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Joey Tribbiani's Friends Timeline Explained

For 10 glorious seasons on "Friends," we got to witness situational comedy at its finest, as main characters Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry), Monica Geller (Courteney Cox), Ross Geller (David Schwimmer), Rachel Greene (Jennifer Aniston), Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow), and Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) navigated life, love, and their careers. One of the most lovable characters on the show was Joey, a struggling actor who loved his friends almost as much as he did sandwiches and women. Joey was goofy, loyal, charismatic, and free, sometimes to his detriment.

Over the course of the series, we watched Joey get beaten down in the entertainment industry, but he always held his head up for the next gig. He didn't fall for women often, but when he did, it was with passion. His bromance with Chandler was often the highlight of many episodes — the pair were more than just friends, they were brothers. Joey is mostly remembered on the show for being funny and aloof, an attitude that sometimes masked the struggles that he went through for 10 years. Throughout it all, he always kept a smile on his face ... and most importantly, on ours.

Joey, before Friends

We learned a lot about Joey's younger years throughout the 10 seasons of "Friends," mostly through flashbacks and stories he told his five pals. Joey came from an Italian-American family and was the only boy in a pack of eight children. In Season 1, Joey found out that his father was cheating on his mother with a woman named Ronnie, who we actually ended up meeting in Episode 13 ("The One With the Boobies"). After telling his mother about his dad's affair, she revealed she knew the whole time and was actually perfectly fine with it. The two end up staying together, but we never saw Joey's parents again after Season 1. We met all seven of his sisters in Season 2 after Chandler hooked up with one of them at Joey's birthday party.

Before the events of "Friends" began in Season 1, we know that Joey was already an actor, as he revealed it to Chandler during a roommate interview. He never let on how difficult of a time he was having finding and landing good jobs, but that was a major part of his storyline moving forward into Seasons 1 and 2.

Joey meets the friends

When we first met Joey in Season 1, he was already Chandler's roommate, but how that came to be was never divulged until later in Season 2 during a flashback episode. It turned out that Joey was never supposed to be Chandler's roommate — it only came about thanks to Mr. Heckles (Larry Hankin) intervening, as he thwarted Chandler's first roommate choice on moving day.

After Joey ended up moving in, he embarrassed himself tremendously when he met Monica. While the two clearly had an attraction for one another when they first met, Joey mistook her invitation for some lemonade as a request for sex. He dropped his pants in her apartment, causing her to understandably flip out, but thankfully the two were able to move past it and become the best of friends.

We watched Joey meet some of the other friends in Season 2's flashback episode when he joined Chandler at their local bar — which was eventually converted into Central Perk — where Ross and Phoebe were hanging out. Joey didn't meet Rachel until Season 1, Episode 1 ("Pilot") after she ran out on her wedding and came crashing into the lives of the whole group.

Joey becomes his own man

Joey and Chandler were pretty much a package deal once the show began, having one of the strongest bonds between any of the main characters. They lived in an easygoing, fun apartment, and often leaned on each other when one was in need. Things took a drastic turn in Season 2 when Joey landed the role of Doctor Drake Ramoray on "Days of Our Lives," and found himself rolling in the dough. In Episode 16 ("The One Where Joey Moves Out"), Joey got his own place, leaving Chandler all alone in their bachelor pad. This was a devastating blow to Chandler, while also sad for Monica and Rachel, who no longer had another friend across the hall.

Living the high life wasn't everything Joey thought it was going to be, and when his character was unexpectedly killed off the soap opera, he found himself in debt. Chandler had already brought in a new roommate — Eddie (Adam Charles Goldberg) — but he ultimately found a way to take advantage of Eddie's evident mental illness by convincing him he'd never lived at the apartment in the first place. Joey moved back in with his best friend, and all was right with the world.

Joey strays from acting to make ends meet

It looked like Joey was no longer going to be a struggling actor after landing the role on "Days of Our Lives," but after his firing, he was left with no options or prospects. In Season 3, he became a teacher of a soap opera acting class, and had a student he ended up competing with for a role on "All My Children." Joey lost out, and his teaching gig ended up being a one-episode plot line.

In Season 4 Monica hired Joey to work at her restaurant, Allesandro's, because she was being bullied by her staff. She planned to hire Joey just to fire him so she could put herself in a position of power and to earn respect of her employees. Joey was supposed to talk back to Monica one day to warrant the firing, but he bailed because he was happy with the money he was making at the restaurant. He eventually pretended to be a jerk when he saw Monica hurting in front of her staff, and Monica fired him, which earned her the respect of her other employees.

