Disabled Love Interest
aka: Disabled Hottie
Your studly, womanizing main man is walking down the school hall, and eyes a gorgeous woman he's never seen before. When he tries to start putting his moves on her, he finds out something.
Or deaf, or has a prosthetic leg, or something like that. But don't worry, she'll still probably fall for you anyways.
The Disabled Love Interest is a (usually temporary
) Love Interest
, most often Inspirationally Disabled
. She'll overcome her challenges in the end, and have a steamy kiss while she's at it. Homework question: Why is she usually only temporary? Unfortunate Implications
Still, Tropes Are Tools
. This can be done well
, if the love interest isn't played off as Inspirationally Disabled
but as a normal person with human thoughts and feelings, and if it offers character growth and maturity
See Also: Blind and the Beast
, Ill Girl
, Handicapped Badass
and The Florence Nightingale Effect
/ Bandage Babe
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Anime and Manga
- Bikko from Romantic Fool used to be the premier Disabled Love Interest on Fourchan.
- Cheza in Wolf's Rain is very pretty. She's also blind, and weak-bodied, but that never seems to trouble her. Of course, being not quite human she doesn't have any romantic interests, except for Kiba and he's a wolf.
- Inuyasha: Kagura was initially only trying to get Sesshomaru to kill Naraku for her and free her, but eventually fell in love with him somewhere along the line. Sesshomaru spends most of the story with a missing left arm but he's so powerful, his disability barely hinders him (in fact, he eventually admits it's made him stronger than he used to be). Part of why Kagura falls for him is precisely because he's so powerful even despite the disability. Sesshomaru is implied to have feelings for Kagura as well.
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Sayaka's crush and childhood friend Kyosuke Kamijou got into an accident (which included the loss of mobility in his hand as well as difficulty to walk) and is bedridden because of it. Of course, due to Sayaka having access to a wish-granting entity, he doesn't stay disabled for long. Unfortunately, he does not end up as her boyfriend after her wish, which, combined with several other factors, leads to her becoming a witch.
- Edward Elric for Winry in the Fullmetal Alchemist manga and Brotherhood anime (not so in the first series).
- Ayase from Guilty Crown is the Third-Option Love Interest for Shu and also his only surviving love interest by the end of the last episode. She's also wheelchair-bound, but that doesn't keep her from being a highly valuable asset for the protagonists.
- On the other hand, Shu himself loses his right arm in episode 17 and his eyesight in episode 22.
- Korean Web Toon Can't See Can't Hear But Love has two disabled love interests, a manga artist who went blind and his deaf-mute wife; they are in turn the objects of desire for his tsundere assistant and her group home's Royal Brat president, respectively.
- Averted in Honoo No Alpen Rose. Marie Mueller is a cute girl in a wheelchair and clearly she likes male lead Lundi, but it's just as clear that she'd never stand a chance against his canon girlfriend Jeudi.
- In season 3 of Sonic X, there have been some hints six years later between Chris Thorndyke and his childhood friend in a wheelchair, Helen.
- In Get Backers, there has been some Ship Tease between Shido Fuyuki and his blind companion, Madoka Otowa.
- Played with in a Detective Conan case. It features a blind, beautiful and very rich woman named Kurumi Shudou... but instead of merely waiting around, she hires Kogoro to find the boy she once loved, one that has a scar on his body. Even more inverted when it turns out Kurumi already knew who the man was... her very devoted and humble butler, Takashi, so this was a Batman Gambit from Kurumi to make him come forward and let their shared feelings being known.
- Jun Misugi from Captain Tsubasa had a heart disease, and he is very strongly hinted to have a relationship with his Cute Sports Club Manager, Yayoi Aoba. When they were in elementary school, she even asked her their common friend Tsubasa if he could let Misugi win the match - it was the semi-final match in the tournament. (Which got Misugi REALLY angry for a while). Misugi eventually recovered by getting proper treatment, limiting his share of exercise until he was more or less healthy, and ultimately he returned to his soccer career - though he still has to deal with some handicaps (specifically, he has extremely limited stamina and can't play more than one half of a whole game)
- Sankt Kaiser Olivie Sagebrecht of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vivid is revealed to have lost both arms at an early age and uses a pair of medieval Artificial Limbs in their place. This didn't stop Hegemon Claus Ingvalt from falling in love with her, even after he first laid eyes on her without her aforementioned Artificial Limbs.
- Shouko Nishimiya of Koe No Katachi, who goes through a lot of misfortune because of her deafness, especially from bullies in her elementary school years. However, later in life, she becomes a potential love interest for one of her former tormentors, Shouya Ishida, who wants to make up for everything he's done to her.
