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Characters / How I Met Your Mother Potential Mothers

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Ted's girlfriends who lasted multiple episodes and teased as possibly being the Mother.


Victoria is the first serious girlfriend Ted gets in the series, meeting at a wedding of Ted's friends and they hit it off. Absolutely enamored with each other she stays around for a half-dozen episodes until she gets a culinary scholarship in Germany lasting two years, they attempted long distance but couldn't keep it together (in part due to Ted and Robin's growing attraction to each other). She returns in season seven as she and Ted cross paths again.

Played by: Ashley Williams

  • Career Versus Man: She has to choose between Ted and a baking scholarship in Germany. She angsts over the decision (briefly even choosing Ted) but ends up going with the baking scholarship. She and Ted try a Long-Distance Relationship but it doesn't work out thanks to Ted once again failing to resist his lingering feelings for Robin.
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  • Cassandra Truth: She was right about Ted and Robin being Amicable Exes is not being a good idea. Twice.
  • Graceful Ladies Like Purple: Majority of the clothes she wear are purple.
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover: Victoria loves cats, something that solidifies her rivalry with dog-loving Robin even more.
  • Long-Distance Relationship: She and Ted try this out after she moves to Germany for a baking scholarship. It didn't work.
  • Meaningful Name: Subverted. She was originally planned to be the woman to ultimately win Ted's heart (and vice versa), but wasn't victorious after all.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Played straight on her introduction (see her pic above), but subverted after. She typically wears modest clothing.
  • Nice Girl: Even though she and Ted split up again and she questioned Ted about giving him Robin's locket, even if that could mean Ted was trying to steal her at the wedding, Victoria still agreed to overnight it, along with goodies from her bakery.
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  • Noodle Incident: Her story in Game Night wasn't revealed up to this point.
  • Only One Name: Her last name was never revealed. She's only known as Victoria.
  • The Pollyanna: She's always cheerful and spirited, trying to cheer others or make them smile or laugh. The only time we see her cry is after her second break-up with Ted.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Most definitely subverted. Even after Robin is a factor in both of their breakups, she still stays on friendly terms with Ted even sends him the locket (and some chocolate truffle strusselkuchen) overnight from Germany with nothing more than a friendly warning about being involved in a third bride abandoning her wedding. When declining Ted's marriage proposal due to his unwillingness to cut ties with Robin, she tells him sincerely, "I hope you get her someday."
  • Put on a Bus: Thrice. Once a plane to Germany, once a literal bus to go get engaged, and finally when she breaks up with Ted because he can't stop being friends with Robin. The Bus Came Back only to leave again.
  • The Rival: Downplayed. While they are civil to each other, tensions between her and Robin are very obvious.
  • Romantic False Lead: In part because of the way a show is produced she was actually intended to be "the mother" if the show didn't get picked up from the initial episode order. Her first appearance at the end of "The Wedding" was made flexible so that they could go either way on that. Because of that she was written as being a very good match for Ted on every level and in spite of being in only a few episodes that made her become a beloved character among the fandom.
  • Runaway Bride: In the season 7 finale, she leaves Klaus at the altar. Season 8 reveals that Klaus did the same and also fled from their wedding.
  • Second Love: Played with. After failing to get Robin, Ted genuinely did fall in love with her. However, long distance relationships almost never work out and he ultimately realized that he just loves Robin (who is the same city and his social circle) more which resulted in their breakup. Twice.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: She and Ted are sugary at the beginning of their relationship. To the point that Marshall and Lily are jealous of how lovey-dovey she and Ted are.
  • Sixth Ranger: She became part of the gang when she dated Ted in Season 1 until she went to Germany. In Season 8, she hung out with them again when she got back with Ted but left again after she realized that Ted still had feelings for Robin.
  • Supreme Chef: She's a baker. Such a good baker that Marshall tells Ted to marry her on spot after having her cake. Ted wistfully notes that he misses her sticky buns, which he emphasizes is not a euphemism, and she even agrees to overnight him some chocolate pastries.
  • Sweet Baker: She is a professional baker who has a little shop called Buttercup Bakery in New York. She also caters weddings and other fancy occasions. She's a lovely and very caring person. When she and Ted have a long-distance relationship, she sends him care packages with cupcakes.
  • The One That Got Away: In season 7, Robin mentions that she's the only woman who was a viable candidate for Ted.
  • Worthy Opponent: Of all of Robin's romantic rivals in the show (for both Ted and Barney, in this case the former), Victoria is one of only two she openly respects (the other being Nora, Barney's Romantic False Lead from Seasons 6-7). And of those two, it's evident that Robin holds a higher regard on Victoria (at least as a romantic rival).

Stella Zinman

Stella is a dermatologist who Ted visits for the purpose of removing his lower-back tattoo and initially rejects Ted because her life was too chaotic with her daughter Lucy. They grow very close and even get engaged in the fourth season opener. A major kink in their relationship ended up being that Stella has unresolved issues with Lucy's father, Tony.

