild stories shocked her friends. When she told the story of the time when she stabbed a cop, their obviously surprised looks caused her to retort, "Well he stabbed me first!" Phoebe picked up an impressive talent for boxing at a YMCA, where according to her, the guys "weren't being Christian enough". Phoebe also claims that Monica would not last long under torture and Monica asks "Like you would?" Phoebe responds "I did!"

After her grandmother's death, Phoebe inherited her yellow taxi and apartment at 5 Morton Street, New York City.[3]

She moved in with Monica as a result of answering a roommate ad, which began their friendship. While living with Monica, she married Duncan, a gay Canadian ice dancer, in order to help him obtain a green card. He later revealed that he is straight, and was just being gay "to fit in", resulting in a divorce.


Having not experienced a normal childhood, Phoebe is quite naïve and innocent, and is in some regards, still a child at heart but is also wise in other respects. She still believes Santa Claus exists, until Joey says otherwise. Phoebe also shocks some people with her frankness. Phoebe's straightforwardness is a running gag throughout the series. Phoebe is also known in the group for having the best street-smarts. Having grown up on the streets and also resorted to mugging, she knows how to get by on the streets and is not afraid to discuss it.

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 favour by promising Phoebe will do anything he wants: "Seriously, I'm talking dirty stuff." Mike is surprised that it could "get any dirtier". In the second last episode, while packing, Phoebe claims Mike is handcuffed to a pipe, and has done this before after being accused of owning the fur-lined handcuffs found in Monica's spare room. 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 has not been on a date in a very long time. Rachel claims 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". Also, Phoebe kisses Rachel in one episode to experience Rachel's claim to be a fantastic kisser. 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. In "The One Where Rosita Dies", Phoebe states that if she works as a telemarketer she probably will not have to say spank as much as she did in her last phone job, suggesting that she worked as a phone sex operator.

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 that she is referring to her mother's death 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 scientific theories, much to Ross's confusion and despair. She, however, does not believe the theory of evolution or gravity, claiming she feels more pushed down than pulled - however, her disbelief at evolution was later used in a game against Ross; after making him question his belief, she states "that was fun!". At one point, Phoebe is even 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 cold open for "The One With The Race Car Bed"). 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 is a very generous person, characterized by when she agreed to be a surrogate mother for her brother Frank Jr. and his wife Alice Knight. In the Season 5 episode 'The One Hundredth (The One with the Triplets)' she gave birth to their triplets: Chandler (originally intended to be named after Chandler Bing, thinking she was a boy); Frank Jr. Jr. (when Chandler suggested that he should be called 'Frank the third' Alice replied with "Oh, don't get me started"); and Leslie. When telling people this it surprises them, as she says she had her brother's babies, not that it was surrogacy.

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, which she pronounces "four-oh-wunk" (she even exclaims that she has to "pay taxes!"). Even when Rachel says she should quit if she hated it so much, she still did not do so, even saying she didn't mean what she said to the "microphones" (Phoebe believed that the whole spa was rigged with them) so it is assumed she still works there.

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 stating "The more I drink, the less there is for kids to drink." 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.

Phoebe is also the only member of the group who is left-handed, but she does a large amount of work with her right hand.

Phoebe can be seen as the "sixth" member of the group. In "The One with the Mugging" she mentions that the other members have connections that go "way back", she is also somewhat geographically isolated from the group, being the only one living far out in the later series. When talking about who would be "phased out" of the group after Ross and Rachel's break-up, Rachel mentions "I always thought Phoebe would be the one to go first, you live far out and you're not related."


