Rebecca Malone Pearson-Rivas is the overall protagonist of This Is Us. The show follows her life and the lives of the people she loved most. She was born Rebecca Malone to Dave and Janet Malone, and later was the wife of Jack Pearson until his death in 1998 and then later the wife of Miguel Rivas until his death near the end of the 2020's. She was the mother of Kate, Kevin, and Randall. At the start of the series, she and Jack had just moved into a new home in Pittsburgh and were expecting triplets. She lived in Los Angeles with Miguel and the start of the series, until he passed away.
At around eight or nine years old, Rebecca watches a woman stare at John Singer Sargent’s Madame X at the Met, but the image of this woman staring at a painting stays with her.
After years of watching her mother serve her father, Rebecca leaves high-school home-economics class and instead joins shop class. She meets her high-school boyfriend Alan there.
After Jack & Rebecca Meet
December 23, 1972 Jack and Rebecca meet. That night Jack heard Rebecca singing “Moonshadow” and shrugged off a potential life of crime because he fell in love at first sight . They go on a horrible first date that Jack saves in the end by telling her that she feels like home to him. They have their first kiss.
Jack and Rebecca do the dishes together for the first time.
Jack and Rebecca take a road trip to Los Angeles. After like a week of knowing each other, they decide to drive across the country together. They sleep together for the first time. Jack calls Rebecca “Bec”. They don't find Joni Mitchell’s Laurel Canyon home. Rebecca decides she wants to be wherever Jack is.
Jack meets Rebecca’s parents. Jack talks about protecting his brother from the monster in his bedroom,and about Vietnam, and confirming that he’s going to be in Rebecca’s life for a while and he really wins Rebecca over After the meal, Mr. Malone tells Jack that he wont let him to get close to his daughter.
Jack plays golf with Rebecca’s dad and tells him he is marrying his daughter. The golfing doesn't go well and Mr. Malone gets into Jack’s head. So Jack dumps Rebecca because he’s poor.
After a pep talk Mrs. Malone, Rebecca goes after Jack and Rebecca makes an epic speech in the middle of an auto shop and they make up.
Jack and Rebecca tie the knot at City Hall.
Jack and Rebecca celebrate their first anniversary in a very Jack and Rebecca way. Rebecca does something nice, and then Jack does something that blows Rebecca’s thing out of the water. This time they go bowling and Rebecca gives Jack a nicely bound journal of his doodlings. Jack turns the bowling alley into their own private dance floor.
Jack gives Rebecca some red dish towels with a bracelet for Christmas.
January 20, 1980: Rebecca gets pregnant in a bar bathroom after Super Bowl XIV.
Jack and Rebecca learn they’re having triplets, and they panic.
Jack and Rebecca have their first meal in their new house. Jack fights a pigeon.
Jack and Rebecca’s friendly neighbors gift them a slow cooker.
On their fourth anniversary, Rebecca gives Jack a hammer engraved with his name and Jack one-ups his wife by giving her a piano.
August 31, 1980: Jack Pearson’s 36th birthday and Rebecca goes into labor. While celebrating her husband's birthday, Rebecca's water breaks, and the couple immediately proceeded to the hospital. Rebecca births the first triplet, Kevin. Immediately, she enters a distressed state and the OB-GYN immediately takes her into surgery for an emergency c-section. Her daughter Kate was born and Rebecca entered recovery; however, the third triplet, Kyle, was stillborn as a result of the umbilical cord wrapping around his neck. Jack finds baby Randall in need of a family.
Rebecca meets Randall. Jack was all in the moment he laid eyes on baby Randall, but Rebecca needed convincing. Eventually, she has a chat with that little man and she is all in.
Rebecca meets William. Unable to connect with her adopted newborn, Rebecca seeks out the man she believes to be his biological father. He’s in a very bad way, but still offers some helpful advice: Rebecca should give the baby his own name, not the name meant for the baby she lost. He also hands her a book of poetry by his favorite poet, Dudley Randall.
Big Three’s first birthday. Jack and Rebecca are having trouble dealing with their grief over losing Kyle a year ago, so they pay Dr. K a visit and beg him for advice. He gives a speech about wrapping tragedy and joy together.
