10 Couples That Hurt Grey's Anatomy (And 8 That Saved it)

With 14 seasons under its belt, Grey's Anatomy has featured more than a few couples. With a fanbase as dedicated as Grey's Anatomy, there are bound to be a few opinions on how those relationships made or break the show. This might cause many disagreements between fans, as we all have a difference of opinions. However, there are some that fans just don't like. There's no explanation, it's just an instinct we all had the minute they entered on the screen.

Other couples took us longer to dislike, because of how they were written or the way the relationship was played out. And then some were written to have us hate them. How else would a show work if there wasn't a couple that we weren't meant to hate? Grey's Anatomy has had multiple couples, multiple re-dos and "let's try again"s. Some lasted an episode and some lasted a number of seasons. Between all of those, there are ones we all agree we love, and we all agree we hate.

18 Ruined: Callie and Penny

We all know Penelope Blake as the resident who tried, but failed, to save Derek Shepard’s life. And even though she did make a valiant effort, it doesn’t stop the rest of us from blaming her a little. Or actually, from blaming her a lot.

Who knows what compelled Shonda Rhimes to bring her back, let alone bring her back as Callie’s girlfriend that she’d been raving about to Arizona.

Then, we have to watch Penny be there aiding Callie while we go through the worst child custody battle that we will probably ever have to live through, only for Arizona to send her precious daughter off to live with Callie and Penny after finally winning.

17 Saved: Izzie And Alex

From the beginning, Alex and Izzie were like fire and ice. Alex tried to be the "The Man" and make fun of Izzie for being a model but she was never deterred by what he said. Eventually, Izzie let herself have a relationship with Alex, but he was still hooking up with Olivia the nurse. She writes off being with him until there’s a bomb scare in the hospital and they’re locked in together. They finally acted on their feelings while waiting for the all-clear, but Izzie said she couldn’t get over what Alex did.

Izzie finally made Alex decide who he was going to be, and their relationship finally started on the good path. These two were meant to be together, and it’s shown by neither one really leaving the other while they were dating other people. While Izzie was at SGH, and even though she’s not on the show, she and Alex were always pushed to be together.

16 Ruined: Alex and Jo

Camilla Luddington and Justin Chambers as Jo Wilson and Alex Karev in Grey's Anatomy

Alex and Jo started off as what looked to be a good possible couple. They both came from the same sort of broken background, and it seemed like a match made in heaven! And it was - sort of. Depending on how you viewed the relationship, this match really changed Alex - and perhaps not for the better.

It all culminated in Alex “finding” Jo and DeLuca together. How in the world did we go from 10 seasons of character development for Alex, just to have him almost end up behind bars – the very thing he didn’t want to happen!

Not to mention the fact that Jo was the type of person you either really loved or really hated – and the more we went on, and the whinier she got, it was the latter.

15 Saved: Jackson and April

Sarah Drew and Jesse Williams as April Kepner and Jackson Avery in Grey's Anatomy

Jackson and April’s relationship is hard to place in the “saved” or “ruined” category, but ultimately, it saved the show from a writing perspective.

It brought character development to both characters who had been a little lacking in the three-dimensional department. At first, when April she wants to act on her feelings and they magically run away at Jackson’s wedding, it’s a little rom-com-y. Then, as with everything on Grey’s – it got serious.

They got pregnant with a child, despite the fact the two had been arguing about pregnancy. They found out their child had a disease that would cause the child to die just hours after birth and was already hurting himself in the womb. They induced labor, named, and baptized Samuel. But April wouldn’t be the same again.

Even though this relationship might have been doomed from the get-go, it brought out sides of April and Jackson we would never have seen otherwise.

14 Ruined: Amelia and Owen

Caterina Scorsone and Kevin McKidd as Amelia Shepherd and Owen Hunt in Grey's Anatomy

This is another couple that should have worked out. Amelia and Owen both had common problems that they could, in theory, lean on each other for help with. For a while, they did when they were friends. But the moment they were more than that, everything became hot and cold all the time.

Amelia constantly seemed to pull away just as she was starting to feel something, and then come back.

Everything in this relationship never worked, and it seemed like a waste of the viewers’ time to try the two out. It doesn’t help us learn anything about them, and honestly, it doesn’t make us like either one more. Unfortunately, these two did not help Grey’s Anatomy.