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

Phoebe's somewhat dubious musical skills were a popular source of entertainment. Her stunning array of rhyming songs include "The Double-Double-Double-Jointed Boy", "Bisexuals", "Sue, Sue, Suicide", "Sticky Shoes","Holiday Song" (in which she unsuccessfully finds a word to rhyme with Chandler), "Ode to a Pubic Hair (Little Black Curly Hair)", and most famously "Smelly Cat", which became both a jingle for a kitty litter commercial (not sung by her) and a serious commercial release (also not her singing). Other popular tunes include "The Grandma Song" (a song about grandparent death) and "The Cow in the Meadow goes Moo" (a song about meat production and packaging) which she sang to the children in the public library program, earning her the name "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's daughter Emma.

Phoebe's musical influence and favorite band is the tropical ice-creame flavas: 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 season 4, episode 1, Phoebe and her mother both say that they like The Beatles. At her wedding with Mike in season 10, episode 12, the song "Here, There and Everywhere" by The Beatles is played on steeldrums as she walks up the aisle.
  • In season 7, episode 17, she expresses her love for the grindcore band Carcass.
  • In season 8, she attempts to meet Sting while pretending to be Susan (Carol's, Ross' ex-wife, wife), as Ben goes to school with Sting's son. She ends up with a restraining order.
  • In season 9, episode 03, she says she's "working on a couple Iron Maiden covers".
  • In season 9, episode 13, she sings Queen's "We Are the Champions" at a piano bar.

She has mentioned that she thinks the most romantic love song is the one that goes "Hold me close, young Tony Danza" (misunderstanding Elton John's "Tiny Dancer"). She describes her musical style as "acoustic folksy stuff" (season 9, episode 3).[4]

On 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" first appears in the second season episode "The One with the Baby on the Bus" where it is revealed to be Phoebe's least popular song, but Rachel's personal favorite. 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 Eg Daily's voice. 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" Leslie, 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 baby, 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, she sings it to them during dinner because nobody had spoken in seventeen minutes in "The One with Ross's Inappropriate Song."

In 2009, a dance remix of the song became a popular internet meme[5].

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. In season one Monica tells her that the vegetarian pâté she made for her actually had goose meat in it, but then Phoebe hits back by telling Monica that she slept with her old boyfriend not long after they broke up. It is also revealed in season two that after Phoebe's husband left her that she was so upset that she ate a cheeseburger. In the episode 'The One in Vegas, Part One', she points out to Monica an advert for a 99-cent Steak and Lobster Dinner, declaring that Las Vegas is better than London. When Monica reminds her that she doesn't eat animals, Phoebe replies ,"For 99 cents I'd eat you". She frequently uses her vegetarianism to apologize for some behaviors, especially the ones which makes animals suffer; for example, when she punches Joey, making him bleed, she seems to be reasonably surprised and says: "Wow, and I'm a vegetarian"

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 also, when Joey becomes a salesman for Christmas trees, becomes upset at old trees being put in a Chipper, and when witnessing a woman stubbing out a cigarette on a tree forced her to apologize to it (using a police badge she found under her chair in Central Perk). 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 had babies and was killed, she tried to raise the babies with Mike.

"Regina Phalange"

Phoebe frequently uses the alter ego Regina Phalange. The first reference to Regina Phalange is during season three when she pretends to be Joey's agent after he complains of difficulties with his current agent Estelle Leonard. Another reference is when she is trying to contact Mrs. Waltham in England at Ross and Emily's wedding, and pretends to be a Dr. Regina Phalange who is Ross's brain doctor, she tries to justify Ross's hiccup when he said Rachel instead of Emily at the wedding it was due to his not taking medication and thus names are interchangeable in the mind of Ross, when Mrs. Waltham discovers that it is Phoebe, she remarks she has the illness too. The second reference to Regina Phalange is in Vegas, when she plays blackjack with Joey and a dealer, whom Joey claims is his identical hand twin. Phoebe introduces herself as Regina Phalange to the dealer. When Phoebe, Rachel, and Melissa go out to lunch (The One With Rachel's Big Kiss), she says that somebody called Regina Phalange died of alcohol poisoning. She also used her fake name to show Chandler and Monica that people sometimes lie about their names. She introduces herself to them as Regina Phalange. Joey does the same with his invented name Ken Adams. Regina also made an appearance when Phoebe was helping Chandler practice for his interview in season eight. In the season 10 episode "The One Where Joey Speaks French", Phoebe attempts to spare Joey from humiliation by introducing herself as "Régine Filange" and stating that Joey is indeed speaking an obscure regional dialect of french from their "hometown" of "Estée Lauder". Her attempts to convince the casting director fail and she resorts to "admitting the truth" that Joey is in fact her younger brother who is "un peu retardé", and subsequently requesting that the casting director humour Joey's french speaking abilities. 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". The word "phalange" does not exist in the English language, but a 'phalanx' is actually log, battle array or bone between the finger and toe joints, and "phalanges" is the plural of that. Even though she seems wild she still has a certain innocence about her like believing in Santa and thinking all films are happy.



