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Chandler Bing's Friends Timeline Explained

Any proper "Friends" fan will tell you that the show would be absolutely nothing if just one of the six core cast members weren't there. It's a through-and-through ensemble series that simply wouldn't be the same without all of the gang.

However, an even more honest "Friends" fan would tell you that the most important cog in the sitcom's well-oiled machine might be Matthew Perry's laugh-out-loud portrayal of Chandler Bing.

For ten incredible seasons, Chandler redefined TV sarcasm and was the go-to joke factory that ensured not a lot of time passed by per episode without a rock-solid laugh to cut the tension. In later seasons, his propensity to always be a goofball and not take anything seriously even became a bit of a plot point as the other characters reckoned with their friend who traded in laughter rather than emotion.

That's not to say, however, that Chandler wasn't also responsible for some of the most emotional or poignant moments in the show, such as reconciling with his estranged father, breaking the news to his wife that they were unlikely to conceive a child, or just gathering enough courage to propose. "Friends" fans far and wide can agree that Chandler brought an X-factor to the show that made it unique from every other sitcom on the air. His was a humor that lives deep inside all of us, but hadn't been on TV before. Could that be any more important?

In that spirit, it's worth taking a complete look at Chandler Bing's complete "Friends" story.

Early life

Coming into episode one of "Friends," Chandler had a rich backstory. Born to erotic novelist Nora Tyler Bing and all-male burlesque show host Charles "Helena Handbasket" Bing, Chandler's parental figures were somewhat unconventional. Due to his mom's profession and his dad's coming out journey, he was exposed to more provocative sexual content as a child than most.

At the age of 9, his parents told him they were splitting up so his dad could run off with the houseboy on Thanksgiving. As a result, he hates the holiday, even if it proves to be a significant one in his life.

Chandler goes off to college where he meets Ross Geller, the man who will become his best and longest friend. Ross brings him to Thanksgiving at his family's house in Long Island where Chandler meets his sister Monica and her best friend, Rachel Greene. During his second Thanksgiving visit in 1988, Monica "accidentally" cuts off part of Chandler's pinkie toe when she drops a butcher knife on him.

After graduation, Chandler and Ross move to New York City, where he gets a high-paying (but crushingly dull) corporate job. His personal life is far less buttoned down, with most of his time spent joking around in a cafe that sits below his apartment — which is across the hall from the one where Monica lives. Eventually, Chandler invites Joey Tribbiani to be his roommate; they quickly hit it off and become exceptionally close friends.


While his five best friends are in somewhat low-paying or unstable professions (massage therapist, actor, chef), Chandler begins "Friends" in a stable but soulless corporate job. This takes a toll on him in Season 1, when he's offered a promotion and quits instead. Bubbling with anticipation, he takes an aptitude test — only to discover he's best suited for the job he already had. Although he doesn't address his displeasure with his career for several more years, this sparks Chandler's constant desire to do something better with his life.

Perhaps his career disillusionment causes a bit of loneliness in his personal life, because it's also around this time that he starts struggling to end his on-again, off-again relationship with a woman named Janice. While kind, she's a bit grating and has many of Chandler's long list of pet peeves. Still, he keeps falling back into a relationship with her — at one point, he recalls having to break up with her three times in a single calendar year.

Chandler's dating life crosses paths with his work life when he learns that people who meet him, particularly co-workers, often assume he's gay. Fortunately, he becomes comfortable with his outward persona — thanks in large part to the acceptance of his friends.


For a man who avoids emotions, Chandler finds himself in the thick of the drama surrounding his friends' most complicated relationship — the one between Ross and Rachel.

It's Chandler who finally convinces Ross to abandon his years-long crush on Rachel in order to properly move on with his life. Unfortunately, he accidentally lets it slip to Rachel soon after that Ross liked her. It seems like his inadvertent meddling will work out, until Ross returns from his business trip China with a serious girlfriend. Chandler feels guilty and thinks it's his responsibility to set things right, but he totally pooches it.

He convinces Ross to break up with his new girlfriend Julie by making a "pros and cons" list between her and Rachel. While the list makes Ross realize he still wants to be with Rachel, she discovers the list and is horrified and offended by it. Chandler feels impossibly guilty this time, but he's fortunately let off the hook when Ross and Rachel get together anyway.

After spending most of the year neglecting his own personal life, Chandler ends up meeting a woman online. They decide to meet at Central Perk — and it's none other than Janice. Unlike all the other times she's wandered into his life, though, he decides this one will be different; he actually pursues a relationship with her.

