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Characters / How I Met Your Mother: The Main Characters' Families

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     Ted's Relatives 

Alfred Mosby
Ted and Heather's father.

Played by: Michael Gross

  • Amicably Divorced: With Virginia. He even helped her find a new date for her after their divorce.
  • Bumbling Dad: Instead of talking with Ted about serious stuff, he usually averted them by talking about baseball instead.
  • Generation Xerox: He tried to win Virginia over, even though she didn't want either commitment or children, just like Ted and Robin's situation. After they split, they still were very good friends.
  • Like Father, Like Son: His marriage to Virginia mirrors Ted's relationship with Robin. Their divorce is a signal that Ted and Robin won't work out. Not that viewers didn't already know that.
  • What Happened to the Mouse??: Whilst Ted's acceptance and dealings with his mother's new relationship is a key moment of his character growth. Ted's relationship with his father remains strained and he disappears from the series.

Virginia Mosby

Ted and Heather's mother.

Played by: Cristine Rose

  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Based on how Ted's parents married (and how similar are Robin and Virginia), Alfred says Virginia was really hard to get.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: She happily lets Marshall take a photo-mug of Ted so he can make fun of him, and also goes to get him a picture of Ted dressed as a cowboy with his best friend (Said friend was a balloon.)
  • Amicably Divorced: With Alfred.
  • Happily Married: To Clint.
  • Lies to Children: Virginia told Ted as a child he was allergic to bacon, donuts and Halloween candy so he would eat healthy.
  • Like Parent, Like Spouse: Subverted. Virginia and Robin have a lot in common, but Robin and Ted never get married.
  • Mrs. Robinson: Subverted. Barney admits making out with Virginia when he dropped her at the airport and often jokes about how he banged Ted's mom (Barney later confirms it "got out after he tried to stretch a first into a second").
  • Not So Different: She and Robin. Both don't want to have kids, hey didn't want any commitment and Virginia's relationship with Clint also mirrors Robin's regression everytime she is near Simon.
  • Parent with New Paramour: She starts dating erudite hippie Clint not long after it's revealed that she and her husband divorced. While initially reluctant, Ted came to accept Clint as his new step father after Virginia's second marriage.
  • Silver Vixen: Barney often comments how hot is Ted's mom just to irritate him.
  • Stacy's Mom: How Barney sees Ted's mom.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: With her new hippy husband Clint.

Heather Mosby

Ted's younger sister.

Played by: Erin Cahill

  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Initially quite detached from Ted, though both siblings make efforts to change that.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: While Ted genuinely loves her, he wasn't fond of the actions and decisions she made in her life.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: She is the Foolish one, while Ted is the Responsible. She once sold Ted and Marshall's furniture so she could go to a concert in Spain.
    Ted: It took her six years to graduate from three different colleges, during which time she wrecked two cars, got married for five days, and lived in a tree for nine weeks, only to realize that no one had any intention of cutting it down.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Hopefully; she hasn't been seen since she said she was going to move to New York.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Ted was quite wary of her due to her Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Erin Cahill is 5'9.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite saying she was moving to New York in Season 4, she hasn't been seen since.

Virginia's new husband after she and Alfred get divorced.

Played by: Harry Groener

  • Dreadful Musician: He annoys Marshall and Daphne with his guitar songs during a portion of their roadtrip, and makes Marvin cry. Marshall and Daphne start mocking his music as a common point. Clint wasn't amused by this.
  • Hippie Parents: Becomes Ted and Heather's stepfather. Ted then tells Clint transformed his old room into a "Love Temple", joking that his G.I.Joe toys are having psychedelic hallucinations because of this.
  • Soapbox Sadie: A male version of this. One example is mentioned at Christmas. He made Virginia and Ted get rid of everything that reminds him of the commercialization of Christmas. He also dresses up as Santa on Christmas, but plays him as a woman to protest gender stereotypes, but he still keeps the beard.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Invoked in Season 9, he tags along with Marshall and Daphne as self-proclaimed "Conflict Resolver". Also during his angry rant, Clint implies companies don't actually hire him at all.

     Marshall's Relatives 

Marvin Eriksen, Sr.

Marshall's father.

