Rajesh "Raj" Ramayan Koothrappali is an Indian-born astrophysicist who lives in Pasadena and works at Caltech. Raj now also presents shows at the Griffith Planetarium. For a long time, Raj was unable to talk to women due to a case of selective mutism. Raj usually needed a beer in his hand before he could even talk to women, including his close friends.
Raj was born in New Delhi, India, the son of a wealthy gynecologist. Although Raj has tried to play down his family's wealth, Sheldon has seen notarized proof that the Koothrappalis are vastly wealthy - Richie Rich rich. During his childhood, Raj's parents employed a number of servants and his dad drove a Bentley. Raj has four siblings including Priya, his sister who had a relationship with Leonard. Before moving to Pasadena, Raj completed some of his education at the University of Cambridge, which he describes as looking like Hogwarts, where he fell in love with astrophysics.
Raj's parents often contact him by video chat from their home in India. Raj had talked about how his parents were in a loveless marriage and recently his got parents divorced. Raj's father visited Pasadena for Christmas 2014 following his divorce. When Raj's father decided to cut him off financially, Raj played his newly divorced parents against each ohter in a bid to get money from them.
Raj's fashion style usually includes sweater vests, khakis or cargo pants. Apart from his familiar purple jacket, many of Raj's clothes are in olive green or mustard yellow color. Despite being proud of his Indian heritage and culture, Raj is not a fan of Indian food, unlike the rest of the gang.
With his balls-to-wall moisturizing regime and his love of "chick" flicks and literature, Raj's metro-sexuality is well documented. Despite this and his very close friendship with Howard, described by Beverly Hofstadter as an "ersatz homosexual marriage", Raj has insisted he likes both women and their skin care products. Raj has also shown an interest in books and TV shows which are usually popular with a female demographic, including "Twilight", "Sex and the City" and "Bridget Jones' Diary".
Raj has admitted he was lonely when he first moved to America, but this changed when he met Howard as they could be lonely together. Raj has spoken fondly of Mrs. Wolowitz who welcomed him into her home when Howard was his only friend.
Despite Howard being his best friend, Raj did have an infatuation with his then-girlfriend Bernadette and wrote crude poems about them. When Howard and Bernadette got engaged, Raj's feelings eventually subsided. Given his closeness to Howard, Bernadette has spent a lot of time with Raj and has often tried to help him with his relationships. Howard and Bernadette got Raj a dog, Cinnamon, to keep him from being lonely. Raj's close relationship with his dog has raised eyebrows, as did his "relationship" with the iPhone's virtual assistant, Siri.
During Howard and Bernadette's pregnancy, Raj attended very closely to the needs of the expectant mother, even if they didn't always want his help. Raj joined them for hospital appointments, helped them shop for baby items, and recommended nurseries. When Stuart moved back with in Howard and Bernadette, he and Raj competed to take care of Bernadette as her due date approached. When Halley Wolowitz was born, Howard and Bernadette named Raj her godfather.
After Raj applied for a job at the local planetarium and spent the whole interview talking about his faults, Raj's father wondered why his son was so lacking in confidence now. Dr. Koothrappali suggested that the constant stream of barbs from his best friend, Howard, were the reason he was so down on himself. Raj dismissed his father's idea at first, but quickly came to realize that Howard's jibes were hurting his confidence. Raj told Howard he thought they should spend some time away from each other. Howard was hurt by Raj quickly turning his back on him, leaving both of them bitter about the state of their friendship.
When Howard struggled to put together a birthday party for Halley, Raj eventually stepped in and bailed his friend out. After a confrontation in a bouncy house, Raj and Howard started pushing each other around while airing grievances about their friendship. This cathartic release helped the old friends to patch things up.
When Howard was in space, Raj formed a close friendship with Stuart, who moved into Raj's apartment. Raj has helped Stuart throw parties at the comic book store. They both signed up for an online dating service together and went to a mall to try meet women.
From the beginning, Penny had a soft spot for Raj, even though he couldn't speak in her company - at least not without a beer for six years. Penny accompanied Raj to the People Magazine banquet when he was included on their 30 Under 30 To Watch list, though Raj's drunkenness spoilt their night. His friendship with Penny was almost ruined when they had a one night stand, of sorts, at the end of the fourth season. After Raj admitted to Penny that they didn't actually have sex, the pair patched things up.
