I have some bad news: your fave pop culture couple is probably super toxic. Let's face it, some of the most beloved couples on TV and in film have some super problematic histories. Those grand romantic gestures are, more often than not, super creepy when you really think about them. Oh, and waiting for someone outside their house so you can talk to them? That's called stalking! All of the things we've ~swooned~ over for years are actually ridiculous! I hate to break your hearts, but some pop culture ships really need to be sunk!
Luckily, not every pop culture couple is a complete nightmare. But enough of them are to make you question why you've been pining after a love like theirs for so long! We all romanticize those epic love stories, but we oftentimes forget to stop and think if they're actually as great as they seem. Spoiler alert: most of the time, they aren't! Here's a realistic look at some famed pop culture couples that are way more toxic than you ever noticed!
The thrilling affair between a Washington D.C. fixer and the President of the United States is riveting television. You can't help but want these two forces of nature to be together! The only problem is that these two are truly horrible for each other. Their romance reads more like emotional abuse than anything resembling true love. Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) treats Olivia (Kerry Washington) more like an object to be won and kept than a grown woman. The two began as an affair which tells you all you need to know about their relationship. If he cheats with you, he'll cheat on you, girl! Aside from the obvious ways in which they are wrong for each other, the two are constantly distracted by what the other is doing. It frequently interrupts their workdays (uh, not great when you're the President!) and causes issues. "Olitz" is definitely not a relationship to envy!
This is one of the most classic, wholesome teenage love stories in movie history. Or is it? Sandy (Olivia Newton John) and Danny (John Travolta) meet on summer vacation and soon learn they'll be attending the same high school. It seems too good to be true until the two realize they're from two totally different worlds. Sandy is a sweet, innocent Australian girl whereas Danny is a leather-clad bad-boy. They try to make it work, but in the end, Sandy ends up undergoing her own leathery makeover to be the ideal of what Danny wants. Can we talk about how messed up that is?! Sandy changes everything about herself to conform to the idea of what she thinks the guy she likes wants. Danny eats it up, too! You should never change yourself to be what someone is looking for. If you have to, that's not love!
Temple Hill Entertainment
When it comes to Twilight, there are two major ships. There's Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Jacob (Taylor Lautner). Then, of course, Bella and Edward (Robert Pattinson), who are by far the more toxic coupling. Edward is over 100 years old and he becomes obsessed with a 17-year-old. He constantly puts Bella in harm's way, even leaving her alone deep in the woods after breaking up with her "for her own good" (blaring toxic relationship red flag!). There's also the fact that he's attracted to her because of her scent and how badly he wants to eat her. Yeah, we'll take a hard pass on this relationship.
Teen angst is personified in Angela Chase (Claire Danes) which is probably why she falls for an absolute dufus. People tend to romanticize the relationship between Angela and Jordan (Jared Leto) as a good girl trying to reform a poor, misunderstood bad-boy. The reality of their relationship is much less poetic, though. Angela has a good head on her shoulders despite some rebelliousness and Jordan just drags her down to his level the more she falls for him. A lot of his issues aren't totally his fault, but c'mon girl, you're going to fall for a guy who can't even read?! He never treated her the way she deserved, opting to shame her for not wanting to have sex with him and then hooking up with her best friend. These two aren't a picture-perfect high school romance, they're a disaster.
Walt Disney Pictures
Disney stories are the height of healthy, loving relationships in pop culture, right? Wrong! Beauty and the Beast, in any iteration of the story, is a terrible example of love for kids. Not only does the Beast kidnap and imprison Belle, he makes her clean his house while spending time with his annoying, singing dinnerware. People look at the relationship as a smart girl reforming a beast with her love. In reality, the Beast is selfish and possessive of Belle all while she falls in love with him as the result of Stockholm Syndrome. Love bred in captivity probably doesn't count as an epic love story.
Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis) are pop culture royalty. The two are the most famed relationship in the history of soap operas and their wedding is still the highest rated soap opera hour of all time. There's no denying, though, that they should never have gotten married! Luke and Laura's relationship begins with Luke raping Laura. Laura then falls in love with her rapist in a bizarre, too-far twist... even for a soap opera. Fans somehow still love these two despite their complicated and messed up past. We can see through their romantic moments, though, and find a relationship with tragic beginnings and a totally destructive foundation!
After a long day in detention, popular girl Claire (Molly Ringwald) and burnout John (Judd Nelson) end up falling for each other and overcoming their high school archetypes. It certainly sounds romantic, two people from different worlds finding common ground, but in reality, these two should stay far, far away from each other. John sexually harasses Claire throughout their entire detention together. He questions her about her sexual history, shoves his face in between her legs, and slut-shames her. John Bender is not a good dude. He is truly just as scummy as they all thought he was at the beginning of detention. If he's going to treat Claire this way after first meeting her, there's no telling how he'll treat her after he gets her as his girlfriend!
Drogo (Jason Momoa) and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) are one of the most celebrated couples on Game of Thrones. He's her "sun and stars" — can it even get more romantic than that? Their love affair has some gross beginnings, though. They meet when Drogo buys Dany as his bride and then continually rapes her. Right off the bat, it's not looking too great. People cite the fact that the two eventually genuinely fell in love as a sign they were meant to be but we call shenanigans. Dany was fresh out of options and giving Drogo a chance was all she had left. We doubt these two would have truly fallen in love if they met in a natural way. Their relationship also gave Dany a lust for power which is either great or frightful depending on if you want her to be the Queen or not!
