As far as teen soaps go, One Tree Hill was one of the best. OTH had drama, hilarity, and, of course, some pretty iconic relationships that you couldn’t help but root for. Well, maybe you weren’t rooting for every single one. In fact, you almost certainly weren’t. There were definitely couples on OTH that were better than others. That said, the doomed couplings were still kind of fun to watch because they were often times just so strange.
There were a ton of pairings that came out of OTH’s nine-season run. But, which couple was the very best one? Any fan of the show obviously has their own personal favorite top ship, but check out our list to see if your all-time favorite OTH couple earned the top spot on this ~definitive~ list.
18. Rachel & Dan
Who knew that two of the most toxic characters on the series would go on to form the most toxic relationship ever on OTH? (Everyone, everyone saw that coming.) Rachel and Dan coupling up was all kinds of awful. Both of them were in a downward spiral on the show, after Dan being just generally evil, his heart transplant dilemma, and Rachel’s battle with sobriety. They formed their own terrifying alliance on season seven when they got married. Yeah, Dan randomly married his son’s former high school classmate. Weird. But, that’s not why this pair failed to work.
During their marriage, the new Mrs. Scott produced Dan’s show “Scott Free Redemption,” which was supposed to be a Dr. Phil-esque type of broadcast. Before they worked on this show, Rachel paid a family to take their son off of life support so that his heart could go to Dan. Ummm… nope. The two also tried to take advantage of the previous Tree Hill school shooting (from season three), which, unbeknownst to others at the time, is where Dan killed his brother, Keith. The two split up shortly after he revealed, on air, the truth about the murder. Basically, it just wasn’t love from the start with these two damaged characters and even if it was, there’s no way we’re shipping anything these two are involved in.
17. Deb & Dan
It’s really no surprise that any romance with Dan involved is a bad idea. Sure, papa Scott tried to redeem himself in the later seasons of OTH. But who could ever forget how poorly he treated his wife, Deb, in the earlier seasons of the series? You know, along with mostly everyone else on the show.
Looking back, Deb and Dan’s relationship was actually pretty abusive. The two were constantly fighting verbally, mostly about how unhappy they both were in their marriage, their son, Nathan, and Deb’s friendship with Dan’s ex-girlfriend, Karen. There really wasn’t even a happy or peaceful moment on the show when these two were involved. At one point in the series, Dan had a heart attack, and Deb refrained from calling 911 when she found him. Dan, of course, survived and their relationship. However, they eventually broke up during season three, which was the right move for both of them.
16. Brooke & Felix
Brooke and Felix’s poor relationship has nothing to do with the ever-fabulous Brooke Davis, obviously. It’s just that Felix was the absolute worst and Brooke deserved SO much better. If you looked up “slimy” in the dictionary, you’d see Felix’s face next to it. Sorry, but it’s true. From the get-go, you could tell that there was something off about Brooke’s new neighbor. The two started a friends-with-benefits thing, but it always seemed like Felix was never going to break out of his f*ckboy bubble, even when the two officially started dating.
And if you really want to know why Felix was the worst and was totally undeserving of being with B. Davis, he spray-painted the word an anti-lesbian slur on Peyton’s locker after she got closer to his sister, Anna, who was bisexual. Yeah, his inevitable breakup with Brooke was entirely welcome, as was his Tree Hill departure.
15. Mouth & Shelly
Mouth and Shelly had their cute moments, for sure. But, Mouth showed his true colors during his relationship with the Tree Hill High “clean teen.” Shelly, who was introduced in season four of the show, was a part of the school’s abstinence group. As Mouth and Shelly’s relationship progressed, the two obviously talked about the whole sex subject more than once.
The two eventually broke up after they couldn’t come to an agreement on the physical nature of their relationship. However, the two got back together and slept together (before soon breaking up again). It just seemed really uncomfortable to watch Mouth almost pressure Shelly into something she wasn’t comfortable doing.
14. Nathan & Peyton
Yes, people, once upon a time in the first season of One Tree Hill, Nathan and Peyton were an actual couple. Their relationship was mostly convenience-based, as the two were in the same popular social circle, and Nathan was the star of the basketball team with Peyton as a cheerleader. They had next to nothing in common with each other. Nathan was obsessed with making it big in basketball and Peyton was just on the squad because her BFF was – in reality, she was pretty emo. They were just a completely mismatched couple, though not a completely destructive pairing.
