Dating

21 TV Breakup Scenes That Are Still Hard To Watch

Why is it that TV breakups, even fictional ones, can feel so personal? When you’ve spent multiple seasons invested in an on-screen relationship, the subsequent breakup can feel almost like you’re right there in the room with the characters. “Who gave them the right to end this? I loved them!” you bemoan, as you lie in bed surrounded by snacks and a tissue box to help catch your tears. (No, just me? Cool.) The saddest TV breakup scenes can stay in your mind for months, or even years after you first watch them. And every time you queue up that episode again, it still feels like a punch to the gut.

But let’s be real: Drama is what makes a television couple so fun to follow. So, it’s no surprise that the most epic on-screen romances go through their highs and lows throughout a series. Some TV couples who break up go on to reunite eventually, but others don’t have quite the same fairytale ending. And isn’t that the fun of it, in some way? Just like real-life love stories, TV relationships are messy, complicated, and sometimes, just not meant to be.

In honor of the greatest love sagas in TV history, let’s take a look at the breakup scenes that still tug at fans’ heartstrings to this day.

Dating — 21 TV Breakup Scenes That Are Still Hard To Watch

Blair Waldorf & Chuck Bass ("Gossip Girl")

“Three words. Eight letters. Say it and I’m yours.” Will there ever be a more iconic TV breakup line? The Blair and Chuck saga was a rollercoaster for Gossip Girl fans. While this couple eventually reconciled, there were many moments (including this scene) when it looked like they were doomed. Would Chuck ever come around to admitting his true feelings?

CW

Archie Andrews & Veronica Lodge ("Riverdale")

Riverdale’s most beloved couple seemed too solid to fail — until Archie tragically broke up with Veronica over the phone in Season 3 as he fled town to escape her father. He broke it off despite her pleas that they were “endgame.” Midway through Season 4, Varchie is back together, but only time will tell if Hiram will get in the way of their relationship again.

YouTube

Carrie Bradshaw & Aidan Shaw ("Sex And The City")

Carrie Bradshaw ended up marrying Mr. Big, but that was only after her long-term relationship and broken engagement to Aidan Shaw. Though Aidan was super committed to Carrie, she couldn’t fully embrace the relationship, and in Season 3, she cheated on him with Big. This led to one of the saddest scenes in the series, when Aidan broke up with Carrie outside the church at Charlotte’s wedding. “This isn’t the kind of thing I can get over,” he said, as Carrie cried into his arms — then he told her he loved her and walked away.

HBO

Samantha Jones & Richard Wright ("Sex And The City")

Samantha Jones never let anyone make her feel inferior. After she caught her fiancé, Richard, cheating on her, she realized she could never fully have peace of mind in the relationship again. In Season 5, she gave him the ring back, uttering the iconic line, “I love you too, Richard. But I love me more.” It was sad, but also pretty liberating to see Samantha take her power back.

HBO

Becca Kufrin & Arie Luyendyk Jr. ("The Bachelor")

This Bachelor breakup was, in a word… brutal. Just weeks after giving his final rose to Becca, Arie decided his heart actually belonged to the runner-up, Lauren Burnham. And in order to rekindle that relationship, he had to end things with Becca. The show aired the breakup, unedited, on a split screen so viewers could experience the full cringe-worthiness of it all.

Paul Hebert/Walt Disney Television/Getty Images

Hannah Brown & Jed Wyatt ("The Bachelorette")

Bachelor Nation fell in love with Hannah Brown during her stint as the Bachelorette, though tragically, the season ended in heartbreak for her. She got engaged to Jed Wyatt, only to discover that he had a girlfriend just prior to filming the show, and that relationship had never officially ended. Hannah wasn’t one to put up with BS, so she ended things with him after the sad discovery.

John Fleenor/Walt Disney Television/Getty Images

Ross Geller & Rachel Green ("Friends")

Were they or weren’t they on a break? It’s a question for the ages, and it continues to divide Friends fans to this day. The very night that Rachel proposed taking “a break from us,” Ross hooked up with another woman out of sadness. Rachel found out the next day, and officially ended things, despite Ross’ pleading assertion that he never meant to hurt her.

NBC/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

Luke Danes & Lorelai Gilmore ("Gilmore Girls")

It took Luke and Lorelai freakin’ forever to get together in Gilmore Girls. Then, after a few postponed weddings and a steady growing-apart phase, they tragically broke up after Lorelai begged Luke to elope. Thankfully, they patched things back up and got together again, but it still took them over a decade to finally tie the knot in the 2016 remake.

YouTube

Rory Gilmore & Jess Mariano ("Gilmore Girls")

Gilmore Girls stans are split between Team Dean, Team Jess, and Team Logan for Rory, but one thing is for certain — Jess wasn’t ready for Rory the first time they dated. He was angry, evasive, and ultimately ghosted her by leaving town without warning. He clearly wasn’t over her though, and called her several times on her graduation day for unknown reasons. She picked up the phone and broke up with him, saying, “I think I might have loved you, but I need to let it go.”

