One night every year is all that they had...
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes,
A pair of star cross'd lovers take their life,
Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows
Doth with their death bury their parents' strife
Two lovers—often teenagers—destined to be kept apart no matter how hard they struggle to be together
. It may be Fate
, or fatally-Feuding Families
, or it may be something as mundane as a few hundred miles' separation, but something
will always be in their way. Often, the two can only be Together in Death
. William Shakespeare
's Romeo and Juliet
is the most famous example (and the Trope Namer
), but the archetype dates at least as far back as Mesopotamian Mythology
and Egyptian Mythology
, making it Older Than Dirt
In modern times, the term "star-crossed" is often unknowingly misused to mean lovers who are meant to be together. It means just the opposite—the stars (i.e. destiny or the heavens) have ruled against them, or "crossed" their plan—get it
? Compare the word "disaster
", which has the etymology "away; without" ("dis") + "star; planet" ("aster"). Then again, if the stars rule that much
, they probably decreed the love as well as the impossibility, making the stars capricious and cruel, at the very least. It also refers to destiny
and the inevitability of the two characters' paths crossing each other
. It usually, but not always, refers to unlucky outcomes, since Romeo and Juliet's affair ended tragically. Further, it may also connote that the lovers entered into their union without sufficient forethought or preparation, that the lovers did not have had adequate knowledge of each other, or that they were not thinking rationally (because they were being controlled by fate).
One common version of this trope, Love Above One's Station (i.e., being in love with someone from a different social class), is at least discredited
if not actually dead and buried
in contemporary settings, but was very much true
in the past, and can still work when applied to historical settings. While it's difficult even today to have a relationship with someone from a very different background, in the old days, it was all but impossible: if you were from the lower class and courted your "better", you'd be treated with the vilest contempt and risk arrest and/or violence (possibly even death); meanwhile, a "better" who reciprocated would be disowned and possibly shut off in a nunnery, a monastery—or even an "asylum", an ironic name
for a place
which, until a century or two ago, was usually even worse than prison
. See Suddenly Suitable Suitor
Hence all those tragic "servant/slave/peasant loves the lord/lady/king/queen, and their Love Ruins the Realm
" stories. The accepted practice for someone in love with a royal, at least in contemporary fiction, was to express that love through loyalty and duty
rather than presume to have a romantic relationship with them.
Compare Dating Catwoman
, where the relationship is forbidden but doesn't usually end tragically. Notice the overlaps with Interspecies Romance
, Inter-Class Romance
, Mayfly-December Romance
, and Maligned Mixed Marriage
. See also Bury Your Gays
. Often the case for a Vampire-Werewolf Love Triangle
. May be used as a Pretext for War
Contrast Love Transcends Spacetime
. Compare Nobody Thinks It Will Work
and Uptown Girl
open/close all folders
- The new Axe advert “Soulmates”, a 90-second spot tells the story of a man's ill-fated pursuit of a woman throughout human history. It starts in prehistoric days with a bearded cave man trying to reach a woman, until the earth below splits, and there’s a divide between them. The same man and woman are shown in different time periods and places: Ancient Pompeii; an Arabian palace; a cowboy bar in the American West; foggy 19th century London; a sinking ship (the Titanic?); a war; a 1960s anti-war protest. There are either natural disasters or human interventions that prevent him from reaching her. It isn't until the current day, inside a convenience store at a gas station, that the same man we saw in all of these other time periods takes down an Axe product. He uses some body spray on himself and the long-pursued girl immediately is at his side. They leave together and, as they walk away, a truck crashes into the gas pumps and the station explodes: the intervention of the Axe product prevented another act of fate from keeping them apart.
Anime and Manga
- Young Avengers: Cassie Lang (Stature) and Nate Richards (Iron Lad) seem destined to be star-crossed lovers, separated by centuries and because Nate's destined to grow up to be the evil supervillain Kang the Conqueror.
- X-Men: Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Jean Grey (Phoenix). Often described as destined soul mates who were meant to be yet have been through so much tragedy, including death and destruction. Scott and Jean's relationship has basically been nothing but pure doom and tragedy.
- Gambit and Rogue have long been one of the cruelest examples. They've been deeply in love for years, but Rogue's inability to touch a person without him falling victim to her powers keeps him forever at arms length. She recently managed to figure out how to avoid this problem, but that initially made it worse; it started a fight with Gambit, who wondered if their relationship would have been anything more than a "one night stand" if they had been able to touch from the start. She seems to have gained full control of them and reconciled with Gambit following the events of X-Men Legacy, but how long it will last is anyone's guess.
- Peanuts: While it's unclear how strongly his feelings are returned, Charlie Brown's hopeless infatuation with the Little Red-Haired Girl is tragically doomed to remain star-crossed, as he lacks the nerve to speak to her.
- Nikolai Dante: the title character and Jena Makarov end up in this situation because Nikolai is an illegitimate scion of the Romanov family, who eventually go to war with the Makarovs.
- Hawkman and Hawkgirl. If they acknowledge their love for each other they will be killed by their reincarnating archenemy. Because Destiny Says So.
- In Blackest Night #1, finally Hawkgirl admits that she's fallen in love with Hawkman. Immediately, they are killed and turned into Black Lanterns. Toldja.
- In Brightest Day instead, while Hawkman and Hawkgirl get briefly resurrected by the Life Entity and freed by their curse, the same Entity, responsible for empowering and protecting every life in the universe, turns Hawkgirl into the latest air elemental, barring her from living her last life with Hawkman. He's not that happy.
- Again in Brightest Day, Deadman gets the same treatment: while he's resurrected too, and starts to appreciate his new stab at life by romancing the overtly cute and lovely superheroine Dove, he gets returned to his undead state, the Entity using his life force to resurrect and empower the new iteration of the Swamp Thing. All the while with Dove still able to hear his disembodied voice, but tearfully aware of their separation.
- The ice goddess Kelda and the mortal fry-cook Bill in the recent Thor series.
- Also Thor-connected: Asgardian wolf prince Hrimhari and Rahne Sinclaire of X-Factor. The first time they got together, they had to part when the X-Men left Asgard. When Asgard reappeared on Earth, Hrimhari and Rahne were reunited, only for Hrimhari to give up his own life to save Rahne and their unborn children.
- Spider-Man: Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson were forced into this by One More Day. Stan Lee even lables them this in his afterword in the OMD Trade Paperback. Fortunately, there still very much together in the MC2 and Newspaper Strip continuities, the latter of which continues to this day.
- Another Marvel example is Thena of The Eternals and Kro of the Deviants. Kro is far more powerful than most Deviants, and unlike most of them, seems immortal, like the Eternals are. He and Thena fell in love more than twenty millennia ago, but as their respected races are mortal enemies and would never approve of their relationship, they've been forced to keep it secret. They've actually been more successful than most examples of this Trope, having two children as a result, Donald and Debora Ritter (Thena concealed this from her fellow Eternals by using her own powers to secretly transfer them, as embryos, into an infertile human woman; the twins didn't learn who their true parents were until adulthood.)
- Ultimate Spider-Man: Peter and Mary Jane end up as this, what with the former being Killed Off for Real.
- In DC vs. Marvel, Robin and Jubilee had a brief romance during the crossover. Later they're separated and they weren't happy at that.
- Ms Tree found herself in that situation when her stepson fell for the daughter of the boss of the Meurita crime family. Subverted, regardless of her opinion of this situation, she considers the matter purely the kids' affair and enjoys seeing the girl's mother's attempt to keep them apart backfire into strengthening their relationship.
- Thanks to Executive Meddling, this seems to be the case for Sonic the Hedgehog and Princess Sally Acorn - whenever these two get together, something bad happens to one of them - Sonic gets launched to the other side of the galaxy, Sally falls for Monkey Khan, then she later gets turned into a robot.
- Bruce Banner and Betty Ross. His uncontrollable transformations into the Hulk have made him a fugitive chased by the United States military. Not to mention Betty's father, General "Thunderbolt" Ross, harbors an intense hatred of him.
- Princess Celestia and a good version of King Sombra. Seperated in different universes due to Celestia's friend Star Swirl realizing that both their kingdoms need their ruler more than they need eachother.
- Any Dragon Ball Z fanfiction that features Trunks and Pan as the main pairing.
- Pikachu and Pichi in A Pikachu in Love have shades of this. Both of them are owned by different trainers who plan on leaving the forest they met in and going there seprate ways in three days. Though it doesn't end in death like most victums of this Trope, in the end Pikachu is forced to part ways with Pichi so he can continue his adventures with Ash.
- In I Love Thee, L says this to Misa. And with good reason. They fall in love, and have a wonderfully blissful relationship... only to have L be killed. The summary of the story gives it away: "As the quote stated, the hottest love usually has the coldest end."
