WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Grey's Anatomy. You've been warned.
I've rewatched Grey's Anatomy from its beginning in 2005 so many times, it'll make your head spin. And there's something I've noticed since its inception, which I'm surprised no one else has pointed out. All us Anato-fans love showrunner Shonda Rhimes for creating Grey's Anatomy; however, we also dislike her for getting rid of many of our favorite characters (McDreamy, Cristina, *SOB!*). The fact is that every time someone gets married on the show, almost like clockwork, someone dies, and every time someone divorces, another one leaves. Some deaths on the show happen right away, and others are drawn out over a longer period. Don't believe me? Here are the facts:
Dr. George O'Malley And Callie Torres: Marriage And Divorce
When George (T.R. Knight) wed Callie (Sara Ramirez), we all knew he married her because he was grieving over the loss of his father. After this union, two deaths occurred a few episodes later. In Season 3, Episode 17, Meredith has a brush with death during the ferry boat accident and was seemingly stuck in limbo after losing consciousness.
While fighting to regain consciousness in a sort of afterlife, she sees her mom Ellis and realizes that the elder Grey has actually died in real life. Then, in Season 3, Episodes 22–23, Meredith's stepmom Susan is in the hospital with a bad case of hiccups, but later died of sepsis. After Callie finds out about George's infidelity with Izzie, they call time on her marriage, but it wasn't until Season 5 when Callie's same-sex love interest Erica Hahn left the show after their romance sputtered.
Dr. Addison Montgomery And Dr. Derek Shepherd: Divorce
In Addison's (Kate Walsh) life pre-Grey's, after she slept with her husband's best friend Mark Sloan, Derek (Patrick Dempsey) left their home in New York for a new life in Seattle, where he met Meredith in a bar. Derek never told Meredith that he was still married, which caused a ripple effect when Addison makes a surprise visit to Seattle Grace Hospital. They took another stab at marriage — until Meredith and McDreamy did the McNasty on prom night on the Season 2 finale. Derek was caught out when Addison found Meredith's undies in the pocket of his tuxedo. The feuding spouses soon divorced, which led to both Preston Burke and Addison leaving the show during Season 3.
Dr. Izzie Stevens And Dr. Alex Karev: Marriage And Divorce
When Izzie (Katherine Heigl) was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, everyone was devastated. Meredith and Derek were supposed to get married, but due to Izzie's diagnosis, they decided to give their wedding spot to Izzie and Alex. The last-minute nuptials were romantic and teary. A few episodes later, George O'Malley died following a freak bus accident, leaving everyone in a state of shock.
Then, during the merger of Seattle Grace and Mercy West hospitals, Izzie accidentally administers an incorrect dosage to a patient, resulting in Izzie being fired. She believes Alex is partially to blame and subsequently leaves him. Later she has a change of heart, but Alex feels he deserves better. He wanted Izzie to leave and never come back, making Izzie Stevens the main character to leave the show after a divorce in Season 6.
Dr. Meredith Grey And Dr. Derek Shepherd: Post-It Note Marriage And Proper Marriage
Even though it wasn't a real marriage, I along with many Grey's Anatomy fans believe Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek's marriage on a Post-it note was very romantic. Although this union wasn't legally binding, it was still a marriage to them — and to us. These note nuptials took place on the Season 5 finale. Then, in the Season 6 finale, Gary Clark — the grieving husband of a patient who had died — opened fire on the hospital, killing several people, including Dr. Reed Adamson and Dr. Charles Percy, and wounding Derek. In Season 7, Episode 20, Meredith and Derek made it official with a city hall wedding. Everything at Seattle Grace Mercy West was peachy for the time being — until a plane crash in the finale of Season 8, which saw Lexie Grey meet her demise.
Dr. Callie Torres And Dr. Arizona Robbins: Marriage And Divorce
Despite it seeming happy and fun on the surface, when you perform a relationship autopsy on Callie and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw), this seemingly joyful union did not have a clean bill of health. There were always a number of obstacles standing in the way of their long-lasting happiness, whether it was baby plans, a car crash, plane crash or cheating. They married in the same episode as Derek and Meredith, but their relationship soured when Arizona lost her leg in the same plane crash that killed Lexie Grey and Mark Sloan. Arizona blamed Callie for the decision to amputate her limb.
Toward Season 11 they decided to have another baby. However, Callie is unable to carry a fetus to term and Arizona does not want to be pregnant. They decided on couples therapy and only after a break from one another does Callie realize that she was drowning in this marriage. Their divorce is the precursor to Callie's exit from Grey's Anatomy on the Season 12 finale.
Dr. Cristina Yang And Dr. Owen Hunt: Marriage And Divorce
This twosome has to be in my top five favorite couples and they actually made sense together, compared to her earlier relationship with Preston Burke. They had amazing chemistry and Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd) allowed Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) to show a different side, and in turn her character helped Owen overcome his inner darkness. Unfortunately, this couple called it quits because they wanted different things in life. I'm still sad they're over and even more so because it was the catalyst for Cristina leaving the show. It was while the two were married that Cristina performed surgery on Henry Burton, the husband of Dr. Teddy Altman, but ultimately couldn't save him. Cristina and Owen's divorce in Season 9 led to Cristina's departure.
Dr. Miranda Bailey And Dr. Ben Warren: Marriage
Another favorite couple of mine is Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) and Ben Warren (Jason George). She deserved someone who understood her passion for surgery, and it was Ben who pushed her to not give up her dream of becoming chief of surgery. They married on Season 9, Episode 10, but while en route to their wedding, Bailey was called to perform emergency surgery on Adele Webber, who later dies of a heart attack while in recovery. A short time later, surgical intern Heather Brooks was electrocuted in the second episode of Season 10. I hope Miranda and Ben live happily ever after, as the alternative would most likely result in one of them leaving the show.
Dr. April Kepner And Dr. Jackson Avery: Marriage And Divorce
I never liked this couple to begin with, because I felt that they never made much sense: April Kepner (Sarah Drew), a God-fearing born-again virgin, and the Godless Jackson Avery. When April was set to wed Matthew (someone who she actually made sense with), Jackson professed his undying love on her wedding day, causing her to ditch out and elope with Jackson instead. Tragically, their first baby Samuel only survives a few hours after his birth.
Since their Season 12 divorce is so fresh, it is still to be determined who leaves the show. Dr. DeLuca? Maybe Alex or Jo? Or perhaps Stephanie Edwards, due to the loss of Kyle.
Here's a sneak peek at the Season 13 opener below:
Dr. Richard Webber And Dr. Catherine Avery: Marriage
Richard Webber (J. August Richards) has had it rough in the love-life department. He was married to Adele but cheated on her with Ellis Grey, subsequently losing both of them to complications due to Alzheimer's disease. He later found love with Catherine Avery (Debbie Allen) and the two were married on the Season 11 finale. Soon after, Kyle Diaz kicked the bucket (R.I.P., Wilmer Valderrama).
Dr. Owen Hunt And Dr. Amelia Shepherd: Marriage
Even though this pairing has proven unpopular with many fans — thanks to the popularity of Owen and his previous love Cristina — it is still a very good matchup. Owen and Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) share similar values and want the same things out of life. As Meredith says to Cristina, "Owen deserves someone who wants kids, just like you deserve someone who only wants you." Their marriage comes at the end of Season 12 so it is to be determined who will die as a result..
This is just a theory of mine that I have come up with and I wanted to share with you. And based on this and past themes, at least one character is bound to die when the new season of Grey's Anatomy kicks off on September 22 on ABC.
Tell me about your favorite on-screen couple in the comments below.