56% viewers find Ross and Rachel’s onscreen split as the saddest TV breakup of all time


It’s easy to become invested in TV shows and nothing hurts quite like a fictional break-up. As we loyally follow our favourite TV couples for months and sometimes years, many of them end up calling it quits and we couldn’t be more gutted.

That being said, have you ever stopped to think about which TV break-up has left you feeling the saddest?

The team at OnBuy TV and Cinema created an index by surveying 2,233 people worldwide to discover what break-ups made them the saddest.

OnBuy TV and Cinema assessed the following factors for their index:

  • IMDb rating out of 10
  • % who re-watched the break-up
  • % who cried when watching the break-up
  • The popularity of the breakup

The saddest break-ups

Scoring the highest, with a whopping 370 sad points and crowned the saddest break-up on TV, is Ross and Rachel from Friends, with an IMDb rating of 8.5.


A staggering 38% of people admitted to crying as the pair parted ways during season three, which is the highest ranking on the list. While 56% voted it as the saddest break-up they have ever seen, with 37% repeat watching.

In second place is Gossip Girl’s Chuck and Blair, who have been awarded a staggering295 sad points, with it breaking 44%of hearts and over a third(34%) shedding a tear when the relationship broke down. Meanwhile 31% couldn’t get enough of the trauma and repeatedly watched the break-up. The episode was also awarded an IMDb rating of 7.9.

With an IMDb rating of 8.5for their break-up episode Spencer and Toby from Pretty Little Liars take third place, earning 217 points, with 15% reaching for their box of tissues and a quarter of those surveyed (25%) re-watching the episode to re-live the heartbreak again.

Other ranking break-ups

  • Gossip Girl: Dan and Serena – 191 points
  • Game of Thrones: Jamie and Brienne – 190 points
  • Vampire Diaries: Elena and Stefan – 139 points
  • New Girl: Jess and Nick – 135 points

The lowest ranking ‘saddest’break-ups 

Iconic TV show Friends made a second appearance with Monica and Richard landing eighth, after being awarded 129 points, as only 13% shed a tear for the couple. However, it seems that Friends really do love featuring sad break-ups!

Coming in close behind is Luke and Lorelai from Gilmore Girls, making the ranking with 100 points and 22%of fans shedding a tear. This might come as no surprise, as this break-up only received 5.5 viewer rating points on IMDb, the lowest ranking on the list.

In 10th place is Lily and Marshall from How I Met Your Mother, with only 66 points. This break-up ranked at the bottom of the list for tears cried (8%) and repeat watches (7%).Despite the break-up having an IMDb viewing rating of 8.2, the fourth highest on the list, it wasn’t enough to get people reaching for the tissues.

  1. The team at OnBuy TV and Cinema surveyed 2,233 people worldwide to discover the saddest TVbreak-ups and asked if itmade people cry and if people had repeatedly watched the scene. From the list they then collated those answers to find the top 10most popular break-ups.
  2. OnBuy then looked at each episode where the break-up occurred on IMDband collected the viewing ratings for each of the top 10saddest break-ups.
  3. Finally, OnBuy used a points system called min-max normalisation to
    award points to each break-up based on data collected. For every feature, the minimum value of that feature gets transformed into a 0, the maximum to 100, and every other value gets transformed into a number between 0 and 100.
  4. This enabled OnBuy to rank the break-ups in order of sadness, based on their total points.

Your thoughts, please