The Pearsons officially adopt Randall.
The Big Three get their big-kid beds.
After Rebecca gives Jack an ultimatum to Jack stop drinking, Jack gets his act together and wins Rebecca’s forgiveness. He also gives her that moon necklace and she promises to never take off.
The Pearsons buy a shiny new Jeep Grand Wagoneer because salesmen are helpless against Jack Pearson’s speech.
The Pearsons attend a school talent show. Little Kate is so intimidated by her mother’s talent, she gives up singing without even trying. Meanwhile, everyone thinks it’s cool for Kevin to do a terrible Mr. T impression.
July 1988: There’s a heat wave in Pittsburgh, and the Pearsons meet Yvette. The gang heads to the local. Randall makes friends with some of the other black kids at the pool.
Jack’s dad dies. It happens while Jack is off on a camping trip with the boys. Rebecca and Kate head to the nursing home, where Rebecca meets her father-in-law, Stanley, for the first time. They reach Jack before Stanley passes, but he wants nothing to do with his dad. Rebecca has to tell Stanley that Jack isn’t coming — she also mentions that Jack is a great father, despite what Stanley did to him.
The Pearson Thanksgiving traditions begin.
Rebecca meets William again . It brings to light Rebecca’s greatest fear: that Randall could, at any moment, be taken away from Jack and Rebecca. Rebbecca runs away from William’s apartment . Later William receives Rebecca’s letter denying him any interaction with Randall.
December 24, 1989: Kate needs an appendectomy.
August 31, 1990: The Big Three celebrate the big 1-0. Rebecca and Jack throw a big party for The Big Three . Kate has some issues with her friends so Jack cheers Kate up with vogueing.
October 31, 1990: Rebecca tells Randall about Kyle .
Winter 1990-91: The Big Three get the chicken pox and Rebecca outs her mother as a racist.
Rebecca and Kevin spends an afternoon waiting in line to have John Smiley sign his rookie card.
The Pearsons go to the cabin for the first time. Randall gets his glasses. Kevin sleeps with his mother at the floor after he feels like the fifth wheel of the family.
The Pool sequel. Pearsons go to the pool ahead of seventh grade. Kevin wonders if he’s a good person and Jack teaches Kevin about the Pearson men being “complicated”. Rebecca faces the fact that her kids are growing up and want nothing to do with her.
Jack invites Mr. Lawrence and his wife over for dinner.
Fall 1993: The Pearsons bury a time capsule at the cabin. Kate buries a game of MASH, Kevin buries a picture of him and Sophie, Randall picks a puzzle piece, Jack makes a recording about how much he loves Rebecca, and Rebecca secretly buries a sketch Jack drew of his dream house to build near the cabin.
Kevin and Rebecca go on a baseball-card-hunting adventure.
The Pearsons spend the day in NYC. The day starts with people yelling at each other while on public transportation and ends with a cheesy horse-drawn carriage ride in Central Park, but the big takeaway is that Rebecca doesn’t get to go to the Met to see Madame X and vows she will next time.
Rebecca has a cancer scare and Jack introduces The Tree into the Pearson family history. Rebecca ends up being fine, but not before Jack brings her to “his favorite tree” to calm her down. Of course, he made up the whole story about The Tree and only selected it because it was closest to a payphone, so they could wait there for her test results.
Rebecca joins her old band. Jack just feels threatened.
Miguel gets a divorce. The news from Miguel throws both Jack and Rebecca into a bit of a spiral.
Rebecca decides to go on tour with her band. Alongside her ex-boyfriend Ben. Jack’s jealousy pushes him back to the bottle.
Rebecca leaves for her tour and Jack goes after her. Jack drives completely drunk all the way to Cleveland.
Rebecca and Jack decide to separate. After an intense screaming match in which Rebecca admits to feeling like a ghost in her own life and Jack calls her “music career” ridiculous, they decide it is best to take a breather. They gather the Big Three for a family meeting.
Rebecca and Jack decide not to separate. Rebecca shows up at Miguel’s door looking for her husband. Jack admits he’s been drinking again. He’s an alcoholic and he needs help. Rebecca gets her reluctant husband in the car and promises him that in a few months, everything will be better.
