How I Met Your Mother Wiki
How I Met Your Mother Wiki
Loretta Stinson
Portrayed by:
Frances Conroy
Megan Mullally (voice only)
First appearance:
Last appearance:
Also Known As:
Gallery of Loretta Stinson images (17)

Loretta Stinson is Barney Stinson and James Stinson's mother.

Show Outline

As a young woman, she slept around a lot. As a result, Barney and James grew up not knowing who their fathers were. She also tended to tell outrageous lies to her sons to cover up bad news.

In Showdown​, It's revealed that Loretta told young Barney that his biological father is The Price is Right host, Bob Barker.

Season 4

In The Stinsons, the gang find that Barney has been hiding Loretta from them, but the bigger shock comes when they are joined by his wife Betty and son Tyler.

Barney explains that Betty and Tyler are actually actors he hired to play his family. Years ago, when Loretta looked like she was going to die, Barney hired an actress, Margaret, to play his pregnant fianceé, Betty, because Loretta always wanted to see him to settle down and have a family. When his mother miraculously got better, Barney was forced to keep up the ruse and cast Grant to play his son.

Barney eventually yields and confesses the whole story to his mother. Loretta is surprised but forgiving. She admits that she hates Betty and Tyler, and even thought the others were Barney's fake friends. Loretta reminds Barney that she once led a promiscuous lifestyle to rival his own. She explains that she merely wants Barney to be happy and urges him to pursue love when it crosses his path. Upon seeing Robin, Barney tells Loretta that he will try.

Season 6

In Cleaning House​, Barney convinces the gang at MacLaren's to help him move his mother's belongings out of his childhood home. They find evidence of his lonely childhood, covered up by Loretta's lies. Lily finds a basketball jersey, and Barney tells the gang that he was asked by the coach to quit the team because he was too good. James backs Barney; but when he is out of earshot, tells them that Barney was awful, but their mother covered it up with the story. James was lied to with a white glove sent from Michael Jackson for his 10th birthday.

Barney accepts the delusions, until he and his brother find an un-mailed letter to a "Sam Gibbs," with a photo of them, with the words "your son" on the back. Loretta desperately tries to lie out of it, resorting to yelling, making James distrust her even more and Barney believe her even more. James eventually snaps and yells at Barney, begging him to stop living in a fantasy world and accept that all the lies Loretta told them, like Bob Barker being his father, are false.

After James is introduced to his father, Sam, Loretta gives Barney a note to the identity of his real father. While they talk, Barney puts together all the work his mother did for him as a child, tears up the note and realizes that she's all the father he'll ever need. In Natural History Barney realizes that his real father is the man who he thought was his uncle, who abandoned him upon Loretta forbidding him from visiting ever again. In Last Words, Barney calls Loretta and tells her that he is finally ready to meet his father.

Season 7

In Noretta​, James expresses concerns that Barney's new girlfriend, Nora, is just like Loretta. Kevin mentions that it's not uncommon to date people similar to your parents. Barney eventually reaches the same conclusion as James during their date, but notes that Nora's resemblance to his mother makes her more special to him.

Season 8

In The Bro Mitzvah, Barney and Robin are meant to have dinner with Loretta, with Robin expressing concern that Loretta won't like her. However, after Barney is kidnapped for his surprise bachelor party, he calls Robin to tell her he won't be able to make it, and calls Loretta to cancel, telling her Robin cannot stand the idea of dinner with her alone, but Loretta is already at the restaurant so it's too late to cancel much to Robin's dismay.

The dinner goes from bad to worse when Loretta, thinking that Robin is a virgin, tries to teach her about sex. Robin confronts Barney over the phone for telling her this; he admits he panicked and wanted Loretta to like her. When Robin tells Loretta she is not a virgin, Loretta proceeds to drunkenly tell Robin of her wildest sex stories, making her very uncomfortable. When Barney arrives at his apartment building, Robin angrily tells her that she had to stop Loretta from being arrested for her drunken behavior and put her in a cab home.

