If there’s one thing Grey’s Anatomy is quite possibly even more adept at than killing off characters, it’s placing those characters into impossibly tricky love triangles. In honor of the latest romantic knot — will Meredith choose DeLuca or Link? — we decided to revisit some of our favorite Grey’s Anatomy love triangles from the show’s history.
And, wowza — have there been a lot. This show has had no shortage of (Mc)steamy moments.
Ellis & Richard & Adele
It may not have been the first love triangle viewers were introduced to, but it was the first from a chronological standpoint. And let’s be real; the show wouldn’t have had the same sense of drama had Meredith’s mom, Dr. Ellis Grey, not had an affair with Richard Webber behind the back of his wife, Adele. Plus, Maggie wouldn’t exist — and that would truly be a shame.
Derek & Meredith & Addison
The first love triangle fans were introduced to was a doozy. Just when it seemed like Meredith was letting down her walls and really falling for Derek — boom! In comes his estranged wife, Addison. This, of course, led to, arguably, the first heartbreaking Meredith moment: her epic “pick me, choose me, love me” speech.
Derek & Addison & Mark
Selfishly, we were never too crazy about this one. But in addition to McDreamy, it gave us McSteamy… also known as Mark Sloan, Derek’s ex-best friend, who followed Addison to Seattle to declare his undying love for her. This came after her affair with him broke up her marriage to Derek. McDreamy and McSteamy? Damn, Addison, tell us your secrets.
Derek & Meredith & Finn
When Derek decided to give his marriage with Addison one more shot, Meredith was temporarily left twisting in the wind — until she meets her cute McVet, Finn Dandridge (Chris O’Donnell). But because boys and good timing don’t always mix, Derek waited until things were cruising along nicely with Finn to confess his true love for Meredith and force her to choose.
Eli & Bailey & Ben
It seems like such a fleeting moment in time now, but think hard. Don’t you remember cute nurse Eli making the moves on Bailey? They enjoyed a brief romantic liaison until Ben reentered the picture to make it known he still had feelings for Bailey too. And it was Ben for the win.
Callie & George & Izzie
Sure, George may have rushed into his marriage with Callie due to his fragile psychological state following his dad’s death. But there was a time when they seemed super-happy — it was just short-lived. Especially since Lizzie, upon realizing George might actually be happy with Callie, decided to confess her feelings for him. We guess girls don’t always have the best timing, either.
Alex & Izzie & Denny
TBH, this one’s still hard to discuss. You remember, right? (How could anyone not?!) Izzie fell hard for a patient who needed a heart transplant, and they essentially made plans to be together forever and ever. Except that when she went to visit him in her “prom” dress, his new heart had given out by the time she got there. Alex had to literally pull her off of Denny’s lifeless body and carry her out of the hospital. We’re not crying, you… oh, who are we kidding? We’re totally crying.
Alex & Izzie & Denny (Part 2!)
Things at Grey Sloan got really interesting when Izzie became convinced Denny was back and they were having a full-on affair (with lots of steamy sex). However, Denny helped her realize she actually had metastatic melanoma that had spread to her brain. Thus, Denny was a delusion. Alex helped her through treatment and, fearing she may not live much longer, married her in what was supposed to be Meredith and Derek’s wedding ceremony.
Mark & Callie & Arizona
To be fair, Mark and Callie had a pretty hot friends-with-benefits thing going on before she and Arizona ever became a thing. Alas, romance can never be simple on Grey’s, so obviously, Mark accidentally got Callie pregnant during a brief breakup with Arizona. Happily, though, they all turned out to be one big happy family (you know, until Mark died as a result of the same plane crash that forced Callie to amputate Arizona’s leg and created festering resentment that basically led to Arizona cheating on Callie, causing their eventual split).
Mark & Lexie & Alex
This was almost a square, really. To make Mer jealous, Derek implied he might hook up with Lexie, or “Little Grey.” Naturally, this made her all the more appealing to Mark, and the two begin dating in secret. When they broke up and she started hooking up with Alex, Mark just couldn’t even. And although Lexie and Alex didn’t last, she and Mark couldn’t seem to find their way back to each other.
Mark & Lexie & Jackson
When Mark started dating someone from another hospital, Lexie took up with Jackson. Mark wasn’t a fan, but he never summoned up what it would have taken to win Lexie back. He did tell her how much he loved her as she died beneath a crashed plane, though, so at least there’s that?
Jackson & April & Matthew/April & Jackson & Stephanie
Oh, Japril. So much drama! The saga of this fan-favorite couple started when April lost her V-card to Jackson the night before their medical boards, which she ended up failing. Oopsie! But even though their relationship was purely physical in the beginning, it blossomed into something beautiful. Since she had to move back to her parents’ farm after being fired, it put the kibosh on the relationship. Enter cute paramedic Matthew, who swept April off her feet when she returned. Jackson, who was dating Stephanie, acted like he wasn’t sweating it. He waited until the day of her wedding to do that, at which point he objected and they ran off together, leaving a jilted Matthew at the altar. Double oopsie!
Cristina & Owen & Teddy
Despite the fact that Cristina had trouble emotionally connecting with people and Owen was profoundly psychologically affected by his military experience, they somehow just sort of worked as a couple. They had a few hiccups here and there, but things got a bit hairy when Owen’s BFF-slash-former-Army-buddy Teddy showed up at Grey Sloan, clearly in love with him. Interestingly, Cristina offered up her boyfriend to Teddy if it meant Teddy the cardio god would continue to mentor her. In the end, though, Cristina and Owen stayed together (until they didn’t).
Meredith & Riggs & Maggie
No one, and we mean no one, thought they were ready to see Meredith move on when a new doctor by the name of Nathan Riggs arrived at Grey Sloan. And since Maggie was crushing hard on the new doc, it seemed like Mer’s heart would forever remain Derek’s. However, the half-sisters endured the first real test of their relationship when Maggie realized Mer and Riggs were 100 percent hot for each other.
Meredith & Riggs & Megan Hunt
We all know Shonda Rhimes can’t leave well enough alone, so of course she had to throw a major wrench into Mer and Riggs’ relationship the moment fans started approving of it. That wrench came in the form of Owen’s POW sister and Riggs’ missing S.O., Megan Hunt, long ago presumed dead. When she was found, she wound up at Grey Sloan to be treated, and Mer encouraged Riggs to be with his “one” — because she wouldn’t think twice about it if Derek could come back.
Amelia & Owen & Teddy
That just about brings us to the present day, when two major love triangles have taken hold of Grey Sloan. And the one between Amelia and Owen — who recently got back together after their brief marriage ended — and Teddy just got a lot more complicated. Teddy revealed in the middle of the OR that she was pregnant with Owen’s baby. We see many awkward interactions in the near future.
DeLuca & Meredith & Link
And finally, back to Mer. At the moment, our girl finds herself in a real pickle. Does she start dating the new ortho god, Atticus Lincoln (aka Link)? Or does she return the recently declared affection of dreamy DeLuca? It goes without saying there are far worse predicaments a woman could find herself in.