Jack goes to Alcoholics Anonymous.
Rebecca takes Jack on a romantic date. At first, it bombs. But Jack finally begins to open up to Rebecca about some of the pain he’s feeling, and the two chat in the car.
Jack and Rebecca find a stray dog outside of their home.
Rebecca discovers Kate secretly wants to go to Berklee School of Music for singing.
Kevin shatters his knee and his dream.
Jack’s last Thanksgiving.
Family mall trip: Kate and Rebecca go to buy a dress, Randall asks Allison out with a Magic 8-Ball, Kevin realizes the sacrifices Jack has made for him, and Rebecca and Jack forget to pick up batteries for the smoke detectors in the house.
January 25, 1998: Super Bowl XXXII. Jack and Rebecca spend the day with a surly Kevin, ignored by Randall who skips the game to take Allison to see Titanic. While the children are out Jack and Rebecca stay home to watch the game together, later on agreeing that Rebecca should join him as his partner in the future Big Three Homes business venture. They go upstairs to make love and fall asleep. Then Jack places a red dish towel next to a faulty slow cooker and the Pearson house goes up in flames while the family is sleeping.
January 26, 1998: The Pearson house burns down, and Jack dies. Jack runs through fire to get Rebecca, Randall, and Kate safely out of the house and then goes back in to save Louie the Dog and some family mementos. It looks like he’s fine, but he goes to the hospital to get his burns checked out, and never leaves. While Rebecca is on the phone in the waiting room, Jack Pearson has a heart attack due to smoke inhalation complications and dies.
After Jack's Death
January 31, 1998: The Pearsons honor Jack exactly how he would’ve wanted. Rebecca gets a visit from Dr. K. Rebecca takes the kids to The Tree to scatter Jack’s ashes, and then she tells them that Jack had bought them all tickets to a Bruce Springsteen concert for that night.
Everyone is grieving. Rebecca can barely function, Kate is eating her feelings, Kevin is drinking his, and Randall has to hold the family together. Miguel makes good on his promise to look after Jack’s family, but not even he can fix Randall having to deal with his girlfriend’s racist father. Randall decides to defer going to Howard even though it is his greatest dream.
Matt hits on Rebecca in a RadioShack.
May 1998: The Big Three graduate! Kate has no college plans, she’s mad at Kevin for going to NYC to be an actor, Rebecca’s crying outside of school gymnasiums, and Randall is a valedictorian. Rebecca — at Miguel’s insistence — starts grief counseling.
Parents Weekend at CMU: Rebecca forces Randall to have lunch with Beth and Carol, which in turn helps Beth realize that Randall truly sees her, and they start dating. Carol helps Rebecca realize she can move forward in her life after the loss of her husband.
Rebecca and Kate move out into a new home. The first dinner party, celebrating Kevin and Sophie, the newlyweds, is sort of a disaster. Rebecca messes up the dinner . Marc shows up unannounced. The evening is saved when Miguel gives Rebecca a nice speech about being patient with her grief and Rebecca turns the evening around.
Rebecca starts to work again with a help from Randall.
Rebecca feels something’s wrong with Kate. She and the Pearson boys go after Kate to the Cabin. Rebecca kicks Marc out.
Rebecca, Randall, and Beth head to New York for Kevin’s acting showcase. Kevin tries to set Rebecca up with his acting teacher, Kirby. Rebecca is reminded of Jack and runs away.
October 31, 2008: Tess Pearson is born. Rebecca helps Beth. Rebecca’s still learning how to live as a widow. She joins Facebook so that she can stay connected with her kids and see pictures of her new granddaughter. She gets a message from Jack’s long-lost best friend, Miguel. They haven’t seen each other in eight years.
The Big Three's 36th Birthday / Present
Rebecca meets William. Rebecca wants William to keep their secret until she finds the right time to tell Randall.
William accidentally tells Beth that he’s met Rebecca.
November 24, 2016 Randall discovers that Rebecca and William knew each other.
