A very driven and ambitious girl, Rachel Berry joined the glee club in hopes of being a part of something special and increasing her popularity. Her biggest aspiration is to get out of Lima and star on Broadway, a goal she is getting closer to by getting into NYADA, The New York Academy of Dramatic Arts. Rachel has brief relationships with Puck and Jesse St. James, the lead singer of New Directions’ rival, Vocal Adrenaline. After dating on-and-off for three years, Rachel and fellow glee club member Finn Hudson get engaged, but decide to take a break after Rachel is accepted into NYADA and Finn is not.
Finn Hudson was the quarterback of the football team and dating the head cheerleader when he risked his entire social standing to follow his passion for singing and join the glee club. He is conflicted with his growing attraction to Rachel Berry, especially when he finds out that his girlfriend, Quinn Fabray, is pregnant, unaware that he is not the father. He breaks up with Quinn upon discovering the truth and starts dating Rachel. The two date on-and-off for three years before Finn proposes and they get engaged.
When Will and Rachel realize that Finn has no real plans after gradating high school, the two encourage Finn to make a decision about his life. After watching “Saturday Night Fever” and feeling a connection to its main character, Tony Manero, Finn decides that he wants to be an actor and applies to the Actor’s Studio in New York so he can be with Rachel. When he gets rejected, Finn decides to no longer hold Rachel back and joins the Army.
The only openly gay kid at McKinley, Kurt Hummel was bullied and tormented for years by the school’s jocks. Refusing to back down, Kurt eventually confronts one football player in particular, Dave Karofsky, and is disturbed when Karofsky grabs him and kisses him. When Karofsky threatens his life, Kurt is forced to transfer to Dalton Academy, a private school with a zero tolerance policy for bullying, where he meets Blaine Anderson. The two fall in love and eventually lose their virginities to each other. Like Rachel, Kurt dreams of getting out of Lima and making it on Broadway. Rejected from NYADA, staying in Lima is too much for Kurt, who leaves for New York and moves in with Rachel.
Head cheerleader and president of the Celibacy Club, Quinn Fabray originally joins the glee club in order to spy on it for Sue Sylvester and to keep an eye on her boyfriend, Finn Hudson. After getting drunk and feeling insecure, Quinn has a one night stand with Finn’s best friend, Puck, and gets pregnant. When the truth is revealed, Quinn loses everything: her social status, her boyfriend and even her family. She gives the baby up for adoption and spends the next year trying to regain everything she lost the year before.
In the middle of the race for Prom Queen, it is revealed that Quinn’s real name is Lucy Quinn Fabray and that, before transferring to McKinley, she was an overweight outcast with no friends. Unhappy with her life, she reinvented herself by losing weight and getting a nose job. Before returning for her senior year, Quinn reinvents herself yet again by dying her hair pink, piercing her nose and getting a tattoo. She tries to get custody of her daughter, Beth, by framing Shelby Corcoran, Beth’s adoptive mother, as an unfit mother.
She eventually realizes how crazy she was acting and pulls herself together, getting accepted to Yale. Quinn is the most vocal against Finn and Rachel’s wedding, not wanting Rachel to throw away her future. She agrees to go to the wedding to support Rachel, but gets into a car accident while texting Rachel that she is on her way, resulting in her becoming temporarily paralyzed from the waist down. After weeks of physical therapy, Quinn regains her ability to walk and is able to dance at Nationals.
Noah “Puck” Puckerman
One of the most popular football players at McKinley, Puck mocks his best friend, Finn Hudson, for joining glee club, calling it “Homo Explosion,” but eventually joins the club himself. Puck has relationships with Santana, Rachel and Mercedes through his sophomore year, but tells Quinn that he loves her after she gives birth to their daughter, Beth. When Beth’s adoptive mother, Shelby, returns to Lima with Beth in Puck’s senior year, Puck forms a relationship with his daughter and falls in love with Shelby.
The two sleep together, but Shelby quickly realizes that she has made a mistake, as she is Puck’s teacher, and resigns from McKinley.
After graduation, Puck plans on moving to Los Angeles and start a pool cleaning business.
A car accident when he was eight left Artie Abrams paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair. Artie does not let his handicap hold him back, being an active member of the glee club, part of the Academic Decathlon Team and a player on the State Championship winning football team. He also doesn’t let the fact that he will never walk stop him from dreaming about dancing, as he frequently goes into fantasies in which he is leading elaborate dance numbers.
