Gregory House was born to John and Blythe House. House is a "military brat", as his father served as a Marine Corps pilot and transferred often to other bases during House's childhood. One place in which his father was stationed was Egypt, where House developed a passing fascination with archaeology and treasure-hunting, an interest which led him to keep his treasure-hunting tools well into his adulthood.Another station was Japan, where, at age 14, House discovered his vocation after witnessing the respect given to a buraku doctor who solved a case no other doctor could handle.
After receiving his undergraduate degree at Johns Hopkins University, House studied medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, researching psychiatry and behavioral sciences. Following his expulsion from Johns Hopkins, he applied and was accepted to University of Michigan where he received his M.D. and met Lisa Cuddy, his future boss. There is a degree of sexual tension between the two characters due to a one-night stand in the past.
House suffers chronic pain in his leg, and has to use a cane to aid his walking. This is due to a past infarction in his right leg, which went undiagnosed for three days due to doctors' concerns that he was exhibiting drug seeking behavior. An aneurysm in his thigh had clotted, leading to an infarction and causing his quadriceps muscles to become necrotic. House had the dead muscle bypassed in order to restore circulation to the remainder of his leg, risking organ failure and cardiac arrest. He was willing to endure excruciating post operative pain to retain the use of his leg. After House was put into a chemically-induced coma to sleep through the worst of the pain, his then-girlfriend Stacy decided to choose a safer surgical middle-ground procedure between amputation and a bypass by removing just the dead muscle. This resulted in the partial loss of use in his leg, and left House with a lesser, but still serious, level of pain for the rest of his life. House could not forgive Stacy for making the decision, so she left him.
House frequently displays a cunning and biting wit, enjoys picking people apart, and often mocks their weaknesses. House accurately deciphers people's motives and histories from aspects of their personality and appearance. Dr. James Wilson once says that while "some doctors have the messiah complex — they need to save the world", House has "a Rubik's complex" — he needs "to solve the puzzle." House typically waits as long as possible before meeting his patients. When he encounters his patients, House shows an unorthodox bedside manner and uses unconventional treatments. However, he impresses them with rapid and accurate diagnoses after seemingly not paying attention. This skill is demonstrated in a scene where House diagnoses an entire waiting room full of patients in little over one minute on his way out of the hospital clinic.
House shows an almost constant disregard for his own appearance, possessing a permanent stubble and dressing informally in jeans and a t-shirt. He avoids wearing the standard white lab coat to avoid patients recognizing him as a doctor.
House shows a level of understanding of Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Japanese, Hebrew, Latin, and Hindi.