- Ben Grimm's blind girlfriend, Alicia Masters.
- Matt Murdock, who is blind, falls in love with a deaf woman, who in reality is a superheroine named "Echo"
- Matt Murdock also falls in love with an average blind woman, Milla Donovan.
- Barbara Gordon (formerly Batgirl and Oracle), from Batman and Birds of Prey, is wheelchair-bound, but she can still kick your ass.
- After the Flashpoint a Cosmic Retcon makes sure she's back on her feet. However, in the new continuity she was wheelchair bound for at least three years, and her status as a Disabled Love Interest is hardwired in her character, as almost everything reminding her of her past handicap (getting a gun pointed to her belly, seeing a wheelchair lift...) acts as a Trigger for her post-traumatic stress disorder.
- She's attained one of these of her own now in Ricky, an ex-gang member who lost a leg in a robbery gone bad and chose to get out of the crime business.
- ElfQuest's Rillfisher went deaf, but that may have been after she and Treestump became an item. (Her deafness contributed to her death, because she couldn't hear the breaking branch that fell on her.)
- One of Jughead Jones's love interests in the early 1990s was Anita Chavita, a paraplegic with genius-level intellect. She looked as good as your average Archie girl, but was stuck in a wheelchair.
- Josie Beller, a.k.a. Circuit-Breaker, from Marvel's Generation One Transformers comic, was definitely good-looking, and, given how Stripperiffic her cybernetic Power Armor was, she knew it. Bear in mind that she was also a vengeful, obsessed Bad Ass.
- From Creature Tech, Katie. She's blind in one eye and has a withered hand. Dr. Ong falls in love with her, and feels terrible for having mocked her back when they were in school together. Ong himself gets an alien symbiote attached to him which he considers very disfiguring. At the end of the story, Ong gets access to a Healing Potion, but only enough for a single person, and he pointedly gives it to Katie rather than using it himself.
- Cassandra Craft, the blind girlfriend of The Phantom Stranger.
- Subverted in Superman with the wheelchair-bound Lori Lemaris, whom Clark fell for in college. Turned out that she sat in a wheelchair with a blanket over her lap to hide the fact that she was a mermaid.
- Madeleine Stowe in Blink is blind. Before Aidan Quinn is assigned to her case, he sees her on stage playing the violin. Hoping to catch her eye, he strips down to his underwear while dancing to her music; he is put out when she doesn't even notice him. Another character tells Stowe's character about it later, saying that he was a "big showoff." Her response: "How big?"
- Subverted in Shallow Hal. Hal is Blessed with Suck (or maybe Cursed with Awesome) and sees women as attractive based on their "inner beauty". As a result the disability part is hidden (particularly in the case of disfigurements) and the "hottie" part an illusion.
- In Crash (the one by David Cronenberg), a woman with leg braces and pretty bad scars on her legs fascinates a number of men (and one woman) in a sexually fetishistic way.
- In Mask, Rocky Dennis falls in love with a beautiful blind girl. This is an interesting subversion because he is the Inspirationally Disabled one, not her.
- The Toxic Avenger from the Troma trash movies has a hot girlfriend who's blind. Very convenient since he's monster-like ugly. See also Blind and the Beast.
- Charlie Chaplin falls in love with a blind woman in City Lights.
- Marlee Matlin in Children of a Lesser God; see Theater, below.
- At First Sight features a rare male example in Val Kilmer's blind character.
- A Patch Of Blue: Selena Darcy is a blind love interest for Gordon.
- A fairly creepy example in Freddy Got Fingered with Betty, who needs a wheelchair, has a strange obsession with oral sex, and gets off from Gord whacking her disabled legs with a bat.
- In X-Men: First Class, it's hinted that Charles briefly had a romance with Moira after his spinal cord injury, but he is forced to end their relationship to protect himself and his students from the CIA.
- Ian Stott of Cherie Priest's Bloodshot fulfills this trope. He's a handsome, charming, urbane vampire who was blinded by government experiments.
- As a teenager, the protagonist of The Shadow of the Wind falls in love with an older woman who is blind.
- In Things Not Seen by Andrew Clemens, Bobby falls in love with a blind girl.
- In Hornet's Sting by Derek Robinson, Major Cleve-Cutler falls in love with a beautiful woman who happens to have lost a leg (we never find out how).
- In the Gaunt's Ghosts novels, deaf sniper Nessa is repeatedly referred to as attractive or downright beautiful.
- Dea in The Man Who Laughs is a beautiful and virtuous blind girl, and the primary love interest of the protagonist.
