What Really Happened To Ross' First Child, Ben Geller, On Friends?

"Friends" continues to be one of the most popular television shows of all time, and while fans will never forget their favorite moments involving Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, and Joey, some of the supporting characters seemed to fade away over time. One of those characters just happened to be Ross' son Ben (via Screen Rant). 

During Season 1, Ross was thrilled to learn that he was going to be a dad. However, the situation wasn't exactly ideal. Ross' ex-wife Carol revealed that she was pregnant just as the couple was going through a divorce. In addition, Carol told Ross that she planned to raise their unborn child with her lesbian life partner, Susan. Once Ben was finally born, Ross was a doting dad. He would take Ben for the weekend and even allowed his sister Monica and some other members of the gang to babysit from time to time. 

Although Ross would often speak about Ben, he wasn't featured on the series much. Once Ben grew out of his baby phase, child actors Dylan and Cole Sprouse took over the role as the rambunctious child. Ben was last seen in Season 8. Even after Ross and Rachel's daughter Emma was born, the series never mentioned the siblings' relationship. The show even poked fun at Ben's absence. In the episode where Rachel gave birth to Emma, Ross' father made a comment about welcoming his first grandchild, to which Ross had to remind him about Ben. So what really happened to Ben?

Ben simply disappeared from Friends

Screen Rant reports that there have been multiple fan theories about what actually happened to Ben Gellar on "Friends." One popular theory is that Ross actually lost custody of Ben to Carol and Susan after they deemed him an unfit father. Cole Sprouse, who formerly played the character of Ben, even spoke out about the little boy's absence, revealing that Ross wasn't a very involved father to his firstborn child. "Critics would agree that Ross was never really the most present father, and so it doesn't surprise me too much," Sprouse told GQ.

Meanwhile, actresses Jane Sibbet and Jessica Hecht have also jokingly weighed in on why their on-screen son vanished from the popular sitcom. "He moved to England. So we've come after him and that's why we're gonna stay," Sibbett quipped during an interview with Comedy Central. Hecht added, "We put him in a boarding school just to get him out of dodge. We put him in a British boarding school. We eventually come [to the UK], adopt children and home school them in London."

In reality, Ben's disappearance from the series likely had more to do with more prominent storylines taking place as the series edged toward its end. The show was also more about Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, and Joey's relationships with each other above anything else in their lives and continued to stay that way until the series finale in 2004.