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17 Undeniably Toxic TV Relationships That Fans Rooted For Anyway

Updated February 26, 2020 122.3k votes 19.1k voters 324.0k views17 items

List RulesVote up the effed TV couples you ship hardest despite their issues.

Plenty of TV couples give the good folks of the world actual #relationshipgoals. Think Eric and Tami Taylor. Marshall and Lily. Cory and Topanga. At the other end of the spectrum, there are those couples that are ridiculous and almost painful to watch, the truly terrible ones no one is rooting for. Sam and Ruby from Supernatural or Rachel and Joey from Friends. Somewhere in the middle, there’s a grey area of effed up TV couples everyone is still shipping. These bad TV relationships you still root for have such obvious issues you know they're bad for each other, but you love them in spite of their problems. 

Viewers are big fans of drama, so it’s not uncommon to ship two characters to death even if they treat each other poorly or have a damaging union. Yet characters enjoying their happily ever after doesn't mean their love is an example of an ideal, healthy relationship. Quite the contrary.

Often enough, TV writers have a special talent of making us root for characters who have done awful things to each other, ranging from cheating to being on-again, off-again to verbal abuse. Here are some undeniably toxic TV relationships you can still swoon over, messed up TV relationships you can't help but love because your favorite TV couples aren't necessarily the best for each other. 

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  • 5

    Ross And Rachel From Friends

    Ross And Rachel From Friends is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 17 Undeniably Toxic TV Relationships That Fans Rooted For Anyway
    Photo: NBC

    It was pretty clear from the very beginning of Friends that lovebirds Ros and Rachel were endgame. That’s mainly why it’s baffling to think about all the things that made their relationship problematic. Ross was controlling and ridiculously jealous. He jumped in bed with someone else literally hours after he and Rachel broke up, making it impossible for her to trust him again.

    On the other hand, Rachel used the influence she had over him to break up several of Ross’s relationships, just because she couldn't make up her mind about whether she wanted to be with him or not. Their on-again, off-again routine was anything but healthy. And yet, she was his lobster. How can one root against that? 

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  • 6

    Elena And Damon From The Vampire Diaries

    Elena And Damon From The Vampi is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 17 Undeniably Toxic TV Relationships That Fans Rooted For Anyway
    Photo: CW

    Elena and Damon shared undeniable chemistry, so Delena became a thing from early on in the series. But here’s the truth – it will never be okay for a teenage girl to date a guy who is hundreds of years older than her. Moreover, all the back and forth between Stefan and Damon put a rift between the brothers, which is also never cool.

    While you could argue Elena brought out the best in Damon and Damon taught Elena how to live, we rarely saw them be truly happy together. Damon was always fighting against his true nature, and when he failed to live up to Elena’s standards, she suffered. At least they got to be together for a while after all the drama, although we didn't really get to see that.

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  • 7

    Callie And Arizona From Grey's Anatomy

    Callie And Arizona From Grey's is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 17 Undeniably Toxic TV Relationships That Fans Rooted For Anyway
    Photo: ABC

    Callie and Arizona were great when they first started dating and got married. After the dreaded plane crash, however, their relationship became a train wreck. But thinking back on the good old days, you can’t help but root for Calzona to reunite. Forget all the cheating and the ugly custody battle, okay? 

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  • 8

    Cookie And Lucious From Empire

    Cookie And Lucious From Empire is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 17 Undeniably Toxic TV Relationships That Fans Rooted For Anyway
    Photo: FOX

    Cookie and Lucious are the definition of toxic. But their relationship's tumultuous nature is also what keeps us glued to the screen. They abuse each other one second and make us swoon the next. They span decades of lust, love, and hurt.

    Epic is a poor word to describe it, so it’s natural for fans to hope they’ll eventually bury the hatchet and give love a chance. 

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