- Aki and Heathcliffe from One Piece: Parallel Works. Although they are both from wealthy families, Heathcliffe's parents kicked Heathcliffe out of his own house and forced him to become a Street Urchin and Aki's aunt and father keep putting her in one Arranged Marriage after another so the Chung-Feng family could obtain more power and wealth.
- Yuki-Rin (the daughter of a Tenryuubito) and Kazuma (the son of a dojo master) started out as this because of Roscoe, but it looks like their love isn't endangered anymore.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender Fanfic Cold Water mentions a Water Tribe legend about a woman from a hunting tribe and a polar bear. It ends up tragically, when her brother kills the bear and she heartbroken leaves her village.
- There's a Harry Potter fanfic But You Alone which is based on Tristan and Isolde, featuring a star-crossed love that destroys the lives of everyone involved. The author pulled the story from the internet, so it's now quite hard to find. Harry and Hermione are engaged, but she has doubts. A chance encounter leads to Hermione and Snape falling madly in love with each other, but he then harshly rejects her, thinking that she deserves better. She returns to her fiance. Just before the wedding, Snape realises he can't live without her and tries to rush to her side to explain, only to be attacked by a rogue Death Eater and end up in a coma until after she's already married (and she now hates him and thinks he hates her). Finally they realise their mistakes and start having an affair... the suspicion of which begins to drive Harry insane with paranoia and jealousy. Things get worse from there. If you're familiar with the story of Tristan and Isolde you can already tell how this is going to end.
- A rather popular clichè in Hungary/Prussia fanfiction is to have them being separated when she becomes one half of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise, but still having feelings for each other that they must hide for obvious reasons. (Bonus if Hungary's canon husband Austria is subjected to Die for Our Ship and Ron the Death Eater treatments to make Prussia look as a better option).
- Conversely, Austria/Hungary fics set in the Cold War has them fulfilling this trope as she's a member of the Eastern Bloc while he's on the other side of it. They remain separated until the fall of communism.
- There's also France and Joan of Arc in fanon, crossing to Mayfly-December Romance.
- The Warden and the Mistress almost become this in Extended Stay until the revelation that Mistress is pregnant is revealed, allowing her to stay and thus, allowing them to be together.
- The reason this is is because of the plot, which goes something like this: Ultraprison is running low on fuel and needs to stop someplace to refuel. Conveniently, the nearest spot for them is Superjail. Once they have enough fuel to leave, this trope comes up.
- This trope pops up (rather inevitably) in the Hunger Games fanfic Some Semblance of Meaning with Vale and Obsidian. Both really wish that they could have met outside of the context of the Hunger Games and realize that their relationship is bound to end in tragedy. It does.
- In the Blue Exorcist fanfic Memories of You, the back story of the first major arc reveals that the Kamiki family got it's start from a pair of them. The ultimate grandmother of the family met and helped a Kitsune when she was a little girl. The Kitsune later turned into a human and ended up marrying her when she was older. They had a daughter and managed to live happily for a time, but a zealous ex-suitor of the woman killed her and framed her Kitsune husband for it, before killing him. This resulted in the Kitsune cursing the family, driven to possess the eldest daughter of the family every generation in his quest for revenge. The only way to halt it is for one of the people closest to the eldest daughter must kill her to halt the possession. This resulted in another Star-Crossed Lovers in the past, as one of the victims of the curse had to convince her lover to kill her, which eventually let to him committing suicide. Aside from that Rin and Izumo know very well that there are a lot of people out there determined to turn them into this, starting with the Vatican; all because Rin happens to be the Son of Satan and thus they don't want him to have a relationship with a girl that could result in a child. And now Yukio and Paku might very well join them in that struggle, as, like his brother, the Vatican don't want Yukio to breed.
- The Hotel Transylvania fic How to Zing has Dracula and Martha. He's a Vampire, she's a Human. They play this trope straight until the very end, when they decide they love each other too much to let their differences get in the way. It works better when Martha becomes a Vampire like him. But of course, anyone who's seen the film will know that things didn't end too well for them...
- The Star Trek fic Written in the Stars mostly averts this, but the Spock and Fem!Kirk in the alternate reality of the mirror universe play this straight in that unions between Vulcans and Humans were forbidden after the Romulan attack on the Kelvin. The pair still fall in love and attempt to bring down the Terran Empire in order to be together.
- Several My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfics pairing Twilight and Trixie makes use of this trope: Trixie cannot give up her itinerant lifestyle (because being a traveling performer is her destiny) in order to stay in Ponyville, and Twilight cannot possibly leave her friends in Ponyville behind to go with her.
Films — Animated
- In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride: Kiara and Kovu. Which makes sense, given what it's based off of.
- Gnomeo and Juliet, of course.
- Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers has Minnie forbidden to date Mickey due to him being a commoner. This only attracts her to him more.
- Batman: Mask of the Phantasm has Bruce Wayne and his one-time fiancee, Andrea Beaumont. After he decides that she's worth giving up his plan of being Batman for, she has to leave Gotham and disappear thanks to the mob. When she resurfaces years later, they're still in love, but she has become the murderer Phantasm, hunting down her father's killers, and is Batman's enemy.
Films — Live-Action
- The Adjustment Bureau's whole premise is this.
- Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar from Brokeback Mountain due to society's homophobia. The film poster is in fact modelled after that of Titanic.
- Edward Cullen and Bella Swan from Twilight.
- Noah Calhoun and Allie Hamilton from The Notebook. Their love is forbidden due to the fact that Noah is a poor boy with no money and Allie is a spoiled rich girl that comes from wealth and this causes much chaos and tension in their relationship. Despite this, the two young lovers do everything they can to be together and in the end, they end up getting married and having a family.
- Rose DeWitt Bukater and Jack Dawson from 1997's Titanic are probably the second most infamous use of this trope, after the trope namer.
- Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala from Star Wars. Due to their respective roles as Jedi and senator requiring them to be on different planets, they were often literally star crossed. Even their romance theme was entitled: ''Across the Stars''.
- By Revenge of the Sith this overlaps with Dating Catwoman to an extent. He sides with Chancellor Palpatine while she leads the political opposition against him. Hints of this are shown earlier in which he talks about how much he hates politicians and that a system with a benevolent dictator would be superior.
- Or the worst one, identical with all romances in Knights of the Old Republic: the player of both games vanish into the Unknown Regions, never to be seen again, leaving his/her loved one behind.
- Jamal and Latika in the movie Slumdog Millionaire. At least until the very end of the movie.
- The eponymous tribesman Uncas and Alice, proper English girl, in Last of the Mohicans. Barely a word is spoken between them, but we know they are destined for this. Sure enough, Alice commits suicide after Uncas dies trying to save her.
- Invoked in Heathers. Everyone in town thinks the two dead high school football players killed themselves because they were gay lovers who believed that the community would never accept them. Everyone, that is, except for the two people who murdered them and forged the suicide note that lead the town to believe that two heterosexual football players were secretly gay lovers.
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Rebellious Princess Jen and Lovable Rogue Lo, Lady of War Shu Lien and Warrior Therapist Li Mubai. The first couple gets together in the end (for a very brief period of time.) The second ends as Her Heart Will Go On after Mubai dies in Shu Lien's arms, as they both aknowledge their feelings.
- The lovers in My Beautiful Laundrette are maximally star-crossed. One is from a tradition-minded Pakistani family, the other runs with National Front skinheads, and both are boys... But it's subverted in that there's no angst, there's minimal bitching about their star-crossed status, and at the end they end up together, realistically happy, without ever telling anyone about their relationship.
- Ladyhawke - the title character Isabeau and her lover Captain Navarre travel together but only ever set eyes upon each other for the briefest moment because due to a curse, Isabeau turns into a hawk at dawn and Navarre turns into a wolf at sunset. The movie is all about them and Navarre's companion, Philippe, trying to go Screw Destiny and break the curse itself. It works in the end.
- Max and Elise in Suicide Kings, kept apart by the fact that Max's stepfather slept with Elise's mother and her father found out.
- In Memoirs of a Geisha, this is shown in the form of three women: Hatsumomo, Mameha and Sayuri. Hatsumomo was in love with a baker but was forbidden by Mother to never see him again, because as a geisha, she mustn't give her body up to men who can't earn enough money. Mameha was hinted to have loved the Baron at one point but had long given up that emotion. And the last one is Sayuri who had loved the Chairman at first sight and from that moment on, did everything she could to meet him again. Like the others, she was doomed not to have a future with him. However, Sayuri earned her happy ending as the Chairman reciprocated her love and they remained together.
- In Partition, 38-year-old Hindu Gayan Singh falls in love with 17-year-old Muslim girl Naseem Khan, set against the dramatic backdrop of the Partition of India.
- The Bubble: The lovers, besides both being men, are an Israeli and a Palestinian; the Palestinian is from a conservative Muslim family and is being pressured into an arranged heterosexual marriage.