However, near the end of the episode, it is revealed that the dinner is actually part of Robin's plan to give Barney the worst bachelor party of his life. Loretta enthusiastically agreed to help Robin trick her son, admitting that he deserves it for calling Robin a virgin, which she did not really believe. Loretta is then seen amongst the partygoers in the finale scene celebrating Barney's bachelor party.

Season 9

Loretta makes a few appearances during the weekend of Barney and Robin's wedding. She is mostly seen fighting with Robin after Loretta literally loses her shirt to Robin in The Poker Game. They make up in The Lighthouse​ after Loretta finds out Robin can't have children. Barney tells Loretta that he is marrying Robin because she is more important to him than his desire to start a family one day.

In Mom and Dad, Jerome and Sam arrive for the wedding, causing Barney and James to fight over whose father Loretta should reunite with, Barney wants her to get back together with Jerome, while James wants her to get back together with Sam. Despite trying to reunite Loretta and Jerome, Barney is devastated to discover that she and Sam have been secretly dating for nearly three years. Robin convinces him to give them his blessing, as James needs this more due to his impending divorce.

In The End of the Aisle, Loretta is in the church watching Barney and Robin get married.


Episode Appearances

  1. Single Stamina (first appearance, flashback, shown from the waist down)
  2. Showdown (flashback, shown from the waist down)
  3. The Chain of Screaming (mentioned only)
  4. The Stinsons (first appearance in person)
  5. Rabbit or Duck (mentioned only)
  6. Cleaning House
  7. Noretta
  8. The Magician's Code - Part Two (voice only)
  9. The Bro Mitzvah
  10. The Poker Game
  11. The Lighthouse
  12. Mom and Dad
  13. The End of the Aisle

Notes and Trivia

  • In The Yips​, Loretta is called Patty by Rhonda French, however Barney introduces his mother to the gang as Loretta. However, Patty could be a nickname for Loretta.
  • Loretta is known for her ability to cook remarkable scrambled eggs. In The Lighthouse, it is even claimed by Barney that her eggs were enjoyed by and inspired several legendary rock bands, including Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, and Pink Floyd.
  • In Noretta, it's revealed that she was a big fan of Julie Andrews and when James and Barney were young would sometimes speak in a British accent.
  • Frances Conroy also made a brief cameo appearance in The Locket as Aunt Shelly; one of Barney or Robin's relatives as they list the wild cards coming to their wedding. She is listed as a "Braless Dance Machine."
  • Because of her last name it can be determined that she is of Scandinavian descent.

External Links

Barney Stinson vte
Friends & Family Robin ScherbatskyTed MosbyMarshall EriksenLily AldrinLeslieLoretta StinsonJames StinsonEli StinsonSadie StinsonTomSam GibbsJerome WhittakerCheryl WhittakerJ.J. WhittakerCarly WhittakerEllie Stinson
Places MacLaren's PubBarney's apartmentGoliath National BankAltruCell CorporationLusty LeopardLaser TagStinson housePuzzlesTotal Rip Fitness
Phrases AwesomeSuit UpLegendaryHave you metTrue StoryWait for itChallenge AcceptedWhat UpPatent PendingThat's The DreamJust... O.K.?Stinson OutPleaseDaddy's home
Others Barney's Blog83Ted's best friendP.L.E.A.S.E.Barney's magicBarney's WeddingHigh FivesThe Bro CodeThe Playbook (book)The Threeway BeltDucky Tie (object)The Eight SlapsNothing Suits Me Like a SuitTuxedo NightBarney's Get Psyched MixParty School BingoPlatinum RuleLemon LawHot/Crazy ScaleThe Mermaid Theory (theory)Freeway TheoryThe Chain of Screaming (theory)The Ewok LineIntervention bannerThe International Date LineFive WordsFake History LessonFake listeningBarney's guysDibsBackwards perspective