After Penny saw a fuzzy object while looking through Raj’s telescope, he realized she had spotted a previously unidentified comet. Raj argued that because it was his telescope, which he positioned, he should be the one who takes credit for discovering the comet. When Leonard failed to convince Raj to include her name on the comet registration form, an angry Penny went to see him herself. His arguments about it being professionally embarrassing to include the name of a non-astrophysicist on the form fell on deaf ears and, finding Penny much more intimidating than Leonard, Raj eventually relented and agreed to share credit for the discovery.
When Raj's father finally cut him off financially, Raj was forced to move out of his apartment. He ended up moving in with Leonard and Penny in Apartment 4A. Raj and Penny got along well when they lived together, but their closeness bugged Leonard. Raj later moved in with Bert, who was renting out a room of his house.
Dr. Koothrappali is an astrophysicist at Caltech. When he discovered a planetary object beyond the Kuiper belt, 2008 NQ17 (which he nicknamed Planet Bollywood), Raj was included in People magazine's "30 Under 30 To Watch".
When Raj's research into trans-Neptunian objects came to an end, his working visa expired and he was threatened with deportation. Raj tried to take another job at the university, but the presence of a female professor required him to drink during the interview, leading to him making inappropriate comments. Sheldon offered Raj the option of working for him. Raj eventually accepted Sheldon's job offer, though working for him was not easy.
Raj and Howard formed a "filk" (folk & science-fiction) band, "Footprints on the Moon ", when Stuart was looking to add live music at the comic book store. Raj and Howard performed a song they wrote together, "Hammer and Whip: The Untold Story of Thor vs. Indiana Jones". Later, "Footprints on the Moon" became the official house band of Fun with Flags.
When Howard was too busy with his parental duties to rehearse for an upcoming performance by Footprints on the Moon at a bah mitzvah, Raj invited geologist Bert to join the band. Bert came prepared with his own geology and sci-fi song, told from the perspective of the boulder that chases Indiana Jones. After Bernadette got fed up with Howard not being useful at home, she allowed him to return to the band in time for their booking, where they performed as a trio.
In addition to his day job, Raj also now hosts shows at the Griffith Planetarium.
Although Raj's selective mutism didn't stop him from having a few one night stands, he was generally unable to start a lasting relationship with a woman. When Sheldon's sister, Missy, visited, Raj was able - with the help of experimental drugs - to charm Missy, but his chances with her fizzled out when the drugs wore off. Raj had a short-lived relationship with a deaf woman, Emily, who was only using him for his family's money.
When Raj helped Stuart throw a Valentine's Day party at the comic book store, Lucy approached Raj and the pair went out for coffee. Raj fell into a depressed funk after Lucy climbed out of a bathroom window at the coffee shop. When Lucy explained her social anxiety to Raj, he agreed to meet up with her for a proper date. Raj decided their first date should be a silent "texting date" in a local library.
After Raj and Lucy had been dating for a few weeks, Raj wanted Lucy to meet his friends, but she was nervous of meeting the whole group. Raj chose for her to meet Amy one-on-one, but after they started bickering about Lucy's social anxiety, she locked herself in the bathroom. Raj talked Lucy into attending a party at the apartment where she could meet the whole group, but on the night of the party she text him to say they shouldn't see each other any more.
Lucy dumping Raj was the catalyst for him working through his selective mutism. The night after Lucy dumped him, Penny stopped by Raj's apartment to check on him. As Raj told Penny how he felt unlovable, Penny said it was just the booze talking, but Raj revealed he hadn't drank since the night before. Although Penny cried when Raj could talk to her, the girls were soon wishing he would shut up.
When Emily contacted Raj on a dating site, he didn't want to come on too strong so he had Amy write a message to Emily. After chatting with Amy, Emily decided she didn't think she was right for Raj as he was too shy and passive. When Raj interrupted Amy and Emily at a coffee shop, she thought he was weird and lacked boundaries. However, when Raj later ran in to her by chance at a coffee shop, they agree to go out on a proper date.
When Raj and Emily had a double date with Howard and Bernadette, Emily realized she once met Howard before when he clogged her toilet and climbed out her bathroom window, giving him the nickname "Clogzilla". Emily's dark side, which includes watching gruesome horror movies, has concerned Raj, though he has tried to look past it.
Raj's close relationship with both Emily and his dog, Cinnamon, led Howard to invent a game "Emily or Cinnamon?", in which players decide whether a creepy statement from Raj was about his girlfriend or his dog.
When Emily left Raj alone in her apartment, he took the opportunity to snoop around her bedroom, inadvertently breaking one of her dresser draws. After Emily returned home, the couple have the first fight of their relationship. Emily got her own back on Raj by suggesting there was something he shouldn't see in her closet, prompting Raj to worry given Emily's darker side.