- You Never Dreamed has Roma and Katya, whose families have bad blood between them and try to keep them apart.
- The backstory of Underworld has Lycan slave Lucian and Sonja, the daughter of Vampire Elder Viktor, the latter of whom was executed after becoming pregnant with a hybrid. This sparks off the war between the Lycans and the Vampires that form the basis of the series.
- Nate and Dana from Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam is this because they are from opposing musical camps led by two former bandmates turned rivals. Added points that Dana is the daughter of Camp Star's leader, and Nate is the nephew of Camp Rock's leader.
- Tristan and Susanna in Legends Of The Fall. The latter ends up being Spurned Into Suicide.
- Upside Down (2012), in which a man falls in love with a woman from an inverted universe.
- Peeta and Katniss from The Hunger Games. When Peeta reveals in his pre-game interview that he is in love with Katniss she thinks he is deliberately invoking this trope (and it is indeed mentioned by name by the show host). She later plays it up for all it's worth to help save her own life, never realizing that Peeta was telling the truth and honestly loves her.
- Landon and Jamie in A Walk to Remember.
- The protagonists of Love Me If You Dare.
- German corporal Walter and Jewish prisoner Ruth in Sterne. The title of the film means Stars, and is a reference both to this trope and to the infamous yellow stars.
- R and Julie from Warm Bodies.
- Essentially the plot of Lovers Of The Arctic Circle.
- Wu Luan, originally with Wan, and then with Qing in Legend Of The Black Scorpion. The crossing of their stars in both cases is highlighted by the fact that in the scenes where the couples are closest to realizing their mutual affection, Wu Luan and Wan/Qing are both wearing all white and moving together in a synchronized fashion. Wu Luan spars with Wan and performs a dance with Qing. And then everything falls apart.
- Matias and Maria from The Elite Squad. He was a cop. She had drug connections. Their relationship could never have worked.
- The two teen protagonists of the Mexican film Amar Te Duele (which appropriately translates as Love Hurts).
- Kaji and Michiko of The Human Condition. Kaji's only motivation to go on is to get back to his love, but his humanity is continually tested.
- Steve Rogers and Peggy Cater in the Captain America films. Minutes after their first kiss during World War II, Rogers sacrifices himself to save the Eastern United States and is presumed dead. When he returns from his coma in the modern day, Carter is bedridden from old age and has Alzheimer's/dementia, thus preventing her from permanently retaining the knowledge that he's alive.
- One might be inclined to say the same of Steve and Bucky.
- The teen science-fiction series, Animorphs has Rachel and Tobias. She's a beautiful, smart, independent, funny and spirited suburban teenage hottie. He's a boy trapped in the body of a bird. And then The Beginning happens.
- Also Elfangor and Loren, who're not only from different species but separated by time travel, a meddling Ellimist and memory erasure. The end result: he's dead and she can't remember his existence. Elfangor's human morph Allan "Al" Fangor did leave Loren Someone to Remember Him By: Tobias. Yeah, the stars really hate that family.
- The ancient Sanskrit play, The Little Clay Cart, written by the Indian playwright Sudraka around the 2nd century BC. It was about a forbidden love between an impoverished young man and a wealthy courtesian.
- The play later inspired the 2001 film Moulin Rouge!, which features a similar tale about an impoverished young man and a wealthy courtesan. The movie also features a play resembling The Little Clay Cart.
- The medieval Arabic/Persian epic, Layla and Majnun, a tragic love story written by Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi in the 12th century, based on an Arabic tale from around the late 7th or 8th century. The story is basically: boy meets girl, boy goes the Love Makes You Crazy way, boy loses girl since she gets an arranged marriage to another guy, boy loses what's left of his mind, girl soon dies of either illness or a Death by Despair, boy is found dead near girl's grave after carving his last words of love for her on a stone. Its popularity in the Middle East and Asia is comparable to (and predates) that of Romeo & Juliet in the Western world.
- Hilariously lampshaded and (eventually) averted in David Eddings' The Belgariad and The Malloreon: A knight and a lady are in love, but she is married to another man. Various other protagonists grumble about the fact all three characters are genre-aware of their plight, play up to it, and even actively avoid possible solutions because they love the melodrama so much. Eventually, after the husband dies, the main character gets sick of the ongoing Wangst and forces the couple to get married at the point of a seven-foot-long sword.
- Parodied in the Discworld novel Mort with the characters of Mellius and Gretelina "whose pure, passionate and soul-searing affair would have scorched the pages of History if they had not, by some unexplained quirk of fate, been born two hundred years apart on different continents."
- Two examples from The Dresden Files:
- Harry and Susan are the more obvious. Susan ignores Harry's warnings and Harry not telling her enough of his life led her to make a dangerous choice and ended up a half-vampire. Because she deeply loved him and wanted him it made her inner demon want him all the more, so they separated, only later did they have one night of passionate sex (with Susan bound and gagged so she didn't hurt him) and then she was gone from his life for many years. Then she came back telling him their child, conceived on that night of bondage, was kidnapped. Harry told her that keeping the knowledge he had a child from him ended any chance of them getting back together. She accepted that and, by gambits of others in play, would sacrifice her life to permanently destroy the Red Court vampires with Harry being her killer.
- Thomas and Justine. Thomas is an incubus, while Justine is a rather disturbed hottie. Initially their relationship is mutually beneficial, with Thomas feeding on Justine's Life Energy and stabilizing her mental state in the process. Then Thomas was badly injured, on the verge of death if he did not feed. Justine willingly gave herself to Thomas knowing she could die and Thomas stopped himself moments before he was about to kill her, even if it could cost him his life. The result was both acts of genuine love now was contained in each other. Since Thomas is literally Allergic to Love, Justine's genuine love makes it so that they can't touch each other without seriously injuring him as he wants her so much he instinctively feeds on her. Finally averted when Justine starts having sex with a girlfriend so she can then have sex with Thomas, and then regain the protection. He heartily approves.
- Though romance is not a major theme in the books, Eisenhorn and Bequin from the Warhammer 40,000: Eisenhorn series. Eisenhorn is a Psyker and Bequin is a Blank (anti-psyker), thus meaning it was painful for Eisenhorn just to be near Bequin. The only time he is able to be close to her and open his heart is when Bequin is in a coma (thus canceling her 'Blankness'), after trying and failing to stop a possessed Imperial Titan. Unfortunately she doesn't wake up.
- Lyra and Will from the His Dark Materials series, specifically the last book, The Amber Spyglass.
- More than one couple, or sad non-couple in the Spaceforce books, mainly because of the Taysan Empire's insanely restrictive rules on who can marry whom, and how. Sexual relationships outside marriage, and marriage between people of different 'degree', are serious criminal offences. Jay defies the law to elope with and marry Ashlenn in an Earther wedding ceremony, but both pay heavily for it. Prince Ragoth and his bodyguard Maydith, we assume, never even discuss their mutual attraction - and Jay's commander Salthar had reciprocated, but nonetheless hopeless feelings for fellow agent Mizal.
- About half of all romantic relationships in A Song of Ice and Fire. The best you can hope for is a Perfectly Arranged Marriage or a spouse who's accepting of you keeping a lover on the side (though even that can be problematic if you have any children with the latter).
- A notable example, since they're the basis of In-Universe folktales and love songs, are the Prince of Dragonflies and Jenny of Oldstones. Prince Duncan Targaryen abdicates the throne for the common girl he falls in love with, leaving his less worthy younger brother and far less worthy nephew to run the dynasty into the ground within two generations.
- In the first book of The Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta use this trope for all it's worth to gain sympathy.
- In the third book of the series the trope ends up subverted as Katniss reciprocates Peeta's feelings and marries him.
- The real star-crossed lovers of the trilogy turn out to be Finnick and Annie, with her even ending up with Someone to Remember Him By.
- Devdas: The book (and subsequent movie versions) is definitely of the second variation, having been written in 1917 when such rules still existed. The eponymous hero (son of a wealthy upper-class family) and Childhood Sweetheart Paro (daughter of a middle class trader family) fall in love upon adulthood, but because Devdas is too weak-willed to stand up to his father's disapproval of their getting married, the two of them spend the remainder of the book apart. He spends his days drinking and mourning her, while Paro is in an Arranged Marriage to an older aristocratic gentleman. Sensing that he's close to death because of his drinking and despair, Devdas crawls to Paro's house and dies in front of her gate, fulfilling a promise he made to her on the day of her wedding, and Paro can't even see his face because of the rules of Purdah.
- Renata Remedios "Meme" Buendía del Carpio and Mauricio Babilonia play the role in One Hundred Years of Solitude. Not only theirs is an Uptown Girl deal (Meme is from the powerful Buendia clan, Mauricio is a mere mechanic and hinted to be of Romani heritage), but there's a HUGE veto coming from her family — specially her mother Fernanda. They try to overcome said veto... and it goes From Bad to Worse.