- Amy a.k.a. Cucumber from John Dies at the End is missing a hand, which the protagonist Dave interestingly enough doesn't discover until midway through the novel.
- Theodora "Teddy" Carella, the hot wife of Detective Steve Carella, in the 87th Precinct novels by Ed McBain.
- Jeffrey Deaver's Lincoln Rhymes series features the titular crime scene investigator who also happens to be a quadriplegic. He ends up dating his Fair Cop partner Sachs.
- Peeta from The Hunger Games becomes this to Katniss after losing a leg in the arena. Averted in the film adaptation, where he gets to keep his leg for practical reasons.
- Thorgil, Jack's love interest in The Sea of Trolls, loses the use of her right hand in the second book in the series.
- In Red Dragon (and both of the movies based on it), Francis Dolarhyde is infatuated with a woman at work who is blind. She happens to mention she always wanted to "see" (by touching) a Bengal tiger. Dolarhyde knows about a nearby zoo where a tiger is having some dental work, requiring it to be sedated. He takes her along, she really touches the tiger quite closely, noticing everything about it, whereupon she is so happy by what he has done, that she goes home with him and screws his brains out. She is clearly blind, but she's got no problem doing vigorous woman-on-top-sex with the essentially clueless Dolarhyde. Sadly, she doesn't realize he's a Serial Killer.
- She's also lusted after by one of her other coworkers. As much of a jerk as the guy is, we never once get the impression that he's pursuing her to satisfy some kink or fetish of his, nor out of pity. He's just a typical horndog chasing after a pretty girl.
- Also has aspects of Mr Magoo And The Monster, as Dolarhyde's harelip and abusive upbringing have convinced him he's a hideous freak. He's had enough reconstructive surgery, however, and is in good enough shape that most women he knows actually find him quite attractive, but he doesn't realize that.
- Emily Alexander in Honor Harrington. Although the disablement was after her marriage, it fits this trope because her husband never stopped loving her. Not even when they marry someone else.
Live Action TV
- Matt of 7th Heaven dated a deaf girl off and on for several seasons, even learning sign language for her.
- There was a beautiful blind girl in an episode of 30 Rock, too. Subverted though, as at the end of the episode, the blind girl touches Kenneth's face for the first time and brushes him off immediately.
Tracy: Yeah, well... you're not so good looking yourself!
Jennifer: No, I'm pretty sure I'm hot.
- There was an episode of Saved by the Bell where Zach pursued a girl in a wheelchair. Instead of it being an obstacle, though, he goes out of his way to be good about it, and even organized a wheelchair basketball game. Turns out she hated having all the attention cast on her, and wanted to be treated like anyone else.
- In Arrested Development, Michael dates a blind lawyer for a short while (possibly a Shout-Out to Daredevil). This was subverted as she was fully capable of sight (except when some incident left her temporarily blind); she just acted like that to play with the emotions of the jury.
- One episode of Happy Days has Fonzie falling for a Girl of the Week and, when he does his usual "finger snap girl-attention-grabbing gesture", finding it doesn't work. He worries that he's lost his mojo for a few seconds until Richie realizes that the girl in question is deaf.
- Another male version, Artie from Glee is in a wheelchair and dated Dumb Blonde Brittany for a while.
- In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Dr. Bashir falls for Girl of the Week Melora Pazlar, who, having been raised on a low gravity planet, cannot walk in normal gravity.
- An episode of Friends features Chandler dating a girl with a prosthetic leg, and having to come to terms with it. Eventually, he realises that it's not a relevant flaw... and she dumps him for having a third nipple.
- On The West Wing, Josh has a thing for pollster Joey Lucas, who is deaf and speaks with the help of her interpreter.
- Daphne Millbrooke on Heroes has a degenerative condition which prevents her from walking, but her powers override it and give her Super Speed. When an eclipse takes those powers back, she becomes weak again, but this does not dissuade Matt.
- And had the show received a fifth season, the deaf character of Emma would have become Peter's love interest.
- Dark Angel had Logan / Eyes Only, a hunky dude in a wheelchair, as Max's love interest.
- Bennet on Dollhouse. It's River Tam with her arm in a sling. Or as Tophers put it:
Topher!Victor: Which you know I often have!
- Deconstructed in the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode "Denise Handicapped", where Larry continues dating a pretty woman in a wheelchair to gain popularity and sympathy from his friends.
- In an episode of Stupid Stupid Man, Nick dated a hot blind girl and seemed to have genuine feelings for her. However, he ended up dumping her because he couldn't get past the fact that she would never be able to appreciate exactly how gorgeous he was.