Chandler acts as something of a little brother to Phoebe, demanding on several occasions, "Pheebs! Play with me!" and in "The One with the Metaphorical Tunnel" Phoebe and Chandler have been playing Hide and Seek when Estelle rings.

On some occasions Phoebe hints that she has affection towards Chandler, as in "The One Where Ross Meets Elizabeth's Dad" when Phoebe tells Chandler that she'll be waiting for him to make a move on her as she smiles and in "The One With The Tea Leaves" when Phoebe reads her tea leaf revealing that she will meet the man of her dreams really soon at which point she says "probably not the guy I had a dream about last night" and she then points towards Chandler and mouths the word 'you'. Chandler also asks Phoebe to help him select an engagement ring for Monica after she walks in on him looking at ring brochures (claiming that, once again, not knocking pays off even though seeing Chandler on the toilet was not part of the plan..). Despite having no extended interaction throughout the series, Phoebe is given away by Chandler when she marries Mike (Although this is mainly because Chandler is the only member of the group available; originally Joey would have given her away but he was called on to perform the ceremony when the original minister never showed up). They also spend time together in 'The One with the East German Laundry Detergent' both trying to dump their boyfriend/ girlfriend and Phoebe points out that they should spend more time together. She also decided that she would name one of the surrogate children of her brother Frank after Chandler Bing. Much to Chandler's embarrassment, the baby named Chandler turned out to be a girl.


Phoebe and Joey had a similar relationship and appear to be "on the same wavelength" quite often, perhaps partially due to their being the only members of the group who lack a college education and didn't know each other as long as the others have. Joey is Phoebe's best male friend and vice-versa; they have dinner together once a month (As we find out in "The one with all the cheesecakes") to talk about the rest of the group. Both characters show a fondness and softness for each other, even when joking or being upset towards the others. In "The One With the Ride Along" she casually explained that "when the revolution comes, I will have to destroy you all...not you, Joey." Joey was also angered when Chandler did not show support for his "identical hand twin" idea and said that none of them are allowed to live in his hand-shaped mansion "except for you, Pheebs, you can live in the thumb." Later, she helped Joey by being Regina Philange, pretending to be a businesswoman who would pay a lot for identical hand twins. However she did once say that she does not want her surrogate kids to "grow up in a world where Joey is right." (After an argument in which Joey insisted all good deeds were selfish) The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS

Joey is in awe of Phoebe's knowledge of such things as reincarnation and openly wishes that he could remember his past lives, to which Phoebe says that Joey has never had any past lives because he is "brand new". Phoebe tries to teach Joey how to speak French, at his request, because he claims fluency on his résumé. Much to Phoebe's annoyance though, Joey has no aptitude for foreign language and just reels off gibberish (both Kudrow, married to a French executive, and LeBlanc, who incidentally has a French surname, speak fluent French, as does Matthew Perry, who is Canadian). She also tries to teach him the guitar, but forbids him to touch one, and they have a brief falling out when he seeks out a qualified teacher. Phoebe reportedly had a crush on Joey, and was jealous of his relationship with her twin sister, Ursula. As Phoebe and Joey's relationship never goes past a kiss (they've kissed five times during the course of the show), Joey cannot be considered as one of Phoebe's significant others. In "The One Where They All Turn Thirty", Phoebe is lamenting all the things she has failed to do before turning 31, including having "the perfect kiss" and meeting Portuguese people so Joey gives her a kiss and says "Oh, I'm 1/16 Portuguese." Phoebe quite frequently hits on Joey for no apparent reason. Phoebe also tells Joey that one day, they will get married after Chandler and Monica's marriage fails and Joey marries Rachel for her children and Phoebe marries Chandler for his money, then they both get divorces and marry each other with Chandler's money and Rachel and Joey's children.