Shortly after, Joey also became a tour guide at the New York Museum of Prehistoric History, where Ross worked. Joey found out the hard way that employees of the museum who work in different departments don't sit together at lunch, and it caused a little rift between him and Ross. It turns out working with the Gellers might not have been Joey's best idea over the years.

Joey and Chandler have a falling out

In Season 4, Episode 5 ("The One With Joey's New Girlfriend"), we met Kathy (Paget Brewster), Joey's beautiful new girlfriend. Unfortunately, Chandler fell for Kathy immediately, even before knowing she was with his roommate, and one of the biggest "Friends" storylines was born. Despite seeing another girl at the same time, Joey had feelings for Kathy and revealed to Chandler that he wanted to give their relationship a real shot.

Kathy also began to develop feelings for Chandler, and the two shared a kiss which Joey found out about when his roommate came clean. Feeling totally betrayed, Joey began to pack up his things to move out, and it looked like it could have been the end of their relationship until a totally off-the-wall idea was born: Joey decided to make Chandler pay by locking him inside of a giant wooden box during Thanksgiving. The point was to make Chandler think about what he had done, a throwback to Joey getting locked in their entertainment center back in Season 2.

Kathy showed up to Thanksgiving to say she didn't want to break up a friendship and said her goodbyes to Chandler, who was still in the box, not allowed to speak. Joey ended up letting him out, and the two shared a big hug before Chandler ran after Kathy. The betrayal was the biggest issue the two men ever had over the course of 10 seasons — and its resolution was definitely one of the most important moments in their friendship.

Joey - the keeper of secrets

Joey played a very important part in Monica and Chandler's relationship, mostly due to the fact that he found out about their secret romance before anyone else. He had to live with the secret for several episodes, and when Rachel eventually found out about it too, Joey then needed to keep her knowledge of the relationship a secret as well. In the classic fan-favorite "Friends" episode "The One Where Everybody Finds Out," Phoebe was also pulled into the loop, with Joey now having to hold secrets for four of his friends. Joey was finally able to relax after the secret was out, but the whole scenario proved just how loyal he could be to his friends, while also showing him as the voice of reason.

Once Monica and Chandler were out to the world, Joey found himself without a roommate when his best friend moved across the hall. The pair never officially lived together again after Chandler moved in with Monica, and it was a pivotal point for both of them. Of course, they still spent almost as much time together, as both apartments basically had revolving doors that never locked.

Joey gets his big break

Now without a roommate, it was time for Joey to find someone to supplement that rent payment. He put out an ad in the newspaper, looking for a "non-smoker" who was "non-ugly." He ended up getting just that when Janine (Elle Macpherson) moved in, who he fell for pretty quickly. The two couldn't make their relationship work, however, as Janine couldn't handle hanging out with Monica and Chandler.

After Phoebe and Rachel crashed with him for a few days as a consequence of their apartment burning down, Joey got his big break on a movie filming out in Las Vegas. Upon arrival, Joey learned that the movie had been shut down while it tried to get more funding, and he was left feeling embarrassed as Chandler had previously mentioned he didn't think this was going to work out for him. The cancellation of the movie hit Joey hard — luckily, his spirits were lifted when all of his friends came out to Las Vegas, where he had started working at Caesars Palace.

Joey gets his actual big break

In Season 6, Episode 20 ("The One With Mac and CHEESE"), Joey landed his first big role since "Days of Our Lives" after nailing his audition for a show called "Mac and CHEESE," about a detective and his robot sidekick. The show was abysmal, to say the least, which the audience learned from the few scenes we actually got to witness. The gang also showed serious disdain for the program and had a hard time pretending to like it, although they did their best.

Joey starred on "Mac and CHEESE" well into "Friends" Season 7 and also auditioned for the "Days of Our Lives" role of Dr. Stryker Ramoray, the brother of the character he'd played on the daytime serial years previously. He didn't get the part — news he received at the same time "Mac and CHEESE" was canceled. Thankfully, he was approached by the "Days of Our Lives" producers, who offered him his old role back as Drake. In a bit of classic soap opera magic, his character was brought back thanks to a brain transplant — and this time, Joey managed to stick, giving him some professional and financial stability at last. He additionally landed a part in a World War I movie in the Season 7 finale, which almost prevented him from making it to Monica and Chandler's wedding — which would have been pretty terrible, since he served as the officiant.

