While searching for a quote to answer an other question, I read this passage in portalgame.wikia article about Chell.

Some people think that Caroline and Doug Rattmann are her parents.

This assertion has no reference to back it and is unexplained. What clues could lead to this conclusion?

  • 1
    Interesting. I've usually heard Caroline and Cave Johnson. – K-H-W May 1 '12 at 0:33
  • @KeithHWeston I'm open to any interesting fact that could indicate who are Chell's parents. – DavRob60 May 1 '12 at 0:35

As for Caroline, the the song that the turrets sing at the very end of Portal 2 begins with the words (translated from Italian, emphasis mine):

Dear beautiful, my beautiful darling!

My child, oh Chell!

For I hold her in esteem…

For I hold her in esteem.

Farewell to my dear!

As GLaDOS was clearly affected by Caroline's personality, I think that one can make the conclusion that it is Caroline who is singing this song to her child -- not to mention saving her from the turrets that appear to be about to kill her at the beginning of the above video.

There's also this painting hidden in a side room in Test Shaft 09. I would argue that that's not really the sort of portrait that an employer and his assistant would have made. Especially an assistant that Cave Johnson describes as "married to Science". It seems, to me, to imply a personal relationship of some sort.

Both of those are pretty thin, but that would be some of the logic behind concluding Caroline is Chell's mother and Cave is her father.

(There's also a drawing of Rattman's that some believe to depict Caroline (in the center, mouth wide open). That's the only connection between the two I can find. Perhaps his protection of Chell in the Lab Rat comic implies paternal instincts to some people?)


There is a clue that Chell's parents could be Aperture Science employees. In Portal 2, in the room with the children's science projects from "Bring Your Daughter To Work Day", one of them is labelled as being Chell's. This suggests that Chell is the daughter of at least 1 Aperture Science employee.

There is also a line at the end of Portal 2's co-op that indicates there were 2 Aperture Science employees who had the same last name as Chell, so it's possible she's the child of 2 Aperture Science employees.

As to her parents' specific identities, this is never revealed in either game.

  • But why Caroline and Doug Rattmann or Caroline and Cave Johnson? – DavRob60 May 1 '12 at 13:22
  • 2
    @DavRob60 There's nothing that backs up that idea. Who her parents are specifically is never made clear, but fans have latched onto various characters for speculation. – user1027 May 1 '12 at 14:13
  • Neither Caroline/Doug nor Caroline/Cave make sense, for various reasons. I think people only bring them up because they like the characters. – Tacroy May 1 '12 at 18:39
  • Cave and Caroline had a direct relationship. Not shown as a couple but as Boss and Assistant. We don't know if the relationship escalated but if any of the known characters were a couple, it would most likely be Cave Johnson and Caroline. – Blue May 1 '12 at 19:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.