The Most Devastating TV Breakups

What are the most devastating TV breakups? No matter what the state of the world has been, or what's on the news, television shows have always been there to provide entertainment, comfort, and a sense of escapism for viewers. Whether you're a fan of dramas, sitcoms, romantic comedies, or thrillers, there's a TV show out there for you, and with it, a TV show couple you can root for. Yes, even the most intense television shows have at least one love story to tell, and while some couples are easier to love than others, there's usually a breakup episode or two that leaves fans heartbroken.

You know the kind. The two lovebirds have tried for so long to make it work, but in the end they just couldn't. It sucks for everyone, but TV breakups come with the territory, though some are a little harder to digest than others. So, read on for the most devastating TV breakups ever, but beware of spoilers if you haven't seen all episodes of a series.

Ted and Alexis should've ended up together on Schitt's Creek

For all of its critical acclaim, Schitt's Creek was still very much a show for everyone. The sit-com followed the Rose family as their high society lifestyle crumbled before their very eyes, and they were forced to move to a small town named Schitt's Creek. The family evolved so much on the show, and perhaps no character had more growth than Alexis (played by Annie Murphy); she fell in love with Ted (played by Dustin Milligan) on the series, and had an intense relationship with him.

Ted and Alexis made each other better, but that didn't mean they were meant to be in the eyes of the show's creators. Sadly, in the last season of Schitt's Creek, the two ended things due to a work opportunity Ted received, and it wasn't something fans saw coming. "I'd like to think that we helped each other get here," Alexis tells Ted during their devastating breakup scene

Ted and Alexis were truly a couple everyone could cheer on, and fans were understandably upset that their breakup was as final as it was.

On The Mindy Project, Danny and Mindy had a tough go

Mindy Kaling truly made a one-of-a-kind series when she launched The Mindy Project, a hilarious sit-com starring herself as Mindy, a successful OB-GYN who has a soft spot for romance. From the start of the series, it's clear that Mindy and her coworker, Danny (played by Chris Messina), have a ton of chemistry and passion, but their eventual relationship is a bit of a rollercoaster. Specifically, after they welcome their first child together, the two still aren't able to make it work, and their breakup was especially devastating because of that.

However, Kaling told Glamour that the breakup needed to happen in order for Danny and Mindy to remain relatable to fans. "This is a couple that's very attracted to each other, and they have great chemistry," Kaling explained. "But we thought we'd show realistically after working on it and working on it, this is what they would probably do." Still, that didn't make the end of their relationship any easier for fans to deal with.

Kurt and Blaine had a hard time letting go on Glee

Fox's Glee was able to break a lot of boundaries in television. There were gay couples, teenage pregnancies, characters with disabilities, and so much more that made Glee truly a groundbreaking series, despite its musical nature. 

One of the most prominent couples on the series, Kurt and Blaine (played by Chris Colfer and Darren Criss), were a fan-favorite. The two male characters started dating in high school, but when Glee came back for it's final season (after the main characters had gone off to start their lives outside of high school), the two were no longer together.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Kurt and Blaine ended things due to an inability to adjust to cohabiting, but the emotions were still very raw and real when the season premiere picked up. Kurt and Blaine had long been breaking fans' hearts before then, but this devastating breakup seemed so final and real that it might have been the hardest one for die-hard "Claine" fans.

On Friends, Ross and Rachel's first breakup was heartbreaking

Oh, Ross and Rachel. Even if you aren't a fan of Friends, you've probably heard of the iconic couple from the famous '90s sitcom, as well as their insane ups and downs. Played by Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer, Ross and Rachel took forever to get together, then had more than a few hiccups once they both realized their feelings for each other. And if that wasn't enough, their infamous "we were on a break" fight led to Ross essentially cheating on Rachel — and the two calling it quits.

Of course, Rachel and Ross had a huge fight that made it clear they both still really cared for each other. But as Rachel said, Ross was "a totally different person" to her after she learned of his indiscretion, and their relationship dynamic would never be the same. Still, it was so sad to watch them fall apart, especially since they were both understandably heartbroken about it. The emotions and tears in their devastating breakup scene felt so real, it was hard to get over.