- Catherine and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights.
- Maigrey and Sagan in Margaret Weis's The Star of the Guardians. Complete with The Masochism Tango and Together in Death.
- John Grady Cole and Alejandra from All The Pretty Horses. He's a poor American ranch hand, she's the daughter of the wealthy Mexican ranch owner that employs him.
- Winston and Julia in 1984.
- Shades of Grey, Eddie and Jane. Jane, who is the epitome of Tsundere, would rather kill Eddie than marry him, and he's supposed to marry upwards anyway. And then when they do fall mutually in love, it turns out Jane is a Green and shouldn't even talk to eighty-six-percent-Red Eddie, much less marry him.
- In Holes, we have the tragic case of Miss Katherine and Sam, though in love with each other, cannot be together because she's white and he's black. When the rest of the town found out that they had kissed (a huge crime back in their day), they burned down Miss Katherine's schoolhouse and killed Sam in front of her.
- In The Iron Dragons Daughter, Jane and Tetigistus. When she and one of his incarnations (Rooster, Peter, Puck or Rocket) got together, it ended in tragedy. M;ore for him than for her.
- M. Paul and Lucy in Villette.
- Scrooge and Belle in A Christmas Carol, who were driven apart by Scrooge's greed and obsession with money.
- Pip and Estella in the original ending of Great Expectations. Subverted in the Revised Ending.
- Occurs in The Silmarillion between King Finwë and his first wife, Míriel. She gains the distinction of being the only person to die in the Undying Lands, much to the puzzlement of the gods, who finally decide she's staying dead out of sheer stubbornness. Finwë re-marries, (which means Míriel can never reincarnate, since Elves are no permitted two wives) but his second wife outlives him. Once he dies, he is re-united with Míriel, and chooses to stay dead forever so Míriel can reincarnate.
- In the Warrior Cats series, medicine cats cannot fall in love, and neither can cats from rival clans. This results in cases of missing parents and fake parents.
- Evident with Bluestar, who ends up pregnant with her lover Oakheart's kits, but due to them being in different clans, she has to leave her kits with him and not acknowledge her relationship with him or her kits for the rest of her life, up until she reveals to her kits that she is their mother just before she dies.
- Ditto in the case of Leafpool and Crowfeather, except that Leafpool is also a medicine cat. Leafpool has to give her kits to her sister to raise, and has to pretend to be just an aunt when she is actually their mother. Furthermore, when the truth comes out, one of her kits turns insane and nearly murders Leafpool. Because of that, she even gives up her place as medicine cat, but still cannot be reunited with Crowfeather, as he is stuck with a mate he does not love, as well as another son, who is also a Jerk Ass.
- Crowfeather and Feathertail as well. Both of them are also from separate clans, but become close in their journey for a new home. When they finally confess their love for each other, Feathertail is killed shortly afterwards in a Heroic Sacrifice.
- Ryewhisker and Cloudberry in "Code of the Clans". Just as Cloudberry is pregnant with Ryewhisker's kits, he is killed defending her from his own clanmates as she is from a rival clan. This causes an even bigger wedge to be driven between the two clans.
- Warrior Cats is chock-full of such examples.
- In C. S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces, Orual, queen of Glome, falls in love with Bardia, her captain of the guard, who is already married. At the end, it's revealed that the stress her devotion caused him lead him to an early grave.
- Walter Huff and Phyllis Nirdlinger in Double Indemnity. They murder Phyllis's husband and attempt to make it look like an accident to get double indemnity on his insurance policy, but it falls through, they get found out, and subsequently commit mutual suicide by jumping from the stern of a cruise ship.
- Lenina and John in Brave New World; alternately, Lenina and Bernard. She likes him, he likes her, but everyone is cruel to Bernard due to his differences.
- A couple of instances in the Deryni novels:
- Duncan McLain and Maryse MacArdry. Expecting to be parted over a feud between their clans, they marry in secret and Maryse conceives a son, Dhugal. Duncan later learns Maryse died of a fever the following winter, but he doesn't know the rest of the story until much later.
- Rothana Nur Hallaj and Kelson Haldane. After much thought, she decides to put aside her temporary novice's vows and marry him, then he disappears down a waterfall and is thought to be dead. She is persauded to marry someone else traitorous Conall Haldane, and feels she cannot marry Kelson once they are both free to do so. She even arranges for him to marry someone else!
- Vlad Tepes and Elizabeth Bathory in Count and Countess. Or so they insist.
- The original fate of Gwidion and Emily in Symphony of Ages. While soul mates, they were born millenia and continents apart. By the time the two met in the original timeline, Emily was ancient and giving birth to their son, who could Set Right What Once Went Wrong, killed her. The changes to history averted this trope, eventually.
- In Jack Campbell's The Lost Fleet series, Captain Bradomant and Colonel Rogero, on opposite sides of the war. Both intensely honorable and adamant against doing anything against their own sides.
- Enchantress from the Stars has Elana, a girl from The Federation, an extremely advanced society, fall in love with Georyn, a young man from a planet stuck in Middle Ages. Neither of them could be happy in another world, so they part once the Federation's expedition departs.
- The books by Strugatsky Brothers feature several:
- The lead couple of Hans Christian Andersen's short story "The Shepherdess and the Chimney-sweep" are two porcelain figurines who fall in love, but a mahogany satyr figure is in talks to an also porcelained Chinaman figure (who is a sort-of Parental Substitute for the Shepherdess) to get her in an Arranged Marriage for him. So the two attempt to run away so they won't be separated. Unusually for the very angsty Andersen tales, they get their happy ending.
- Edward Cullen and Bella Swan from Twilight. Not.
- Stefan Salvatore and Elena Gilbert from The Vampire Diaries. There is nothing that these two have not been through. Their love story is inspired by Romeo and Juliet according to the author. Stefan and Elena is a combination of Love Before First Sight, Boy Meets Girl, Love at First Sight, Starcrossed Lovers, One True Love, Red String of Fate, Interspecies Romance, Mayfly-December Romance, Eternal Love, and Inter-Class Romance all rolled into one. Stefan is a five hundred year old plus immortal vampire boy (who died at the age of eighteen) and Elena is a seventeen year old normal human girl who fatefully meet each other. Stefan was once a human boy who was a noble during the fourteenth century and he comes from a wealthy, noble and Blue Blood family. He tragically becomes a vampire at the tender age of eighteen after he has a violent feud with his older brother Damon and his brother kills him by stabbing him with his sword, cursing him to a lifetime in the shadows and away from light and humanity. Elena is a seventeen year old beautiful human girl who is from a small town in Virginia, someone who is lost and feels empty inside due to the loss of her parents and feeling like she has no place to call "home". Both Stefan and Elena were lost souls who had endured so much tragedy in their lives and had been engulfed in sadness and darkness. When Stefan and Elena first meet, it's Love at First Sight for Stefan and Elena, as both feel a strong, powerful, undeniable and indescribable connection with each other. Although, Elena is more passionate about Stefan than Stefan is about Elena at first because Stefan is deliberately pulling away from Elena, as she coincidentally bears an almost striking physical appearance with his first love who tragically "died", Katherine. Stefan tries to steer clear of Elena's presence as her presence causes him to feel immense pain and reminders from his dark and tragic past. Stefan also hides a centuries old dark secret that he is a vampire from Elena, fearful that Elena will find out and see him as a monster or a creature of darkness that has no soul and is incapable of love or being loved and accepted. Numerous obstacles try to keep the two from being together, including Damon, Stefan's older and malevolent brother, who planned on stealing Elena from Stefan to make his life miserable in order to get revenge against Stefan; Katherine, Stefan's first love who became evil, sinister and obsessive over Stefan over the centuries and tried to kill Elena out of jealousy; Klaus, who tried to kill both Stefan and Elena and tried to destroy their lives, not to mention Elena dying repeatedly and Stefan being ripped away from Elena constantly, with one instance of Stefan ending up trapped in a prison in the Dark Dimension to the point where Stefan almost faced death. Despite everything that these two have been through, Stefan and Elena have proven that they simply cannot function or live without each other. Stefan and Elena are also soul mates who are destined to be together, meaning that destiny wants them together. However, fate seems to disagree as they are constantly being torn apart by outside circumstances. Despite that these two love each other so much, they can never find any happiness in the long term.
