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Lucy Chen and Tim Bradford © Getty

The TV breakups that broke us: From 'Chenford' to Fleabag and the Hot Priest

How we wish these TV power couples had stood the test of time…

Megan Bull
TV Writer
May 8, 2024
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We've all been there – just when you think true love exists, a TV show breaks up your favourite power couple, sparking an existential crisis followed by a complete state of denial. 

Yep, The Rookie, Schitt's Creek and Fleabag are just some of the shows that ripped our hearts out with relationships gone wrong. Here, we remember the fallen couples who should have been endgame. 

Eric Winter and Melissa O'Neil in The Rookie 
© Raymond Liu,ABC

Lucy Chen and Tim Bradford – The Rookie

This one's still raw. After sharing their first kiss in the season four finale, Lucy Chen and Tim Bradford embarked on a swoon-worthy relationship, before quashing our hopes and dreams in series six. 

Forced to lie about a false report he'd filed in the past, Tim began to lose sight of himself, and broke up with Lucy in episode 6, telling her she deserved much better than him. Tim – it's just not true! 

With The Rookie renewed for a seventh instalment, we're hoping they get back together. Surely, it's not over…

Alexis and Ted in Schitt's Creek© Netflix

Alexis Rose and Ted Mullens – Schitt's Creek

We're still not over Ted and Alexis's breakup. Following an epic will-they-won't-they storyline which included two failed engagements and a heartwarming reconciliation, these two were finally thriving. 

However, with new career opportunities on the horizon, Ted and Alexis were forced to call time on their romance, agreeing that a long-distance relationship would be too hard. As actor and writer Dan Levy notes, what makes their breakup so crushing is that they still loved each other, and wanted the best for one another. 

But are they really over? Actress Annie Murphy has other ideas. "I think that maybe it would be one of those relationships where they let each other go and thought it was final and then maybe drift into each other's worlds down the line," she told Us Weekly

That's it, we're telling ourselves they got back together.

Jess and Rory in Gilmore Girls © Instagram

Rory Gilmore and Jess Mariano - Gilmore Girls

Whether you were Team Dean, Team Jess or Team Logan, it's fair to say that Rory Gilmore had her fair share of heartwrenching breakups. But, it's her season three split with resident bad boy Jess Mariano that hurts the most. 

After embarking on a relationship, these two seemed golden. With a shared love of music and literature, Jess was Rory's match in every way, but with a tendency to self-sabotage, he quickly ruined it all. Too afraid to tell her he was failing school, or that Luke had thrown him out, Jess skipped town without telling Rory. 

In the end, their breakup happens over the phone, with Rory speaking down the line to a silent Jess. "I think I may have loved you. But, I just need to... let it go," she tells him, before hanging up – it's all too much!

With their relationship over, Jess and Rory did establish a friendship, but one thing's clear – Jess will always hold a candle for his lost love. Following the release of the four-part special, A Year in the Life, fans speculated that Jess might be Rory's endgame. 

Concluding the final episode with the full-circle revelation that Rory was pregnant, fans noted that if she were to follow the same path as Lorelai, Jess would be her version of Luke, and we all know how their story ended. 

fleabag phoebe© Photo: BBC

Fleabag and Hot Priest – Fleabag

If the word 'kneel' didn't enter your head, did you even watch Fleabag? The Hot Priest was the one man who truly understood our girl, noticing when she'd retreated into her own world and asking her questions when no one else cared. 

There's no doubt about it, these two were comedy gold, and their chemistry was unmatched, but it was the Priest's commitment to God that caused their breakup at the bus stop. 

Somehow, Phoebe Waller-Bridge made their split beautiful, noting that their relationship had left Fleabag with a renewed sense of hope for the future. "It'll pass," the Hot Priest says with a smile. Why is moving on so hard!?

Richard and Monica in Friends© Getty

Monica Gellar and Richard Burke – Friends

Let's be clear – Chandler and Monica were meant to be – but that doesn't mean her breakup with dreamboat eye doctor Richard Burke was easy. 

At the time of their relationship, the writers on Friends had no idea that she would end up with Chandler, and at the time, it really seemed like Monica and Richard had a future. He loved everything about her, including her control freak tendencies. 

But in the end, Richard – who was a lot older – wanted different things, and having children was not one of them. Just think what could have been…