Grey’s Anatomy: 10 Times The Show Broke Our Hearts

There’s no shortage of tearjerking where Grey’s Anatomy is concerned, as the show’s selling point in its first seasons was that it would have you bawling on the ground like a girl dumped at the prom at regular intervals. 

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Although there are hundreds of times where the show had us crying, there have been a select few moments that shattered our hearts. In this list, we haven’t put major focus on main character deaths, as those were naturally hard on the feels. In its place, we’ve placed importance on these 10 times that made Grey’s Anatomy such an entertaining, but also heart-wrenching show to watch.

10 Dissolution Of George And Lexie's Friendship

A very underrated friendship is the one George and Lexie had enjoyed in Season 4. The two had become best friends without even realizing it, and had been each other’s support through their struggles as interns.

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This made it all the more heartbreaking how the two completely broke off their friendship in Season 5, where Lexie accused George of subconsciously using her to become a resident and ignoring her obvious feelings for him. There on out, the two never became close again and George died without him and Lexie becoming friends once more. A sad end to what was once a lovely friendship.

9 Cristina's Goodbye To Owen

Though we knew that Cristina would be exiting the series, there was still denial on the fans’ part that the couple of Cristina and Owen was at an end. The show kept us in blissful ignorance of this too by having the two hook up before said departure, but the inevitable still came to pass.

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In this scene, Cristina had to leave for the airport, and only got to share a final glance with Owen through a window as he was in the middle of trauma surgery. Owen’s eyes told the whole tale of his sorrow, as he could do nothing but look longingly at Cristina for the last time before she disappeared forever from his life.

8 Derek Apologizing To Meredith

Things were going way too good for Meredith and Derek for it not to get messed up, and it did mess up in Meredith’s face when Addison arrived. Meredith had no time to process this sudden development in her life, as Derek took one look at Addison and instantly apologized to Meredith.

The bombshell was dropped upon Meredith (and us) with the revelation that Derek had been married all along. Following this, Meredith found herself without the person she loved and haunted by the sight of Addison now having got back together with Derek. A whole lot of sorrow and bad decisions were waiting for Meredith following this moment.

7 Addison Feeling Blue

Addison herself had her fair share of sad moments, and it was in Season 3 where she reached her lowest point. Even the viewers who didn’t like her best had to feel sorry for her as we saw Addison feel extra blue when she realized she had no more place in Seattle.

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She was dumped by both Derek and Mark, tried to begin a romance with Alex - only for him to make clear to her he only saw her as physical pleasure - and then reflected that all her bad decisions had caught up to her, leaving her very lonely and feeling lost with her place in the world.

6 That Elevator Scene

There was no better finale moment on Grey’s Anatomy than that of Season 5, where we saw the “spirits” of Izzie and George on either side of an elevator. It was clear that George’s spirit was offering her to move on like he did, but Izzie’s connection to Alex had her wracked with doubt if she should pass away. 

The music had us bawling in tears as we saw two of our favorite characters seemingly about to die and leave the show. George’s fate was already sealed, and the implication was that Izzie would be joining him very soon as well.

5 George's Father's Death

Even though he was a character relevant only because he was George’s father, Harold became someone we cared in his own right due to how much of a nice guy he was. The scene that broke our hearts, though, was where he begged his doctor to take all the tumor from him out.

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Being a man of the old ages, Harold was certain he could fight his organs failing, despite the doctors telling him otherwise, and wanted to live so that his wife of 40 years wouldn’t be alone. We wanted so very badly to believe in his fight, but ultimately Harold went down swinging to the cancer and succumbed to his death.

4 George Writing '007'

George was missing for all of Season 5’s finale, but he made his impact by revealing to Meredith that he was John Doe at the fringes of death. And how did he go about doing it? He had to “write” ‘007’ on Meredith’s palm to indicate his identity.

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Fans will remember that George hated being called 007, which meant the poor guy’s final act was using a reference he despised so that his friends knew who he was before he died. The doctors’ attempts at reviving him failed, and George passed away.

3 Cristina And Burke's Break-Up

So close yet so far. Cristina was heading toward some major compromise in her life - something we didn’t think was possible for her - but her momentary indecision cost her. Here, Cristina saw Burke walk out of her life because he figured she loved herself too much to be happy in marrying him, not realizing she had made up her mind to get married the moment before. 

The biggest kicker was watching Cristina break down when she reached their apartment, as the realization dawned on her that Burke really had left her high and dry. At that time, Cristina’s world had come crashing to a halt.

2 Richard Crying Over Adele's Death

James Pickens Jr as Chief Richard Webber in Grey's Anatomy

When Adele’s Alzheimer reached its worst point, Richard figured he would leave her alone so that his constant presence wouldn’t give an already mentally handicapped mind more stress, but he realized he was doing the wrong thing by basically abandoning his wife.

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We saw Richard realize how badly he had treated Adele in their marriage when she passed away, as he stood with tears in his eyes at Bailey’s wedding, not wanting to ruin the day for anyone by revealing his wife’s death, but being wracked with both guilt and grief.

1 Izzie Crying Over Denny's Death

The closest anyone could have gotten to a “Happily Ever After” on Grey’s Anatomy was Izzie, who almost had it all for a few short hours. Deep down, we knew Denny would definitely die for Izzie’s story to continue, but it didn’t make the sight of her breaking down by his body any less sad. 

Weirdly enough, even sadder to witness was when Izzie wasn’t crying, and seemed to be waiting to die next to Denny herself, as she lay on the bed with an eerie calmness. It was the calm before the storm, but fans had been crying way before Izzie started shedding tears.

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