- It gets even more tragic in the Evensong trilogy when Stefan accidentally almost kills Elena by exsanguination, when he let his strong passion and love for Elena take him over while he was feeding on her blood. Basically, Stefan ended up almost killing Elena to the point of death because of love. For that reason, Elena needed a massive blood transfusion in order to save her life. Stefan ends up saving Elena by getting her an immediate blood transfusion however, Stefan painfully realizes that due to the circumstances of him almost killing Elena, Stefan realizes that he cannot be with Elena as he feels he poses a threat or danger to her safety and well being. Because of this, Stefan ends up using a special neurological virus to get inside Elena's (and the rest of her friends) memory so that she will forget everything about Stefan, their strong love and his existence. As of currently, Elena has forgotten that Stefan existed because of what Stefan did and now Elena thinks that she is in love and in a relationship with Damon.
- Damon Salvatore and Bonnie McCullough from the same series seem to be heading in this direction, especially from Midnight onwards. It is strongly implied that Damon and Bonnie are soulmates who are meant to be together and both have a very deep and strong connection with each other. Bonnie is clearly in love with Damon however, Damon frequently overlooks whatever he feels for Bonnie and selfishly chases Elena so that he could make her his "Princess Of Darkness". Damon knows deep down that he shares a deep bond with Bonnie however it is clear that he constantly tries to ignore it and avoid it possibly due to being overwhelmed by it or not understanding what it is he feels for Bonnie. Despite Damon constantly trying to deny his feelings for Bonnie, Damon has gone out of his way to always save and protect Bonnie from harm and from dangers. In Midnight, he ends up dying when he makes a Heroic Sacrifice by saving Bonnie from falling to her death from the top of a tree. Damon tragically ends up getting killed when he is staked or stabbed through the heart by the poisonous tree branches from the tree. Damon dies and Bonnie as well as Elena and Stefan are all devastated. However, Bonnie is seemingly the most devastated by Damon's death and her grief is incontrollable. Damon ends up coming back to life through the help of Elena, Stefan and Bonnie. In the Evensong trilogy, the continuation of the story after Midnight and the aftermath of Damon's death and ressurrection, Stefan ends up almost killing Elena while feeding off of her blood because he let his love and passion for her overtake him. Elena ends up having to have a blood transfusion in order to save her life. Stefan also realizes that he cannot be with Elena due to the circumstances of the fact that he poses an obvious danger or threat to Elena's safety because he is a vampire and she is a human. As a result, Stefan ends up wiping the memory of Elena and all of her friends, including Bonnie, to forget about him and his existence. Because of Bonnie's memory being wiped, she does not know Stefan exists and thinks that Damon is the boyfriend of her best friend, Elena. However, despite this, Bonnie still feels a strong and undeniable connection to Damon, one that she cannot ignore. Damon and Bonnie both feel the connection, however, the circumstances (with Damon being forced to be Elena's boyfriend and Bonnie having her memory wiped because Stefan erased his existence from their memories) force them to not act upon it. It is very evident that Damon and Bonnie are drawn to each other but that their connection is veering into forbidden love territory.
- Adam Conant and Cassie Blake from The Secret Circle. Similar to their The Vampire Diaries counterparts in Stefan Salvatore and Elena Gilbert (see above), Adam and Cassie fatefully meet and it is Love at First Sight for the both of them. They both feel strongly drawn to each other, feeling a strong and undeniable connection and attraction. They also happened to be destined and even share the Red String of Fate, which binds their souls together (also similar to Stefan/Elena). Cassie first meets Adam before settling in a town in New England. What Cassie comes to realize is that she is a witch and that Ada is also a witch and that he is also the boyfriend of one of her new friends, Diana Meade. Because of this, Adam and Cassie's love is strongly forbidden. Adam and Cassie vow to never break their promise to hurt Diana or disrupt the Circle in any way and because of this they have to sacririce their love for the greater good of the Circle. However, even though Adam and Cassie have vowed to not be together, their connection proves to be too powerful and they keep being drawn back together. Diana and the rest of the Circle eventually finds out about Adam and Cassie's connection and although Diana is originally hurt that her boyfriend and her best friend have a connection that is very profound, Diana comes to accept it later on and selflessly lets Adam and Cassie be together.
- The eponymous Ethan Frome and his wife Zeena's cousin Mattie Silver.
- The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. Tatiana (a seventeen year old girl who's never been in a relationship) and Alexander, a 23 year-old Soviet army officer, fall in Love at First Sight. Alexander walks her home and finds to his horror that his current Girl of the Week is Tatiana's older sister. And Tatiana refuses to let him break up with her because of this (and even if they did, Tatiana sleeps in the same bed as her sister; given the Soviet housing shortage, she can't just move). If that's not bad enough, Alexander is actually Alexander Barrington, the son of American communists executed by the Secret Police, and has a False Friend who hopes to use Alexander to escape to the United States, and views Tatiana as a threat to this plan.
- Augustus and Hazel in The Fault in Our Stars are Genre Savvy star-crossed lovers with terminal cancer.
- From Honor Harrington: Eloise Pritchart and Javier Giscard. Just when it seems like they might have a chance at a happy ever after that doesn't include hiding from State Sec and/or fighting a war they don't want to fight, he is killed in battle. She never quite recovers.
- By the end of The Underland Chronicles, it's strongly implied that Gregor will never see Luxa again.
- An Alaskan version of Romeo and Juliet, with a boy and a girl from feuding villages, forms a major part of the plot of the Kate Shugak mystery Bad Blood. Author Dana Stabenow says in her introduction that she always the play was more about the families than the lovers, and that Shakespeare could have handled the elopement far better.
- Ava and Jacob in The Kingdom of Little Wounds. Jacob fled the country (presumably to Denmark) because it wasn't safe for him to be a Protestant in Skyggehavn.
- Rose's relationship with Dimitri in Vampire Academy, due to their age difference and student-teacher relationship. Eventually subverted, as at the end of the series their relationship is accepted.
- Orange Is The New Black has Alex Vause and Piper Chapman. There is also the Daya and Bennett relationship which is doomed for several reasons. One is that Daya is an inmate and Bennett is a correctional officer meaning that a romantic relationship between them is against the law. The other reason is that Daya is pregnant with their child and Bennett WILL go to prison if word of this ever got out.
- Takeru and Mio/Iyal from Hikari Sentai Maskman. Unfortunately, they never got together in the end and had to break up due to Iyal's duties to Tube.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Buffy and Angel.
- Averted with Wishverse!Buffy and Angel however; Wishverse!Buffy doesn't recognize Angel (saying crudely "Is this a 'get into my pants' thing?" when he starts talking about destiny), is fully prepared to leave him chained up when she discovers he's a vampire, and has absolutely no reaction when Angel dies saving her life.
- Cole and Phoebe from Charmed.
- Bill and Sookie from True Blood.
- Angel and Cordelia in Angel. Also Fred and Wesley.
- Farscape's Aeryn and John screw up enough to count as this. He lampshades this when he says that destiny is keeping its promise to always draw them together "but screwing us over in the fine print". Seriously - first there were her emotional issues, then he just wanted to go home, then she died, then she came back to life and realised a relationship would complicate things too much, then he split into two, then one of them died, then she had more emotional issues and ran away, then she nearly died again, then she was pregnant and didn't know who the father was, and now my hand is about to drop off.
- Played for laughs in Degrassi Junior High. Snake and Melanie are hopelessly crushing on each other, but every attempt they make to date ends in a comic disaster. In one episode, they plan to meet at a Wild Teen Party. Snake and his friends are put in charge of bringing the beer, but get arrested by the cops on the way—so Melanie doesn't get to see him, and the Wild Teen Party doesn't get to be wild.
- Played much straighter with Joey and Caitlin.
- In Degrassi: The Next Generation, this happens with just about every couple. Special mention to JT and Liberty though; JT was stabbed and killed before he could tell Liberty that he still loved her.
- And then taken further as of Season 12 with Maya and Cam, the latter of whom committed suicide.
- Sayid and Nadia, LOST: he searches for her for eight years, finds her, and marries her. She's killed only months later.
- Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined): Lee Adama and Kara Thrace.
- Played with in Battlestar Galactica. Helo and Athena are in love. The problem? He's one of the few surviving humans left and she's an agent of the Cylon race that just nuked his species to near extinction. The result is that she spends the majority of the second season locked up in a holding cell and the two of them have to deal with people who want to abort their unborn child Hera and rape her for information. Ultimately, this trope is subverted as Athena has won acceptance, been freed from prison and married to the man she loves after the timeskip in between seasons.
- Played straight with Starbuck and Apollo. It's love at first sight for them...only she happens to be dating, and eventually gets engaged to, his younger brother—who dies partly as a result of a mistake she makes. They become best friends, teammates and quasi-family to each other, but the guilt keeps them apart for years afterwards, to the point where they find it easier to hook up with—and eventually marry—other people rather than face their feelings for each other. They rekindle their romance, but being married makes it impossible. And then she dies, comes back for just long enough to lead the Fleet to Earth, and just when there seem to be no more obstacles left to them being together, she tells him she isn't coming back and vanishes into thin air.