Played by: Bill Fagerbakke

  • The Big Guy: Along with the rest of his family.
  • Cool Old Guy: Was an excellent father who encouraged sports and friendly barbecues with the neighborhood.
  • Doomed by Canon: His death in Season 6 has been foreshadowed since the middle of Season 4.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: His manner of coaching his sons borrows from the nastiest of drill sergeants. Marshall took it to heart and aspires to coach kids the same way.
  • Happily Married: With Judy until the last day.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Something that Marshall inherited.
  • It Runs in the Family: Marvin's height and small town hospitality are passed down to all of his sons.
  • Large and in Charge: He is The Patriarch of the Eriksens, a family of big guys.
  • Nice Guy: He's jovial, welcoming, and fun-loving, and inspires the same behavior in his children.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted, he shares his name with his eldest son and grandson to Marshall.
  • Over-Enthusiastic Parents: He gets too involved in Marshall's (and in extension also about Lily) life decisions. Lily later recognizes that's also a good trait Marshall got from him.
  • The Patriarch: Of the Eriksen family until he died.
  • Spirit Advisor: Subverted because Marshall was just imagining him. Even so, he always appears when Marshall needs guidance or a revelation on how to be a good husband or father.

Judy Eriksen

Marshall's mother.

Played by: Suzie Plakson

  • Celebrity Paradox: In a season 9 episode, her son Marshall (who is a Star Wars fan) got into an argument with Star Trek fan Daphne by calling her "Trekkie". Suzie Plakson was part of Star Trek: The Next Generation during its run.
  • Cool Old Lady: Very energetic and snarky.
  • Fiery Redhead: She is very, very assertive.
  • Friends with Benefits: Extended family-with-benefits with Mickey Aldrin. Yeah.
  • Happily Married: With Marvin Sr. Until he dies in season 6 anyway.
  • Housewife: ...And expects Lily to be the same.
  • Iron Lady: Everyone in the Eriksen family answers to her.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: With Lily. They were on friendly terms in Season 1 during the Thanksgiving episode. But in the later seasons, they become antagonistic. It probably has something to do with Lily leaving Marshall a couple of months before their wedding (as there was never any contention between them mentioned or shown prior to this). Though Marshall and Lily eventually made up, it would appear Judy never forgot. She also didn't like that Lily refused to be a "Mrs. Eriksen" by keeping her own last name. To dissuade Lily from moving to Italy with Marshall and Marvin, she constantly uploaded pictures of Marvin with "Anti-Italy propaganda" to guilt-trip her.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Eventually dates Lily's father after Marvin's death.
  • Shipper on Deck: She and Marcus were invested in Ted and Zoey's relationship over the phone.
  • Silver Vixen: She still looks good for her age and is a Statuesque Stunner to boot. She's also still hot enough to get Mickey Aldrin's attention.
  • Statuesque Stunner: At 6 feet tall, she is perhaps the tallest female character in the show.
  • Stealth Insult: Even when she tries to compliment Lily, she always says "how she looks like a street-walker". Lily still takes this without complaining, as she knows that's the closest Judy is going to be "nice" to her.
  • Supreme Chef: Of thoroughly Midwestern-style cuisine (IE incredibly unhealthy).
  • Sweater Girl: Is constantly wearing sweater in most of her appearances.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: She is notably taller than Mickey, her new paramour.
  • Widow Woman: Again, after Marvin Sr.'s death.

Marvin Jr. and Marcus Eriksen
Marvin Jr. (left) and Marcus (right)

Marshall's older brothers.

Played by: Robert Michael Ryan (Marvin Jr.) and Ned Rolsma (Marcus)

