The friction pendulum system is a sliding seismic isolator with self-centering capabilities. Under severe earthquakes, the movement may be excessive enough to cause the pendulum to hit the side rim of the isolator, which is provided to restrain the sliding. The biaxial behavior of a single friction pendulum, in which the slider contacts the restrainer, is developed using a smooth hysteretic model with nonlinear kinematic hardening. This model is extended to simulate the biaxial response of double and triple friction pendulums with multiple sliding surfaces. The model of a triple friction pendulum is based on the interaction between four sliding interfaces, which in turn is dependent upon the force and displacement conditions prevailing at these interfaces. Each of these surfaces are modeled as nonlinear biaxial springs suitable for a single friction pendulum, using the yield surface, based on the principles of the classical theory of plasticity, and amended for varying frictional yield force, due to variation in vertical load and/or velocity-dependent friction coefficient. The participation of the nonlinear springs is governed by stick-slip conditions, dictated by equilibrium and kinematics. The model can simulate the overall force-deformation behavior, track the displacements in individual sliding surfaces, and account for the ultimate condition when the sliders are in contact with their restrainers. The results of this model are verified by comparison to theoretical calculations and to experiments. The model has been implemented in programs IDARC2D and 3D-BASIS, and the analytical results are compared with shake table experimental results. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.