- Any Cylon/Human couple where the Cylon actually develops genuine feeling for the human could be considered this, as the humans don't react well when they inevitably find out their lovers aren't human.
- The Doctor and Rose in Doctor Who. The episode "School Reunion" has him explicitly tell her that, because of his long lifespan, it's impossible for them to stay together.
- Subverted with the Ass Pull in "Journey's End" that regeneration energy in the Doctor's hand when touched by a human can grow a human Doctor.
- The Doctor and River are also this, considering that the audience and the Doctor know not only that River will die but also the last time he will see her before her death.
- Oddly enough the Ultra Series has this with Ultraman Ace's hosts Seiji and Yuuko (yes two people become him at least at first). At first it seems like a standard blooming romance between hero and heroine but then a Wham Episode hits. Yuuko is a kind of energy being from the moon, and having accomplished her task on Earth must leave. Seiji is heart broken but swears to keep her in his heart as he becomes the sole host of Ace. However in the Grand Finale Seiji must merge with Ace permanently and he too has to leave Earth, as Ace has duties on the Ultraman homeworld. Decades later (both in series and in real life) Seiji and Yuuko would finally meet again during the Anniversary series Ultraman Mebius, and sort of confess their feelings to each other. Since both are energy beings now it is implied that they could potentially get together.
- The Office's Michael Scott and Holly Flax. The dorkiest, most adorable pair of soulmates you ever did see, cruelly separated by Dunder-Mifflin corporate for business reasons (he's the Scranton office manager, she's in HR.) Michael fully intends on waiting for her as long as it takes. Awwwww.
- Hugh Laurie sings a song to his love in A Bit of Fry and Laurie, about how strange his devotion is given that they've never met and she has in fact been dead for almost 16 years.
- The underlying premise of the Beauty and the Beast TV series; she can't live in his world without giving up her job and her life, and he can't live in hers at all.
- Two examples from Babylon 5: Susan Ivanova and Marcus Cole and Susan Ivanova and Talia Winters.
- Pushing Daisies: Chuck and Ned—this is essentially the whole point of the show. Kind of, anyway. They're together, but they can never be together.
- Downton Abbey: Lady Sybil and Branson. She is an Earl's daughter and he is the family chauffeur. Mrs. Hughes warns him that he stands to lose his job and gain a broken heart when she finds them holding hands.
- As of the end of series 2, they are married with a baby on the way, although Lord Grantham isn't pleased. But to really show that they're star-crossed lovers, Sybil dies in childbirth. Her family has finally accepted Branson though, even letting him co-run the estate.
- Mary and Matthew, up to a point. They seem to have their acts together by the end of series 2. Until Matthew gets killed after the birth of his son.
- In Chinese Paladin 3, the mortal Chanqing and demigoddess Zixuan have two separate Reincarnation Romances which end tragically. By the third time around, Zixuan and Chanqing have both learned from their mistakes and are willing to do anything to make it work. And then they still can't be together.
- John Fitzgerald Byers and Susanne Modeski in The X-Files.
- Lyda and Maurice from the episode "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas" were a pair of lovers who formed a Suicide Pact at Christmas in 1917 so that they could stay together for eternity. It worked, as they haunt their house and try to get other couples to re-enact their fate.
- Lancelot and Guinevere from Merlin. It's Love at First Sight for Lancelot, and Gwen seems to reciprocate, only for Lancelot to be exiled from Camelot. They meet again during a Rescue Romance, but when Arthur turns up, Lancelot realizes that he's in love with Guinevere and decides not to interfere. Lancelot returns for the third time at the end of the third season and is reinstated as a Knight of Camelot, but by this point, Guinevere has fallen in love with Arthur and in a committed relationship with him.
- Only for him to return once more after dying in series 4, and shaking things up again, although this is all Morgana's fault.
- Merlin and Freya also classify as this trope.
- Dawson and Joey from Dawson's Creek. The two are soul mates and even admit it as much, although Joey ends up with Pacey in the end.
- Joey referred to herself and Dawson as "ill-fated, star-crossed soulmates".
- Pacey even compares Dawson/Joey to Romeo/Juliet in 5.05.
- Jen asks Dawson how he and Joey "the star-crossed lovers" are doing in season two.
- Michael and Nikita from La Femme Nikita.
- Teen Wolf: Scott and Allison. Taken up several notches when Allison tragically and unexpectedly dies in Scott's arms at the end of season three.
- One Tree Hill: Lucas and Peyton. They were described as being soul mates who were meant to be together by the series creator Mark Schwahn. They had to overcome many obstacles and issues over the course of the series.
- The Vampire Diaries:
- Stefan and Elena. Overall, Stefan and Elena are often referred to as each other's epic or great love and are referred to as soul mates. It's Love at First Sight for both Stefan and Elena and they both feel an undeniable connection and attraction to each other and they instantly bond, finding that they have many interests, hobbies and outlooks in common. Stefan and Elena also seem to be driven by fate as many of their interactions and meetings are serendipitous. Although, things start to change between Stefan and Elena, when Elena finds out that Stefan is hiding a deep dark secret that he is actually a century plus old vampire. The fact that they are two different species (although now this is subverted as Elena is now a vampire) caused much tension between the two young lovers and it has managed to cause them to endure much pain, struggles and tragedy. Stefan and Elena have also had many outside forces and obstacles (including Stefan's blood lust issues, Elena's family issues and identity, Stefan's loss of humanity, Klaus, Katherine, Damon, Elena becoming a vampire, Elena being sired to Damon, Silas, both Stefan and Elena being doppelgängers, etc) that have tried to tear the two apart, causing them to struggle to stay together. But the biggest obstacle for Stefan and Elena staying together throughout the series is Elena's feelings for Damon and Stefan's tumultuous century plus relationship with Damon. Damon and Elena as a couple have had longer moments of happiness together than Stefan and Elena have ever had overall. Stefan and Elena, on the other hand, have never been able to actually be happy and stay together for a prolonged period of time as something or someone is always......keeping them apart. Ironically and interestingly enough, Stefan and Elena are also both ancient descendants and descended (and doppelgängers of) from an ancient 2,000+ year old highly tragic love story which took place during first century BC (during the Biblical Times) between two Ancient Greek starcrossed lovers and soulmates, Silas and Amara, the worlds first immortal beings. Stefan is descended from Silas, the worlds first immortal man and Elena is descended from Amara, the world's first immortal woman. Qetsiyah, Silas' ex fiancee, a very powerful witch and an ancient ancestor of the Bennett bloodline, frankly confesses that destiny, the Universe and and fate has been trying to get Silas and Amara's doppelgängers together for centuries, yet there hasn't been any actual success. Turns out this prophecy of their destiny was not exactly accurate and was concocted by the Travellers (Markos in particular, who has been bringing the doppelgängers together through a spell, to get to the doppelgangers' blood), although it is still rather evident that destiny and fate could still be at work as the doppelgängers of Silas and Amara are still finding each other century after century with all of them feeling an undeniable connection and falling in love, regardless of the spell bringing them together. Stefan and Elena's relationship ended in tragedy at the end of season three when Stefan came to save a drowning Elena and Matt from a car accident caused by Rebekah at Wickery Bridge. Although Stefan had intended to save Elena first, Elena insisted that Stefan save Matt before her. Out of love for Elena and out of respect for Elena's wishes, Stefan ended up saving Matt first. Unfortunately, Stefan did not get to Elena in time to save her and she ended up dying after she drowned. To make matters worse, Elena had vampire blood in her system when she died, which made Elena go into transition into a vampire. Elena becoming a vampire dramatically changed Elena and her relationship with Stefan forever.
- Silas and Amara, both Monster Progenitor's and very ancient ancestors of Stefan and Elena. Silas was a very young, powerful, gifted and wealthy warlock who was a member of a group of witches called The Travellers and Amara was a very young, docile, beautiful and poor human girl who was a handmaiden. It is Love at First Sight for Silas and Amara and the two engage in a passionate, romantic affair which ends up being a Secret Relationship because their love is strongly forbidden. Silas and Amara is a classic case of Boy Meets Girl, Love at First Sight, Interspecies Romance and Inter-Class Romance all rolled into one. Their love story is centred during first century BC (The Biblical Times) in Ancient Greece. Silas and Amara have the most tragic and heartbreaking love story of the entire series by far and also, the most pivotal relationship (including romantic, platonic, familial, etc) in the whole series. The love story between Silas and Amara has basically shaped and defined the destiny and the future of pretty much all of the characters in the series. Their entire love story is nothing but endless pain, suffering, tragedy and heartache. Silas and Amara's love for each other was so strong and powerful that after they both became truly immortal, their ancient and distant descendants (also known as Silas and Amara's mortal shadow selves or doppelgängers) were born century after century, finding each other and falling in love with each other, basically emulating Silas and Amara's deep love for each other. What makes Silas and Amara so tragic was that they intended to become immortal and spend eternity together because they loved each other so much and were each other's soul mates and One True Love. However, Silas's jealous, hateful and vengeful fiancée (or better yet, ex-fiancee) at the time (Qetsiyah, an exceptionally powerful witch) was strongly determined to keep the two destined young lovers apart. Silas had promised Qetsiyah that he would want to share the gift of immortality and spend eternity with Qetsiyah if she helped him create the spell. But instead, Silas took the immortality elixir for himself and Amara. Qetsiyah discovered their betrayal and in a fit of rage, Qetsiyah faked Amara's death, turned her into the anchor to the Other Side, and entombed Silas in darkness and buried him with the cure for immortality. Even when the lovers die, they do not end up together. Amara dies and crosses over to the afterlife on the earth's metaphysical plane, but Silas dies and crosses over to The Other Side, where he is stuck with Qetsiyah for eternity and separated from his one true love. Silas and Amara are so tragic that they could be considered The Vampire Diaries version of Romeo and Juliet with Silas as the Romeo to Amara's Juliet.
