Grey's Anatomy prides itself on being centered around its many relationships, both romantic and familial. The characters' dynamics have remained the stars of Grey's since the beginning, and though many revered aspects of the show have fizzled out during its fifteen seasons on the air, romance still plays a significant role.
Over the course of its decade and a half long run on television, the medical drama has given audiences many memorable relationships to swoon over, and equally as many to hate with a passion. One thing fans and critics alike have always noted about the show is the way Shonda Rhimes and the show's other writers, portray men.
Grey's used to be praised for characters like "McDreamy" and "McSteamy", but with both of those iconic figures long-dead, the quality in the series' portrayal of boyfriends has since decreased. So without further ado, let's explore the many different types of boyfriends portrayed on Grey's Anatomy - the best and the worst of them.
10 ALEX KAREV - BEST
When Grey's was in production back in the early 2000s, Alex Karev was not intended to be part of the main cast. He was not created until the original version of the pilot episode was already primarily filmed, and Shonda Rhimes received a word of advice that what the show needed was the resident jerk.
Enter Alex Karev, the pompous ass who secretly had a heart of gold. Alex has evolved over fifteen seasons of Grey's Anatomy, and his development is arguably the most impressive on the show. A notable example of this is the way he evolved through his romantic relationships and has gone from a stereotypical jerk to a doting husband.
9 JACKSON AVERY - WORST
Jackson Avery had fans swooning from his first appearance on Grey's back in the sixth season. The hospital's resident "cute doctor", it seems like everyone has the hots for Jackson. But is he really as dreamy as his soft blue eyes might suggest?
Jackson has had many romantic relationships throughout his time on Grey's. But his true colors eventually came out at some point during all of those relationships. He wasn't good to Lexie, he wasn't good to Stephanie, he was pretty horrible to April on several occasions, and he was not good to Maggie.
8 BEN WARREN - BEST
Ben first appeared in season 6, and it wasn't till a little later that he and Bailey began their romantic relationship. These two had a bit of turbulent start, but now their dynamic is one of the most loved on Grey's Anatomy.
Bailey had a difficult marriage with her husband, and after their divorce, it was beautiful to see her find love with Ben and ultimately marry him. In their relationship, Ben proved that he was a wonderful boyfriend.
7 ANDREW DELUCA - WORST
When Andrew Deluca was introduced in season 11 of Grey's Anatomy, and his "dreamy" appearance made many doctors and his fellow interns, swoon. It didn't take long for Grey's to make Andrew a primary focal point of the show, and it didn't take long for this to begin to feel contrived.
Andrew may be largely perceived as charming, but when it comes to being a boyfriend, he often falls short. He's younger and understandably more immature than the attending doctors, so having him date people like Maggie and Meredith just feels wrong.
6 MARK SLOAN - BEST
When Mark Sloan was killed off in the ninth season of Grey's, the hearts of fans everywhere were shattered. McSteamy was an iconic character, utterly unforgettable from his first appearance back in the second season. Before Mark began dating Lexie, he was seen as a player and a womanizer. Sure, Mark had a significant arrogant streak that got the better of him sometimes, but when his romance with Lexie Grey began, so did McSteamy's evolution to becoming an exceptional surgeon and a great boyfriend.
5 OWEN HUNT - WORST
For a second, let's put aside the fact that Owen cheated on both of his wives, and focus on the fact that he married two different women and broke up with both of them for the same reason. The whole implosion of Cristina and Owen's relationship was the fact that Cristina wanted to pursue her career rather than having children. This caused numerous problems in their marriage, and that's because the two really didn't know each other well enough when they got married.
Not all of this is Owen's fault, but then he hastily married Amelia - a woman whom he barely knew. A woman who also did not want children. And then the relationship imploded again. History repeats itself for Owen Hunt, but that's mainly because he's not a very good boyfriend.
4 RICHARD WEBBER - BEST
Richard has one of the longest careers out of any other doctor on Grey's, and that is because, for most of his life, his career came first. It's because of this and his affair with Ellis Grey, that his relationship with Adele suffered, and it's worth acknowledging that he was, in no way, a good husband to her.
But it's also worth noting that Richard did step up to be there for Adele when she was tragically diagnosed with Alzheimer's. And with his second wife, Catherine, Richard is a very loving, doting husband.
3 NATHAN RIGGS - WORST
Throughout Nathan's short time on Grey's Anatomy, it seemed like the writers could never make up their minds on how they wanted to portray him. On one hand, the fact that he was unfaithful to his fiancee, Megan, was frequently noted. On the other, Grey's writers pushed a contrived romance with him and Meredith for quite a while.
On the whole, Nathan was quite a selfish individual for the most part. His hot-headedness often got in the way of both major relationships was saw him in.
2 NICO KIM - BEST
Nico, a successful orthopedic surgeon, is a groundbreaking character for Grey's Anatomy. This is because he is the first openly gay character to have a major role in the series, and his charm and sweet demeanor won audiences over instantly.
In season 15, Nico had a romantic relationship with fellow surgeon, Levi. Since this is Grey's Anatomy, a romance just wouldn't be a romance without more than a little (unnecessary) drama, but Nico did seem to be a good boyfriend to Levi.
1 DEREK SHEPHERD - WORST
When Grey's Anatomy first started airing over fifteen years ago, Derek Shepherd was regarded as iconic, perfect boyfriend material by just about everyone. But not everything about Grey's aged perfectly, and Derek was, unfortunately, a victim of this.
If we really look at Derek and Meredith's relationship, it's not exactly as picture-perfect as many would believe. Sure, MerDer will always be iconic, but Derek was not a perfect boyfriend to Meredith - and sometimes, he was a pretty terrible one.