‘Friends’: Writers Didn’t Originally Plan to Break up Ross and Rachel

Ross Geller and Rachel Green ended up together in the end, but the Friends characters didn’t have a smooth journey to realizing their love. The duo originally got together in season 2 of the series after a few bumps in the road and spent a year in a committed relationship before writers broke them up in a scene that still tugs at fans’ heartstrings, more than 20 years after the episode first aired. What would have happened if Ross and Rachel didn’t break up? How different would the show have been? Well, it almost happened.

Ross and Rachel’s breakup angered fans but gave the series a lot of staying power

Ross and Rachel’s sexual tension was presented to fans in the very first episode of the show. Over the first season, it became clear that Ross was desperately in love with Rachel, and she was utterly clueless about it. The will-they-won’t-they trope actually pushed the show forward during the first season. There is a problem with that initial tension, though, putting the characters together quickly can ruin the flow of a series.  

RELATED: Did ‘Gilmore Girls’ Steal a Storyline from ‘Friends’?

Once Ross and Rachel finally hooked up fans were thrilled, but even the most ardent Ross and Rachel fans can admit that their relationship completely changed the dynamic of the show. Something seemed to be missing while they were in a relationship. By breaking up the pair, writers were able to reinject the series with that original tension and drive the story forward. In the end, breaking up the couple might have been exactly what the show needed to achieve it’s long-term success.  

Fans have debated whether or not Ross actually cheated for years

Ross wasn’t the most popular character on Friends. In fact, as the years wore on, he became the most disliked of all the characters. Writers took the hapless Ross and turned him into a bit of an egomaniac. His character development helped give the show a bit more pep, and the pivotal moment for his character seemed to be cheating on Rachel. But, did he actually cheat?

David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green
David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green | Robert Isenberg/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

RELATED: ‘Friends’: A Fan Theory Attempts to Rationalize Ross Cheating on Rachel

Fans have debated the merits of his cheating for decades. Some believe that the couple was on a break when he slept with Chloe, while others insist that a break did not mean he was free to sleep with the first person to cross his path. Some fans have even rationalized his cheating by suggesting he was deeply damaged by his failed marriage. After all, Carol Willick was the first person that Ross ever slept with; then, she cheated on him with Susan Bunch.  

Writers didn’t originally plan to break up Ross and Rachel

Ross and Rachel’s iconic break was never supposed to happen. At least, it’s not what writers had initially planned. In an interview with Metro executive producer Kevin S. Bright, discussed the decision to break up the pair in season 3. He said that Marta Kaufman and David Crane decided that the sexual tension between Ross and Rachel had seemingly dissipated as their relationship carried on relatively seamlessly.

RELATED: Were Ross and Rachel on a Break? What ‘Friends’ Fans Really Think

Fans may not have initially liked the breakup storyline, but it allowed the writers to have a bit more fun with the show. Bright told the publication that he thought, in the end, breaking up Ross and Rachel was the right move. It may have seemed like “torture” to fans, but it also gave them something to tune into for several more years.