  • Alliterative Family: Like all male Ericksens, both their names stars with Mar.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Both of them. They like pranking Marshall and tease him for being shorter.
  • Big Brother Bully: They pulled a lot of pranks on Marshall since they were kids. The most infamous is when they gave Marshall "The Fierro", by making Marshall order 12 cups of coffee at the drive-thru while sitting naked in the front seat (his brothers jumped out and surprised him, causing him to jerk the car and make the hot coffee spill all over him)
  • Big Little Brother: Though he is the middle child, Marcus is the tallest of the Ericksen children and is the tallest Ericksen in general.
  • Cool Uncle: Marcus loves Marvin. Most likely Marvin, Jr. does too.
  • Groin Attack: Marcus gives them to Marshall as pranks, even as adults. And Marshall still falls for it.
  • Happily Married: Both of them. Their wives, unlike Lily, have the Eriksen family name. Subverted in season 7 when Marcus reveals he divorced his wife and moved to be a mixologist at the beach.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite being big brother bullies to Marshall, their hearts are in the right place and they really care for their brother.
  • Manchild: Marcus moves temporary with his mother, also regressing like Marshall.
  • Odd Name Out: Not them but Marcus' ex-wife Sarah is the only female member of the Eriksen family whose name doesn't end with a Y which is likely a Foreshadowing to their divorce.
  • One Head Taller: Both of them are much taller than Marshall.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted by Marvin, Jr. with his father and nephew. Also averted when Marcus also named his son after him.
  • The Prankster: They prank Marshall For the Lulz.
  • Rated M for Manly: Both of them, with Marshall and their father, play Baskiceball "The Most Dangerous and Awesome Sport in the World", a combination of hockey and basketball. Even Marshall wouldn't let his future son play that. And don't even start with "Cocoa Break!".
  • Shipper on Deck: Marcus and Judy both were invested in Ted and Zoey's relationship over the phone.
  • Those Two Guys: They usually appear together in Eriksen reunions. Marcus has appeared in separate episodes, thought.

     Lily's Relatives 

Mickey Aldrin
Lily's estranged father.

Played by: Chris Elliott

  • Bald of Awesome: He's incredibly fun to watch, even if the other characters don't think so.
  • Bald of Evil: Not evil... most of the time. But when you consider he taunted Marshall while he got lost in a house during a blackout...
  • Bumbling Dad: Is a game addict, is invested in board games dangerous for children and has neglected Lily for most of her life. He still loves his daughter, it's revealed to have taken care of Lily during her first years and later fills as a great nanny for baby Marvin.
  • Chewing the Scenery: So hammy, it's kind of a shame he and Barney never got a scene together.
  • Cool Old Guy: He creates board games and engages in some Chewing the Scenery.
  • Dirty Old Man: In season 7, he is seen peeking at a neighbor. In the following season, he noticed that Judy is a very foxy grandma and occasionally had casual sex with her.
  • Evil Laugh: Does a few while enjoying Marshall getting lost in the house during a black-out.
  • Friends with Benefits: Well, extended family-with-benefits with Judy Eriksen. The other characters are appropriately disturbed.
  • For the Evulz: If he messes with someone, it's probably just for fun.
  • Hands-Off Parenting: Which happened because of Mickey's obsession with games.
  • Harmful to Minors: His games usually have a mature and disturbing subtext in its themes which sometimes are also literally harmful.
  • Hidden Depths: Behind his Irresponsible Dad persona, Mickey is actually excellent at raising babies, as he took care of Lily in her first years before pre-school, and later would be a great babysitter for Marvin.
  • House Husband: Before he started gambling, he took care of Lily, as her mother worked.

Janice Aldrin
Lily's mother. The only time we see her is in Lily's Bridal Shower.

Played by: Meagan Fay

  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: She's only appeared in a handful of episodes related to Lily and Marshall's wedding. Particularly jarring because she actually lives in NYC so she has plenty of reason to be around.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: She is said to dislike Marshall because her cat died by jumping out the window while Marshall was playing with it.
  • Straw Feminist: She was working full-time when Lily was a baby, leaving Mickey to raise her until pre-school. Lily once claimed that her "feminist mom didn't want her conforming to traditional gender roles" and wouldn't allow her to have an Easy-Bake Oven as a child.
  • Two First Names: And since she's divorced from Mickey, this is no longer the case.
  • Your Cheating Heart: At some point, she cheated on Mickey with a Squash player, which lead into their divorce.

     Marshall and Lily's Kids 

Marvin W. Eriksen

Marshall and Lily's son, who is born in the Season 7 finale.