Olivia and Fitz's breakup was truly tense on Scandal

On Scandal, lead character Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington) had more than her fair share of drama. In fact, that might be an understatement. Olivia had romantic entanglements, legal issues, murders to solve, and kidnappings to survive. But in the midst of all of that, season 5 of Scandal saw Olivia and her main romantic interest, Fitz (played by Tony Goldwyn), end things in a dramatic turn of events, including an abortion and murder plots. 

The devastating breakup was obviously dramatic, but as Goldwyn told The Hollywood Reporter, he held out hope for the couple."I think Fitz and Olivia really love each other," he revealed. "I may be alone at this point in thinking that, I don't know But I do, and I think when people love each other as primally as these two people do, I think they can come back from anything." 

At the end of the day, Fitz and Olivia's breakup was equal parts memorable and devastating, and fans had a hard time coping.

On The Vampire Diaries, Stefan and Elena's breakup was brutal

Much like any other teenage drama, The Vampire Diaries featured quite the love triangle. At the start of the series, it seemed as if Elena and Stefan (played by Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley), were totally meant to be. After all, they hit it off right from the start, and there seemed to be a kind of divine intervention into their meeting. 

But as more time went on, Elena's attraction to Damon (played by Ian Somerhalder) started to get stronger; it looked like there was trouble in paradise to Elena and Stefan, much to the disappointment of their fans. So when Stefan and Elena finally went through with their devastating breakup, it was pretty rough. Obviously, Elena had already realized her feelings for Damon by that point, but that didn't mean it was easy for either of them to immediately move on. Fortunately for fans, the Elana and Stefan eventually worked past the awkwardness of their breakup, and were even able to be friends. 

Stefan and Elena might not have made it in the end, but that was a hard pill to swallow for a lot of people.

Jake and Peyton had something so special on One Tree Hill

Much like The Vampire Diaries had the Damon, Elena, and Stefan love triangle, and Gossip Girl had the Nate, Serena, and Blair love triangle, One Tree Hill had a love triangle of its own. Actually, the series had more than one, but perhaps the most iconic love triangle was between Lucas, Peyton, and Brooke (played by Chad Michael Murray, Hilarie Burton, and Sophia Bush) — though for a while, Peyton and Jake seemed totally meant to be.

Specifically, Jake and Peyton had amazing chemistry; even with all the obstacles they faced — Jake being a single teenage father, legal drama, an ex-girlfriend that wouldn't go away — they still managed to be happy together. And truly, that seemed to make them the perfect couple. 

However, it didn't last. Jake had to hit the road with his daughter, Jenny, to essentially hide from his ex-girlfriend, and Peyton couldn't go with him. It was a devastating breakup, as Jake and Peyton were so sad, but also because poor little Jenny had to say goodbye to Peyton, too. Overall, it sucked.

On Sex and the City, Carrie and Aiden's first breakup was so sad

Because of the nature of Sex and the City, it should come as no surprise that the lead characters suffered through many, many breakups on the show. However, one breakup that truly hurt more than almost any other in the series was when Carrie and Aiden (played by Sarah Jessica Parker and John Corbett) ended things for the first time in season 3.

While some fans were still convinced that Carrie and Mr. Big belonged together, she and Aiden still made a great couple. However, when Carrie and Mr. Big had an affair, Carrie had to confess to Aiden what she'd done, and he didn't handle it well. 

To that end, Carrie and Aiden ended things in a devastating breakup. And for as much as Carrie was wrong in the situation, it was still sad to see her lose two men in such a short period of time. Understandably, fans were both devastated and pissed off at Carrie for messing up such a great relationship over an affair.

Lily and Marshall's breakup was a necessary evil on How I Met Your Mother

On How I Met Your Mother there were a few absolutes: Barney was always a player, Ted was always annoying, and Lily and Marshall always belonged together. However, at the end of season 1, the couple (played by Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segal) was truly tested when Lily broke off their engagement to go participate in an art program across the country in San Francisco. Marshall was understandably heartbroken, as were fans.

After all, Marshall and Lily had been together since college, and their engagement was what kickstarted the entire series in the first place. Eventually, the two would find their way back towards each other, but not before going through some really tough times. 

Marshall and Lily's breakup not only hurt Lily as she pursued her dream of a career in art, but Marshall was depressed for months afterwards. For fans of the series, the devastating breakup was hard to watch; no matter how much hope you had that the two would work it out, it was hard to forgive Lily for abandoning Marshall the way she did.