Heartbreak and headache

When Season 3 begins, Chandler is in a serious relationship with Janice and has even managed to look past the eccentricities that once grated on him. He even has some friction with his best friend, Joey, when Joey admits he can't stand Janice being around.

Unfortunately, this is also the season in which Chandler experiences his first real adult heartbreak. When it comes to light that Janice has still been seeing her ex-husband, Chandler recalls how he felt about the man his dad ran off with. Knowing that he doesn't ever want to be seen by a kid as "that guy," he tells Janice to go give her marriage and family another shot.

He manages to get out of his post-break up depression by getting drunk and hooking up with one of Joey's sisters, earning the scorn of his friend as well as the massive cadre of Tribbiani sisters. Although Joey vows to be mad at Chandler for 10 years, their friendship gets back to normal pretty quickly — in fact, they mend fences just in time for the breakup that rocks the group like no other.

After Rachel suggests they go on a break, Ross sleeps with someone else and the two break up for real. As if the Janice thing didn't bring up enough repressed memories, Chandler reverts back to smoking and overdoing it on the comedy as a coping mechanism as the group navigates the split between two core members. The season ends with Chandler wondering why he remains single while other people's relationships have such a big effect on him.

Falling in and out of love

Although Chandler is ready to tackle his relationship issues, he's still got a lot to overcome regarding commitment. When Joey starts dating a fellow actor named Kathy, Chandler pulls away once he realizes he has feelings for her too.

Unfortunately, she eventually reciprocates and they share a kiss, causing another brief rift between Chandler and Joey that the latter is kind enough to get over. Free to pursue Kathy, Chandler bungles the relationship when he gets jealous at seeing her simulate sex with a scene partner in another play. However, he's let off the hook a little bit when it turns out that Kathy actually did sleep with her co-star, and the two break up. Once again, Chandler is heartbroken, only this time he's learned a lesson about trust in adult relationships.

With the help of Rachel, Monica and Phoebe, he gets over Kathy in time to be best man at Ross' second wedding, to a woman named Emily. While in London for the wedding, Chandler comforts Monica, who was mistaken for Ross' mom — and whose actual mother repeatedly puts down the fact that she remains unmarried. Chandler inadvertently charms her, and they have sex.

Although it would later turn out that Monica was looking to have meaningless sex with Joey that night, she ended up falling into the most meaningful relationship of her life. The next morning, they know they need to hide the encounter from their friends, but they also know it won't be their last.

A better boyfriend and friend

Chandler and Monica agree that making their relationship work means keeping it a secret from the rest of the group, but Joey quickly puts it together. In yet another act of loyalty to Chandler, Joey goes above and beyond to help them keep their secret, even at the expense of his own reputation at times.

Eventually, though, the rest of the group discovers their relationship — and they're overjoyed to hear that they're not just having a post-London fling, they've already professed their love for each other.

However, now that they're not operating in secret, Chandler finds himself further down the road on a relationship than ever before. This forces him to tackle his last great fear — commitment. With everyone in his life asking where things are headed with Monica, Chandler finds himself at a familiar crossroads — run for the hills solo, or commit to marriage. He overcompensates a bit and proposes to Monica too early in front of everyone. She rejects the proposal but understands what the gesture meant for him.

However, they're soon staring marriage in the face again in Las Vegas. After a hot streak at the casino, the duo are about to pull the trigger on a quickie Vegas wedding when they notice Ross and Rachel have beat them to it, taking the wind right out of their impulsive sails.

It's time for a ring

After everything, Chandler finds himself in a relationship with a woman he's almost married twice. When they return from Vegas, he knows that he and Monica need to take a step forward, so he suggests that they move in together — shaking up the apartment arrangement that the show was founded on, much to Joey's dismay.

Chandler's first year with a live-in girlfriend goes well. So well, in fact, that he makes the decision to get an engagement ring. With the help of Phoebe, he finds the perfect one and plans to propose to Monica at her favorite restaurant. However, the night is marred by the unexpected arrival of her last serious boyfriend, Richard.

Worried that Monica is getting wise to his proposal, he makes the boneheaded decision to throw her off the scent by coming out as very anti-marriage. He's so convincing that it drives Monica away, noting that having different long-term goals was the exact reason she dumped Richard. The situation is made worse by Richard arriving at Monica's job to profess his love for her.