When Randall goes to William’s apartment to grab some music recordings that are part of his birth father’s Thanksgiving traditions, he happens upon Rebecca’s letter, which reveals her decision to never tell Randall about William. Randall confronts Rebecca at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
Randall forgives Rebecca. The Pearsons honor William’s memory with breakfast foods, balloons, and confetti, and a nice stroll through the neighborhood while wearing fedoras. During this walk, Rebecca stops her son to once again say how sorry she is that she kept William from him, denying Randall more time with his birth father. She did it because she was scared, but she knows how selfish that was.
Kate has her first real singing gig. She sings “Landslide” as Rebecca looks on with pride . Rebecca is the last person Kate wants to see in the crowd, and afterward she fights with her mother.
Kate has a miscarriage. it bonds Kate and Rebecca together.
The Pearsons have an intense family therapy session. Kevin wants Rebecca to admit that Randall is her favorite and he goads her until she breaks down and tells him that it was easier to love Randall. The revelation brings the Big Three closer, and helps to heal Kevin and Rebecca’s relationship.
Kevin moves in with Rebecca and Miguel. Kevin begins to see both his mother and Miguel in a new light. Kevin and Rebecca grow closer.
February 4, 2018: Rebecca makes Jack’s favorite lasagna. Kevin and Rebecca bonds over anniversary of Jack’s death.
Kate’s wedding. Rebecca and Kate discuss their issues head-on. Kevin uses his toast time to get himself, Kate, Randall, and Rebecca to finally release that deep breath is feels like they’ve been holding in since Jack died.
Thanksgiving 2018: Rebecca and Miguel has an awkward Thanksgiving dinner at Miguel’s son. Miguel has tried to stay in Andy and Amber’s lives, but they’ve made it very difficult. He ends up valiantly defending Rebecca and their relationship.
Rebecca gives Tess a beautiful speech about what keeping a secret can do to you, and it inspires Tess to come out to Randall and Beth.
Rebecca gets to meet Jack’s brother.
March 2019 Baby Jack Pearson Damon is born. After a long, excruciating wait Kate gives birth to baby Jack. Rebecca and Miguel decide to move to Los Angeles to help Kate.
Randall notices his mother is having more than a few mental slip-ups when she arrives in Philly.
He and Rebecca have a blowout fight when Randall calls her on it, and implies that he’s the actual parent figure in this relationship.
Thanksgiving 2019: Rebecca, after leaving all day to see a movie, confides to Randall that he was right and she needs to see a doctor, but to keep it between them.
January 2020 Rebecca is diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. More testing is to be done, but she wants to keep this between herself, Miguel, and Randall for now.
Kate, Rebecca, and Baby Jack attend a retreat for families with blind children. Kate brings Rebecca because Toby is the worst, but it ends up being a great thing: Rebecca gives Kate sage marriage advice, tells her daughter about her diagnosis, and most important, Rebecca and Kate duet to Alanis Morrisette’s “Ironic” at karaoke night.
Kevin and Rebecca’s Fun Day Out. Kevin is helping Rebecca live out her carpe diem dreams by taking her to Joni Mitchell’s old Laurel Canyon house. They get Rebecca’s test results and learn she has Alzheimer’s.
Rebecca, Kevin, and Randall head to NYC for Kevin’s M. Night Shyamalan movie premiere. Kevin’s trying to give his mother one great day, but Randall can’t help himself and he brings up the clinical trial to Rebecca in the middle of the movie premiere party. Kevin and Randall have a huge fight and then Rebecca runs away.
Rebecca finally gets to see Madame X at the Met again. She tells her sons that she doesn’t have a lot of time left, and what little time she has she wants to spend it joyfully and with her family. She’s not doing the trial.
Randall guilt-trips his mother into going to the clinical trial. Randall calls Rebecca and reminds her that he’s been a good son, he’s forgiven her for a lot of things, and has never asked for anything in return. He’s asking her to do this clinical trial.
Baby Jack’s first birthday. Rebecca tells everyone her news about the clinical trial, Kevin figures out it was Randall who made her change her mind. Beth makes Rebecca and her kids go out while Randall and Kevin fight.
August 2020: The Big Three 40th. Rebecca gets lost while buying the cake for the Big Three's party due to a reaction her medication had with antihistamines she took.