- On an episode of The King of Queens, Carrie is temporarily blind after bad laser eye surgery. Her husband Doug tries to console her by saying her blindness makes her more approachable.
"Like Marlee Matlin! She's very hot but the deaf thing makes you think 'Hmm, I can get her!'"
- Auggie on Covert Affairs. Blind and very handsome. Also has better romantic chemistry with Piper Perabo's character than either of the intended male romantic leads.
- In an episode of The A-Team Face starts putting the moves on a girl who is blind. Of course that doesn't stop him.
- One of the most famous roles by Chilean actor Bastian Bodenhoffer is a rather atypical version of this, the blind book seller Leo from the Soap Opera Te conte. Leo is remarkably cheerful and Hot-Blooded for the trope, sort of a Handsome Lech as well, very popular with women (specially the female leads, Gianna/Shanna and Sabrina) and he wasn't born blind - he lost his sight in an accident when he was a teenager. By the end of the story he goes through the archetypical operation that may restore his sight... and it actually fails, thus Leo is blinded forever.
- The Spartacus: Blood And Sand episode "The Thing In The Pit" features a brief but memorable appearancenote by this (Warning—NSFW)◊ extra with one hand.
- Switched at Birth has several deaf characters, all of whom are quite attractive- Daphne, Emmett, Emmett's mother.
- In Days of Our Lives the "supercouple" Kayla and Steve used to have both of its members like that. Steve was (and, to date, is) still half-blind, wearing an Eyepatch of Power, and Kayla, after a (then) unknown assailant gets her into a gas explosion, loses her voice and hearing due to an odd combination of physical and psychological damage. After Kayla wakes up, Steve starts to woo her more eagerly, until they eventually elope. However, shortly before the marriage, Kayla gets a nigh-impossible recovery, regaining both voice and hearing.
- Steve himself later gets a prosthetic to fix at least the cosmetic part of his handicap, but he's forced to return to his badass eyepatch.
- While Kayla's recovery is suspiciously complete, even after a whole story-arc as a Disabled Love Interest, her knowledge of sign language isn't forgotten. Instead, becomes a plot point in every other occasion where the cast is meant to interact with deaf individuals.
- Seems disabled characters are a normal occurrence in Soap Opera fiction, as Camila in Nano, the protagonist main love interest, is (psychosmatically) deaf and mute. Coupled than acually Manuel, the titular Nano is already married, and spends most of the story unaware than Camila is non other than his long lost Childhood Friend Romance, and she regains her voice and hearing in the end, when Manuel divorces his nagging wife to hook up with her, makes of Camila a thinly veiled expy of The Little Mermaid
- Again, an entire storyline in Guiding Light revolves about Beth being declared legally dead, while she was just mute, amnesiac and out of town, living a romance with her saviour.
- Raj, in The Big Bang Theory; he's, by himself, a selective mute unable to vocally communicate with the opposite sex, a thing women tend to find cute and endearing. However, his friends try to set him up with a stunningly beautiful deaf-mute girl, on the account that, being deaf, she wouldn't notice, or care for, Raj's handicap. She ends dumping him the same, as she was just interested in Raj's money.
- One episode of The Rockford Files had Jim meeting an attractive blind psychologist. While she was technically only a temporary love interest, she does show up again in a later episode. Jim still held a flame for her, but she was engaged to another man.
- Judy, of Taxi is the love interest of Louie, the despicable manager. She's also blind. One episode featured her having an operation to restore her sight and Louie's fear that she'll leave him once she sees what he really looks like. She doesn't.
- The Mentalist has Rosalind, who was a lover of the elusive Red John. Turns out she is blind and therefore cannot identify what he looks like and most likely the main reason he hasn't killed her.
- Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye: Sue is deaf and there's certainly an attraction between her and Jack (which everyone can see), not to mention all the men she's dated over the course of the series. The show featured many deaf characters prominently, so whenever they paired up with someone, they became this, as well.
- Played with in a sketch from Mr. Show in which two men argue over their shared love interest, a blind woman. Subverted when she reveals she isn't really blind; double subverted when one of the men reveals that he really IS blind.
- In Dead Like Me, George has a one-episode flirtation with a schizophrenic boy who can see gravelings.
- The blind main female from Lionel Richie's video "Hello". Also overlaps with Hot for Teacher, since Richie plays the role of her music teacher.
- At the beginning of Bush's video for "Letting the Cables Sleep", we see Gavin having some sort of melancholy-tinged meeting with a woman in a vacant apartment. They wind up having (implied) sex, then going their separate ways. At the end of the video, they meet on the street and it turns out the woman is deaf, communicating in sign-language. The whole song is about a need for communication.
