You know what they say: breaking up is hard to do. It was certainly hard for all of the following television couples. However, it may have been even harder on all of their diehard fans. And, hey, no one will judge you for being a little sad over a TV couple’s breakup. It’s easy to get invested in the ups and downs of a couple’s (sometimes very long) romantic journey.
Some of the following breakups hit the hardest simply because they straight up shouldn’t have happened because they were so clearly meant to be together. Other couples weren’t so lucky, and their heartbreaking splits stuck. Don’t mind us, we’re just tearing up thinking about all of those couples that sadly bit the dust. Check out the following list of TV breakups that hit us the hardest.
20. Carrie & Aidan – Sex & the City
Let’s get this out of the way: everyone knows Carrie and Mr. Big were endgame. But, that doesn’t mean that we didn’t feel heartbroken when Carrie and Aidan had one of the most emotional breakups ever. The pair actually broke up a couple of times, but their most devastating one was their first, in season three, right after Carrie confessed to having an affair with Mr. Big. Aidan said that he just wouldn’t be able to look past it even though he still loved Carrie. In that very moment, we were all as teary-eyed as Carrie and Aidan as they broke up during Charlotte’s wedding festivities.
Turns out, there was a pear-shaped engagement ring in their future, after all. And another heartbreaking breakup in season four.
19. Brooke & Lucas – One Tree Hill
All Brooke wanted was for Lucas to choose her. Throughout the pair’s turbulent relationship, Lucas really only had eyes for Brooke’s BFF, Peyton. During a particularly terrifying school shooting in season three, Lucas and Peyton kissed… while Lucas and Brooke were dating. It may have been understandable considering the circumstances, but the pair had already fooled around behind Brooke’s back before, making it all ten times worse. The basketball player just wanted to be forgiven by his girlfriend, but it was too little too late. Brooke was tired of worrying about her boyfriend’s feelings for her BFF. She wanted him to “need” her and put her first.
Since Lucas couldn’t do this (after getting two chances), it was probably for the best that they broke up. However, that doesn’t make this breakup here any easier.
18. Rachel & Finn – Glee
It’s been years since Rachel and Finn broke up… but their season three breakup still stings. As the two were on their way to the courthouse so that they could get married, Finn decided to take his love to the train station instead. He said that he wanted her to go to New York City to pursue her Broadway dreams. But, he’d stay behind and go into the army. In other words, he broke up with Rachel and not only broke her heart but ours, too.
He figured that he would only hold her back and didn’t want to be the reason that Rachel would miss out on her goals. It was a mature move for the high school pair. However, it was still a totally devastating moment for the adorable twosome.
17. Luke & Lorelai – Gilmore Girls
Luke and Lorelai, like many other TV couples, have had a rocky relationship road. They had that will they/won’t they thing going on for a bit there. But, with their similar charm and humor, it was only a matter of time until they got together. They eventually realized they were made for each other and started dating in season four. They even got engaged after Lorelai proposed to her man. #GirlPower. Yet, they couldn’t quite take that wedding jump (until years later). Instead, after Lorelai urged Luke to elope and he declined, she slept with Christopher. Luke didn’t find out until the next morning when he had come around to the whole eloping idea. Easily one of the most devastating moments ever. Luke > Christopher every time.
16. Seth & Summer – The O.C.
Seth and Summer’s relationship wasn’t always smooth sailing, but it was definitely always adorable. Throughout the pair’s relationship, they broke up for a variety of issues (Zach and Anna come to mind). But, no other breakup of theirs was as bad as their season three one. Basically, Seth and Summer were super in love with one another, but something TOTALLY relatable was standing in the way: college. Summer was set to attend Brown University in the fall and Seth’s plans were a bit more local. Since he didn’t want Summer to turn down her scholarship in order to stay with him in California, he broke up with her. He even went so far as to tell her that he wasn’t in love with her anymore. It was a total lie and was only meant to help Summer in the long run. Summer’s emotions were too real though, and seeing her heartbreak over his admission was pretty terrible.
15. Betty & Jughead – Riverdale
The unlikely Betty and Jughead pairing, lovingly known as “Bughead,” has been the staple relationship of Riverdale almost since it began (sorry, Archie/Veronica but “Varchie” just doesn’t sound that good). They’ve had their ups and downs, as any normal high school relationship would. Unlike a normal high school couple though, these two have had to deal with mysterious murders and gang memberships. So, it’s almost like their season two split was sort of inevitable. That doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking.
Betty wanted all-in on Jughead’s serpent lifestyle. She even made the *questionable* decision to participate in a serpent initiation a.k.a. stripping for the entire Southside gang at their hangout while her mom was in the crowd. It was wildly, wildly uncomfortable and, unfortunately, led to Bughead’s split. Jughead didn’t want to put Betty in danger by having her embrace the Southside culture. It’s a noble desire, but Bughead’s destined to be together. So, maybe he should just give her a snake tattoo already?
