Golden Girls: 10 Questions About Rose (Betty White), Answered

Golden Girls was absolutely one of the funniest sitcoms on television when it aired back in 1985 through to 1992.

The series centered around four older female roommates sharing a home in Miami, each with her own distinct personality. Dorothy was the sarcastic, surly one, Sophia the sharp-tongued retiree (and Dorothy’s mother), Blanche the promiscuous one, and Rose, the doe-eyed, naïve, and dimwitted small-town girl.

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While you might feel like you know everything about Rose you could possibly know given that she often rambled on and on with elaborate stories about her upbringing in St. Olaf, you might still have a few questions about the sweet woman.

Here are 10 of them, answered.

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10 Who Were Her Biological Parents

While we know a lot about Rose’s bizarre upbringing in the town of St. Olaf in Minnesota, we also know she was adopted. So who were her actual birth parents? The story is a pretty crazy one.

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Despite Rose’s insistence that her real father was Bob Hope, her father was actually a monk who had an out-of-wedlock lover whom he got pregnant with Rose. Her mother died during childbirth, and her father decided to go back to the monastery, leaving Rose an orphan.

She lived in an orphanage until she was 8, after which she was adopted by Gunter and Alma Lindstrom and raised on a dairy farm.

9 Did She Have Any Siblings?

While it’s unclear if Rose’s biological father ever fathered more children after her (presumably not if he was re-dedicated to the monastery), she did have siblings through her adoptive parents. There were eight in all, each named after flowers like Rose.

Rose was adamant that her parents loved she and all of her siblings the same, including Holly, Lily; the names of the others are unknown. And all in all, she had a happy upbringing with her small-town family.

8 How Many Boyfriends Did She Have?

Rose was married to Charles, whom she knew since she was a child, and they had five children. But did she date prior to their courtship?

Yes, she reported having a total of 56 boyfriends from the time she started dating until the time she paired up with Charles. Her parents did not allow her to date until she was a senior in high school, so considering she was presumably about 18 at the time she married Charlie, that would mean she had a very busy few senior years! However, she was also supposedly a virgin until her wedding night.

7 Did She Do Well in School?

The Golden Girls Cast

While we know Rose to be naïve and dimwitted, was she secretly book smart? She was supposedly the valedictorian at her high school, but that might not have meant much. She revealed that she was only chosen as such because she drew the longest straw. Clearly education in St. Olaf wasn’t exactly top-notch.

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Moving onward, she claims to have attended business school, college, and university. But in the latter, she apparently studied Pig Latin (yes, the fake rudimentary language children use), so Rose might have exaggerated her educational endeavours just a bit. Especially since she also admitted she never graduated from high school, which would make the truthfulness of her post-secondary education unlikely.

6 Who Were Her Kids?

While only two of Rose and Charlie’s children ever appeared on the show, Bridget and Kirsten, the couple had a total of five children. There was also Gunilla (pronounced “Janella”), Adam, and Charlie Jr.

In addition to her children, she also had a granddaughter, Charley Adams, who was Kirsten’s daughter, though it’s possible she has more grandchildren as well. Kirsten was played by Christine Bedford in season 1 and Lee Garlington in season 7, and the character only appeared in two episodes.

5 What Happened To Charlie?

Estelle Getty and Betty White in the Golden Girls

Charlie, Rose’s husband of 32 years, passed away in 1970, making him dead for at least 15 years at the time of the series start. In true Rose style, he died via heart attack while the couple were in bed together.

His manner of death is what made Rose afraid of intimacy for quite some time following Charlie’s death. Hilariously, after Rose finally began dating and was comfortable once again getting into bed with someone, another boyfriend died the same way! This must truly have given Rose a complex about getting into bed with men.

4 Where Did Rose Work?

While we rarely saw or heard of the ladies at their jobs, Rose was indeed employed as a grief counsellor. She moved to Miami after deciding that it was too painful to stay in St. Olaf in the house where she had so many memories with Charlie.

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However, she wasn’t exactly good at her job. Rose  was reportedly banned from the suicide hotline, boasting that she had the highest suicide rate of all her co-workers. (Hopefully someone explained to her that that wasn’t a good thing!) Not surprisingly, she was eventually laid off, and worked briefly as a waitress in a coffee shop, but was later re-hired at the counseling center. 

3 How Did She Make Enough Money To Live?

The Golden Girls

The grief counselling job didn’t pay that well, so how did Rose afford to live in the lavish home in Miami with the girls? Along with her paycheque, she also received a pension from Charlie’s former employer. He was a World War II veteran, and Rose was almost once conned out of her army wife money by an old war buddy of Charlie’s.

Later in the series, the company that Charlie had worked for went bankrupt, forcing Rose to find a better-paying job to keep up with the bills. She ended up working as a personal assistant at a local TV news station.

2 What Was Her Highest Achievement?

The Golden Girls Dorothy Blanche Rose and Sophia

Aside from her wonderful family, Rose’s biggest achievement was winning St. Olaf’s Woman of the Year award. After discovering, however, that Blanche and Dorothy embellished her list of achievements to secure her the win, she refused to accept it. In true St. Olaf fashion, however, her honesty in the situation led to the town giving her the award anyway.

Also in true St. Olaf fashion, however, there was another reason for their decision: the woman running against Rose was disqualified because of a skeleton in her closet. This didn’t mean a hidden dirty secret, but rather an actual skeleton; that of her dead husband.

1 Who Was Her Most Significant Romantic Partner After Charlie?

Rose’s most significant romantic partner following the death of Charlie was Miles Webber. While a college professor, she later came to learn that he was actually an accountant named Nicholas who was in witness protection due to his involvement with the mafia.

Despite learning this information, Rose loved Miles and moved to Chicago with him when a mobster he had put away died in prison and he was able to reclaim his life. But it was discovered that the death was faked, and Miles was forced to go back into witness protection, thus ending his relationship with Rose.

In a strange twist of fate, Rose ends up dating Karl, who it is revealed to be the mobster in question, but when he ends up back in jail, Rose and Miles rekindle their romance.

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