Grey’s Anatomy is known as much for its romantic entanglements as it is for anything pertaining to medicine. There have been a lot — a lot — of relationships (and even some weddings) over the course of 18 seasons, and not every doctor can be McDreamy when it comes to romance (even he wasn’t perfect — see below). I took a look back at the staff of Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital (formerly Seattle Grace) and picked out the nine doctors who were definitely better in the medical field than the love department.
First, a couple of notes, because I know as Grey’s fans, we’re very protective of our favorite characters. Being bad at relationships or going after the wrong person does not make these characters bad people. There are some fan favorites here, so consider yourself warned. Also, I chose only from hospital staff, so you won’t find Jo’s abusive husband Paul on this list, even though we can all agree he was the worst, right? With that out of the way, let’s get to the list of worst love interests on Grey’s Anatomy.
I’m going to kick this off with a hot take. Derek Shepard (Patrick Dempsey) was one half of the series’ flagship couple, so it’s kind of hard to believe he has a place on this list. But MerDer’s relationship wasn’t always Post-It notes and beach reunions. Some of the couple’s earlier interactions were really cringe, particularly Derek slut-shaming Meredith in Season 2 (you know, after he got back together with the wife he had forgotten to mention). Let’s not forget in Season 11 he kissed another woman while working in D.C. Sorry, McDreamy, but as Meredith Grey’s husband, I’m holding you to a higher standard.
When Eliza Minnick (Marika Domińczyk) showed up in Season 13 to revamp the residency program, she made exactly one friend — Arizona Robbins. In fact, it seemed Minnick was always either pissing somebody off or flirting with Arizona. When Minnick was (rightfully) fired after the fire incident in the hospital, she ghosted the only person who cared, ignoring Arizona’s calls and moving out of her apartment.
I love George O’Malley. I mean, forget Sean Connery or Daniel Craig, George O’Malley is my favorite 007. But his role as a significant other was seriously lacking. George (T.R. Knight) was involved in the hospital's syphilis outbreak in Season 1 (not completely his fault but still). He cheated on Callie, which was an ill-advised marriage in the first place, and his relationship with Izzie was so bad even the actors themselves hated it. Let’s not even talk about when he slept with Meredith. Poor George just needed to set up camp in the friend zone.
Nico Kim (Alex Landi) hasn’t had a whole lot of character development since his arrival in Season 15, and unfortunately seems to be used mostly as a device for on-off boyfriend Levi Schmitt’s journey of self-discovery. This hasn’t allowed viewers to see Nico do much more than treat Schmitt badly so that Schmitt can overcome the situation and thrive. How are they even still together?
We all know a Leah, right? A person who maybe gets a little too attached, a little too quickly? I felt bad for Leah Murphy (Tessa Ferrer) that she never seemed to be on the same page as her romantic partners, but not bad enough not to groan every time she was on-screen in a non-medical capacity.
Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd) made this list not for his PTSD-triggered attack on Cristina, but for a number of other offenses, like cheating on her, and yelling, “You killed our baby!” in front of all of their colleagues at a child’s birthday party. Things didn’t get better with Amelia, where he continued to be controlling and manipulative. And then there's Teddy, his current wife, but I’m not sure why that's even a thing, considering the terrible way he treated her when he found out about her romantic past with her best friend Allison. A proficient trauma surgeon to be sure, but great partner, not so much.
There’s a lot to love about April Kepner (Sarah Drew), including the bond she shared with Jackson Avery. But man they didn’t have an easy road. April experienced a whole rollercoaster of feelings after losing her virginity, and she picked a very fragile time in their relationship to join the Army and go overseas for three months. We also really have to talk about poor Matthew. April straight-up abandoned Matthew at the altar to elope with Jackson. She and Matthew gave it another go in Season 14, and that didn't last either. I mean, look, she even admitted she's the worst.
Like Derek and Meredith, Cristina and Burke were one of Grey’s Anatomy’s main couples in Season 1. But it is so hard to rewatch their relationship play out, as Burke (Isaiah Washington) constantly punished Cristina for things happening in their personal lives by withholding professional opportunities from her. Did Seattle Grace even have an HR department? Then Burke pressured her into a big wedding after she said that’s not what she wanted, and when she finally agreed to do it his way, he left her (with no eyebrows, at that) because then and only then, he decided he didn’t want to change her.
Jason Myers (Charles Michael Davis) is the worst love interest in Grey’s Anatomy’s 18 seasons so far, and I don’t even think it’s close. From the start Jason was disrespectful and didn’t trust Jo, but the relationship really took a dangerous turn during a physical altercation. Jason grabbed Jo’s arm, she hit him, he hit her back, and when Jo fought him off, he fell, hitting his head and requiring surgery. When he woke up, he had the audacity to talk about pressing charges, but Alex talked him out of it. That was the last time viewers saw Jason, and we were not sorry to see him go.
Grey’s Anatomy will continue to see love interests come and go from the hospital, especially with all of the new characters the show has been introducing (did someone say Minnesota spinoff?), and it just wouldn’t be as fun if every character were the perfect romantic partner. So I say keep bringing the messy! You can catch Grey’s Anatomy at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. And see what’s coming up in the new year with our 2022 TV schedule.
Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.
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