As much as fans would enjoy it, the majority of TV romances, just like in real life, do not work out. 2016 was a particularly bad year for romance as it saw many fan-favorite couples ripped apart. Some of these break-ups are larger-than-life because they involve the death of one of the lovers. A lot more, though, are pretty mundane and have to do with the usual differences and complications that arise in a regular TV romance that is full of drama. Regardless of how they broke up, here are 11 TV couples who are perfect together but ended 2016 apart, in some cases forever.
Oliver and Felicity – Arrow
Arrow season 4 looked like it was finally going to be the season where Oliver and Felicity got together for good. They started the season in domestic bliss, living in the suburbs, and even got engaged. Yet by the end of the season they were back in Star City and no longer engaged. Arrow season 5 sees them farther than ever from a romantic future, with both of them declaring that they are over the other. Fans might hold hope but 2016 will be known as the year that ended Olicity … for now.
Rory and Jess – Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
One of the lingering questions Netflix’s big revival of Gilmore Girls had to answer was which man Rory Gilmore would end up with. Gilmore Girls: A Year in Life answered the question by almost completely avoiding it. Rory did rekindle a physical relationship with her ex Logan (and presumably he got her pregnant), but as for a happily-ever-after, Rory didn’t get one.
This hits especially hard because fans got to see Jess again and were reminded of how good he was for Rory. Although Milo Ventimiglia was present in the revival as arguably Rory’s most popular ex, Jess, there was no on-screen rekindling of their romance. Jess did have a very important scene in the revival in which he helped guide Rory in the right direction, but there was no happy ending for him and Rory, romantically.
Jessica and Luke – Luke Cage
Jessica Jones and Luke Cage had a super-powered if tumultuous relationship on Jessica Jones. The romance was in a state of limbo as Jessica Jones ended its first season. In the first season of Luke Cage though, the relationship was put on hold officially. Luke resumed his womanizing (but respectful) ways in his solo series and even struck up a new romance with Netflix’s MCU constant Claire Temple. Luke and Jessica might be married with a kid in the comics but in the Netflix universe, they could not be farther apart. That is, until the crossover series The Defenders starts … maybe.
Wes and Laurel – How to Get Away With Murder
Throughout every season of How to Get Away with Murder, Wes and Laurel had slow and simmering romantic tension. It was the kind of deliberate relationship development that TV fans typically associate with a couple that will end the series with perfect happiness. Wes and Laurel did finally get together in season 3, only for things to end suddenly and tragically with Wes dying. As fans hoped, Laurel was the last love of Wes’s life, his life just happened to end very prematurely.
Brienne and Jaime – Game of Thrones
In Game of Thrones there really isn’t anything like dating. It’s pretty much marriage or casual (and sometimes horrific) sex. There is no in-between. Jaime and Brienne are about as close to a will-they-won’t-they couple as Game of Thrones has. The two have never even shared a kiss but the romantic tension between them is obvious.
Thanks to the central war on Game of Thrones, though, Brienne and Jaime are separated on opposing sides. Game of Thrones season 6 saw them reunited and ripped apart once again. The episode “No One” had Brienne and Jaime on literal sides of the battlefield, unable to reunite without betraying their previous alliances or families. The best and most happy ending for them was that Jaime allowed Brienne to flee with her life.
Xiomara and Rogelio – Jane the Virgin
On paper, Xiomara and Rogelio seem perfect for one another. After a teenage romance that resulted in her getting pregnant, Xiomara and Rogelio reunited in adulthood. They have reconnected a couple of times romantically over Jane the Virgin‘s three seasons, most recently at the end of season 2. While Xiomara and Rogelio got engaged in season 2, it was not meant to be, as he said he wanted children and she is more than happy being just a grandparent. In their break-up, Xiomara and Rogelio have been open about their continued feelings for one another but they can’t compromise on the kid issue.
Rebecca and Jack – This Is Us
Rebecca and Jack are the perfect modern romance on This is Us in that they are not perfect. Like any couple, the flashback storyline on This is Us has shown Rebecca and Jack having their ups and their downs. Ultimately, the patriarch and matriarch of the This is Us family were happy and they raised three incredibly likable children. The tragedy, though, is that they didn’t grow old together. This is Us has yet to reveal how Jack died but we know that in the present-day Jack is deceased and Rebecca is now married to his best friend, Miguel.
Glenn and Maggie – The Walking Dead
Negan’s killer bat Lucille broke up two couples on The Walking Dead season 7. By killing Glenn and Abraham, Negan left both Maggie and Sasha without their other halves at the end of world. The break-up of Glenn and Maggie hits way harder than Sasha and Abraham’s romantic demise, however. Glenn and Maggie were one of the few beacons of light on The Walking Dead and they had a new injection of hope with the reveal that Maggie was pregnant with their child. Now Maggie will have to raise her son or daughter without their father.
Lexa and Clarke – The 100
Lexa and Clarke were the ultimate star-crossed lovers on The 100. Clarke was the leader of the Sky People and Lexa the leader of The Grounders. The connection they shared is what brought their two groups of people together. In The 100‘s second season the romantic tension between Clarke and Lexa was just that, tension with no real release. In season 3 the two women finally got together, only for Lexa to die literally hours later. It was the quickest and saddest relationship in The 100‘s history, which is saying something.
Rumpelstilskin and Belle – Once Upon a Time
2016 was not the first year that Once Upon a Time had Rumple and Belle break up, but it does appear that their latest separation is the one that will stick. Though Belle found out she was pregnant at the end of Once Upon a Time season 5, she also learned that Rumple had been lying to her and messing with her mind. This led to Belle wanting nothing to do with her husband and the father of her child.
The anger and separation only increased when Belle’s adult son came to her during her dreams and told her that Rumple would tear their family apart. Rather than try to prove their dream son wrong by being a better person, Rumple leaned hard into being a villain. He tortured Belle mentally, trapped her inside Storybrooke and was just generally awful. Though it looks like Belle’s dream warnings by their son were a ruse it doesn’t change the fact that Belle and Rumple are very much at a crossroads in their marriage.
Ziva and Tony – NCIS
NCIS season 13 saw actor Michael Weatherly move on and Tony DiNizzio leave the team. There were more than a few fans who hoped that Tony’s departure would end in a happily-ever-after with him reuniting with another departed member of the team, Ziva. Ultimately, Ziva and Tony did not end up together but she was a big reason for his leaving the show. When Ziva was killed, off-camera, Tony was forced to raise their secret daughter, Tali, who fans didn’t even know existed until the season 13 finale. It was the most bittersweet of endings. Tony started a new life with his newfound daughter but he is forever unable to rekindle his relationship with her mother.
Which of these break-ups hit you the hardest? Did we miss any big romances that ended? Do you think there is any hope some of these couples might get back together?
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Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Derek is a Philadelphia based writer and unabashed TV and comic book junkie. The time he doesn’t spend over analyzing all things nerdy he is working on his resume to be the liaison to the Justice League.