Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz

BernadetteBernadette Maryann Rostenkowski-Wolowitz is a microbiologist who is married to Howard Wolowitz. Bernadette has a high paying pharmaceuticals job at Zangen, where she helped her friend Penny get a job.

Although Bernadette is generally nice and good-natured, she has shown a dark side and admits she is a very vengeful person. Howard and the gang have noticed that when Bernadette is angry she sounds a lot like Howard's late mother, Debbie Wolowitz.

Early Life and Family

Bernadette is from Yorba-Linda, California and is of Polish heritage. Bernadette's father, Mike Rostenkowski, is a retired police officer who reportedly holds many right-wing views. When Howard first met Mike, Bernadette told Howard to avoid the following subjects: Jimmy Carter, Gardeners, Foreigners, Homosexuals, Sean Penn, Vatican II, Gun Control, Organic Food, the designated hitter rule, recycling and Howard being Jewish.

Bernadette comes from a large Catholic family with five sisters and brothers. During her childhood, Bernadette often took care of her younger siblings, which is one of the reasons she doesn't like kids.

Relationship with Howard

Howard was introduced to Bernadette by Penny, who was a waitress with her at the Cheesecake Factory. Howard and Bernadette soon bonded over their overbearing mothers. When Howard realized this could become a lasting relationship, he impromptly proposed to Bernadette. She did not accept his proposal, but the pair continued to date.

Towards the end of Season 3, Bernadette abruptly broke things off with Howard. It was later revealed she dumped Howard after catching him having cyber sex with "Glacinda the Troll" on World of Warcraft. Howard and Bernadette got back together early in Season 4 with Bernadette wanting to take it slow. When Howard proposed to Bernadette near the end of Season 4, she accepted.

When Wil Wheaton uploaded a video from Howard's bachelor party of Raj drunkenly describing some of Howard's sexual conquests, Bernadette questioned their impending wedding. A heart-felt apology from Howard for his past behavior won Bernadette over.

After gaining her PhD in micro-biology, Bernadette was head-hunted by a big pharmaceutical company and offered a well paying job. Bernadette's higher earning potential than Howard has occasionally caused a rift in their relationship. Howard's desire to start a family has also created tension in their marriage as Bernadette does not like children and doesn't want to put her career on hold.

Although she was initially against Howard becoming an astronaut, Bernadette eventually supported her fiance in his dream to go to space. As Howard's space mission approached, Bernadette decided that they should get married before he goes into space. After the couple were unable to wed at City Hall, they agreed to marry on the roof of the guys' apartment as the Google Earth satellite passed above. Sheldon, Leonard, Penny, Raj and Amy became ministers and performed their wedding.

Bernadette supported her husband Howard while he was in space and, when he returned home and wouldn't shut up about it, helped him adjust back to civilian life. Bernadette was not in favor of living at Mrs. Wolowitz's house as a married couple. After Bernadette finally convinced Howard to move his stuff away from his mother's house, his sentimental story of how he helped his mother through her husband leaving her gave Bernadette second thoughts.

For the anniversary of their first date, Howard decided to write a song for Bernadette and have his friends sing it to her. After an accident at the lab, Bernadette didn't make it to the date. Instead, Howard and his friends visited her in quarantine to sing the song, titled "If I Didn't Have You", for her.

Following Mrs. Wolowitz's death, Howard and Bernadette moved into her old house. Bernadette is taking the lead on renovating the house. When Bernadette organized a garage sale to clear out some of the junk, she wanted Howard to sell his prized life-sized Doctor Who TARDIS. In the end, the guys had a ping pong battle to decide who should get to keep it, and Amy won.

Notable Friendships

Bernadette first met Penny when they were both working as waitresses at the Cheesecake Factory. Penny set Howard up with Bernadette after he invoked a pact he had with Leonard. When Howard and Bernadette got back together again, Bernadette started to spend more time with the gang and Penny, in particular.

Bernadette is good friends with Amy, though not as close as they both are with Penny. As the two female members of the group with advanced degrees, Bernadette and Amy have enjoyed speaking at a more intellectual level than they can with Penny. Bernadette and Amy had a bitter spat when Howard and Sheldon fought over a parking spot at the university. Bernadette showed by scary side by keying Amy's car and having it towed. When Amy and Bernadette spent time away at a science conference, they were hit on by two guys who were like Howard and Sheldon. Bernadette and Amy realized they each had a thing for the guy who was more like the other's better half.

Bernadette has shown a compassionate and understanding attitude when dealing with Sheldon. When Sheldon was stuck on a physics problem and stayed up for days on end, Bernadette was able to convince Sheldon to go to bed. Bernadette also helped Sheldon overcome his fear of birds. When Howard was punishing Sheldon by making him do embarrassing tasks in return for introducing him to Professor Stephen Hawking, Bernadette sympathized with Sheldon. Bernadette said Sheldon doesn't know when he's being mean to Howard because "the part of his brain that should know is getting a wedgie from the rest of his brain."

Bernadette has a warm relationship with Leonard. Soon after she met Leonard, Bernadette showed an interest in Leonard's work, prompting feelings of jealousy in Howard and causing Penny to try learn more about science. Leonard saw a darker side of Bernadette when they were paired up in the gang's Scavenger Hunt.

Bernadette's relationship with Raj is more complicated than with the rest of the gang. Although Bernadette has been supportive of Raj and helping to find him a partner, his feelings for Bernadette caused tension between her and Howard. Bernadette has also been put out by how close Raj is to Howard. When Raj stayed with them, Bernadette and Howard were both angered by Raj's meddling in their marriage.

Bernadette has a cordial relationship with Stuart, though it's become more strained by Stuart living in their house after Mrs. Wolowitz's death. While Stuart started living with Mrs. Wolowitz, Bernadette tried to calm Howard down when he'd get angry about Stuart's close relationship with his mother. As Stuart tried to re-open his comic-book store with help from Mrs. Wolowitz, Bernadette tried to make Howard see that the used furniture was a reasonable price to pay to get Howard out of his mother's house. After Mrs. Wolowitz's death, Stuart continued to stay at her house, even as Howard and Bernadette moved in. Bernadette and Howard tried to ask him to leave, but they gave up when Stuart said it was his birthday.


Bernadette worked at the Cheesecake Factory with Penny as she studied to become a microbiologist. After getting her degree, Bernadette was offered a high-paying job at a pharmaceuticals company called Zangen. Bernadette has had the occasional accident in her lab, leading to stays in quarantine.


  • When Bernadette gets angry, she sounds uncannily like Howard's mother. Howard says "she sounds sexy when she's angry."
  • Bernadette is Catholic.
  • Bernadette is of Polish-origin and her family lived near Howard's family in 20th century Poland.
  • Bernadette is from Yorba Linda, California.

Bernadette Quotes

Bernadette: Aww, Raj did the dishes.
Howard: How do you know I didn't do them?
Bernadette: Because once when all the knives were dirty, you cut a bagel with your keys.

Leonard: You don't go into science for the money.
Bernadette: Speak for yourself. Last month my company both invented and cured restless eye syndrome. Ka-ching, ya blinky chumps!

Bernadette: Little warning before you jump into this marriage business. You're not just marrying him, you're marrying his family.
Penny: I think Leonard's mom's okay with me.
Bernadette: It doesn't matter if she's okay with you. The question is can she go to the bathroom by herself?

Bernadette: You better find my husband's mother, 'cause one way or another we're walking out of this airport with a dead woman.

Penny: That, believe it or not, is my prom dress.
Bernadette: Wow, you still have it? I just assumed it was balled up in a corner of a barn somewhere.