13 Saved: Mark and Lexie

Lexie Grey fractures Mark Sloan's penis in Grey's Anatomy

Just picturing together these two will make a Grey’s Anatomy fan cry. Mark Sloan and Lexie Grey were an older Grey’s Anatomy couple, but showed the best (and the worst) that Shona Rhimes has to offer.

The two had amazing chemistry and were made for each other.

Even though they were the most on-again-off-again couples in Grey’s history, even they knew it, which we found out during the plane crash.

In what was one of the saddest episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, the plane crash led to the passing of two people – Mark and Lexie. We find out that Mark passes later, after Lexie succumbs to her injuries on the island.

One of the saddest parts of the episodes, especially if you’d been following the on/off relationship, is Mark admitting that it was always her, and he was going to start a family with her. It’s also incredibly poetic that they both passed from injuries on the island, essentially being together forever.

12 Ruined: Cristina and Burke

Christina and Burke is an original couple in Grey’s Anatomy - an “OG” couple, if you will. It was the first relationship that Christina Yang had on the show and was the beginning of all the drama to come.

Burke may have seemed to have good intentions throughout the entire relationship - maybe he even loved her - but as we learned later in the series, the emotional trauma that he left wasn’t worth it.

Burke openly took advantage of Christina while he had his tremor - until he was better.

Then there is the infamous eyebrow scene, which is supposed to be funny but is actually incredibly hurtful. Being engaged was a compromise enough, but this scene shows just how much Christina suffered for Burke’s love.

11 Saved: Arizona and Callie

Many people regard Arizona and Callie as one of the most popular couples on Grey’s Anatomy. Due to the fact that they were the first lesbian couple on the show, they helped put a realistic female LGBT couple on cable TV.

Arizona and Callie made us love them as we watched their relationship grow and go full circle – literally!

Arizona and Callie were a part of – and survived – many of Grey’s Anatomy’s drastic season finales. The biggest strain on their relationship, of course, being when Callie had to make the decision to cut off Arizona’s leg. This would be the beginning of the unravelling of the relationship we loved so much. Their story has unfortunately ended with Sara Ramirez's departure from the show.

10 Ruined: Izzie and George

George and Izzie were always great friends. Would George have ever liked Izzie if Callie wasn’t so caught up in the fact that it might happen? It’s hard to say if Callie possibly drove George into the relationship since Izzie and George had hooked up once while they were drunk and wanted that passion back.

They tried having a relationship once George moved out of where he was living with Callie, but their relationship never worked. The relationship that never was destroyed, at least for a while, the best friendship this show had. It also, unfortunately, showed the worst in George.

Even though Callie may have been a part of it, it showed how much he didn’t care about her.

9 Saved: Cristina and Owen

Owen did a great job at helping Christina through the rough times while they were together – specifically after the plane crash. Despite their differences and the problems that they dealt with, Owen was easily the best person on the show that Christina dated. Helping Christina through the plane crash showed how much Owen loved her while he did everything for her.

Even though they had their troubles throughout their relationship, including the terminated pregnancy, they always loved each other. Even after the termination, which Owen was vehemently against and angry that she lied to him about it, they eventually still cared about each other.

The relationship may not have been the easiest one on the show, but it showed the drastic difference between Owen and Burke.

8 Ruined: Meredith and Riggs

Meredith and Riggs were definitely going to have some sort of relationship eventually – they had too much in common! Both had lost someone who was their one true love and it just made sense that the two would come together. Unfortunately, even though Meredith was trying hard to not let it happen for Maggie’s sake, it did happen.

They were together for a little while until Megan, Owen’s son and Riggs’s one true love was found. Meredith told Riggs that if Derek could be brought back to life, she would leave, so he had to go.

The problem with this relationship is that it was kind of boring and didn’t have much going for it.

Meredith had to hide from Maggie, and Riggs had to hide from Owen. The only thing anyone got out of it was the hiding. What happens when the best part of the story is the breakup?

7 Saved: Ben and Bailey


While we didn’t know too much about Bailey for a while, when she started going out with Ben, we began to learn a lot about her. After dealing with her horrible husband Tuck who didn’t understand her role as a surgeon and continually made her feel bad for missing out while she was saving lives, she eventually started dating Ben.