Warner Bros. Pictures
How these two ever became a fan favorite couple is a little shocking. Harry Potter fans cite Snape's (Alan Rickman) lifelong dedication to Lily (Geraldine Somerville) that extends long past her death as a sign of true devotion. But to us, it just seems hella creepy to obsess over a woman for your entire life even after she marries another man and has a son. Snape spends most of his adult life playing spy for the good side while pretending he's right in Voldemort's (Ralph Fiennes) pocket. While that's heroic, to an extent, his obsession with Lily and hatred of the son she had with another man is just pathetic. The fact that anyone thinks these two would be a good idea has us seriously questioning their sanity!
In a show full of some truly tender, amazing love stories, Alex (Laura Prepon) and Piper (Taylor Schilling) are undoubtedly the most toxic. It's nice that they find respite in each other in prison, but let's not forget that the entire reason Piper is in prison is because of Alex. Sure, Piper did the crime and now she's doing to the time, but only after Alex ratted her out years after the fact. The two are awful for each other and bring out only the worst in one another. There's a reason why the show is always better when the plotlines are centered on people other than these two!
This relationship is one of the most problematic ever in pop culture. Blair (Leighton Meester) has some truly terrible friends for not talking her out of being with self-destructive, narcissistic Chuck (Ed Westwick). Chuck is many things, but a perfect gentleman is not one of them. He almost rapes multiple women, is emotionally and physically abusive, and we can't forget the time he traded Blair for a hotel! It's a bit - nay, incredibly - insane that Blair ever forgave him for that one! Blair's not perfectly innocent, either. She tends to be pretty abusive herself towards both her romantic interests and her friends, and loves playing games with Chuck.
It doesn't take a genius to know that these two psychos are no good for each other. Harley (Margot Robbie) begins as the Joker's (Jared Leto) therapist and quickly falls for the charismatic villain. Fast forward a bit and their relationship leads to him giving her electroshock therapy and her jumping in a vat of chemicals for him. She throws away her entire life as a therapist to engage in a life of crime and destruction with "Mr. J." While the movie toned down the romance found in their comic book origins, the nastier aspects of their love affair are still on full display. The Joker is abusive in every sense of the word and Harley just descends further into madness and takes it. This is the opposite of a healthy courtship!
Their couple name may be "LoVe" but they personify everything but actual love. At one point during the series, Logan (Jason Dohring) says he thinks their love story is epic, full of bloodshed and lives ruined. ...h'okay. Veronica (Kristen Bell) makes an excellent point: relationships shouldn't be that hard. But these two still fall back into each other's arms at every turn. Logan is a ticking time bomb, unable to control his emotions or fists. He also ran a bum-fighting ring at one point and that's just not a trait you want in a boyfriend. Veronica is one of the smartest women in pop culture but the fact that she couldn't dump this loser is her big flaw!
The love triangle on this show is one of the biggest selling points. Elena (Nina Dobrev) finds herself torn between two brothers: Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder), both of whom love her too. While any sane person would be #TeamStefan there are those firmly on Damon's side... the show's creator, in particular. The fact that Damon has any supporters is beyond us. He is a bastion of violence and immoral actions. He sabotages any chance he has at happiness because he's a ginormous jerk and usually ends up hurting people in the process. How could Elena forget the time Damon murdered her brother?! Or when he raped her friend?! If Elena was smart she'd ditch Damon for smart, well-tempered (well, when he's not on a Ripper binge) Stefan and call it a day!
These two are a fan fave couple but we can't quite understand why. What's more toxic than a couple that begins on a throne of lies? Fitz (Ian Harding) also happens to be Aria's (Lucy Hale) teacher and is quite a bit older than she is... you know, because she's a minor. In and of itself, it's ridiculous that Fitz would jeopardize his job and whole life for a teenage girl. Throw in that fact that he initially gets close to her to write a book about her missing friend and it's even grosser. The show tries to get us to believe that they have so much in common when loving to read isn't really enough to keep two people together!
Ugh, these two! Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Big (Chris Noth) are one of the most unhealthy couples in all of pop culture. Let's get one thing straight: any man who lets others call him "Mr. Big" is probably a maniac. Big was completely anti-commitment yet always tried to get Carrie back when she tried to find happiness with other men. She never got to escape from underneath his thumb. The two also engaged in an affair while Big was still married which is a huge no-no for any relationship, no matter how ~fated~ you think they are. Carrie and Mr. Big brought out the absolute worst in each other and the fact that they're one of the "epic love stories" in pop culture means, quite frankly, that pop culture is f*cked!
These two are the most famous sitcom couple in all of TV history. But Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) are also the most toxic sitcom couple. For starters, there's the obvious point of Ross cheating on Rachel. Whether or not they were "on a break," sleeping with a girl mere hours after a fight is pretty unforgivable. He's also incredibly conceited and only ever wants to talk about dinosaurs or himself, or both. How are you supposed to have a meaningful relationship with someone who only cares about himself? The two have also continually ruined each other's relationships with other people in acts of jealousy. Ross and Rachel can't help but meddle in one another's lives even when they aren't together (which is 90% of the series, tbh) and even their friends get totally sick of it!
The Notebook is one of the most adored love stories in all of pop culture. Unfortunately, the movie gets romantic relationships so wrong! Noah (Ryan Gosling) and Allie (Rachel McAdams) fall in love one fateful teen summer. Their relationship fizzles when Allie leaves town and her parents intercept the letters Noah sends her. Flashforward years later and the two have lived their entire adult lives without each other. But in an obsessive, creepy way Noah never forgets Allie. He renovates an entire house for her, even though he only really knew her for one summer a decade prior! She comes back to him all the same. Plus, when they were together, it was defined by their ~passionate~ and frequent fights. Who you are at 17 and who you are as an adult are such drastically different people that it's insane to think that these two belong together. Guess that means we're all crazy!