YouTube

Olivia Pope & Fitzgerald Grant ("Scandal")

The on-again-off-again romance between Olivia and Fitz was juicy from the very beginning — a married president secretly dating a lawyer who worked on his campaign. In Season 5, after Fitz got divorced and invited Olivia to move into the White House with him, it looked like things might have finally panned out for them. But Olivia felt trapped by White House life, and after a very dramatic fight, she proclaimed there was no future for them and left. (Not to worry, though — the series leaves open the possibility that they ended up together.)

YouTube

Callie Torres & Arizona Robbins ("Grey’s Anatomy")

One of Grey’s Anatomy’s fan-favorite couples ended things in couples’ therapy, after trying to work out their struggles with infidelity and adding a child to the family. After taking a short-term break, Callie came to realize she was happier without Arizona. “I don’t want to do it anymore,” she said through tears. “I don’t want to fix it or fix us anymore.” RIP, Calzona, you were beloved while you lasted.

ABC

Meredith Grey & Derek Shepherd ("Grey’s Anatomy")

From the very beginning of Grey’s Anatomy Season 1, the chemistry between Meredith and Derek was undeniable. After discovering that Derek was married, Meredith tried to cut things off with him, but ultimately begged him to finalize his divorce and be all-in with her. “Pick me, choose me, love me,” is a line that will forever be associated with their relationship — even though that plea didn’t quite work at the time.

@coxaesthetic/Twitter

Kevin Pearson & Sophie ("This Is Us")

Kevin and Sophie had a bond that went way back to both of their childhoods. But their adult relationship wasn’t quite so easy, and Kevin’s struggle with addiction ultimately drove them apart. “I don’t know how to be a husband to you,” he said to her after going to buy her a ring and realizing he couldn’t do it. “I don’t know how to be a father to our kids. I don’t. I don’t have anything to give you. There’s nothing inside of me to give to you, OK? I don’t have anything. I’m an empty shell.” Oof.

Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Nick Miller & Jessica Day ("New Girl")

Sure, Nick and Jess were a bit of an odd couple. They were roommates with essentially opposite personalities, but that turned out to be the thing that made them work so well. But it’s also what ultimately drove them apart, as both of them realized they had basically nothing in common. They decided to just be friends again. Spoiler alert: This “friendship” thing didn’t last, and they eventually got married. Yay!

Fox

Chidi Anagonye & Eleanor Shellstrop ("The Good Place")

Chidi and Eleanor’s breakup happened more out of unfortunate necessity than anything else. When Chidi had to wipe his brain free of memories in Michael’s experiment, he lost all knowledge of his love for Eleanor. And before the brain swipe, the two watched a highlight reel of all their best moments together before they said goodbye. Thankfully, in Season 4, Chidi got his memory back and was reunited with Eleanor, who was always the answer he’d been searching for.

NBC/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

Kurt Hummel & Blaine Anderson ("Glee")

If the most iconic TV breakup scenes happen in the rain, then Kurt and Blaine’s broken engagement occurs in a pitch-perfect setting. The couple was living together and planning their wedding when Kurt realized he wasn’t happy cohabiting with Blaine. “Do you even want to marry me?” Blaine asked, as they sat in a restaurant, to which Kurt yelled, “Maybe I don’t!” Thankfully, these two still ended up together after all.

FOX/FOX Image Collection/Getty Images

Jane Villanueva & Rafael Solano ("Jane The Virgin")

Throughout Jane The Virgin, Jane found herself in a love triangle involving Rafael, the father of her child, and Michael, her fiancé and eventual husband. After Michael tragically died (or so everyone thought) in Season 3, Jane and Rafael got engaged and moved in together. But in Season 5, when Michael returned, Jane wanted to give that relationship another shot — and Rafael asked her to leave, saying he needed space to process.

Kevin Estrada/The CW

Emily Fields & Maya St. Germain ("Pretty Little Liars")

Emily and Maya were each other’s first loves in high school, but it was difficult for them to go public with their relationship because Emily’s family disapproved of her sexuality. They were pushed apart when Maya was sent away to rehabilitation camp for her drug use. But the worst scene came when Emily found out Maya had been killed, and she broke down as her body was carried out in a stretcher. It was the saddest possible way to end their saga.

ABC

Freddie Benson & Sam Puckett (iCarly)

iCarly Seddie stans remember how long this relationship took to build. The love-hate dynamic between Freddie and Sam went on for several seasons, and fans were thrilled when they finally confessed their love for each other and started to date. But in a fateful elevator scene, the new couple mutually decided to break up because they didn’t have much in common. Their relationship was short (only a few weeks, really), and yet, they were still a favorite couple on the show.

Nickelodeon

Seth Cohen & Summer Roberts ("The O.C.")

Summer Roberts was basically the love of Seth Cohen’s whole life. That’s not to say their relationship was easy. They broke up several times throughout the series before getting married in the end. The worst instance was when Seth literally sailed out of town at the end of Season 1, leaving Summer alone to date Zach for awhile before reuniting with Seth the following season.

YouTube

Michael Scott & Holly Flax ("The Office")

Michael and Holly's relationship was made complicated by company policy and awkward office dynamics. Dunder Mifflin head honcho David Wallace didn't want them to be together, so he forced Holly to transfer to another branch seven hours away. On the long drive to Holly's new home, she and Michael decided the distance was too much for them — but Michael never really got over it. Thankfully, Holly eventually returned, and the couple got engaged and moved to Colorado together.

@faveship/Twitter
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