Introduced as a shy goth girl with a speech impediment, Tina Cohen-Chang joins glee club with Artie Abrams in their freshman year. While on a date with Artie, Tina admits that she fakes her stutter as a way to avoid talking to people. The summer before her sophomore year, Tina works at Asian Camp with fellow glee club member Mike Chang and the two start dating. They had the most stable relationship of anyone in the glee club, having been together for almost two years before breaking up after Mike graduated. Tina is frequently overlooked for solos, admitting that the one thing she looks forward to in the future is getting one.
The glee club’s resident diva, Mercedes Jones describes herself as “Beyonce and no Kelly Rowland.” She is frequently frustrated by Mr. Schuester favoring Rachel Berry over her for solos. This causes a rivalry between the two girls which is settled many times by the two of them having sing-offs. Fed up with being underappreciated by the glee club, Mercedes quits and joins Shelby Corcoran’s rival club, The Troubletones, although she rejoins New Directions after The Troubletones lose at Sectionals.
Mercedes starts dating fellow glee club member, Sam Evans, after the two go to prom together, but they break up when Sam’s family moves to Kentucky. Mercedes moves on and starts dating Shane, a football player, but is conflicted when Sam returns and tries to win her back. After she and Sam kiss, Mercedes decides she need to spend some time alone to work through her feelings and breaks up with both boys. However, when Sam takes a video of Mercedes performing and puts it up on Youtube, where it gets a lot of views and positive comments, she is touched and the two get back together. Sam’s video of her gets the attention of a record label, who offers her a recording contract as a back-up singer in LA.
Originally nothing more than the bitchy snarky cheerleader, Santana Lopez uses her overly sexual relationships with the boys at McKinley, including Puck and Finn, to hide the fact that she is a lesbian and in love with her best friend, Brittany Pierce. The two have a strictly sexual relationship and Santana denies having any feelings for Brittany, until Brittany confronts her about their relationship and Santana admits that the reason she is such a bitch is because she is in love with Brittany and she is afraid of how people will react to finding out that she is gay.
At the beginning of their senior year, Santana and Brittany start officially dating, although Santana is still scared of going public with their relationship. However, she is forced out of the closet when a congressional candidate running against Sue Sylvester outs her in an ad. She comes out to her parents and they accept her, while her grandmother, whom Santana respects immensely, disowns her. She eventually becomes more comfortable with her sexuality, fighting for her right to kiss Brittany in the school’s hallways and sending Brittany a singing valentine in front of a huge party at Breadstix.
After graduation, despite considering staying in Lima with Brittany or moving to New York, Santana decides to go to the University of Louisville, where she got a full scholarship for cheerleading.
Brittany S. Pierce
Caring and good hearted, Brittany Pierce is also incredibly naive and innocent to the point where most of the students at McKinley have called her stupid. The most sexually fluid member of the glee club, Brittany is most likely bisexual or pansexual. She claims to have made out with everyone at McKinley and has been in love with both boys and girls, as evidenced by her relationships with Artie and Santana. Brittany is elected senior class president, defeating fellow glee club member Kurt Hummel. Brittany fails her senior year with a 0.0 GPA and is unable to graduate with the rest of the seniors.
Blaine Anderson is originally introduced as the lead singer of the Dalton Academy Warblers, New Directions’ competition at Sectionals. Blaine becomes a role model for Kurt, as he is openly gay and was also bullied because of his sexuality. When Kurt transfers to Dalton to get away from his harassment, the two become good friends and Kurt develops a crush on Blaine. Eventually, Blaine realizes his feelings for Kurt and the two start dating. At the beginning of his junior year, Blaine transfers to McKinley, as he cannot stand to be away from the person he loves.
Mike Chang was a football player who was afraid to dance outside of his room before joining glee club. Being a part of New Directions helps Mike become more confident in his dancing, as he usually takes the lead in performances and eventually decides to go to college for dance, a decision that briefly causes rifts in his relationship with his parents. He starts dating fellow glee club member Tina Cohen-Chang after the two of them work together at Asian Camp. After graduating, Mike moves to Chicago after getting a scholarship from a dance school. Not wanting to have a long-distance relationship, he and Tina break up.
Will Schuester, McKinley’s Spanish teacher, takes over the glee club after Sandy Ryerson is fired, hoping to restore it to its former glory. Will was married to his high school sweetheart, Terri, before divorcing her when he finds out that she lied to him about being pregnant. He then begins an on-again off-again relationship with the school’s guidance counselor, Emma Pillsbury, who had been in love with Will for quite some time. With help from New Directions and McKinley’s synchronized swimming team, Will proposes to her and the two get engaged.
