Ruth Powers is the Simpsons' next-door neighbor and a single mother. She is 36 years old.
Ruth is married and has a daughter, Laura Powers, who no longer lives with her. The circumstances behind Ruth's marriage are not explained, but has mentioned her ex-husband behaves similar to Homer Simpson, and he was continually stiffing Ruth on child support. For revenge, she stole his car.
Ruth and Marge Simpson became fast friends after Ruth moved in next door. One evening, they went to a ballet after Homer, who was originally supposed to go with Marge, literally got stuck at work (with his arms in two vending machines). Later they had a girls' night out where they went line dancing at a country bar called Shotkickers, did some target shooting (using a farmer's antique cans as targets), and went up to the Springfield sign overlooking the city. They ended up going on the run from the law, however, after Chief Wiggum tried to pull them over because of a broken taillight, and Ruth chose to flee because they were driving the car which she had stolen from her ex-husband. One possibility for she not getting any punishment from stealing the car is that her ex-husband didn't give any money even though the court demanded it.
The auto theft charges against Ruth were dismissed (undoubtably due to the fact that Lionel Hutz was representing her ex-husband), but she was later imprisoned for a short time for another offense, which is unspecified. While she was in prison, Ruth built up her muscles and became a bodybuilder, earned the title "Miss Mexican Mafia," and took steroids to expand her muscles. She and Marge remained friends, though this didn't stop her from joining the angry mob that attempted to kill Homer, and possibly the other Simpsons, for getting the town sealed in a dome.
She might also be an alcoholic, since she is seen at an alcoholics anonymous meeting in Simpsons: The Movie, as well as watching a video on the results of drunk driving with a horrified expression on her face in "Duffless." She was also at Moe's Tavern in New Kid on the Block when Moe started calling out for "Ivana Tinkle", with her clutching her mouth in an obvious attempt at restraining her laughter upon his first calling out the name, implying she immediately realized Moe was being duped.
No Longer in Evergreen Terrace
Ruth's house was seen being sold to a disguised Sideshow Bob. Lisa Simpson mentioned that Ruth moved to Detroit along with Laura. But, Ruth was seen attending the party Bob (as Walt Warren) was hosting, and then she was seen in “The Fool Monty”, obviously still a Springfield citizen. As a result, it can be said that Ruth sold her house to someone else, who then sold it to Bob after some time, as Lisa didn't exactly mention Ruth when she proclaimed the resident of Ruth's house moved to Detroit. Additionally, she wasn't seen greeting Homer Simpson and Marge Simpson when they visited her house in “All's Fair in Oven War”, and her house was also referred to as "the neighbor's house" instead of "Ruth's house." In "Tis the Fifteenth Season", Ned Flanders is seen giving Ruth a Christmas present on the front stoop of the house next door to the Simpsons house, indicating that Ruth still occupied the house and was still their neighbor. It is also skeptical if Ruth still does bodybuilding.
- On June 17 2015, as part of the level 54 update, Ruth was added to The Simpsons: Tapped Out. You first have to build Shotkickers to unlock her. In the game, she is a worker of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant.
- Since Ruth is 36 and her daughter is at least 18, Ruth would have given birth at age 18, possibly making her a teenage mother.