Ben and Miranda are the epitome of relationship goals.

They understand each other through the hard times and the good. Even on their wedding day, when Miranda got tied up operating on Adele Webber, he stayed and helped her, rather than getting upset. Ben also helped her through her OCD flare up and has always been there for her, when normally she has to be there for other people.

It’s easy to say Ben is probably the only person that Miranda has been able to rely on completely.

6 Ruined: Izzie and Denny

Almost all fans know the story of Denny Duquette, the heart transplant patient that Izzie fell for. As romantic as it may seem, it’s probably one of the most toxic relationships on Grey’s Anatomy. At first, it was nice to see Izzie have someone to banter with, but it was easy to see where the chain events were leading. Izzie had feelings for Denny and managed to keep it from Bailey, but the group of interns knew.

Possibly the worst part of the relationship is that Izzie was willing to throw away her career for him.

The infamous cutting of the LVAD wire shows that, as much as she was trying to save Denny, she was trying to save something for herself as well. She even says that to Denny that she’s not ready for him to go even if he’s ready. The entire turn of events and relationship is toxic and not at all how love should be portrayed.

5 Saved: Catherine and Richard

Catherine Avery was a great match for Richard Webber after everything. He wasn’t perfect, and his romantic life showed that. But he was a great man, and he deserved everything in the end.

After losing his wife to Alzheimer’s, just like he did Ellis Grey, he needed some joy, and Catherine brought that for him. She also had the ability to tell him wrong, and for him to believe it.

Catherine, so far, has been the only woman able to keep Richard in line.

While that mostly is a testament to Catherine, it also shows that couples work as a team. It’s also a great lesson from Rhimes – that you don’t necessarily find your love when you're in your 30s at a bar.

4 Ruined: Meredith and George


Everyone loved George, but perhaps his relationships could have gone better. George loved Meredith from afar from the beginning. He did everything he could to get her attention while she had her eyes on Derek – a classic story of the good guy who can't let go of woman who just wants to be friends.

He finally got his chance, when Meredith went on her spree of sleeping with people.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work, and Meredith ended up crying while they were hooking up. George took this as a front, and walked out, leaving Meredith alone. Their relationship became estranged after that for a while.

This couple really did show there were many other people that she could have been with, but that Derek was The One.

3 Ruined: April and Stark

April Kepner’s first relationship on the show was one that many people raised their eyebrows at: barely a flirtation with Peds surgeon Richard Stark.

When the older attending began working after Arizona left for Malawi, he didn’t seem to like or really care about his patients. However, April did persuade him to change his mind on one of his patients and do what Meredith had suggested. Impressed with her, he asked her out to dinner.

After the dinner, when April told everyone what had been happening, they told her that he thought this was a relationship. April was shocked and ended the “relationship.” They ignored each other from them on.

This whole scenario made April look as though she had no idea what a relationship was, and that she was completely dumb just because she’d never had relations before.

2 Ruined: Mark and Callie

While Mark and Callie did give the world baby Sofia, they are on this list because it wasn’t the best way to show a polyamorous relationship – if it was even that. It’s hard to know if Mark and Callie had feelings for each other, or if it was just lust.

If by chance, they were trying to show a polyamorous relationship between Mark, Callie, and Arizona, it didn’t work because Arizona didn’t like Mark.

Before Arizona came along, Mark and Callie were a great relationship, but once Arizona or Erica Hahn came into the picture, it should have stopped. Since Callie continued to go back to Mark, the pairing comes off more like a crutch than a good relationship.

1 Saved: Meredith and Derek

Meredith and Derek are, of course, the relationship that Grey’s Anatomy was built on. Even though they had a rough start because Derek decided to give it another try with Addison, in the end, they still were great for each other. Neither one was perfect, but they both brought out qualities that no one else could.

Who can forget that iconic scene when Meredith sets up a floor plan of the house with candles as a way of showing she wants to be with him?

The best part about the two is that neither pushed the other for anything. They knew who the other person was and didn’t want that changed. While that continued to be a huge problem with couples in Grey’s Anatomy, it didn’t ever seem to affect Derek and Meredith. Neither one had a problem getting married on a post-it note. They were just happy to be together.


Who's your favorite couple on Grey's Anatomy? Let us know in the comments!

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