Played by: Sarah Chalke

  • Betty and Veronica: The Archie to Ted's Betty and Tony's Veronica in the episode "The Shelter Island".
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Comes of as nice, funny, and polite, but she's actually quite nasty if you think about it. She repeatedly forces Ted to compromise throughout the relationship without doing any of it herself (for example, refusing to even discuss moving to New York with Ted), then leaves Ted at the altar, and then, just when it looked like she may have redeemed herself in "As Fast As She Can," "The Wedding Bride" comes out, a film that paints Ted in a bad light despite him actually being a good guy.
    • She also refuses to allow Robin at the wedding despite her being Ted's close friend (and being perfectly nice to Robin's face in other episodes), and when Ted invites her ex Tony for the sole reason that it's the only way Stella could have her daughter attend her response is "I thought I made myself clear about this."
  • Easily Forgiven: Played with. When she comes back for an episode, no one forgives her for leaving Ted on their wedding day, but by the end of the episode, Ted himself lets it go. Meanwhile when she shows up again and actually speaks to Ted, he never forgives her but isn't still angry with her.
  • Entitled Bastard:
    • After Tony dumps Stella again, she goes to Ted so he can help her get Tony back. Remember that she abandoned Ted at the altar for Tony.
    • She also assumes that Ted will move to into her home in New Jersey basically because that's what she wants despite them both working in New York and Ted clearly not wanting to move to NJ. A less selfish person would have probably opted for a discussion on the matter and possibly a compromise.
  • Fauxshadow: In season 3's St. Patrick's Day episode, narrator!Ted states that the mother was at the same party he and Barney went to, but that they didn't meet her then. Stella mentions offhand that she was at a party on St. Paddy's.
  • The Gentleman or the Scoundrel: Ted bent over backwards for Stella, but she chose Tony who has disappointed her repeatedly in the past and would dump her at the drop of a hat.
  • Hair Color Spoiler: Stella being blonde while Ted's future kids are both brunettes like him is the first telling sign she isn't the Mother.
  • Hospital Hottie: She's a beautiful dermatologist.
  • Hypocrite: After "Shelter Island". Ted is understandably furious upon learning that within weeks of getting back together with Tony, she immediately agreed to move in with Tony in New York, since when he asked her if she'd consider moving to the City, she utterly refused to do so (or even discuss the matter). She then moves with him to California even though her main reason for refusing to move to Manhattan was supposedly not wanting to uproot her daughter's life. So moving across the state line is massively traumatic, but moving across the freaking country somehow is acceptable.
  • It's All About Me:
    • Stella may be the most self-centered character in the series, even more than Barney. First she assumed Ted would move into her house in New Jersey without talking with him about it, refuses to even discuss the possibility of moving to Manhattan or anywhere else in New York, passive-aggressively threatening to break off the engagement if he doesn't agree. Then she unilaterally decides to to take her sister's wedding date and venue without even discussing it with Ted (their "telepathic conversation" not withstanding) meaning they have to move their wedding up to within a week. When Ted invited Robin to the wedding she all but forbade it despite her being one of his closest friends just because they used to date and jumps down his throat when he invites her ex Tony, even though it was the only way Ted could get him to let her daughter attend, because "she'd made herself clear" on having ex partners at the wedding. Finally she leaves Ted at the altar without even having the decency to tell him to his face, and had the audacity to ask Ted to talk to Tony after he broke up with her. Basically she seemed to view Ted as simply an addition to her life instead of a partner in it.
    • She tries to justify some of this behavior by claiming that it's for her daughter Lucy's sake, but this is clearly just an excuse. When she refused to move out of New Jersey, she said it was because it would be too traumatic for Lucy to move and change schools, then precedes to move in with Tony in New York and later follow him to California. She also says that she owed it to Lucy to give her relationship with Tony another chance because he's her father, even though it's very clear that he was irresponsible and unreliable both as a boyfriend and a father while Ted is an ideal parent making it clear she was thinking more of herself than Lucy.
  • Kick the Dog: She leaves Ted at the altar in "Shelter Island", leaving him nothing but a letter and is then seen making up with Tony. There is also her part in the making of "The Wedding Bride," which made everyone hate Ted's character and humiliated Ted.
  • Love Epiphany: Realizes she's not over her ex-boyfriend on the same day she's supposed to marry Ted.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: While Ted somewhat lets her off easy for leaving him at the altar, his friends certainly didn't. Barney and Robin, in particular, both make unsubtle potshots at her upon meeting Stella again in the penultimate episode of Season 4.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Though unlike most examples, her daughter seems to like Ted.
  • Put on a Bus: Left New York with Tony to Los Angeles near the end of season 4. Though she's mentioned again by Ted in Season 8 where Robin's locket was placed in her storage area in Los Angeles and made a cameo in Season 9 where she warns Ted about how giving the locket to Robin will ruin the wedding.
  • Romantic False Lead: A given, but there are suggestions that Stella was a "back-up" mother (much like Victoria) if the show didn't get a fourth season.
  • Runaway Bride: She ended up going with her ex, Tony, and left Ted at the altar at the day of their wedding.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: She started as a textbook Sixth Ranger, but she ultimately leaves them behind.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Ted was matched up with a dermatologist in a first season episode who was supposedly his soulmate. That relationship was also killed in the water due to her relationship (in her case, she's engaged, while with Stella it's her daughter).
  • The Unfair Sex: Ted repeatedly finds ways to compromise throughout their relationship. Stella, not so much.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Initially portrayed as a kind, very sweet and caring girlfriend who genuinely loved Ted. Then she leaves Ted at the altar, and then, just when it looked like she may have redeemed herself in "As Fast As She Can", "The Wedding Bride" comes out, a film that paints Ted in a bad light despite him actually being the good guy. Likewise, most of the details in Tony's film could only have come from her!
    • There were actually a lot of hints she was something of a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing all throughout her and Ted's relationship. She utterly refuses to compromise on anything with him, and expects him to do things her way or end the relationship. Her controlling and inconsiderate nature makes her later actions seem logical in hindsight.
  • Will They or Won't They?: It's implied that she and Tony are on-and-off for years until they resolved their issues at poor Ted's expense.

