26. Meredith Grey, Grey’s Anatomy
Meredith Grey isn’t one to cry. In fact, she and her (soul-crushingly) former best friend Cristina Yang even once shared this exchange. Cristina: “Do we have to do that thing, where I say something, and then you say something, and then somebody cries and there’s like a moment?” Meredith: “Yuck.” But she just couldn’t hold it in in the very emotional Season 9 finale, when she had her and Derek’s second child (which was their first by birth). And once we found out they were naming him Bailey, we were ugly crying right along with her.
25. Andy Dwyer, Parks and Recreation
Andy’s band had gone through some turmoil (and a helluva lot of names, from “Teddy Bear Suicide” to “MouseRat” to “God Hates Figs” to “Penis Pendulum” and back to “MouseRat” again), but in the penultimate episode of Season 5, things hit rock bottom. He saw “RatMouse” performing without him at a bar and retaliated by retiring, but not before singing his own “Swan Song” to his former bandmates. Things got a little bit emotional.
24. Penny Hartz, Happy Endings
In what was sadly Happy Endings’ third and final season, Penny had been planning her wedding with Pete. But during a couples’ game night, she realized that her fiancé wasn’t right for her and decided to end things. Considering this all happened on Happy Endings, the ugly crying didn’t last long with Max insisting, “We are not gonna cry. We are gonna celebrate because what you just did was make an incredibly strong and brave decision.” Cut to all of us ugly crying a couple months later when ABC made the decision to axe this gem of a comedy.
23. Willy Winger Jr., Community
In a late Season 4 episode of Community, Jeff finally met his estranged father William and half brother Willy Jr. for a Thanksgiving reunion. Willy was immediately jealous of him, claiming that Jeff was the “Schwarzenegger” to his “DeVito,” and became increasingly angry over how close his dad and half brother were getting. When Britta (Gillian Jacobs) told him to take his aggression out on the dinner rolls, the above happened. And it only got uglier when he threw one of said rolls at his father.
22. Olivia Pope, Scandal
Olivia tried to be strong in the Season 3 premiere of Scandal when Fitz approached her for a tender moment in the bunker, but eventually, she caved. She wrapped her arms around him and sobbed, but barely let him (or us) see her tears. Because she’s Olivia Pope, dammit!
21. Kim Kardashian, Keeping Up with the Kardashians
She may have reined in her cry face after it garnered tons of attention, but Kim Kardashian let the tears flow a bit in the Season 8 premiere of E!’s Keeping Up with the Kardashians. When talking with her mom Kris Jenner, Kim got emotional thinking about the possibility of still technically being married to her ex, Kris Humphries, while having Kanye West’s baby. Luckily for Kim, that didn’t become a reality: She gave birth to daughter North West on June 15, just 11 days after her divorce from Humphries was finalized.
20. Jinkx Monsoon, RuPaul’s Drag Race
Admittedly, this was part of a Drag Race competition called “The Crying Game” (Ru loves puns), but Season 5 competitor Jinxk Monsoon really went for it. Though she made many of her fellow queens laugh, sadly, Jinxk did not win the week’s mini-challenge. She did, however, go on to take the crown as RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5 winner. Dry those eyes, girl.
19. Kim Richards, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Former child star Kim Richards’ struggle to get and stay sober has been a big part of the most recent seasons of Bravo’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. When newer cast member and frequent pot stirrer Brandi Glanville suggested in the Season 3 reunion that Kyle Richards didn’t want her sister to succeed when it came to getting sober, the tears started to flow. Not only did Kyle break down over the accusation, but Kim tried to choke back what were once her signature waterworks on the show as she explained, “I don’t want to hear that anybody would want to see me fail, especially my sister.”
18. Hannah Horvath, Girls
Hannah hit a low in the Season 2 finale of Girls, when she wound up in the hospital, tortured by a ringing in her ears from the infamous Q-tip incident, with her book editor threatening to sue for her unsubmitted pages. On the verge of an OCD breakdown, Hannah tried to cut her own bangs like Carey Mulligan’s, and when that failed, she reached out to everyone around her, including an MIA Jessa. Her conversation with Jessa’s voicemail was simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking.