Played by: N/A (Baby), August Maturo (6 Years Old), Jake Elliott (pre-teen/teen), Spencer Ralston (Adult)

  • Alliterative Family: His first name, along with his father, grandfather and uncles, starts with Mar.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: His middle name—the W is short for Wait-for-it. Or at least that was the intention. Courtesy of Barney.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Not that Marshall and Lily had any big problems in their marriage, but twice over:
    • When Marshall learns Lily is pregnant, he's at a very low point in life. His father died recently, he's out of work, he's spent years in a soul-sucking job, and he just completely bombed an interview. But everything turns around when Lily announces she's pregnant.
    • When Marvin was finally born, Marshall finally gets over his own dad's death.
  • Birth/Death Juxtaposition: Played with.
    • When Marshall and Lily where trying to get pregnant of him, there was a time when they feared they physically couldn't have children. The day they discover there's no problem in that regard, Marvin Sr. dies.
    • Lily finds out she’s pregnant with him the same day The Arcadian gets demolished.
  • Dead Guy Junior: He's named after his late (paternal) grandfather.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Fitting for a baby.
  • Innocent Swearing: Little Marvin's first words were "Skunkjunk". Both Marshall and The Mother promptly got Oh, Crap! in their faces.
    Marshall: For the record, his first word was "Mommy".
  • Not in Front of the Kid: Lily tries to not swear in front of him, only doing it when he is taking a nap. She even avoided them when she was pregnant with him.
    Lily: You son of a me!!
    Lily: You son of a... (remembers she is holding Marvin) Itch-Bee!
  • One Steve Limit: Averted, he shares his name with his paternal grandfather and uncle.
  • Quirky Curls: Flashforwards show that Marvin will have these growing up.
  • Tagalong Kid: During Marshall's trip from Minnesota to Farhampton in Season 9. He can be seen as this to the gang in general.
  • Three-Month-Old Newborn: We see him right after his birth, so this was to be expected.
  • Tinkle in the Eye: In an episode, he doesn't poop for several days. He gets better during a Diaper Check... which ends up with an explosion of confetti into Marshall's face.
    Lily: Holy Confetti!!!

Daisy Eriksen

Marshall and Lily's daughter born (possibly in Italy) in the year following Barney and Robin's wedding.

Played by: N/A

  • Alliterative Family: Like most of the female members of the Eriksen family, her name ends with a Y (Lily, Judy, Ashley).
  • Babies Make Everything Better: It's because of her that Marshall decides to let Lily fulfill her dream job first.
  • Floral Theme Naming: She and her mother Lily.
  • Meaningful Name: Named after the flower in the Captain's powder room, where Ted found a pregnancy test; also, the episode's title.

     Robin's Relatives 

Robin Scherbatsky, Sr.
Robin and Katie's father.

Played by: Eric Braden (Season 4) and Ray Wise (Season 6 onwards)

  • Abusive Dad: He is a firm believer in Misery Builds Character, and as such his way of raising Robin includes leaving her in the woods alone with only a knife on her birthday.
  • The Atoner: He tries to get along with Robin but Robin still feels that it's not enough. However, Future!Ted narrates that she and her dad do get along later on and were doing the father-daughter dance on her wedding.
  • Canada, Eh?: And a very proud Canadian.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: For her 14th birthday, Robin' dad made her live in the woods armed only with a knife. Also when organizing a team of kids in Laser Tag, he was this to the children, while Barney gave candy to his teammates.
  • Engagement Challenge: He says that when he wanted to marry Robin's mother he killed a bear with his bare hands to give to her family as tribute. He also tries to force Barney to kill a rabbit if he wants to marry Robin.
  • Jerkass: He refused to acknowledge any of Robin's accomplishments, and raised her as a boy, giving her deep emotional scars.
  • Like Parent, Like Spouse: According to Robin's mother, he was just like Barney in his youth, being a borderline sociopath using many of the same schemes Barney used to sleep with women, Robin Sr. had a gay black brother like Barney, and his relationship with Robin's mother was a mirror of Barney and Robin's relationship, to the point that both relationships ultimately ended in divorce and eventually becoming Amicable Exes.
  • The Mafia: He may not be in the mob, but sure does across this way especially to Barney.
  • The One Guy: He is the only shown male relative of Robin.
  • Overprotective Dad: Zig-zagged, he trusts Robin to take care of herself but is also very critical of anyone she dates.
  • Parent with New Paramour: He got married to a woman named Carol. Robin was really upset that he didn't even bother to tell her about it.
  • Retired Badass: "Okay, I did some wet-work for the CIA in the 80's." "Yes, dad, I remember the bedtime stories."
  • Self-Made Orphan: Implied, since he says the last words his father ever said to him were "Shoot me already."
  • Testosterone Poisoning: He values being manly above all else.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: He did a serious number on Robin growing up with his emotional distance, but mellows out a great deal by the time of her wedding.
  • Why Are You Not My Son?: To Barney. At least he will be his son-in-law. He appears to have abandoned this view, later on.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: He wanted Robin to be a boy. He even raised her as one for years.

