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The Mother Theory That Changes Everything On How I Met Your Mother

The ambitious sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" is technically set in the future — specifically, in the year 2030, where 52-year-old Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) is telling his two kids the story of how he met their mother. Each episode is each part of an incredibly long flashback in which Ted recounts his time as a single guy in New York before he met the woman he eventually marries and has children with. It's a winding story that spans nine full seasons, and it takes pretty much all of those seasons for Ted to get to the part where he actually meets the titular mother, Tracy (Cristin Milioti).

What the writers did with Tracy got fans of the show talking — for several reasons, and not all of them positive. Namely, there's the fact that she's introduced so late in the series ... only to be killed off in the series finale. As it turns out, the entire time, Ted has been telling the story of how he met his kids' late mother, an ending that the writers planned from the very beginning.

Whether you liked the ending or found it frustrating, it's undeniably a memorable one in TV history — so much so that people are still talking about "How I Met Your Mother" years after the finale, with fan theories still circulating the internet. While there are plenty of theories around, there's one in particular about Tracy that would change everything — if it's true.

Fans think Ted and Tracy actually parted ways

In the final moments of "How I Met Your Mother," we see Ted and Tracy get married, followed by snap shots of their life together, including moments with their children and various holidays. However, it's revealed that Tracy gets sick and dies six years before Ted begins telling his story. The kids then tell Ted that his entire story was about how much he still loves "Aunt Robin." They encourage him to go after her, which he does.

Bustle's list of theories about the show brings up an interesting point about the Mother: Ted never actually refers to Tracy as his wife, just calling her "your mother" to his children. As Bustle points out, this brings up the possibility that the two could have divorced at some point — meaning that the story's purpose might be to tell the kids about their mom because they didn't grow up around her as much as they would have had they stayed together before her death.

Of course, this theory seriously contradicts the way Ted describes his love for Tracy in the final moments of the show, as well as the fact that the kids emphasize to Ted that it's been six years since their mother died and that it's okay for him to move on. Ted moving on wouldn't be a question if he and Tracy actually divorced. 

On the other hand, Ted is an unreliable narrator, so any version of these events could be true. Ultimately, this theory doesn't really hold up particularly well, but that won't stop "How I Met Your Mother" fans from hypothesizing about their favorite show.