11 romantic movies where the couple definitely split up after the credits

Luke Stevenson is a journalist at Community Care and an avid cinema-watcher. He is also one of the three hosts of The Popcorn Muncher Podcast.

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in musical classic Grease
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in musical classic Grease

Romantic movies are like bad dialogue in the Star Wars prequels – they are rough, they are coarse, and they get everywhere. Possibly the greatest sin that these movies commit is their belief in happy endings for everyone and the notion that they last forever. This is just demonstrably untrue – ask literally anyone.

So, just in time for Valentine’s Day, here are 11 famous movie couples who definitely split up after the credits rolled. And if you need some nicer recommendations with a more positive outlook on romantic cinema, check out the special Valentine’s Day edition of The Popcorn Muncher Podcast.


Troy and Gabriella in High School Musical

This relationship was not built on solid foundations. Gabriella lied several times about her intelligence and neglected to tell her boyfriend she had been accepted to a university early and then left for it, skipping their senior prom. Troy, meanwhile, tended to shift personality based on when the plot dramatic events in his life demanded it. I know they moved to universities only a short way away from one another, I know they sung a ballad in their school’s musical together, but there is no chance this didn’t lead to a teary phone call after one of them got drunk and slept with someone else.


Nick and Norah in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

This insufferable display of teenage angst ends with the two leads leaving a gig to be together for an evening on the New York subway. Unfortunately, what the movie fails to address is that no one outside of the direct plot could be within 20 metres of this couple without setting them on fire or pelting them to death with avocado. It’s a shame when relationships that hold so much promise are wrenched apart by such acts of extreme violence, but that is the only fitting destiny for Nick and Norah.


Danny and Sandy in Grease

How could a relationship where the girl feels the need to fundamentally change her personality to be with a man fail? Simple: There’s no explanation for whether they registered that flying vehicle with any local air traffic control services or with US government radar. At the height of the Cold War, this is remarkable negligence on Danny’s part and tragically the car would be shot down shortly after taking off.


Edward and Vivian in Pretty Woman

This iconic 1990 romance movie subjected a generation of husbands to being compared to Richard Gere. However, I can reliably inform you that the happy ever after in this film would be short-lived. Emboldened by conquering his fear of heights, Edward (Gere), would go on a sky diving trip where the parachute fails and he plummets to the ground where he is mercilessly destroyed. A tragedy for Vivian, sure, but a win for husbands everywhere.


Tom and Autumn in (500) Days of Summer

If you have seen this film, you will know that it ends with Tom, having gotten over a girl called Summer, meeting a girl called Autumn at a job interview. Now, assuming their relationship passes the test of one of them getting their dream architect job and the other missing out, I can’t help but feel that a romance built on ironic name placement isn’t really one built to last. I fear being asked by friends ‘what do you like about her?’ and answering ‘the irony of her name helps my personal character development’ might be where the walls start to tumble down.


Albert and Armand in The Birdcage

Of course, what could possibly split up one of the greatest movie couples? Tempestuousness and a short memory. Despite earlier drama about white wine being resolved when Albert realises it’s for his and Armand’s son, Val, shortly after the events of this movie Albert discovers a second bottle. In a fit of rage, because Albert and Armand only drink red wine, he burns The Birdcage down.


Tyler and Nora in Step Up

This noughties answer to Dirty Dancing launched the career of Channing Tatum and spawned the most tenuous set of sequels ever. In Step Up 2, Tatum’s Tyler appears to inform us that he and Nora are still together, however the inevitable separation can’t have been far away. Tyler’s full name is ‘Tyler Gage’, and unfortunately, this meant he would be destined to kill Nora in the same lab accident that gives him the power to become the third B-grade villain in an over-stuffed Spider-Man story.


Snow White and The Prince in Snow White

The Prince falls desperately in love with Snow White after she interacted with him once, so let’s face it, the Prince is probably a GamerGater. But that isn’t what would drive this relationship to rack and ruin. It’s the fact that the Prince, without knowing the terms and conditions of the spell that sent Snow White to sleep, kisses someone he thinks has been dead for one year. After she gets over the shock of waking up, there’s going to be a frank conversation about the fact his is a kink that is never, ever acceptable.


Patrick and Kat in 10 Things I Hate About You

This relationship collapses under the cool examination of the facts. Patrick still accepted money to date Kat after he decided he liked her. He used that money to buy her a guitar, which is sweet, until you realise he broke into her car to give it to her. She’s no angel either, as the sheer sight of a material good is enough for her to ignore the flagrant emotional manipulation that got them to this point.


Sam and Rosie in The Lord of the Rings

A true tragedy is what would befall this couple, as after years of trying Rosie realises she can’t fill the void in Sam’s heart left by Frodo. Nothing works. Not the Shelob-based role play, nothing. A long custody battle follows as the lives of their young family are ripped apart, and Sam is left downing pint after pint at the Prancing Pony until he dies of liver failure.


Conor and Raphina in Sing Street

Let’s face it, these two bloody idiots died at sea.

(Editor’s Note: They lived happily ever after and sung wonderful songs to each other for all eternity. I refuse to accept any other conclusion.)


Do you fancy mounting a defense of these romance movie couples? Are there any other examples of big screen couples who stand no chance of going the distance? Let me know in the comments section and make sure to check out our Valentine’s Day recommendations podcast.

One thought on “11 romantic movies where the couple definitely split up after the credits

  • 23/02/2017 at 21:10

    This is hilarious, nicely argued!


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