Just when she's at her lowest, the gang steps up and reveals that Chandler is indeed hoping to propose and that he just wanted it to be a surprise. Chandler arrives home and is told that he's too late and that Monica has left him. In reality, she was waiting for his arrival to propose to him.

With that, Chandler Bing is engaged.

Two steps forward, one step back

Season 7 sees Chandler really coming into his own. He's proven himself a good man, but now he has to start looking like a good husband and father as he and Monica plan their wedding. 

It's revealed that he's socked away substantial savings, and demonstrates that he's focused on his and Monica's future when he stops her from using the money on a wedding rather than a house for their future family.

Where once there was a man afraid of commitment now stands a man actively planning for a future he's excited about. However, he still has one more major bout with his fear of commitment. At his rehearsal dinner, Chandler is still struggling to write his vows. After seeing his own parents in the same room for the first time since their marriage fell apart, he starts to doubt himself and wonder if he's really got what it takes to be a good husband and father.

In perhaps his worst act ever, Chandler leaves a note for Monica explaining that he can't go through with the wedding. Fortunately, his friends find the note first and attempt to rectify the situation before Monica finds out. Ross and the gang manage to track him down and convince him that he's being ridiculous, and he agrees. When Chandler hears that the group incorrectly believes Monica is pregnant (it's actually Rachel), it gives him the bump he needs to do the right thing and go through with the wedding.

Paying friend debts

Those paying attention up to Season 8 probably noticed that Chandler owes his friends quite a lot for his marital happiness and overall evolution.

Now that his personal life is on solid ground, he spends most of the year focused on being a good friend while everyone else is being put through the wringer. 

For example, Joey struggles with a crush on Rachel, who turns out to actually be the one who's pregnant — with Ross' baby, a minefield that Chandler helps the gang get through with his trademark humor and empathy. He helps wingman Ross as he tries to get over a renewed crush on Rachel and he also comforts Joey when his feelings for Rachel aren't immediately reciprocated.

For once, Chandler finds himself to be the wise, relationship-savvy person in his friend group. He understands how lucky he is to have found Monica, and after seeing Rachel give birth to a new little member of the group, he decides that it's time to start a family of their own. Right there in the hospital, he and Monica decide to try having a baby of their own.

This is a lot of growth for a man who, just a few years prior, was prone to dehydration and panic attacks at the mere mention of children.

Solving problems

Chandler's second year of marriage proves to be incredibly difficult. His career takes a sharp turn when he falls asleep during a meeting and inadvertently agrees to head up his company's office in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Monica initially agrees to leave New York with him, until she's offered her dream job as head chef at an upscale Manhattan restaurant. He agrees to split his time between New York and Tulsa, but it quickly becomes apparent that this is unsustainable. Realizing the toll his career is taking on his life and his marriage, Chandler quits. Impressively, he starts a brand new career in advertising, taking an unpaid internship just to get his foot in the door. While he quickly thrives in his new office environment, the pay cut is detrimental to his and Monica's plans to have a child — and the situation gets worse.

After they spend a year trying in vain to conceive, Chandler learns that they may never be able to conceive a child together — news that he has to break to Monica in a heartbreaking moment of maturity. Undeterred by the career bumps and family news, Chandler forges ahead, taking the reins on adopting while working extra to carve out a salary that can help support the family he intends to make.

From the West Village to Westchester

After deciding on adoption, Chandler and Monica find a woman named Erica who is willing to give them her baby; however, she's initially under the impression that they're different people after a mix-up at the adoption agency. No longer the same man who used to be afraid of commitment and lied to get out of even minor situations, Chandler steps up and explains to Erica who they are, noting that he'll learn to be a perfect dad, but that Monica was born a perfect mom. Erica agrees, and just like that, Chandler is going to be a dad.

Unfortunately, they quickly realize they don't want to raise kids in the city. Secretly, Chandler and Monica start seeing a real estate agent who shows them houses in Westchester, prompting the rest of the group to think they're having an affair. Eventually, they break the news to their friends that they won't be living right across the hall or street anymore.

Chandler gets one last surprise before the series ends when, during labor, it's revealed that Erica was pregnant with twins this whole time but wasn't aware of it, noting that every time the doctor mentioned two heartbeats, she assumed he was counting her own.

The series concludes with Chandler beautifully eulogizing the "Friends" gang's time in their New York home, which was filled with "love and laughter," before riding off into the sunset with two babies, his loving wife, and the support of his best friends.