Luckily, the relationship didn’t last that long on the show. The two broke up during the fourth episode of season one and never looked back. We all know that they were much better suited for the people they actually ended up with.
13. Rachel & Mouth
While it’s true that Rachel and Mouth didn’t have a full-fledged relationship, what they did have was certainly intimate. Rachel was the queen of hot and cold relationships with everyone else in Tree Hill, but her one constant through everything was Mouth. Sure, it’s Rachel, so their friendship wasn’t without some peaks and valleys, but for the most part, it was smooth-ish sailing.
After Rachel was expelled from Tree Hill High, she was barred from attending the prom, too. So, Rachel and Mouth had their own little prom together. They eventually went on to travel together but broke up soon after their cross-country road trip. Mouth and Rachel could have worked. Well… probably not. They serve as evidence that while opposites attract, they’re probably not meant for each other.
12. Brooke & Chase
Brooke and Chase were the definition of high school sweethearts. In other words, they were perfect for one another in the hallways of high school but were never going to last come graduation. And turns out, that’s exactly what happened with these two.
There was nothing particularly bad about the couple’s relationship, minus it just not having that “spark” that most of the other One Tree Hill couples had. They bantered back and forth, flirted, and took things slowly as Chase was a “clean teen.” Plus, it’s not like they even lasted for longer than a season together. Bonus points for Laguna Beach‘s Stephen Colletti though.
11. Lucas & Lindsay
You could tell that Lucas and Lindsay were doomed from the start. For one, she’s not Peyton. Or Brooke. Once the couple moved back to Tree Hill, and Lindsay could see that Lucas obviously still had feelings for Peyton, their breakup was ultimately inevitable. However, One Tree Hill‘s screenwriters did not let them get to that place quickly. The pair actually got engaged, made it all the way to their wedding day, then Lindsay left LUCAS at the altar when she realized his book was about his love for Peyton all along. (Oh, and she was his editor.) She was right, after all. Lucas and Peyton got engaged shortly after this failed attempt at a wedding.
10. Peyton & Pete Wentz
Figuring out where to put Peyton’s relationship with this Fall Out Boy band member was increasingly difficult. On the one hand, it was easily the most unbelievable part of a show that literally had a dog eat the heart for someone’s heart transplant. On the other hand, Peyton and Pete Wentz were pretty well-matched, and it was kind of funny to see this pop-punk guy playing himself on a teen soap opera. So we gave them a solid #10 ranking. Pete sure made things interesting!
9. Skills & Bevin
You may have forgotten about Skills and Bevin, honestly. Neither character was really part of the core cast, meaning that their relationship was mostly sidelined for stronger OTH pairs. But, these two had a sweet love story that rivaled even the best and most popular ships on the show.
Bevin and Skills started up a relationship after the season three fantasy boy draft in which she picked him to hang out with. The couple watched The Notebook together and even had their own romance film-esque moment. Their pairing was mostly just for comedic relief, but it was a welcome addition with all the crazy drama going on with all the other relationships.
8. Jake & Peyton
Jake and Peyton looked good together on paper. They were both sensitive souls with a passion for music. But, the timing couldn’t quite work out for them. Jake was dealing with drama stemming from his custody battle with baby-mama Nicki, who was pretty much a certifiable psychopath. Jake and Peyton’s relationship was moving along smoothly enough, but of course Jake had to leave Tree Hill in order to retain custody of his daughter and, thus, his relationship with Peyton was over. While these two really could’ve had something special together, Jake Jagielski just didn’t last long enough for us to know.
7. Quinn & Clay
Quinn and Clay just worked, ya know? They both had their own personal issues that they were dealing with – Clay was struggling with the death of his late wife Sara, and Quinn with her soon-to-be ex-husband, David. So, they helped each other through some of the most difficult moments in their lives. Of course, since this is OTH, they did experience some fairly extreme trouble, namely from Katie Ryan. Katie was Clay’s stalker with an uncanny resemblance to Sara, and, in season seven, she shot both Clay and Quinn. However, the pair recovered and became stronger as a result. They did get their happily-ever-after, even if it involved Clay remembering that he had repressed the memory of his son who was living with Sara’s parents… Yes, that happened.