Kudrow later revealed in an interview that she and LeBlanc had pitched an idea to the writers involving Joey and Phoebe having casual sex all along, but the pitch was rejected. David Crane and Martha Kauffman have also said in an interview that they "always assumed Joey and Phoebe were having a secret affair".


Though Phoebe and Ross are firm friends, their relationship sometimes leads to conflict between Phoebe's "New Age" beliefs and Ross's scientific ones, such as their debates over the theories of evolution and gravity, and whether Phoebe's dead mother had been reincarnated as a cat. Phoebe even suggests that, at some point in the future, she and Ross will have a disagreement that ends with her killing him. In "The One With Joey's Big Break", Phoebe claims to be mad at Ross, but "can't remember" why. She remembers that he called her boring, but this turned out to be merely a dream (while they were playing chess on an iced-over lake and he pulls off his energy mask and he turned out to be Cameron Diaz). When she is getting ready to celebrate her birthday during the 9th season and Ross and Rachel say that only one of them can attend a dinner with her, she says enthusiastically "Ooh, Rachel!" and Ross sarcastically says "gee thanks I'll make sure to put a lot of thought into your gift." She can be quite mean to Ross like she is to Chandler and doesn't understand how he finds it so difficult to be with Carol and Susan. Also like Chandler she often thinks Ross likes her or will argue with Ross to get him riled up to her amusement.Despite their difference in beliefs, both usually turn to one another for advice or help.

It is revealed that the mugger who attacked a teenage Ross outside St. Mark's Comics, stealing his backpack and the only existing copy of his cartoon "Science Boy", had been a teenage, homeless Phoebe. To show how sorry she was for mugging Ross, Phoebe returns "Science Boy", which she has stored in a box labeled "Crap from the Street" ever since. She claims that she had kept it only because it was too good to sell for food money, as she apparently learned a lot from Science Boy when she was growing up on the street. She also thinks it's kinda "neat", because it gives her and Ross a link in their childhood that she doesn't share with the others.

When Ross comes to know that Phoebe had never ever ridden a bike in her entire life and that as a kid, she saw her neighbor with a bike, he gives her a bike exactly as described by Phoebe. Also, when Ross realizes that he is in love with Rachel, Phoebe pushes him to tell Rachel how he feels. Ross and Phoebe appear to turn to one another when they need advice (Ross turned to Phoebe for advice about telling Monica about Rachel moving in and Phoebe turned to Ross for advice about Mike). In a "flashback" scenario episode, it is revealed that after Ross and Carol's relationship broke up, in a moment of weakness, she and Ross almost had sex on the pool table inside the bar that would become Central Perk.

In the last episode of Friends, Phoebe drives Ross to the airport in her taxi, and delays Rachel's flight so that Ross can declare his love to Rachel.