Zoey Pierson

An activist Ted runs into, coincidentally determined to halt the construction of the high-rise building Ted was designing because it would demolish a run-down but unique building in its place. Initially Ted was attracted to her, it turned into a bitter rivalry and eventual friendship. Despite that, he kept his distance because she was married to the wealthy George Van Smoot aka "The Captain," which was eventually allowed to grow romantically when they got divorced.

  • Dating Catwoman: A mild form of this with Ted. She's trying to save the Arcadian, he's trying to design the building to replace it.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The episode "Canning Randy" has Ted designing a the new GNB headquarters, which will replace a very old building being torn down to make room for it. When Zoey finds out, Ted says he doesn't care. Her response is to egg the window of Ted's apartment, get his entire class to destroy a billboard with Ted's picture on it, and get them all to abandon his class and turn against him. Especially disproportionate considering he did not choose the building site and has no power to change it.
  • Freudian Excuse: The reason she wants to save The Arcadian is that she once lived there with her family.
  • Hair Color Spoiler: As with Stella, Zoey being blonde while Ted's future kids are both brunettes like him is the first telling sign she isn't the Mother.
  • Jerkass: She does her utmost to sabotage Ted's career for her cause without remorse.
  • Kick the Dog: Revealing that she kept the tape of Ted badmouthing GNB, even after she said she'd destroy it.
  • La Résistance: Future! Ted claims that she'll continue fighting for different causes, often failing.
  • The Masochism Tango: The entire purpose of the character and her relationship with Ted was to be someone who constantly fought with him but in the process force each other to stand up for themselves.
  • Mistaken for Prostitute: Ted mistakes her for a transvestite hooker when they first meet (in fairness to Ted, he was actually approached by one earlier).
  • Pet the Dog: Despite her selfishness, she does show kindness towards her friends. And sometimes even Ted.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: There's blatant foreshadowing that she isn't the mother before they even begin dating, though an episode that takes place during their relationship explicitly says that it ended poorly between them.
  • Ship Tease: Unique among most of Ted's relationships, the initial romantic tease was shot down completely (by Ted) when it was revealed Zoey was married and she found out Ted was involved with the building she was protesting. From there it was about bringing them back to a place where they had some sort of romantic attraction again.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: She became very close friends with the entire group, only to have revealed that she didn't erase the recording she made of Ted praising the architecture of the building like she said.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: An interesting take on the trope happens in "Oh, Honey." Ted realized he was falling for Zoey and for the sake of morality tried ending the friendship, not even wanting to explain to her why. Marshall managed to figure out Zoey and The Captain were getting divorced, and Zoey also had strong feelings for Ted. As Zoey confronts him over ending the friendship, Marshall calls them separately and explains both halves of the story (Ted is in love with her, Zoey getting divorced and is in love with him). Upon finishing the call, Ted wordlessly pulled her into a kiss.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Has a tendency to latch onto causes and espouse the virtues of them to everyone who'll listen, trying to guilt other people into changing.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Granted she was never exactly nice, but, well... see Sixth Ranger Traitor.
  • Tsundere: That's Zoey for ya! One second she's flirting with you, the next second she's egging your house, then she's making out with you, then she's trying to destroy your career...
  • Yoko Oh No: Invoked. She almost becomes this for the Gang, when she gets Marshall in her side to defend The Arcadian and Ted deciding to side with her (even at cost of his own job), leaving Barney on his own, Lily having to support Marshall and Robin as the only Neutral part. The Gang only stays together when Ted realizes that he and Zoey were doomed from the beginning and Barney's job was also at risk.


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