6. Mouth & Millie
Mouth and Millie were meant to be. The two already had being close confidantes of Brooke in common. And, when Brooke set them up together, it seemed like they’d have relatively few bumps in the road. However, that was obviously not the case. If it was, they’d probably take the top spot.
During the later seasons of the show, the two had a very on-again, off-again relationship, with drama really never letting up in Tree Hill. They broke up and got back together multiple times because of Millie’s relationship with Owen, Mouth’s with Gigi, her eventual drug addiction, and more. But, they somehow got through it all. At the end of the series, the couple got married and started their own talk show together. It was also revealed that Millie was expecting the couple’s first child during the series finale.
5. Lucas & Brooke
As long as Peyton was in the picture, Lucas and Brooke could never quite flourish. Lucas always had a thing for Brooke’s BFF, as much as he tried to deny it. He even cheated on Brooke with Peyton during the first season of the show. So, these two weren’t the strongest of all of the Tree Hill couples.
Even though they had their fair share of issues, there was still a fire to Lucas and Brooke’s relationship that couldn’t be denied. During their pleas in the rain, their fights, and their reconciliations, you could tell that there was a passion between these two. Honestly, that rain scene, where Lucas told Brooke that he chose her and not Peyton, was one of the most iconic in the series. Of course, Brooke and Lucas don’t end up together, but at least they get some points for being one of the hottest couples on OTH.
4. Karen & Keith
Karen and Keith may not have been involved with some of the juicier high school-based storylines on the show, but that doesn’t mean that they were totally unexciting together. In fact, this couple may have been one of the sweetest in all of OTH’s run. Keith, Dan’s brother, was always there for Karen since his brother abandoned their kid. He was the real father to Lucas, and everyone knew it,
The two didn’t start an official relationship until season three, and in classic OTH fashion, tragedy struck the couple when Keith was murdered by Dan during the school shooting that the same season. Shortly after, Karen found out that she was pregnant with his daughter, Lily. It’s so sad to think about how amazing this couple would have been. But, while they were together, they were near perfect.
3. Brooke & Julian
Brooke was paired off with more characters than almost any other character on the series, and honestly, all of them were undeserving to be with the queen that was Brooke Davis. Things changed when Brooke started up a relationship with Julian in season six, after meeting on the set of Lucas’s movie. And this wouldn’t be OTH if the couple didn’t break up a few times before finding happiness together.
However, the two got married in season eight. And after her struggles with infertility, Brooke discovers that she’s pregnant with twins. So, the two really got to live their happy ending as a family.
2. Lucas & Peyton
Lucas and Peyton had their ups and downs throughout the course of their six seasons on the show. Throughout every one of their respective relationships, you could tell that their feelings were elsewhere. Lucas’s feelings for Peyton directly helped to end both of his major relationships with Brooke and Lindsay. So, it’s no surprise that they’re one of the top OTH couples of all time.
Throughout the show, it was a strain to watch them date others because you knew that they were meant to be together. Eventually, they smartened up and started their relationship (for the third and final time) in season five. This time their “on” status stuck. The two got engaged and married during season six of the show. They also welcomed their daughter, Sawyer Scott, into the world that very same season before they both left the show.
1. Nathan & Haley
Duh! Who else would be One Tree Hill‘s top couple if not for Nathan and Haley? None of the other couples even stood a chance, honestly. Naley was, and always will be, endgame. The two quickly started a relationship in season one and, to the surprise of everyone, got married while they were still juniors in high school. That would have been an unwise move for just about anyone else, but Naley made it work (even with their season two Chris Keller-shaped bump in the road).
Throughout all of their ups and downs (relating to addiction and faux cheating scandals) Nate and Hales always came out on top. They got married twice, once in season one and another time with their beautiful season three vow renewal. The couple eventually created one of the cutest families in the history of television. You really can’t get a more perfect ship than Naley if you tried.