Sue Sylvester is the coach of the six-time national cheerleading champions, the Cheerios, and the arch-nemesis of Will Schuester and New Directions. Although she initially seems heartless, the softer side of Sue is shown when she allows Becky Jackson, a girl with Down’s Syndrome, on the Cheerios. It is revealed that Sue’s older sister, Jean, whom she is very close to, also has Down’s Syndrome. She continuously tries to sabotage the glee club, but gives up these attempts after the members of New Directions help with the funeral arrangements for Jean after she dies. Sue unsuccessfully runs for a vacant Congressional seat, losing to Kurt Hummel’s father, Burt.
Emma Pillsbury is McKinley’s guidance counselor, who has an extreme case of OCD, triggered by her ginger supremacist parents. Emma was in love with Will for a long time and in an attempt to get over him, as he was married and expecting a child, started seeing football coach Ken Tanaka. She and Ken become engaged, but break up when Emma postpones their wedding in order to help Will and the glee club at Sectionals. Emma and Will, who divorced his wife after finding out that she was lying about being pregnant, start to see each other briefly before Emma moves on with her dentist, Carl Howell.
The two of them get married in Las Vegas, but their relationship faces difficulties as Emma is still a virgin and they have not consummated their marriage. Emma and Carl annul their marriage and Emma starts to get treatment for her OCD. Over the summer, her and Will start dating again and move in together. With the help of New Directions and McKinley’s synchronized swimming team, Will proposes to her and the two get engaged.
Sam Evans moved to Lima with his family after attending an all boys boarding school. Although he initially joined the football team over the glee club to increase his popularity, he eventually becomes a member of New Directions. After performing a duet together, he and Quinn Fabray start dating, until she cheats on him with Finn Hudson. When his father loses his job and his family’s house is foreclosed on, Sam is forced to move into a small motel room with his parents and two younger siblings.
He and Mercedes Jones start dating after going to junior prom together. However, their relationship comes to an abrupt end over the summer when Sam’s father gets a new job and the family moves out of state. He returns to Lima to help New Directions win Sectionals and makes it clear to Mercedes, who has since started dating someone new, that he is determined to win her back.
One of the many football players who bullied members of the glee club, Dave Karofsky paid special attention to Kurt Hummel, targeting the boy because he is gay. When Kurt stands up to him, Karofsky responds by kissing the other boy, revealing his own repressed homosexuality. After Santana Lopez catches Karofsky checking out Sam Evans, she blackmails him and threatens to out him unless he agrees to start an anti-bullying club at McKinley and be in a fake relationship with her, where they can act as each other’s beards and win Prom King and Queen.
He transfers to a different school for his senior year and seems to be more comfortable with his homosexuality after running into Kurt at a gay bar, although he still has not come out. After another student at his school sees him and Kurt together on Valentine’s Day, Karofsky is outed and bullied so cruelly that he attempts to commit suicide, but is saved by his father.
Jesse St. James
Jesse St. James was the male lead of Vocal Adrenaline, New Direction’s show choir rival. He befriends Rachel Berry at the urging of Vocal Adrenaline’s coach, Shelby Corcoran, Rachel’s biological mother. Jesse transfers to McKinley and becomes a member of New Directions after he and Rachel start dating. However, he goes back to Vocal Adrenaline and breaks up with Rachel right before Regionals. After flunking out of UCLA for never going to class, Jesse returns to Lima to apologize to Rachel for choosing a national title over love and the two go to prom together, where he gets into a fight with Finn Hudson. He starts a show choir consulting business where he coaches show choirs before competitions and becomes New Directions’ coach before they compete at Nationals. He later returns to Vocal Adrenaline, this time as their director.
Sebastian Smythe is a member of the Dalton Academy Warblers who transferred to the school after Blaine Anderson left. He is openly gay and extremely attracted to Blaine, who he comes on to multiple times despite knowing about his relationship with Kurt. After he learns about New Directions’ plan to do Michael Jackson songs at Regionals, Sebastian tries to sabotage them by having the Warblers, who will be performing before New Directions, also sing Michael Jackson songs.
This leads to an underground sing-off between the two show choirs where Sebastian spikes a slushie with rock salt and throws it in the face of Blaine, who jumped in front of Kurt, the intended target, causing the boy to need surgery to repair his cornea. After learning about Dave Karofsky’s suicide attempt, Sebastian, who had once cruelly insulted Karofsky at a gay bar, apologizes to Kurt and Blaine for how he has treated them and dedicates the Warbler’s Regionals performance to Karofsky.