Despite being one of the most popular TV shows, Friends had some supporting characters that seemed to fade away over time, including Ross’ son Ben.
Although Ross was initially thrilled to learn he would be a father, his ex-wife Carol revealed she was pregnant just as they divorced. Once Ben was born, Ross was a doting dad, but the character was not featured much in the series.
Child actor Cole Sprouse took over the role of Ben as he grew out of his baby phase, but Ben was last seen in Season 8. The series never mentioned the siblings’ relationship, even after Ross and Rachel’s daughter Emma was born. The show even poked fun at Ben’s absence, with Ross having to remind his father about him in an episode.
There have been many fan theories about what happened to Ben Gellar on Friends, with one popular idea being that Ross lost custody of Ben to Carol and Susan after they deemed him an unfit father. Cole Sprouse even spoke out about the little boy’s absence, revealing that Ross wasn’t a very involved father to his firstborn child.
The show was primarily about the relationships between Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, and Joey. The writers probably felt that Ben’s character could have added more to the show’s narrative. As the series focused on the six main characters’ relationships, the nature of Ben became less relevant and was ultimately written out of the show.
In interviews, actresses Jane Sibbet and Jessica Hecht, who played Carol and Susan, respectively, have jokingly weighed in on why their on-screen son vanished from the popular sitcom. They have quipped that he moved to England, so they had to follow him or put him in a boarding school to get him out of dodge. In reality, Ben’s character didn’t fit with the show’s overall narrative as it progressed toward its conclusion, and his absence was not a result of anything more nefarious.
The Real Reason Ross’s Son, Ben Geller, Disappeared On Friends
However, Ben’s disappearance from the series likely had more to do with Cole Sprouse’s scheduling conflict; Sprouse’s schedule probably became more packed following his last Friends appearance in 2002. He starred in The Master of Disguise; I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, and Eight Crazy Nights during the same year, lending his voice to a toy soldier. Sprouse could not participate in Friends due to the limited hours for child actors under labor laws.