14. Hannah & Adam – Girls
Hannah and Adam’s relationship was a hot mess during the first few seasons of Girls so their original breakup back in season one wasn’t their most heartbreaking. It was only after Adam’s ~interesting~ romance with Jessa flamed out for a bit in the show’s final season that he found his way back to his ex-girlfriend. And Hannah just so happened to be pregnant. The two serendipitously decided to get back together and even raise her baby. However, their joy at this reunion only lasted about a day.
The two went to a diner and didn’t have to say anything at all to each other. They both just knew they’d made the wrong decision and it was never going to work out with them again. They didn’t say anything explicit about a breakup, but you could see it in their tear-filled eyes that things were officially over between them.
13. Margaret & Peter – The Crown
Margaret and Peter never had a chance. Of course, The Crown is based on real-life events in the British royal family’s lives. So, the pair’s breakup was inevitable, as history would state. It was still sad to see Margaret have to give up on her happy ending. The princess was head over heels for her man, but Peter was recently divorced (a big no-no for a potential royal spouse back then). Margaret’s sister, Queen Elizabeth, wouldn’t grant her permission for the pair’s possible nuptials thinking it would lead to a scandal.
Even after the couple waited until Margaret was a tad older, Elizabeth continued to veto the wedding. If the two wanted to marry, Margaret would have to give up her royal titles. Instead of doing so, the two decided to part, which left the princess devastated.
12. Rory & Jess – Gilmore Girls
To anyone who would dare think otherwise: Jess was Rory’s best boyfriend (sorry, Dean and Logan fans). That’s why Jess and Rory’s breakup hit us the hardest. They challenged each other, and their fun banter rivaled that of even Luke and Lorelai (almost). The couple still dealt with some pretty textbook issues, like his inability to bring her to prom because his grades were too poor, which led to their breakup.
Jess never fully confided in Rory about his problems, so when Luke threw him out for Jess’s failure to graduate, he left Rory and Stars Hollow and didn’t say a word. The pair doesn’t even officially break up until Rory responds to Jess’s repeated (silent) phone calls and tells him “goodbye.”
11. Blaine & Kurt – Glee
Word to the wise: Long distance relationships never work. This adorable couple quickly realized that was the case shortly after Kurt moved to NYC and Blaine came to visit. The trip was supposed to be a fun one, but the pair was eventually broken apart by Blaine’s upsetting revelation: he cheated. He admitted to Kurt that he had fooled around with someone else when the pair wasn’t communicating as well as they could have been. This admission devastated Kurt (as well as the viewers) and led to their initial breakup.
But, everyone need not worry. After a few subsequent bumps in the road, Kurt and Blaine eventually ended up together in the Glee series finale even tying the knot!
10. Blair & Chuck – Gossip Girl
Blair and Chuck had a couple of devastating breakup scenes (as their constantly turbulent relationship status exemplifies). But, their most heartbreaking “uncoupling” might have been in season two. Blair helped Chuck through the loss of his father and the potential loss of his father’s vast estate. Yet, his uncle, Jack, sought out to take away the company from his nephew, which he succeeded in doing. After some intense arguing, Chuck did try to do the right thing and apologize, but the damage was already done. We all know they end up together, but that’s only after more fights, breakups, and makeups than we can count.
9. Jon & Ygritte – Game of Thrones
Jon was only undercover as a wilding, so when he actually fell in love with one, it was pretty much doomed already. But watching him say goodbye to his first love was still pretty devastating. Their actual breakup scene was so hard to watch as both Jon and Ygritte both what had to happen. But that didn’t mean it had to be so sad! Instead of sending him off with a little bit of love, Ygritte decided to propel a few arrows his way to, begrudgingly, get him to GTFO. It broke both their hearts, but it had to be done.
8. Claire & Jamie – Outlander
Time traveler Claire was still technically married to her husband Frank when she met Jamie – so you know things weren’t set up to be easy for these two. Throughout a couple of seasons, both Claire and Jamie knew that an intense battle was on the horizon. Once it finally arrived, Jamie did the noble thing and sent a then-pregnant Claire back to the 1940s for safety. For some reason, breakups that really aren’t anyone’s fault but are because of extenuating circumstances just sting a bit extra. This was one of the most devastating TV breakups simply because Claire and Jamie’s love for another was (and is!) so clear and strong.
