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Mike Hannigan's Entire Friends Timeline Explained

"Friends" saw plenty of characters come and go during its 10-year stint as America's most beloved sitcom. Big names like Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, Bruce Willis, and even Robin Williams made guest appearances on the series — whether in a brief cameo role, or as a recurring character. Not many of these guest stars were lucky enough to make it to the series finale, though — and only one side character made such an impact that, by the end, they were basically part of the main cast.

Future "Ant-Man" star Paul Rudd stepped in to play Mike Hannigan in Season 9 of "Friends," and not only won the hearts of the show's audience, but Phoebe's heart, as well. Looking back, it's no wonder: Rudd was perfectly cast as the charismatic, laidback pianist with a true appreciation for Phoebe's winsome quirks. Mike appeared in 17 episodes over two seasons — but even with so many appearances, some fans may have forgotten a few things about Phoebe's life partner. 

Here's a look at the timeline of Mike Hannigan on "Friends."  

Phoebe and Mike met thanks to Joey's screw-up

It was purely chance that brought Mike Hannigan into Phoebe's (Lisa Kudrow) life — that and Joey's (Matt LeBlanc) forgetfulness. 

When Joey and Phoebe agree to set each other up on blind dates in "The One with the Pediatrician," Joey totally forgets his side of the agreement. When asked for details about Phoebe's guy, he blurts out the name Mike off the top of his head. He later walks into Central Perk to scan for eligible men in the cafe, shouting out "Mike!"

As luck would have it, there is actually a Mike among the patrons. Joey gives the man a glance and nods his approval before sitting down next to him. Mike and Joey appear together in the next scene ready for the double date, where it's established that Joey has explained the situation to him and Mike is on board. Their secret doesn't last for long, though — Phoebe quickly picks up on what has happened and is understandably not happy about it.

Mike wins Phoebe over in the end with his killer air piano skills and sweet sincerity, and she agrees to go out with him. Joey might have picked up a stranger to be Phoebe's date, but at least he's a good one. Maybe it was luck that Joey thought of the name Mike, or maybe it was fate — either way, it was the beginning of a life-changing relationship for Phoebe.

Mike's high-class origins

Mike's past before meeting Phoebe is a bit of a mystery at first. He tells her that he used to be a lawyer, but quit his practice to pursue his dream job as a pianist. In "The One with Ross's Inappropriate Song," Phoebe is anxious to meet Mike's parents for the first time. After learning that the wealthy Hannigans live on Park Avenue in the Upper East side, Phoebe fears that her quirkiness may put them off. She even adopts a posh accent in order to fit in with the upper-crust society family.

Theodore (Gregory Itzin) and Bitsy (Cristine Rose) Hannigan are as privileged as privileged gets. As Phoebe enters Mike's parents' lavish home, Phoebe exclaims, "Oh my god, you're rich!" Mike replies with, "No, my parents are rich." Mike insists that Phoebe be herself, but the Hannigans are less than thrilled to hear Phoebe recalling her early life on the streets, or about Mike's skills in the bedroom. As he sticks up for Phoebe to his disapproving parents, he even uses the "L" word for the first time, shocking both them and Phoebe. But Mike stands by his statement, and as Phoebe reciprocates his feelings, they walk out of the Hannigans' dinner party with heads held high.

Mike may have been raised by a wealthy conservative family, but there's no question that he is nothing like his parents. It's Phoebe's unique and "wonderfully weird" personality that made him fall in love with her, no matter what Bitsy and Theodore think.

Mike and Phoebe "go on a break"

Phoebe has always lived a carefree life, preferring to live for the moment rather than worrying about the future. It's not until she starts seeing Mike that she begins to reevaluate her stance on committed, long-term relationships.

In "The One with the Boob Job," Mike suggests that he and Phoebe move in together, which Phoebe eagerly accepts. This next step in their relationship has Phoebe thinking about the future, and the possibility of marriage and family down the line. However, in an ironic twist, Mike seems to be the one with commitment issues. He tells Phoebe that after his hellish first marriage, he has no intention of ever getting married again.

In spite of their feelings for one another, Phoebe reluctantly breaks things off with Mike, believing that they have no future together. Things aren't that simple for the ex-couple, though –  the two are clearly still in love with one another, even if they can't see eye-to-eye on the marriage issue. In "The One with the Memorial Service," Phoebe entrusts Monica (Courteney Cox) to keep her from getting back together with Mike. Monica drops the ball, though, and when Phoebe invites Mike over to her apartment, Monica attempts unsuccessfully to separate the two lovebirds.

Mike vs. David

By the time "Friends" reached its ninth season, fans probably forgot all about David (Hank Azaria), Phoebe's nerdy scientist ex-boyfriend who had to leave the country for his work. In "The One with the Male Nanny," David makes a reappearance, and it couldn't come at a worse time. Phoebe is in a committed relationship with Mike, but she can't deny that she is still attracted to David. The two of them kiss in a moment of weakness, but Phoebe regains her senses just as Mike walks in on them together. Mike and David form an instant rivalry, and warily size each other up before engaging in a hilarious finger-pointing battle.

After Mike and Phoebe's breakup, Phoebe decides to give things between David and her another shot — but she clearly isn't over Mike, much to David's distress. After getting bad advice from Chandler (Matthew Perry), David resolves to propose marriage to Phoebe during their group trip to Barbados. Knowing that Phoebe is still in love with Mike, Monica decides to intervene by calling him and telling him about David's proposal plan. Although Mike insists that Phoebe should be able to marry David if she wants, he changes his mind and shows up at the hotel just as David is in the middle of proposing to Phoebe. 

Much to Phoebe's shock, Mike asks her to marry him instead. She refuses his proposal, telling him she is just happy that he is willing to think about marriage. Mike and Phoebe are happily reunited once again, as David exits the picture once and for all.

The long road down the aisle

Once Mike and Phoebe got back together, "Friends" fans knew it was only a matter of time before the couple would walk down the aisle.

The path down that aisle isn't easy, though, as every proposal attempt gets botched. First, Mike almost proposes to Phoebe via the big screen at a Knicks game in "The One Where Rachel's Sister Babysits," but when another couple does it first, Phoebe calls it "tacky and impersonal." Realizing that she ruined Mike's proposal, Phoebe decides to get down on one knee herself at another Knicks game and propose to Mike instead. This one also ends in disaster. Phoebe nearly screws up yet another proposal when Mike takes her out to a romantic dinner, but at last Mike manages to slips the ring on her finger and the two are engaged.   

The wedding itself has its own share of issues. In "The One With Phoebe's Wedding," everything goes belly up when a snowstorm leaves most of the city without power. Though it seems like Phoebe and Mike's wedding may be a bust, the couple decides to get married anyway, resulting in an outdoor ceremony that resembles a magical winter wonderland. The two say their vows in a moving scene where Phoebe talks about how she never had a family growing up, and now Mike has become her family. Mike responds, "Every day with you is an adventure. I can't believe how lucky I am, and I can't wait to share my life with you forever."

We last see the two together in the finale. When Monica and Chandler bring home their new baby twins, Mike asks Phoebe, "You want to make one of those?" 

"One? How about a whole bunch!" Phoebe replies, setting the stage for their future together.