Jack Pearson and Rebecca Malone got married on May 16th, 1976. Jack dies of a widow maker's heart attack brought on by smoke inhalation on January 26, 1998. Leaving his wife and children to make a new world for themselves.
Rebecca has a very complicated relationship with her mother that sometimes effected her relationship with Jack.
Rebecca is good friends with Shelly and Miguel Rivas to some extent.
Rebecca had a dream to become a singer but this dream caused conflict within her relationship with Jack. She adores Joni Mitchell. Career: She played at open mic nights before she met Jack, in fact that's where they first met eyes. Jack fell so in love that he stood up the girl he had a blind date with that night. Rebecca even traveled to California to give her demo to a record label where they called her "Pittsburgh Good". In her forties Rebecca began playing with a new band in hopes to regain her dreams after becoming a mother. This caused conflict with Jack because Rebecca failed to mention that a member of the band was in fact her ex boyfriend.
Notes & Trivia
- Rebecca didn't always want to be a mother. When she began dating Jack she let him know she did not have the same aspirations as her friends her age.
- Rebecca made Jack teach her about football. She refused to be like her mother staring at her father while he stared at the TV.
- When Rebecca and Jack first adopted Randall they actually called him Kyle, which was going to be the name of their third triplet that they lost. However, Rebecca felt the name Kyle didn't suit him, and wanted to change his name. So, after meeting Randall’s real father and getting a book of poetry from him, Rebecca decided to name Randall after the poet Dudley Randall.
- Rebecca is a fabulous singer and used to perform at open mic nights before she and Jack got married. In fact, Jack first spotted Rebecca while she was singing on stage. Rebecca reveals to Jack that she wants to be a singer like her inspiration, Joni Mitchell.
- After meeting with Jack the very first time, Rebecca wanted an excuse to see him again. So, she decided to leave her scarf in his car so that he’d have an excuse to see her again in order to drop it back off.
"I said no. But your father was so sure I was tired and I was grieving and he just kept pushing me. He was so determined that you were meant to be. Meant to be ours. Sometimes, in marriage, someone has to be the one to push to make the big moves. And oftentimes in our marriage, yes, it was your father. Our marriage wasn't perfect, it's true, but none are. And your father wasn't perfect either, but he was pretty damn close. As close as they come. He pushed a stranger on me, and the stranger became my child and that child became my life. He became you." -Rebecca Pearson (A Father's Advice)
"When you’re a mom, you get a front-row seat to the best show in town: watching your kids grow up." Rebecca Pearson (Brothers)
"Please do not tell me what my husband would do if he loved me. My husband's a freaking superhero, and you have no idea what you're talking about." -Rebecca Pearson (I Call Marriage)
"For the past sixteen years, I have put everything and everyone ahead of myself." -Rebecca (Jack Pearson's Son)
"I'm terrified that I'm going to make a hundred wrong decisions to keep you guys from living the perfect lives that you deserve, but I will protect you fiercely, and I will always sing to you when you can't sleep, and I will always be excited to hear you laugh." Rebecca Pearson (The Big Day)
"-No, no, no, no. -oh, my God. No, no, no, no, we're not, we're gonna, we're not gonna do that right now, Miguel. No, because I have to go in and talk to my kids and I have to ruin the rest of their life. So I'm gonna be strong for them. God help me, I'm gonna be strong for them and if you can't be strong either, then you need to take a walk around the block until you can." -Rebecca Pearson (Super Bowl Sunday)
"I'm in love with you, Jack. [...] You and I, we're gonna have it all together. We're gonna have the big moments, and the small moments, and... it's gonna be one for the ages." -Rebecca Pearson (Light and Shadows)
"My life has been full of "next times". Things I always assumed I would get to eventually. But now, I realize that I am running out of time to do them." -Rebecca Pearson (New York, New York, New York)
"You will not make yourself smaller because of me. This thing that is happening to me, it will not hold you back. Take risks, move in a direction even if it's small moves. I am your mother and I am sick, and I am telling you to be fearless. And the only answer that is acceptable is a resounding 'yes ma'am'." -Rebecca Pearson (Taboo)
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