17. Sam Winchester, Supernatural
In the Season 8 finale of The CW’s long-running fan favorite Supernatural, the Winchester brothers shared one of the most heartwarming moments in the show’s recent history. Dean burst in on Sam just as he was about to cure demon Crowley for good, warning Sam that he would die if he finished out the Hell trials. But the younger Winchester, who couldn’t care less about his own life at the time, could only offer a gut-wrenchingly blunt, “So?” and then launched into the speech above, crying as ugly as a man that attractive could achieve. He revealed that his greatest sin was how many times he let his big brother down. “Hold on! You seriously think that?” Dean replied. “Because none of it — none of it — is true. Look, man, I know I’ve said some junk that set you back on your heels, but, Sammy, c’mon,” he pleaded. “Don’t you dare think that there is anything — past or present — that I would put in front of you. It has never been like that. Ever. I need you to see that. I’m begging you.” SO. MANY. TEARS.
16. Renee Graziano, Mob Wives
When her son came to visit her while she was in treatment in Florida, Mob Wives star Renee came to the realization that her self-medicating caused him a lot of pain. “To know that you hurt your child and the one person that loves you unconditionally makes me feel like a complete loser,” Renee said in a heartbreaking moment of the VH1 reality series. The cry may not be the prettiest, but Renee’s handling of his confession and his forgiveness are truly beautiful.
15. Eric Northman, True Blood
Besides the actual physical grossness of Nora’s death (see the crumpled, bloody, hep V-infected body above) in Season 6, Eric’s breakdown wasn’t pretty to watch, especially for such a pretty man who’s usually incredibly in control of his emotions. Eric only let himself lose it for a second after Nora’s death, but his tears quickly turned to anger and more ugliness as he decided to go on a killing spree.
14. Emily Thorne, Revenge
Emily Thorne had always been an icy bitch, albeit one emotionally scared by the wrongful imprisonment and subsequent murder of her father, so to see her get even a bit emotional is surprising. But in the Season 2 episode that saw Fauxmanda and Jack get shot, she really let her guard down in a Titanic-size way. As she remembered what Fauxmanda had done for her (and the necklace they’d exchanged), Emily broke down in the middle of the ocean as Fauxmanda took her final breaths. It’d be heartbreaking for any character to lose such a close friend, but for Emily especially, that was one warranted ugly cry.
13. Desiree Hartsock, The Bachelorette
Poor Desiree. She’d already had her heart broken by Sean Lowe on The Bachelor and on the penultimate episode of The Bachelorette Season 17, clear front-runner Brooks told her that he basically wasn’t that into her in what was a painfully extended reality TV breakup. “I really want to be madly in love with you,” he said. Cue lots of crying, which was particularly sad to watch because you know she didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of seeing her tears.
12. Dana Brody, Homeland
Carrie Mathison may be regarded as TV’s most famous ugly crier, but she got some competition on her own show in Dana. In the fifth episode of Season 3, Dana found out that her boyfriend Leo lied to her about his brother dying. Then the above happened. No matter how you felt about Dana (or Morgan Saylor), there’s no denying her commitment to this scene. It’s all in the chin. Claire Danes taught her well.
11. Paula Deen, Today
Paula Deen’s use of a racial slur was one of the biggest media scandals of 2013, and when she finally appeared on Today after not showing up for her first scheduled interview, she broke down in tears. “If there’s anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, if you’re out there, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me,” she said as tears streamed down her cheeks.
10. Madame Delphine LaLaurie, American Horror Story: Doven
More tears of racism! One of the most hilarious and truly ugliest cries ever on FX’s anthology series American Horror Story had to have been from Madame Delphine LaLaurie, the 19th-century New Orleans socialite who tortured and killed slaves. On the American Horror Story: Coven, she was buried alive and burdened with eternal life, only to be brought back in present day to find out that Barack Obama is the president of the United States. The above is her reaction to that realization and it is something.
9. Juliette Barnes, Nashville
Juliette Barnes may be the hottest (and bitchiest) young thing in country music on ABC’s Nashville, but behind the scenes, she was going through a world of hurt, much of which could be traced back to formative years with a pill-popping mother, Jolene. In the penultimate episode of Season 1, Juliette found Jolene and ex-boyfriend Dante, who’d been threatening to blackmail Juliette with a sex tape, both dead after a murder-suicide. You could feel the pain in her ugly cry as she realized her mom was gone for good.