Ian and Mickey's breakupon Shameless wasn't fair

There are few shows that were as relatable, hilarious, and heartbreaking as Shameless. Still, for as messy and hard to watch as Shameless could be, fans everywhere appreciated the relationship between Ian and Mickey (played by Cameron Monaghan and Noel Fisher). The two seemed perfect together, and brought solid LGBTQ representation to television.

So when Ian and Mickey went through a devastating breakup, it was hard on fans. They ended things in the season 5 finale, but as the Shameless creator explained in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, that was done on purpose.

While admitting that Mickey's character was "dictated by availability" of the actor, showrunner John Wells explained that might be a good thing. After all, the breakup helped Ian realize how much Mickey really meant to him. "It's that thing that often happens when you're younger: you have a relationship that's really difficult and passionate and messy, and then you go away from it and you discover the rest of the world, and sometimes you come back to that first person anyway."

Jamie and Claire's breakup in Outlander was intense

The Starz original series Outlander is certainly a rollercoaster, and that might be putting it lightly. The show includes romance, time travel, war, murder and so much more — but the love story between Jamie and Claire (played by Sam Heughan and Caitronia Balfe) might be what fans most adored about the show. However, Claire and Jamie ended things in the season 2 finale, a devastating breakup that no fan was prepared for.

In fact, Heughan and Balfe said that it was emotional just shooting the breakup scene. "When we were filming it, I feel like everyone got so swept up in the moment," Balfe told Variety. "It's so sad. These characters are so much a part of us at this point, it was just heartbreaking...I think some of the crew were all misty-eyed." 

Claire and Jamie had to say goodbye, as it was in their best interests at the time, but it was seriously distressing.

In Grey's Anatomy, Izzy and Alex deserved better

If there is one thing that Grey's Anatomy fans know all too well, it's to expect heartbreak at just about every turn of the series. With its traumatic surgeries, unforeseen deaths, torrid affairs, family drama and so much more, loyal viewers of Grey's Anatomy truly have had to deal with so much intensity over the years. However, the devastating Grey's Anatomy breakup between Izzie and Alex (played by Katherine Heigl and Justin Chambers) was particularly jolting. The two had been through so much together, and their wedding was an especially sweet moment for fans.

However, it all came crashing down when Izzie was fired from her job at the hospital (for something that wasn't entirely her fault), and she blamed Alex. She left her job and her husband, and the two were never together again — well until season 16, when Alex left the hospital to go be with Izzie and the two children they apparently had. It was confusing, to say the least, and didn't really fix the fact that their breakup was seriously unfair to boot.

DJ and Steve's breakup on Full House felt forced

One of the most famous family-friendly sitcoms ever is Full House. The series told the story of a single father raising his three daughters with the help of family and friends. The oldest daughter, D.J. (played by Candace Cameron Bure), had many relationships during the series, as young teenagers so often do. But her relationship with Steve (played by Scott Weinger) was definitely the defining love of her youth — and also the one that ended the most prematurely.

When D.J. and Steve go through a devastating breakup, it was because D.J. was afraid that they'd been together so long, she worried she was missing out on something. And indeed, she did go on to date other guys, but fans always felt she and Steve belonged together. 

It wasn't just fans who felt that way, either; series creator Jeff Franklin told TV Line that he believed "Steve and D.J. were a really great couple and the audience was very invested in them." Additionally, Franklin left the series after season 5, before D.J. and Steve broke up, so he definitely wasn't to blame.

On Boy Meets World, Cory and Topanga's season 5 breakup was the worst

Oh, Boy Meets World. The sweet, funny, coming-of-age show from the '90s featured lead character Cory (played by Ben Savage), who often found himself in plenty of tricky situations. But the most interesting and entertaining situations Cory got into involved his longtime girlfriend, Topanga (played by Danielle Fishel), who he shared his first kiss with, along with so much more.

However, Cory and Topanga had lot of hard times during their relationship, including several breakups. While fans would get used to Topanga pulling the trigger on their relationship time and again, it was when Cory cheated on her with a girl named Lauren that really upset fans. Their subsequent devastating breakup clearly broke Topanga's heart, and it was hard to watch. 

Of course, fans know that Cory and Topanga eventually ended up together in the end. They even went onto have their own family in the spinoff, Girl Meets World. But at the time, Cory betraying Topanga's trust was hard to get past.