Francine was adopted by Chinese-American parents at age 7; she was abandoned at an airport by her wealthy Caucasian birth parents because they were not allowed to bring a baby into first class with them. Her Chinese-American parents have their own biological daughter, Gwen, who they are ashamed of for being supposedly very attractive but quite stupid (as her parents put it, "imagine a Chinese girl [that] can't do math!"). When Francine was about 14 years old in high school, she had an obsessive crush on her algebra teacher, Mr. Feeny. She became so obsessed with him, she was discovered by his wife in his closet, "cutting herself and sniffing his T-shirts." Francine lied to them and said that she and Mr. Feeny were lovers. Mr. Feeny was sent to jail and committed suicide there. During the rest of high school, she was said to have been "very depressed," until she found the "miracle of marijuana".
Even though she was a party girl during her college years, she keeps her opinions mostly to herself in order to keep with Stan's conservative views. However, she does not keep her extremely intense hatred of George Clooney to herself. She hates him because he stole her spotlight in her only television appearance on Scarecrow and Mrs. King, which would have guaranteed her a movie career. Since then, Francine's dream has been to, at the very least, make George Clooney cry, which Stan has helped her do.
Francine, then a groupie, first met her future husband Stan when he had just graduated from the CIA academy and offered a post as an operative. She was trying to hitchhike home, and Stan pulled over and gave her a ride. During the trip, Stan veered to avoid hitting a car and accidentally ran over a raccoon, which he then shot to put it out of its misery. This act of compassion attracted Francine so much she started dating Stan and married him soon after they had met. When Stan was still oblivious to the fact that Greg Corbin and Terry Bates, their next door neighbours, were gay, he suggested that he and Francine fix them up with her sister Gwen. While Francine knows they're gay, Stan thinks her reluctance is because Gwen is "too hot" and then reminisces about her appearance at their wedding (though Stan does eventually discover the truth). In Office Spaceman, it was revealed that Francine is left-handed, though by the end of the episode it is apparent that she had been using her right hand so frequently she can no longer properly use her left.