13 Best ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Couples, Ranked

'Grey's Anatomy' couples Meredith & Derek, Lexie & Mark, and Arizona & Callie
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Grey’s Anatomy has been running for so long that Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) — the magnificently-maned man who seemed like Meredith Grey’s (Ellen Pompeo) one true love for more than a decade — has been dead for almost as long as he was alive on the show.

Yes, the MerDer ship comes in high on this ranking of relationships from the ABC medical drama, but it’s not our No. 1! Here are our favorite romances from the show — including one that only lasted a handful of episodes.

Kevin McKidd as Owen and Kim Raver as Teddy in 'Grey's Anatomy'
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13. Owen & Teddy

Frankly, we called time of death on this relationship as soon as Owen (Kevin McKidd) overheard Teddy (Kim Raver) and Koracick (Greg Germann) having sex on what was supposed to be the Hunt-Altman wedding day. (We’re still cringing.) But a Grey’s fan only needs to rewatch Seasons 6 through 8 to understand that when Owen and Teddy are good, they’re great.

Alex Landi as Nico and Jake Borelli as Levi in 'Grey's Anatomy'

12. Levi & Nico

It only took 15 seasons for Grey’s to have two male docs hook up, but Levi (Jake Borelli) and Nico’s (Alex Landi) relationship was almost worth the wait. That elevator kiss? The ambulance sex mid-windstorm? That supply closet “stress relief?” Levi had a hell of a gay awakening!

Camilla Luddington as Jo and Justin Chambers as Alex in 'Grey's Anatomy'
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11. Alex & Jo

Jo’s (Camilla Luddington) current relationship with Link (Chris Carmack) doesn’t hold a candle to her and Alex’s (Justin Chambers) romance. The two weathered so many rough patches — his father popping up, her abusive ex returning, her paternity realization — but apparently, their bond wasn’t strong enough to keep Alex from reuniting with Izzie and breaking up with Jo via letter.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Denny and Katherine Heigl as Izzie in 'Grey's Anatomy'
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10. Izzie & Denny

We would have cut an LVAD wire for Denny (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), too. Izzie (Katherine Heigl) was so smitten with this Scrabble fan that she was willing to sabotage her surgical career for him — and for good reason. Over several Season 2 episodes, we saw that he was funny, charming, and crazy about her. Had he not come back as a hallucination in Season 5 — and had they not had “ghost sex” — this ‘ship would be even higher on the list.

Sandra Oh as Cristina and Kevin McKidd as Owen in 'Grey's Anatomy'
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9. Cristina & Owen

Ever since Owen saved Cristina (Sandra Oh) from that icicle impaling, we knew they’d be endgame contenders. Cristina was hardly the “damsel in distress” Owen joked she was, but over the course of their relationship, they saved each other in countless ways. Even when they were on the outs — and throwing bowlfuls of cereal — they had our support.

Debbie Allen as Catherine and James Pickens Jr. as Richard in 'Grey's Anatomy'
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8. Richard & Catherine

Richard (James Pickens Jr.) lost two great loves, Ellis (Kate Burton) and Adele (Loretta Devine), but discovered that sometimes lightning strikes thrice when he fell for Catherine (Debbie Allen), and they’ve been together for most of the series so far. Their authoritative natures sometimes come between them — these are two Grey Sloan bosses after all — but they always find their way back to one another.

Isaiah Washington as Burke and Sandra Oh as Cristina in 'Grey's Anatomy'
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7. Cristina & Burke

Remember the other attending-intern romance of the early seasons? Cristina and Burke’s (Isaiah Washington) chemistry definitely rivaled Mer and Der’s. Burke ultimately called off their wedding after realizing she was giving up too much for him, but years later, he gave her something even better than a wedding ring: the keys to a cardiac research center.

Chyler Leigh as Lexie and Eric Dane as Mark in 'Grey's Anatomy'
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6. Mark & Lexie

Forget the other love interests who came and went: The namesakes of Grey Sloan Memorial had a love that was, as Lexie (Chyler Leigh) said in her final moments, “meant to be.” And as Mark (Eric Dane) said in his final moments, he was never afraid proclaim his feelings and “say it loud.” Plus, as we saw years later on Mer’s dream beach, Mark and Lexie seem to be enjoying their afterlives together.

Chandra Wilson as Bailey and Jason George as Ben Warren in 'Grey's Anatomy'
Raymond Liu / ABC

5. Bailey & Ben

Bailey (Chandra Wilson) and Ben (Jason George) have a relationship that’s so solid, we have a hunch he’ll cross over from Station 19 to be back on Grey’s full-time again. She has his back — even when he’s switching careers for the umpteenth time — and he has hers — dropping everything to sprint from the firehouse to Grey Sloan at the slightest hint of trouble.

Justin Chambers as Alex and Katherine Heigl as Izzie in 'Grey's Anatomy'
Eric McCandless / ABC / Everett Collection

4. Alex & Izzie

Izzie saw past Alex’s crass exterior and saw the potential beneath, and thanks to her, he grew into a gentlemanly (if occasionally grumbly) partner. They were madly in love, which is why their breakup and subsequent divorce never felt rational. So maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that that body-doubled Season 16 episode made them endgame.

Patrick Dempsey as Derek and Ellen Pompeo as Meredith in 'Grey's Anatomy'
Adam Taylor / ABC / Everett Collection

3. Meredith & Derek

Mer and Der had so many swoonworthy moments — like the candle floor plan, the elevator proposal, Post-it note wedding — but the show’s leading couple still isn’t our favorite relationship. Let’s not gloss over that Derek wasn’t always so McDreamy — he didn’t tell Mer he was married, he slut-shamed her that one time, and he prioritized his career over hers.

Jessica Capshaw as Arizona and Sara Ramirez as Callie in 'Grey's Anatomy'
Danny Feld / ABC / Everett Collection

2. Callie & Arizona

Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) skated into the hospital in time to save Callie (Sara Ramirez) from a series of bad relationships, and they kept us rapt for eight seasons as they got together, endured a car crash that almost killed Callie, married, welcomed a child, endured a plane crash that nearly killed Arizona, and divorced. And if that Season 14-ending text message is any indication, they’re back together now in NYC!

Jesse Williams as Jackson and Sarah Drew as April in 'Grey's Anatomy'
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1. Jackson & April

April’s (Sarah Drew) alternating relationships with Jackson (Jesse Williams) and paramedic Matthew (Justin Bruening) was enough to warrant a whiplash diagnosis, but as it turns out, Jackson was right to interrupt her and Matthew’s wedding. He and April make an irresistible couple, and their runaway bride moment was just one chapter in a challenging but rewarding saga, one that proves that love stories need not be linear.