Katie Scherbatsky
Robin's younger sister.

Played by: Lucy Hale

  • Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak: Katie is more feminine than Robin at her age, but it's implied she also received the same treatment from her father in "Rally". In "Vesuvius" she is also shown playing hockey in full gear with Robin and drinking scotch while watching "The Wedding Bride 2".
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: A mild example. Pretty tame in most respects, but her actions with her boyfriend indicate this.
  • It Runs in the Family: In "Vesuvius" it's shown Katie also likes hockey, liquor and dislikes corny stuff (like Lily's scrapbook of romantic moments), just like Robin. She also explains Robin is not nervous about her wedding because "She is a Scherbatsky".
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: She is much paler and has much darker hair than her sister. And she's kinda cute.
  • Teens Are Short: Lucy Hale stands 5'2.

Genevieve Scherbatsky
Robin and Katie's mother.

Played by: Tracey Ullman

  • Bound and Gagged: She got through her flight by being strapped to the seat, after having an initial violent Freak Out.
  • Funny Foreigner: She's a Canadian who is also a Large Ham.
  • Gone Horribly Right: She's afraid that Robin and Barney's marriage might end up in divorce. Three years later...
  • Informed Ability: According to Robin, she's a Supreme Chef. We never got the chance to see it.
  • Large Ham: She's not fond of planes.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Tracey Ullman uses her natural accentnote .
  • Unseen No More: Out from the main five's parents, Robin's mother is the only parent who was often mentioned and never seen throughout the whole series until she made her first appearance in Season 9's "Vesuvius" which is four episodes away before the Grand Finale.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Or rather, why did it have to be planes? She's terrified of them, and in fact didn't come to Robin's wedding because she was too afraid to fly. She manages to overcome this fear and does make it.
  • Woman Scorned: When she was still The Ghost, Robin is seen talking with her on the phone. Robin leaves the phone while she goes doing something else, because she is talking non-stop about how much of a jerk is Robin' dad. Every five minutes or so Robin has to add "It's dad's fault" so her mom will still go on. The day of the wedding, Robin's mom was indirectly comparing her own past marriage to Robin's dad, "hoping Barney is nothing like him".

     Barney's Relatives 

Loretta Stinson

Barney and James' mother.

Played by: Megan Mullally (voice only, Season 2) and Frances Conroy (Season 6 onwards)

  • Bad Liar: It's obvious that she's hiding information about her sons' fathers when they're little. But when they're all grown-up, James knows that his biological father is out there which prompts him to look for him while Barney still believes that Bob Barker is his dad until he gradually accepts that he's not.
  • Cool Old Lady: She was a big groupie in The '60s.
  • December–December Romance: Barney tries to make this with Jerry and Loretta, even thought Jerry is Happily Married. James also tries this with Loretta and Sam Gibbs. Sam won.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Her natural hair color, and also she's said to have been the darling of the groupies.
  • The Faceless: In some flashbacks, especially before they introduced her into the present-day narrative.
  • Fiery Redhead: For Barney's wedding, the trait is in full force during her feud with Robin. She is a natural blonde.
  • Freudian Slip: Seems to be a family trait. Robin notices all the Stinsons say the word "bluff" in poker.
  • Lies to Children: Said many to Barney and James during their childhoods:
    • Told Barney he was too good for the basketball team, after the coach denied him the spot for being bad.
    • Said the mail lost all the invitations for his birthday party to justify why nobody showed up.
    • The most infamous were about their fathers: She said Barney's dad was Bob Barker and James' went from James Earl Jones, Bill Cosby, and so on.
  • My Beloved Smother: Don't make anything to her sons.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: She was starting as this to Robin. She later mellows to her after she discovers Robin can't have children and her mother is not coming to the wedding.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Played with. Loretta and Sam get back together, so the trope only applies for Barney's case.
  • Really Gets Around: She sure had a great time in her youth.
  • Silver Vixen: After all these years, she still has it.
  • Supreme Chef: Her scrambled eggs become the sensation of the hotel. Barney even says many songs from the 60s were in reality about her scrambled eggs.
  • Too Much Information: When the gang first met her, she blatantly told Lily and Marshall the she Really Gets Around back in her day.