- Leo in Doonesbury is a wounded Iraq War vet; he was introduced as a serving soldier in B.D's unit, the strip covered his wounding and recovery, and he and Alex later became love interests.
- Denise Russo in FoxTrot, who is blind. It's not often brought up, but making fun of her blindness is a Berserk Button for Peter. The temporary aspect is averted; they've apparently been at it for years, although Denise has not been seen for a while despite not breaking up with Peter.
- Luis Fuerte in Safe Havens is in a wheelchair. He unintentionally wins the hearts of two women who had boyfriends, and it's been stated that he's quite the looker. He ends up with Jenny because she alone ignored the disability.
- See the Toxic Avenger example above? They made a musical out of it. The blind girlfriend is still in it. And is still smokin' hot.
- Mark Medoff's Children of a Lesser God involves a romance between a teacher at a school for the deaf and a female former student (now custodian) at the facility. Deaf actress Marlee Matlin played the latter in the 1986 film adaptation, becoming the first deaf actress to win an Oscar for Best Actress.
- Mass Effect gives us another male example: Joker, the Deadpan Snarker ace pilot with brittle bone disease who is EDI's love interest.
- Also a male example, one of the potential love interests for a female player character is Thane, who has a lung disease somewhat similar to Cystic Fibrosis which is slowly killing him.
- At some point in Tales of Xillia Milla becomes unable to walk for a period of time, and has to be carried by Jude, ride a horse, go into a wheelchair, or just outright crawl.
- In Wild ARMs 2, Billy Pilder is in a wheelchair and has severe head trauma, but Brad Evans still loves him. At the end of the game, Brad settles down in T'Bok with Billy, taking care of him.
- Calvina, the female protagonist of Super Robot Wars Judgment lost the use of her arms in battle prior to the events of the game and gets a tortured romantic subplot with the Human Alien knight who was responsible for crippling her.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, the archer Noire suffers of anemia and tends to get tired much faster than the others. She can be this either to the second generation guys or to a Male Avatar.
- Ef: A Fairy Tale of the Two: Renji's love interest, Shindou Chihiro, is missing her left eye in addition to her inability to form new long-term memories. She lost both her eye and her memories when she was hit by a car years ago.
- Katawa Shoujo: Being a romance-based Visual Novel set in a school for students who require regular medical care or educational accommodations as a result of disabilities, all five of Hisao's potential love interests fall under this trope. Shizune Hakamichi is deaf and mute, Lilly Satou is blind since birth, Hanako Ikezawa has burn scars over much of her body, Emi Ibarazaki's legs were amputated just below the knees, and Rin Tezuka has stumps for arms. From the girls' perspective, Hisao counts as this as well; he has cardiac arrythmia. The girls from the April's Fools joke, Rika (heart illness) and Saki (ataxia) would've counted as well.
- In the Code Geass Dating Sim Lost Colors, the Faceless Protagonist Rai can romance several of the girls in the cast. One of these girls is Disabled Cutie Nunnally Lamperouge, who is wheelchair-bound and blind. And has a super over protective older brother, too.
- Kotori of If My Heart Had Wings is in a wheelchair.
- Girls with Slingshots has Melody, a young deaf woman, in a relationship with Chris, another supporting character.
- Homestuck has a few examples.
- Vriska is missing an eye and has a robotic arm (though she later regains her eye and arm when she attains god-tier power). Tavros, who she has a crush on, is paraplegic (though he later regains the ability to walk, after receiving robotic legs).
- Terezi's a borderline case. She's blind, but she has super-developed senses of smell and taste which, as far as she's concerned, more than make up for her lost sight. Her boyfriend just wishes she'd stop trying to lick his face.
- Spades Slick is missing an eye and an arm, and Snowman still has the hots for him. Granted, she's the one who poked out Spade's eye and ripped off his arm in the first place.
- Mituna has an ambiguous brain injury and is frequently incoherent, confused, flipping between personalities, etc. Despite all this, he and Latula, who incidentally lost the ability to smell have been together for "eons".
- Amicable Exes example: Kurloz Makara accidentally deafened his then-girlfriend Meulin Leijon and was so horrified he chewed off his tongue and sewed his mouth shut (at least that's the reason his friends assume). They eventually broke up but remain close friends.
- Mia from Unintentionally Pretentious is blind, and is usually played straight.
- Mike, of Sexy Losers has a blind girlfriend. It's generally played for laughs, as he met her while helping the blind because they wouldn't realize that he had no pants on and was constantly masturbating around them.