Although Phoebe and Monica are close, Phoebe often finds her competitive, obsessive-compulsive behavior off-putting. During one of Monica's obsessive outbreaks Phoebe jokes about having "woke the beast." Also, when explaining why she has to move out, Phoebe says, "I need to live in a world where people can spill!" She moves out of Monica's apartment surreptitiously, taking out one possession at a time to avoid discovery. However, once she is discovered, she states that she still wishes to be Monica's friend. At one point, some time before the first episode, she attempted to "cut Monica out" of her life. This was revealed in Season 10, "The One With Ross' Tan" which caused a brief wedge between them. They also clash when Monica becomes Phoebe's wedding planner and becomes bossy and demanding which annoys Phoebe, particularly when Monica forbids Mike, her fiancé, from going to the bathroom. Also when Phoebe starts singing outside Monica's restaurant, much to Monica's annoyance and embarrassment. Phoebe takes this harshly and insults Monica's cooking and restaurant while Monica retaliates by insulting Phoebe's music.

During Monica and Chandler's engagement, Monica tells Rachel and Phoebe that she cannot decide who to pick to be her maid of honor at the wedding and so leaves the decision to them. Initially it is mutually decided by the two that Phoebe could be Monica's maid of honor as Phoebe says that she has never been maid of honor for anyone before. However when Rachel discovers that she has been a maid of honor, Joey tells them that he and Ross will hold a competition in which Rachel and Phoebe act out potential maid of honor scenarios. Phoebe wins, but later tells Rachel that she can be Monica's maid of honor since it means more to her, However, it's soon shown that Phoebe is glad she doesn't have to put up with Monica's controlling nature during the planning of the wedding. Phoebe found out with her own wedding that Monica was very much a control freak, however during the rehearsal Phoebe told Monica what she thought about her controlling ways and decided to back down,Phoebe fired her from her position in the wedding. However Monica then cancelled certain parts of the wedding by ringing the companies,she made sure that Phoebe would quickly reallow Monica to help again by ordering the ice sculpture to arrive early at their doorstep. In the end Phoebe married Mike in the snow.


Her relationship with Rachel is a bit more even-keeled; they are even roommates for a time in season six, though this leads to some minor clashes, including Phoebe's hatred of Pottery Barn and Rachel's embarrassment at Phoebe's strange jogging style during their morning runs. Phoebe admits that, if she had to choose which of her two girlfriends to have a lesbian relationship with, she would pick Rachel because she is not as high-maintenance as Monica. However at the end of the episode, while Rachel tells Phoebe that she would pick her above Monica to have a relationship, she and Monica both mime behind Phoebe's back that they would definitely pick each other. One time during the early season Phoebe also insulted Rachel's waitressing, saying to her, "Yeah, otherwise someone might actually get what they ordered", sparking a huge row between all the friends (except for Chandler who walks out of Central Perk with a smile on his face, as it was his smoking habit that led the others to point out each other's bad habits).

In another early episode, Phoebe and Rachel go to get tattoos together. Though while Rachel gets a heart tattooed on her hip, Phoebe doesn't get the intended lily on her shoulder (because she apparently "didn't know they did it with needles").

The pair get closer as the show goes on with them moving in with each other in the sixth season but Rachel is forced to move out when a fire destroys their home, when it's completed Phoebe thinks Rachel would rather live with Joey than her and she buys Joey presents to try and lure her out of the apartment. Also in the fifth season when Ross' wife Emily asks him not to see Rachel anymore, Rachel comments that it was only going to be a matter of time before someone is pushed out of the group and says "I always thought Phoebe would be the one to go" because she lives far away and is not related. Despite this Rachel apologizes to Phoebe and tells her that they should leave and make their own group because they're "the best ones" and Phoebe agrees and says "Alright, but let's try to get Joey". At the end of that episode when Monica and Chandler talk to Joey privately in Monica's bedroom Phoebe says "We're so stupid, they're trying to take Joey!"

In the seventh season, Phoebe didn't believe Rachel when she said that she had kissed a girl (although Rachel and Monica kissed for one minute in order to have their apartment back in the "The One With All The Haste" episode)so Rachel brings Phoebe to dinner with the girl (Winona Ryder) who denies it but at the end it turns out to be true when Rachel kisses the girl, and the girl apparently admits that she was a lesbian, mentioning she loved Rachel. When Rachel's friend has left Phoebe kissed Rachel "To know what all the fuss was about". Rachel, looking shocked asks "and?" Phoebe shrugs "I've had better" before walking away, followed by Rachel.