James Stinson
Lily: Remember that time you two scored a brother-sister combo?
Barney: She was a little bit country.
James: He was a little bit way into black guys.

Barney's gay, maternal half-brother. Prior to the series, he was just as promiscuous and suit-obsessed as Barney, but he eventually found love and put that behind him. Ish.

Played by: Wayne Brady

  • Bald of Awesome: In Season 9. He's clearly just shaved his head, but it still applies.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Played for laughs in one episode when talking to older relatives is compared to a zombie apocalypse.
  • Freudian Slip: Seems to be a family trait. Robin notices all the Stinsons say the word "bluff" in poker.
  • Gym Bunny: It's revealed in the ninth season that he would hit the gym twice a day. It's part of the reason Tom chose to leave him.
  • Happily Married: To Tom. In fact, the fact that he was able to overcome the "Stinson Curse" gives Barney hope that he can eventually settle down. In the premiere of the ninth season, he reveals that he and Tom are getting divorced. A later episode does show that they back together, however.
  • Hard Gay: As a young man. One could hardly guess.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Happened to him in the backstory for his introduction episode.
  • Magical Negro: Essentially plays this role in "The Rebound Girl".
  • Never My Fault: James blames his separation from Tom on Gary Blauman, instead of what he did wrong to begin with (cheating on James with Gary.)
  • Nice Guy: Despite being described as exactly like Barney, he's much more mellow and mature.
  • Recurring Character: Usually Once a Season, sometimes more.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Were he to not keep taking precautions in case he was ever single again, he would likely not be single again.
  • Sibling Team: He was usually Barney's wingman and together they could even score a brother-sister combo.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: James is nice, easygoing, and Happily Married. Barney... isn't.
  • Sixth Ranger: Whenever he's around.
  • Straight Gay: Exhibits no stereotypical behaviors aside from a love of fine fashion that he shares with his straight brother.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In "The Poker Game" it's revealed that one of the reasons he gets a divorce from his husband is because he hit the gym twice A DAY, despite being married and with two kids... "just in case he's ever single again". Even Barney calls him out automatically.
  • Transparent Closet: While in college, he always had a hint of regret whenever talking about how much he loved his girlfriend.
  • Twofer Token Minority: He is half-black and gay.
  • Your Cheating Heart: The reason for his divorce. He cheated on him with Gary Blauman.

Sam Gibbs

James Stinson's real father, whom the gang meet in Season 6. Later it's revealed Sam is also a Minister at a Baptist Church. He has a minor role in the series overall but takes a more important role in Season 9.

Played by: Ben Vereen

  • Cool Old Guy: He connects with James at their first meeting and both are seen playing piano and singing together.
  • Disappeared Dad: He was absent of James' life because Loretta requested to raise him alone, and Sam respected that.
  • December–December Romance: He and Loretta get back together after many years.
  • First Guy Wins: Played with, in that, technically speaking, he wasn't Loretta's first romance, but he is the father of her first son.
  • Long-Lost Relative: He is James' biological father.
  • Preacher Man: He is revealed to be a Minister at a Baptist Church.
  • Where Da White Women At?: Averted. Initially Barney tried to convince himself Sam was also his dad (Loretta then reminds him "Sam is black"). Then at the wedding, Barney is the only one disturbed by Sam and Loretta's relationship only because Sam is going to marry him and Robin. He eventually apologizes and approves Sam and Loretta's relationship.

Jerome Whittaker, Sr.
Barney's long-lost father.