Raj considered breaking up with Emily because their personalities are so different. When Emily invited Raj to a picnic at a graveyard, Raj tried to break up with her. Sensing what was coming, Emily told Raj he will have to get to the point if he wants to break up with her, she wouldn't do it for him. Instead, Raj told her that he was trying to say he loved her.
Raj's long-term relationship with Emily came to a sticky end when Raj met an attractive woman, Claire, at the comic book store. After being conflicted about his feelings for Claire, Raj dumped Emily just before Valentine's Day in hopes of starting a relationship with Claire. Raj was disappointed to find Claire had recently got back with her boyfriend and wouldn't want to date a guy who would dump his girlfriend around Valentine's Day.
Soon after, Raj bounced back from being single again when Emily and Claire both tried to start up a relationship with him. As Raj struggled to decide who he should see, he began dating both Emily and Claire at the same time, a feat he made sure his friends fully appreciated.
In Season 10, Raj was alone again after his dual relationships with Emily and Claire ended. When he worked late one night at the university, Raj started talking to a cleaning lady, Issabella, and made plans to see her. When he told his friends about her, he lied and said she was an astronomer. When Issabella found out about Raj's lie, she tried to end things but Raj promised to make it up to her. She agreed to go out for dinner with him, but they later broke up.
Fed up of being single, Raj got his ex-girlfriends Emily, Claire, Lucy and Emily together to see why they broke up with him and why he can't find a mate. Their conclusions were that Raj is too needy, pushy, a Mama's boy, and seemingly in a relationship with Howard.
When Bernadette told Howard she was going out for drinks with her new, single colleague, Ruchi, Howard sensed an opportunity to set up his friends, Raj and Stuart. When the pair went to the bar unannounced, they met Ruchi and competed to try interest her. Later, Raj met up with Ruchi again, only for Stuart to arrive. When they started trying to impress Ruchi again, she told them she wasn't looking for a relationship but would be interested in hanging out as friends.
After Raj ran into Ruchi at a bar, they started a casual relationship as Ruchi was not interested in a serious relationship. Raj asked Penny and Bernadette to help him avoid rushing head-first into the relationship. When Bernadette worried that Ruchi was trying to replace her at work, Raj was caught in the middle as Ruchi admitted to taking Bernadette's projects. When Bernadette stopped replying to Ruchi's messages, she asked Raj if Bernadette had said anything to him. Raj said he had defended Ruchi to Bernadette, but she was upset at the idea that she needed somebody to stand up for her. Raj said it's what boyfriends do, but Ruchi was clear she did not want to be in a relationship, so she dumped him.
Raj found himself in the middle of a domestic drama when he learned the woman he was dating, Nell, was still married to her husband, Oliver. Although Raj was unsure about dating someone who only separated from her husband 14 days ago, he continued to see Nell. When Oliver, still clinging to hope of patching things up with his estranged wife, confronted Raj the guys quickly bonded and became friends. Nell broke things off with Raj when he seemed to be taking Oliver’s side in their separation.
When Raj found a crashed drone in Howard and Bernadette’s backyard, she encouraged them to find the owner. By reviewing the drone’s recordings and talking to Stuart at the comic book store, Raj was able to identify Cynthia and return her drone. Finding Raj sweet and charming, she gave him her phone number. Things fell apart when she played back a recording on the drone which featured Raj saying he wanted to “start making babies” with her.
- Raj was born on October 6, 1981.
- Full Name: Rajesh Ramayan Koothrappali, Ph.D.
- Raj's selective mutism was inspired by a former colleague of The Big Bang Theory's co-creator Bill Prady back in his computer programming days.
- Raj has a Ph.D. in Astrophysics.
This page has been updated to episode 1124. The Bow Tie Asymmetry
Raj: Oh man, first monster I see I'm gonna sneak up behind him, whip out my wand and shoot my magic all over his ass!
Stuart: Do you hear yourself when you say these things?
Raj: Doesn't anyone have a rod of resurrection? Because if you've got one, I need it bad. Get in here with your rod and give it to me.
Stuart: Okay, you need to say these things in your head before you say them out loud.
Raj: Okay, here we go.
(To Leonard & Penny) Say cheese.
(To Sheldon & Amy) Say cheese.
(To Howard & Bernadette) Say cousin.
Raj: I've said this before and I'll say it again: Aquaman sucks!
Raj: Amy, good luck getting these guys excited about a dinner with a theme. I gave up when no one cared about my Tom Hanks-Giving.