In Season 9, Joey—somewhat inadvertently—introduces Phoebe to Mike Hannigan (played by Paul Rudd). Phoebe and Mike begin a long relationship which temporarily ends when Phoebe learns Mike, having already been through one disastrous marriage, never wants to remarry. Mike then learns that Phoebe's first boyfriend, David (Hank Azaria), is planning to propose to her; he then changes his mind about marriage and proposes to Phoebe before David can. This proposal was rejected, as Phoebe only wanted to know that marriage was a possibility, but she and Mike become a couple again. They become officially engaged in "The One Where Rachel's Sister Baby-Sits". In the final season in "The One with Phoebe's Wedding", the two are married in the street outside Central Perk, with Monica as maid of honor, Rachel as a bridesmaid, Joey officiating (he was ordained over the Internet for Monica and Chandler's wedding), Chandler giving Phoebe away and Ross holding Mike's beloved but smelly childhood dog as a groomsman.

When she changes her name after the wedding, Phoebe learns she can change it to anything, and briefly becomes "Princess Consuela Bananahammock" (although requesting the friends call her "Valerie"). To show her how ridiculous it sounds, Mike suggests changing his name to "Crap Bag". Phoebe soon gets the message, but wants to keep the name "Bananahammock". However she reconsiders after finding out that Banana hammock is slang for a Speedo (she thought it was just a funny word), and changes her name again to Phoebe Buffay-Hannigan.

Phoebe has been married at least once before; in Season 2 ("The One With Phoebe's Husband"). Her husband Duncan (played by Steve Zahn) was an apparently gay ice dancer, an old friend and someone Phoebe was in love with. Duncan comes to Monica's house, where he thinks Phoebe is living, and asks to see his wife. Her husband of six years, Duncan comes out as straight but divorces Phoebe anyway, and we learn that they only got married so Duncan could stay in the country. It is also possible that Phoebe was previously married in Las Vegas at some point in the past. She indicates her belief that people married in Vegas are only married within Vegas city limits, and is surprised when Monica informs her such a union is legal all over the world. After a moment of mild distress, she shrugs off the revelation.

Phoebe is also briefly engaged to Joey. In the episode entitled "The One With The Red Sweater", Joey believes that Phoebe is pregnant and proposes to her. Phoebe says yes and accepts his ring, but Monica tells Joey that it is Rachel who is pregnant, so Joey proposes to Rachel and must retrieve the ring from a reluctant Phoebe.


When Phoebe became pregnant during Season 4, it was to account for Lisa Kudrow's actual pregnancy. Kudrow gave birth to a boy after production ended on Season 4


Lisa Kudrow won the role because the producers liked her in her recurring role as Ursula, the waitress in Mad About You.[6][b][7] The characters were retconned to make them twin sisters. The producers said they liked the elements of Lisa in Ursula but they needed Phoebe to be sweeter.


Entertainment Weekly voted Phoebe Buffay on Friends as Lisa Kudrow's best performance.[8]


  1. ^ "The One with Two Parts, Part One": In this episode, it's Phoebe and Ursula's birthday
  2. ^ "Lisa Kudrow Information". CNET Networks Entertainment:;name;4. Retrieved 2007-08-23. 
  3. ^ "episode,The One with Joey's Bag"
  4. ^ Crazy For Friends - Lisa Kudrows
  5. ^ Lisa excited at Smelly Cat success,MSN Entertainment, accessed 17/09/2009
  6. ^ Bright, Kevin S., Friends: Final Thoughts
  7. ^ Wild, p. 209
  8. ^ "The EW Office Poll: Lisa Kudrow Dishes It Out," Entertainment Weekly 1026 (December 19, 2008): 12.


  • Wild, David (2004). Friends ...'Til the End. London: Headline. ISBN 0755313216.

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