- Silas starved and desiccated while being entombed in darkness for over 2,000 years and resisted the cure for immortality in order to not become a mortal, die and cross over to the Other Side so that his soul would be eternally trapped with Qetsiyah, all out of his strong love and devotion for and to Amara. Silas was eventually freed and unleashed by the Mystic Falls gang so that he would roam freely on Earth and possibly unleash hell upon Earth. Silas caused much chaos, destruction and turmoil for many Mystic Falls residents all because he wanted to take the cure, become mortal again, have Bonnie drop the Veil to the Other Side, destroy the Other Side permanently and die so that Silas could be reunited and find peace with his true love Amara in the afterlife.
- Unfortunately, none of this happened. Qetsiyah brought herself back to life from the Other Side, planning on finishing what The Brotherhood Of The Five couldn't accomplish 1,000 years ago, which is the mission for them to find Silas, cure him and kill him so that he would end up on the Other Side with Qetsiyah for all time. After Silas took the cure and became a warlock once more, Silas discovered that Amara was not actually dead, and was instead, used by Qetsiyah as the physical anchor to the Other Side.
- Silas and Amara reunite after 2,000 years of being apart from each other, their dreams of being together for eternity as immortals shattered forever. Amara consumes the cure and becomes a mortal human again. Silas and Amara confess their love for each other but Amara tells Silas that even though she strongly loves him, her desire to die and find true peace is just as strong. Silas understands and Amara pleads for Silas to kill her himself and end her 2,000 year plus suffering. Silas ends up being killed by Stefan, his doppelgänger and distant descendant, after he is stabbed in the chest with a knife. As a result, Silas ends up dying and crossing over to the Other Side and sadly, Silas spirit passes through Amara before he goes to the Other Side. With Silas now dead, Amara realizes that she truly has nothing to live for adding to the fact that she has lived 2,000 years of suffering, pain and misery. Amara tells a dead Silas that their eternity will start after she dies, hoping that she will finally find true peace with her soulmate after 2,000 years. Amara stabs herself with the same knife and dies. Unfortunately, Silas crossed over to the Other Side and Amara died and found true peace in the afterlife, meaning that Silas and Amara ended up separated in death. To make matters worse, Qetsiyah kills herself and dies, crossing over to the Other Side so that she could be with Silas after she transferred the anchor from Amara to Bonnie. This means that Silas endured over 2,000 years of suffering and misery only to not end up finding true eternal peace with Amara. This means that Qetsiyah managed to achieve her 2,000 year goal: Silas and Amara being separated for all time. ''Tragic".
- Amara's fate is even more tragic than her soulmate Silas' fate. Amara desired immortality and to be an immortal being all out of love and so she could spend an eternity with Silas. Sadly, her immortal life turned out to be nothing but tragedy and suffering. Instead of living an eternal happily ever after with her soulmate as she originally wanted and intended, Amara ended up having her true love Silas believe that she was dead due to Qetsiyah telling Silas that he had killed her. And then Silas ended up entombed in darkness and starved for centuries and centuries. Not only did Qetsiyah fake Amara's death to Silas, but Qetsiyah ended up desiccating and entombing Amara and using her as the physical anchor for the Other Side, a purgatory for supernatural beings who have died to go to once they die. Qetsiyah created this supernatural purgatory as a way for Silas' soul to be trapped with her for all time and separated from Amara shall he take the cure and die a mortal death.
- As a result of being the anchor to the Other Side, Amara ended up experiencing very single supernatural death for over two millennia, while being trapped in her own body and starving and desiccating. After Amara is finally found by Silas and is reawakened after 2,000 years, Amara becomes mortal again after drinking the cure from Silas' blood. She desires death more than anything else and does everything she can to kill herself due to her suffering. Amara confesses to Silas that she strongly loves him and that she will always love him but that her desire to die and end her suffering is just as strong and powerful as her love for Silas. Amara begs Silas to kill her himself, but Silas struggles with doing so. Hen then understands and begins to proceed with accepting Amara's wishes, despite how much it is hurting him. Silas ends up being killed by his doppelgänger Stefan win he is stabbed with a knife. He then crosses over to the Other Side through Amara. After Silas dies, Qetsiyah ends up transferring the anchor from Amara to Bonnie. Amara, realizing that she has nothing to live for with Silas dead and having suffered for endless centuries, takes her own life after taking the same knife that killed Silas and stabbing herself. How Romeo and Juliet.
- Before she had killed herself, Amara had told Silas that their eternity together would start with her death. Sadly and tragically for Amara, this did not happen as Silas is trapped on The Other Side as a ghost with Qetsiyah and Amara ended up finding true peace in the afterlife. To make matters worse, Qetsiyah ends up killing herself so that she could be with Silas. This means that Qetsiyah ended up getting her revenge, having Silas and Amara separated from each other for all time. Although Silas and Amara were physically buried together (Stefan buried the both of them as they died in the same place), their souls will be separated from each other for eternity. Not only did Amara never get to spend an eternity with her soulmate Silas as an immortal being but she didn't even get to find true eternal peace with Silas in death either and ended up suffering over 2,000 years as the physical anchor to the Other Side, all because her sin was falling in love with Silas. Poor Amara and poor Silas.
- In the show Grey's Anatomy, Cristina and Owen appear to be star-crossed lovers as they have faced countless obstacles in their relationship and break up every season. In season 9, they get back together after their divorce; however in the season 9 finale and over the course of season 10, it becomes clear to Cristina (and to Owen) that their differences are too large to overcome despite the mutual attraction. One episode's name sums it up quite well: "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together". Though they remain Amicable Exes (and occasionally Sex with the Ex) all the way till Cristina's departure.
- In the series Smallville, Clark and Lana were often referred as star-crossed lovers.
- In Lost Girl, Bo and Lauren are considored this; the main reason for this is Bo is a Fae and Lauren a human. One of the number one rules of being Fae is not to fall in love with humans. And even if they get past this and all other personal problems Bo is going to outlive Lauren hundreds of years. Plus, there's the fact that Lauren was initially being used by the Ash to spy on Bo, and Lauren's girlfriend Nadia who ends up getting killed by the Garuda
- We also have Bo and Dyson, especially in Season 2, where he gave up his ability to love her in order to save her life. Kenzi gets it back for him thanks to threatening the tree-based Fae who holds it with a chainsaw
- Castle and Beckett are beginning to seem this way.
- While it took place during one of The Movies, Kamen Rider Fourze/Gentarou Kisaragi ends up falling in love with an alien lifeform...before a rogue member of Kamen Rider Double's Foundation X captures her, effectively kills her and turns her into an Astro Switch.
- Gilmore Girls: Rory and Jess have shades of this. Word of God states they were meant to end up together, but they suffer continual obstacles. From the start, they're treated as polar opposites, (the bad boy rebel and town princess respectively) and their entire town disapproves of their feelings for each other. (Or even being friends). Despite parting and reuniting numerous times throughout the series, they're prevented from getting together happily. (First Rory is stuck dating Dean, then Jess needs to face his past, then she's dating Dean again, then he needs to sort out his life, then she needs to sort out her life and finally he's in a different city and she's dating new guy Logan). They part heartbrokenly in the penultimate season, accepting that their time is never going to come.
Rory: I'm so sorry I came.
Jess: Don't be. It is what it is...you...me.
- Veronica Mars:
- Star Trek
- Star Trek: The Original Series:
- Kirk may have been a womaniser, but he did have two tragic loves during the series: Edith Keeler and Miramanee. Miramanee was carrying his child when she died to save his life and he had to stand back and watch Edith die to repair an altered timeline.