7. Leslie & Ben – Parks and Recreation
Ben was a late-arrival to the Parks and Recreation cast but he made it so much better. Thank God he came to Pawnee, Indiana, since Ben and Leslie quite frankly were made for each other. It was another one of those extenuating circumstances breakups when these two came to a brief end, but that didn’t make it hurt any less. Leslie was set to run for office, and a relationship with a superior wouldn’t go over well with any constituents. The two decided to break things off as she runs for local office before things got too complicated with them. Eventually, they realize that their relationship should come before everything else (cause, they’re the OTP) and they decided to reignite the flame during season four, much to the delight of fans everywhere.
6. Hanna & Caleb – Pretty Little Liars
Hanna and Caleb were one of the cutest Pretty Little Liars couples. Dare we say – they were the cutest. In Pretty Little Liars world, nothing good can stay that way for long. It was basically inevitable that Hanna and Caleb’s relationship would end in heartbreak – or at least pause in heartbreak. Ironically (or maybe not), their split was because of a whole bunch of lies and – who else – Mona. Caleb told Hanna that he understood lying to protect him. But, it just got to be too much with her not sharing anything with him.
We’re going to just ignore that annoying part when Caleb dated Spencer and mention that Haleb ended up together.
5. Olivia & Fitz – Scandal
Fitz and Olivia are the great Scandal love story. No matter how many issues these two are involved in together, they always find their way to each other. They’ve actually had quite a few breakups during the course of Scandal‘s run. But, one breakup of theirs, in particular, led to a lot of devastation within the fanbase. In season five, it seemed like Olivia and Fitz were finally making things work. Olivia had moved into the White House and was filling that First Lady role pretty well. Things were great until they weren’t. Olivia was clearly unhappy with her new positioning within the WH and finally told Fitz that the relationship was done. Knowing these two, they’ll definitely find themselves together by the series finale. Bet on it.
4. Buffy & Angel – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy and Angel were one of those relationships that couldn’t seem to make things work. It kind of makes sense, though. She was a vampire slayer; he was a vampire. It was bound to fail, right? They could make it through apocalypses and demons crawling up from the Hellmouth, but they couldn’t make it through a relationship. To be fair, Angel could only keep his soul for as long as he was suffering, meaning one moment of ~pure happiness~ (aka sex with Buffy) would turn him evil. He killed her friend, Willow gave him back his soul, she sent him to hell, he came back, and they got back together – but it had to come to an end again. Angel told her that he wanted her to be with someone who could take her “into the light” and have a normal relationship, and since he couldn’t be that guy, he broke up with her and dipped out to L.A. to have a spin-off show fight the forces of darkness. It makes sense, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t still devastating!
3. Jason & Melissa – The Bachelor
Chris Harrison would have been right in saying that this was the most shocking ‘After the Final Rose’ special yet.The Bachelor‘s season 13 leading man, Jason, proposed to Melissa in that season’s finale. On the ‘After the Final Rose’ special, which is filmed months after he gave his final rose to Melissa, Jason revealed that he had feelings for the woman he sent home in the finale, Molly. In one of the most uncomfortable live TV moments ever, he broke up with Melissa and later confessed his feelings for Molly.
It really was one of the worst things a Bachelor had ever done, TBH. You really couldn’t help but feel for Melissa in that intense moment. When she uttered “you bastard”? ICONIC. Years later, everyone’s gotten their happy ending. Melissa ended up marrying her ex, Tye Strickland, in 2009 and became a Dancing with the Stars staple. Jason and Molly are miraculously still going strong, as they married in 2010 and welcomed a daughter, Riley, in 2013. All’s well that that ends well?
2. Ross & Rachel – Friends
They were on a break! Ross and Rachel’s “break” and later break up in season three was pretty heartbreaking. It also led to the now-infamous “we were on a break” debate that is still argued to this day. Ross thought that their break meant that they were indeed broken up, but Rachel just thought it meant putting a pause on their relationship. Regardless of where you stand on the whole thing, there’s no denying that the miscommunication helped end things for the pair because their unclear “break” status led to Ross sleeping with another woman, and obviously hurting Rachel. So she broke up with her boyfriend and, this time, it was a clean break. For the moment, at least.
1. Cory & Topanga – Boy Meets World
Was there anyone who actually watched Boy Meets World and didn’t think Cory and Topanga were endgame? The two were so made for each other. And their strong relationship on the spin-off Girl Meets World (which featured their daughter), is the best indication that they were always meant to be. However, things weren’t always so peachy for the pair.
Cory kissed another girl during their school trip and even went out with her again (at Topanga’s urging, but still). He used the experience to help figure out how strong his feelings for Topanga were, which, obviously, didn’t sit well with her. It was hard to see the normally rock-solid couple go through such a rough period. Luckily, they were able to movie past it. They got engaged at their high school graduation, married in college, and then had two pretty cool kids and a fairly amazing life. This couple is #goals.