Joey falls for Rachel

In a twist that no one saw coming, Joey ended up falling for Rachel while she was pregnant with Ross's baby in Season 8. At this point, Rachel was already living with him, but he started to develop feelings for his friend, which absolutely tore him apart. After the rest of the gang — minus Ross — found out about his crush, Joey told Rachel about his feelings and she let him know she didn't feel the same. He inevitably told Ross about the crush as well, and Ross didn't respond to the news very well at all. Their friendship took a hit for a few episodes, but eventually, the weirdness between them faded.

This was the hardest we saw Joey fall for someone, and it allowed the audience to see a much deeper side to a character who was normally so silly. He was able to get over his feelings for Rachel, and everything went back to normal in their apartment. At the end of Season 8, Rachel gave birth to Emma, and the episode landed on one of the biggest cliffhangers of all time. When Joey knelt down on the ground to pick something up, he found out it was an engagement ring and turned around to show it to Rachel. Thinking he was proposing, Rachel accepted, and the two were kinda-sorta-not-really engaged for a brief moment.

In Season 9, Episode 1 ("The One Where No One Proposes"), Joey was able to explain to both Ross and Rachel that he was not proposing, and somehow managed to escape that scenario unscathed.

Joey and Ross are at odds

Joey already had his big blowout with Chandler back in Season 4, and it took five more seasons before he had a similar situation with Ross. In Season 9, Episode 20 ("The One With the Soap Opera Party"), Joey hooked up with Charlie (Aisha Tyler), a woman Ross had been interested in but hadn't been able to approach about his feelings yet. Joey and Charlie were together for several episodes, and during this period, Rachel started to develop feelings for Joey.

In the Season 9 finale ("The One in Barbados Parts 1 & 2"), Rachel ended up confessing her feelings to Joey, but he couldn't do anything about it since he was with Charlie, and for fear of what it might do to Ross. After seeking out Charlie at the resort to talk, Joey spotted Ross and Charlie making out in the lobby, which made him turn right around and head back to Rachel. After knocking on her hotel door, Joey walked in, grabbed Rachel, and planted a kiss on her, which kicked off one of the most hated storylines in "Friends" history.

Joey and Rachel become a thing

Early in Season 10, Joey and Rachel finally admitted to Ross that they had a thing going on after he walked in on them making out. Ross was with Charlie at this point, so it was hard for him to put up much of a fight, but he was still devastated to see them kissing. He tried to deal with it the best he could, but Ross could never quite swallow the idea of Joey and Rachel as a couple.

In the end, the pair couldn't make their new relationship work. Rachel realized she felt awkward anytime she and Joey got physical with one another, and even ended up hurting Joey's feelings when they tried to force themselves to take it to the next level. They agreed to end things, noting that they were better as friends and their bond on that level was too deep to turn into something else. The storyline was promptly wiped — Rachel and Joey went back to being just great friends who lived with one another, and it was like nothing had ever happened. Joey was totally brokenhearted to learn that Rachel was moving to Paris at the end of Season 10, but that was a sentiment all of the friends shared.

Joey ends up a single man

All of the friends found their happy endings on the show. Phoebe married the lovable Mike (Paul Rudd), Monica and Chandler had twins and made plans to move to Long Island, and Ross and Rachel finally came together in a dramatic finale. Joey was the only member of the group who ended up single — probably the most fitting end for a character who'd often been defined by his love/hate relationship with commitment. He ended up with a new chick and duck — he presented them to Monica and Chandler as a gift, but the couple didn't want them around their new babies.

When the show ended, Joey was still in the midst of a successful run on "Days of Our Lives," his money problems firmly in the past. While he stayed living in the same apartment building after the series ended, he also had a place to stay at Monica and Chandler's new house — the fittingly named Joey room.

Joey's ending on "Friends" was perfect for his character. After 10 long seasons, he found stability and success in his career, he experienced ups and downs in love, and kept strong bonds with his five friends. Fans were torn on Joey's ending, with some hoping he'd have ended up with someone, while others noted he never was one for monogamy, so his arc was appropriate. Partner or no partner, Joey ended the series on a bittersweet note — and with perhaps the most growth out of any of the friends.