Played by: John Lithgow

  • Alliterative Family/Alphabetical Theme Naming/Family Theme Naming: He and his new family; his wife Cheryl, daughter Carly and son Jerome Jr.
  • Amicable Exes: Jerry and Loretta are still very polite to each other after many years, although they hadn't had much contact through the years.
  • The Atoner: After meeting Barney again, he tries to make up to him for not being able to settle down and be a good father by spending time with him and trying to impress him.
  • Can't Believe I Said That: When Barney reminds him Jerry told him to "Never stop partying" before abandoning him. An horrified Jerry reacts saying "I said that to a seven years old?!"
  • Chekhov's Lecture: Also counts as Chekhov's Skill.
    Jerome: A magician's best friend is a drunk audience.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: He was a wild hard-party with the same lifestyle than Barney nowadays. He decided to change after regretting being a bad influence for Barney and after meeting and marrying Cheryl.
  • Disappeared Dad: Lampshaded many times by his own admission.
    Barney, you're getting married! You grow up so fast. Well, I actually missed thirty years of your life...
  • Happily Married: With Cheryl, his actual wife.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Happened to him in backstory, where he was once a ladies man like his son but fell in love and married.
  • Long-Lost Relative: For the little time in Barney's childhood that they knew each other, he thought Jerry was his Honorary Uncle.
  • Love Redeems: "Magician's secret" of how Jerry found the right path.
  • Nice Guy: When he resurfaces in Barney's life, he's a polite family man who feels awful about not being a part of Barney's life.
  • Off the Wagon: Subverted. When Barney tried to revert him to his old ways, Jerry tricked Barney into thinking that he did relapse by getting him drunk.
  • Parent with New Paramour: After he left Barney, Jerry was very lost until he met and married Cheryl. When Barney tried to reconcile Jerry and Loretta, he planned to get rid of Cheryl, but eventually had to accept her.
  • That Man Is Dead: Jerry tries to make Barney understand that he is no longer "Crazy Jerry" after he hit bottom by leaving Barney.
  • "Well Done, Dad!" Guy: To get Barney's approval again, has to pretend being back in the game.

Cheryl Whittaker

Jerry's wife after he left Barney and Loretta. She's also the mother of Carly and J.J.

Played by: Nancy Travis (Season 6) and Nancy Lenehan (Season 9)

Jerome "J.J." Whittaker, Jr.

Barney's paternal half-brother.

Played by: Will Shadley

  • Alliterative Family: He and his dad's name not only start with J, but actually shares it. On the other hand, his mother and sister's name starts with a C.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: He isn't really, but Barney treats him as though he is because he's jealous of Jerry being in J.J.'s life and not his.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Only meets his half brother when he was reunited with their father.

Carly Whittaker

Barney's paternal half-sister.

Played by: Ashley Benson

  • Alliterative Family: Her and her mother's name starts with a C, while her father and brother's not only start with a J, but actually shares it.
  • The Ditz: She comes off as very... challenged, believing thirty-something Ted was a veteran of the Vietnam war, which he was too attention-starved to correct her on.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Ted certainly did. Well, until he found out whose sister she is.
  • Hipster: Her being a hipster millennial is why Ted cannot find a single common interest.
  • Likes Older Women: Gender Flipped as she's a young woman who prefers older men. She even tries making 30-something Ted into someone much older.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Only meets her half brother when he was reunited with their father.
  • Red Herring: A lot of viewers assumed that she might be the Mother....until Season 8's episode 14, "Ring Up".
  • Shotgun Wedding: Almost pushed into this with Ted by Barney after the latter found out that she hooked up with the former.
  • Unseen No More: Mentioned offhand in season six and then two years later in season eight (leading to Epileptic Trees that she is The Mother), only as a twist to reveal she was the 20 year old girl Ted had been spending time with one episode.


James' husband and, by extension, Barney's brother-in-law. He and James adopt two babies, Eli and Sadie.

Played by: Rob Fox (Season 2) and Jai Rodriguez (Season 7 onwards)

  • Continuity Snarl: In his first appearance in "Single Stamina", he was shown as a white guy. By his second appearance in "The Rebound Girl", Tom is shown to be latino.
  • Happily Married: He and James marry until Tom divorces him because James cheated on him. They eventually make up and reunite again after James tries for a long time.
  • Only One Name: He is only known by his first name, as it's never stated if Tom took the Stinson family name or not.
  • Satellite Character: He only appears three times: For the episode he and James marry, when their entire family attend Lily and Marshall's Thanksgiving dinner at their suburbs house and the "Gary Blauman" Where Are They Now segment with James. He is only onscreen whenever James is there.
  • Straight Gay: Like James, he also doesn't present any stereotypical gay mannerisms.
  • Twofer Token Minority: He is Latino and gay.

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