30 Breakups That Were Just TOO Real

A TV breakup can be just as emotionally devastating for viewers as a TV death. You invest a lot of time and emotional energy into fictional relationships. You're there for the first looks and first dates, whether the romance escalates quickly or slowly plods along. Your romantic life may not be thriving, but those two belong together. And sometimes their fights are so dumb! He's trying to protect his significant other from his dangerous destiny. Or she can't bring herself to date a co-worker. Or his immortality means it'll never really last.

Whatever the reason, and even if the breakups were only temporary, these were rough moments to be a romantic and a TV fan.
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1 of 30
Meredith & Derek, Grey's Anatomy
He doesn't pick her, he doesn't choose her! It's emotional devastation coupled with embarrassment. It's like if Tom Cruise said, "You complete me," and Renée Zellweger replied, "I'm already done!"
2 of 30
Lily & Marshall, How I Met Your Mother
But they're proof that young love can be forever! Yes, the blow is a little less harsh in retrospect, but still.
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3 of 30
Cory & Topanga, Boy Meets World
We're with the studio audience. Gasp of surprise and horror!
4 of 30
Lorelai & Luke, Gilmore Girls
Luke and Lorelai, the couple an entire town shipped before they even got it together, go through plenty of breakups, but this is by far the worst. You can practically hear the faint sound of Adele singing, "We could have had it all," as Luke frantically explains their potential elopement.


5 of 30
Ross & Rachel, Friends
Your breakup should never have an audience. Though Ross and Rachel fell that night, it was in service to thousands of real-life couples, who would never, ever again be vague about the rules of a "break."
6 of 30
Callie & Arizona, Grey's Anatomy
Oh, Callzona. Such a good couple name, such a rocky relationship.
7 of 30
Nick & Jess, New Girl
The most devastating kind of split is the one that comes out of a kind of grim practicality. And, oh my god, that hug — just a prelude to more lovely, post-breakup moments that emotionally crush fans.
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8 of 30
Clark & Lana, Smallville
We didn't like this scene in Spiderman, and we don't like this one, either.
9 of 30
Elena & Stefan, The Vampire Diaries
Don't you just hate it when everything's going great with your BF, but you have to end things to keep his crazy ex from murdering everyone you love? Extra sad points for the manly tears of anguish from the scorned lover and the scorned not-yet lover.
10 of 30
Joan & Adam, Joan of Arcadia
Not even a chat with God can fully heal teen heartbreak, especially at the hands of the sensitive artist who was supposed to be beyond adolescent lust.
11 of 30
Seth & Summer, The O.C.
A scene so cringe-worthy that viewers are in danger of dying from secondhand embarrassment.
12 of 30
Winnie & Kevin, The Wonder Years
Yes, at this point in the show, they are actual small children. But the fact that it's young love doesn't make the end any less painful.
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13 of 30
Adam & Hannah, Girls
And you didn't even know you liked Adam or Hannah, let alone the two as a couple. But such a quiet, understated scene in the often loud world of Girls gives this moment a lot of weight. Super-sad weight.
14 of 30
Sarah & Mark, Parenthood
"I love you, but I can't," is so much more painful to watch than, "I don't love you anymore."
15 of 30
Blaine & Kurt, Glee
Even if you were never a Gleek, this cover is completely heartbreaking. And grade-A acting, from Blaine's wobbling singing to Kurt's expression slowly morphing from "My boyfriend's so good at singing," to "What did he do!?"
16 of 30
Chuck & Blair, Gossip Girl
They are both the worst, but during their coupledom, their vortex of evil sucks in way fewer innocent bystanders.
17 of 30
Belle & Rumpelstiltskin, Once Upon a Time
Sometimes, the bad guy is never redeemed, and you've got to feel bad for the poor girl who thought she saw something more in him.
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18 of 30
Linda & Andy, Everwood
Ephram just ruins everything.
19 of 30
Veronica & Logan, Veronica Mars
Theirs is a weird and mismatched love. But it is intense. And no one wants to see Veronica Mars reduced to sobbing in the shower.
20 of 30
Peggy & Don, Mad Men
True, Peggy and Don were never romantically involved (thank god) but we were so much more invested in their relationship than in any of Don's girlfriends, wives, or mysterious diner hookups.
21 of 30
Sol & Frankie, Grace and Frankie
Poor, poor Frankie. She's getting a great BFF experience out of the deal, but it seems like she really did marry her first best friend.
22 of 30
Lindsay & Nick, Freaks and Geeks
Proof you should never, ever offer sympathy if the person doesn't seem sad. And that parents probably shouldn't be involved in their kid's breakups.
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23 of 30
Olivia & Fitz, Scandal
It turns out, referencing your responsibility not only to your wife, but to the American people, does not soften the blow of a breakup. But a great meal on the ex's tab might.
24 of 30
Addison & Sam, Private Practice
When you start an argument citing your mother's recent suicide, the conversation probably isn't going to end with a stronger, happier relationship.
25 of 30
Phoebe & Mike, Friends
Discuss the future of the relationship before you move the furniture — this has been a PSA.
26 of 30
Jane & Rafael, Jane the Virgin
We're 100% Team Michael, and this is still rough. Just the way she holds it together in front of him and then completely crumples is devastating.
27 of 30
Buffy & Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The relationship that could survive a demonic possession, and a totally necessary, but still damaging stabbing and banishment to the underworld, still couldn't survive parental involvement.
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28 of 30
Ben & Leslie, Parks and Recreation
All that appears on the internet are sweet moments of Ben and Leslie's glorious relationship, probably because it's too painful to remember that dark, dark six-episode period of separation.
29 of 30
Dean & Rory, Gilmore Girls
Just the first time — the second time it was pretty much a relief. But here, the wallow-inducing grief is universally felt.
30 of 30
Mike & Susan, Desperate Housewives
This one is even more uncomfortable than the Rachel/Ross incident. There are many things you probably don't want to be wearing during a breakup, but a wedding dress is definitely at the top of the list.
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