8. Daryl, The Walking Dead
Daryl went to save his brother Merle in this Season 3 episode of the AMC zombie drama, only to find out it was too late and he’d already become a walker. “The worst thing that could possibly happen between these two complicated, interesting brothers is that,” The Walking Dead executive producer Gale Anne Hurd said in an AMC interview. And there was nothing left for Daryl to do, but make this face … and kill the flesh-eating shadow of his brother. “His entire heart just breaks right there,” Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl, added in the AMC video. To prepare for the scene, the actor told Entertainment Weekly that he listened to a Willie Nelson song that reminded him of his late father. “I just wanted to break. I just wanted to collapse on the inside,” he told EW. “I just wanted to be crushed in a way you see my heart break.”
7. Teresa Guidice, The Real Housewives of New Jersey
Things were never pretty between Teresa Giudice and her brother, Joe Gorga, but their tension reared its ugly head during Season 5 of The Real Housewives of New Jersey during a retreat intended to mend their broken relationship. After a physical fight between the Joes (Teresa’s brother and husband), Dr. V (of Bravo’s LA Shrinks, of course) arrived and sat Teresa and her brother down for a talk. When Teresa said, “We both have families and we want to be together,” her voice started to crack, realizing they’re preventing their children from having the closeness they once shared. Then, they hugged and had a good Gorga ugly cry. But to be fair, it was actually a beautiful moment.
6. Snooki, Dancing With the Stars
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi managed to show a softer side of herself throughout her impressive run on Dancing With the Stars Season 17. So when she was voted off in Week 7 of the competition — losing out to fan favorite Bill Engvall, who consistently had the lowest judges’ scores — she kind of lost it. Sadly, she was also wearing some heinous makeup, having just performed her zombie-inspired group freestyle. Poor Snooki.
5. Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead
When Rick reunited with Carl after saving him from a couple walkers in the midseason finale of The Walking Dead, he broke down in happy (but ugly and bloody) tears while embracing his only son. They limped away from the prison, which had become overrun with walkers, only to find baby Judith’s car seat covered in blood…and without Judith inside. Then, they both started to sob.
4. Carrie Mathison, Homeland
Ultimate TV crier Carrie Mathison had plenty of reasons to be sad during the third season of Homeland. But she did it best (and said it best) during the Season 3 finale when explaining to her sister and father why she couldn’t keep Brody’s baby. Her eyes widened, her chin and forehead crumpled toward each other, and she couldn’t keep it in any longer. She was simply “so fucking sad.”
3. Elena Gilbert, The Vampire Diaries
Nina Dobrev rarely gets the credit she deserves for playing not one, not two, but three different characters on The Vampire Diaries. The actress had played the blood-thirsty bitch (Katherine), the heartbroken high schooler (Elena), and the emotionally disturbed victim (Amara) all with immense dedication, but one of her best scenes ever was in Season 4’s “Stand By Me,” when Elena found out the last living member of her family, her brother Jeremy, had also died. When she crumbled to floor — before Damon told her turn off her emotions, leading her to burn down the house with all of her bad memories and brother inside — it was truly difficult to watch her struggle to deal with the emotional pain.
2. Cyrus Beene, Scandal
Everything came crashing down on Cyrus in the ninth episode of Season 3, “YOLO”: James actually went through with the affair with Sally Langston’s husband and when the truth came out, he said he wanted a divorce (about 30 times over). After Fitz screamed at Cyrus for failing to keep Sally on the ticket, the pressure of the manipulating, lying, and blackmailing got to Cyrus and he lost it in the Oval Office in front of Mellie. Someone hand this man a tissue!
An afternoon wine tasting at Sparkling Pointe turned quite bitter when Ashlee brought up the fact that Joey called her funny looking. The conversation escalated to the point of Ashlee saying Joey’s mom was “right about [her]” (a low blow since that’s a complicated relationship), and then she fled to a different area of the vineyard to call her parents. “They were so mean to me,” she sobbed to her mom (later explaining in a confessional that it she felt “like three bulldogs were attacking this Chihuahua. Like this little teacup Yorkie,” with Ashlee being the Chihuahua/Yorkie, of course). Those black mascara tears simply put Lauren Conrad’s (and everyone else’s on this list) to shame.