- Kirk's relationship with Carol Marcus, the mother of his son David, can also be viewed as this since it canonically ends with their going separate ways. In fact the 1990s Expanded Universe comic even calls the three-part arc expanding on their romance "Star-Crossed."
- And Kirk again from the EU with his long-running affair (spanning all the way from his Farragut days to the time period between Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) with Romulan captain T'Cel in the Debt of Honor graphic novel. The last time they see each other Kirk quotes a song to sum up their relationship: "Star blessed for having met you, star crossed because it's only to see you go."
- Bones and Nancy were never meant to be.
- Nurse Chapel's fiancé, brilliant scientist Dr Korby, went missing on a mission. She spent the next five years searching for him. The outcome was not a happy one.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation:
- Poor Picard and Kamala, the look on his face during Kamala's wedding sure didn't make things easier. He kinda looked like someone who's just been kicked in the gut.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
- Kira and Bareil ended in tragedy.
- Kira and Odo. Odo spends the entire show resisting his people's request for him to rejoin them, partially because of his love for Kira (although not entirely for this reason). In the end, he comes to realise that the best chance for the future of both the Alpha Quadrant and the changeling race is for him to return to his people and teach them to tolerate humanoids. He has to sacrifice Kira to do it, but she understands.
- Garak and Ziyal. From the outset, Dukat and Kira were convinced Garak would be bad for Ziyal but in the end she actually came a cropper by helping Kira's La Résistance against Dukat's oppressive regime. Word of God states the writers created the romance because they wanted a tragic, doomed love between the woman that never lies and the man that never tells the truth.
- Worf and Dax. Jadzia was killed by Dukat and Ezri would never have been able to have a formal romance with Worf because Trill law has a taboo against getting involved with the partners of previous hosts.
- Sisko and Kassidy. The Prophets tried to prevent them getting married but the reason they gave was cryptic. In the end, Sisko was forced to leave the world he was used to and join the Prophets in theirs. He left behind his son Jake, his wife Kassidy, and their unborn child.
- Roswell: Max and Liz get a really spectacular version of this in season two: a future version of Max showed up and announced that the fate of humanity depended on Max hooking up with Tess rather than Liz. This plot point was ignored entirely once Tess was revealed to have killed Alex, and Max and Liz did eventually get together, but still, points for effort.
- Despite (so they say) just being friends, Big Pete and Ellen get this in The Adventures of Pete & Pete special, "Apocalypse Pete," where their fathers declare a prank war on each other and forbid the two from interacting. The two immediately start pining for each other (in a totally platonic way, they swear!)
- Passions: Luis/Sheridan, Ethan/Theresa, Chad/Whitney and Miguel/Charity. They are all destined soul mates who did not end up together (with the exception of Ethan/Theresa, who did end up together).
- Luis/Sheridan have been said to have shared many past lives together, confirming that they are canon soul mates. They have shared past lives on the Titanic and in Ancient Egypt. However, despite Luis and Sheridan constantly finding each other and falling in love in past lives, something always manage to tear the two apart and they can never stay together as a result. This is evident when in the current lifetime, Luis/Sheridan did not end up together and instead, Luis ended up with Fancy (Sheridan's niece) and Sheridan ended up with Antonio (Luis' older brother), despite the fact that the two will always be soul mates.
- Ethan/Theresa's relationship is built upon the concept of fate and destiny, just like Luis/Sheridan. Ethan and Theresa have gone through endless struggles just so that they could be together. And when they do manage to get together, there is always some kind of obstacles thrown between them to destroy their happiness. eLuckily for the both of them, Ethan and Theresa do overcome the obstacles and end up together at the end of the show when they get married.
- Chad/Whitney don't end up together due to the fact that Chad is shot and killed by his own father, Alastair.
- All My Children: J.R./Babe and Cliff/Nina.
- The O.C.: Ryan/Marissa. Ryan was a bad boy who suffered from Parental Abandonment and originally came from the wrong side of the tracks in Chino and Marissa is a Spoiled Sweet rich girl who is originally from Orange Country. The two loved each other even though numerous things tried to prevent the two from being together. Sadly, their love ended in tragedy when Marissa tragically died in a car accident at the end of season 3.
- Hiro and Charlie from Heroes. It's Love at First Sight for Hiro (time traveling shenanigans put Charlie's "first" meeting with Hiro at the end of a six-month relationship), but Sylar kills her just hours after they first meet. He attempted to jump back five minutes in time to save her, but ended up six months in the past, detailed in the Tie-In Novel Saving Charlie. Eventually, Hiro gains better control of his powers and manages to return to that day and actually convinces Sylar to not only spare Charlie, but also to save her from the aneurism in her brain. Of course they're Too Happy to Live, and so the evil carny Samuel has his own time traveler trap Charlie at an unknown point in the past to force Hiro to work for him. Hiro does eventually find her again, but she's now old and has built a long and happy life without him. Rather than erasing all her children and grandchildren from the timeline by traveling back to rescue her, she convinces Hiro to leave her life alone.
- He also has a brief romance with Yaeko in Feudal Japan, but can't stay with her due to the many ways it could break the timeline, such as him ending up his own great-grandfather and the fact that Kensei was supposed to be the one who ended up with Yaeko, not his little sidekick.
- Simon and Alisha from Misfits: They're trapped in a time loop where Alisha has to die at Rachel's hands in order for Simon to decide to go back in time and save her life, in order for him to meet an earlier version of her who falls in love with him and so encourages his earlier self to become a hero, so that he can go back in time to save her life when she dies at Rachel's hands...
- In the Red Dwarf episode Holoship, Rimmer falls in love with Nirvana Crane, a crew member of the titular holographic ship "Enlightenment". He tries to join Enlightenment's crew in the only possible way: by challenging an existing crew member for their place. Unknown to him, Enlightenment's computer selects Nirvana to be his opponent, and she withdraws from the contest so that Rimmer can fulfil his dreams. Once he knows this, Rimmer resigns from Enlightenment and returns to Red Dwarf so that Nirvana can be resurrected, even though there is no possibility that he will ever see her again.
- Bracey Everett's The Lover's Curse is about this trope.
- The Decemberists' song "We Both Go Down Together" is about a common girl and a young man of rich means whose parents don't approve of his love to said common girl. They solve their problem in the classical manner, if you get my drift.
- There's also an alternate lyrical interpretation that takes the unlucky rich kid's somewhat patronising tone and extrapolates that rather than preparing to die with her, he's leading her on so he can murder her, possibly for being pregnant with his child.
- There's also also the interpretation that the rich male is actually a deluded rapist who believes that they are in love. The rape angle seems to make sense, but the leaving her for being pregnant fits in well with the theory that "We Both Go Down Together" and "Lesley Anne Levine" are interlinked. Possibly it's a bit of both.
- "O Valencia", on the other hand, is spot-on for this trope; in fact, the first bit almost seems lifted from Romeo and Juliet: A young mobster (probably son of the Don/Boss/whathaveyou) falls in love with Valencia, the daughter of a rival Don; her sister rats on them; her brother confronts them; Valencia runs to her lover's side just as her brother is shooting, and gets hit instead; she dies in her lover's arms; the lover decides to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Referenced in the Blue Oyster Cult song "Don't Fear The Reaper" as well.
- The song "Barricade" by Stars is occasionally, and erroneously, taken to be about a pair of revolutionary lovers who are torn away from each other by The Man. It's actually about a pair of violent football hooligans who are only being kept apart by the fact that one of them grows up and gets a job while the other stays a shiftless thug. Members of the band are somewhat... annoyed by the first interpretation...
- On the other hand it's implied fairly strongly that the narrator has feelings for the other football thug, and that both of them grew up eventually, but in different directions.
- The song "Jueves" by the Spanish group La Oreja de Van Gogh, is about a man and a woman who confess their love for each other in a train... just seconds before dying in the terrorist attacks of March 11th.
- "Futari wa" ("The Two of Us") by Miyuki Nakajima. The song tells a modern variation on Love Above One's Station: the love between a prostitute and a client who cannot have an actual relationship with her without being rejected by his friends.
- "Havana Moon" by Chuck Berry sings a tale about a man waiting at a dock for the eponymous boat, carrying a tourist he fell in love with. He dreams of them moving to the Big Applesauce, but the boat carrying her never arrives. Swigging rum, he decides her promise to come back for him was a lie, and sleeps off the alcohol... and the boat comes. The woman looks everywhere for him until dawn, where she decides to leave port, heartbroken. He wakes up as the boat sounds its last call, and reaches - just in time to see Havana Moon sail into the horizon.
- "Running Bear", famously sung by Johnny Preston, is essentially a Romeo and Juliet story between two Indians from warring tribes.
- Exaggerated in Tom Waits' song "Fish and Bird". Doesn't stop it from being a tear-jerker.
- Parodied (but nevertheless sad) in "Misalliance" by Flanders and Swann, about a honeysuckle and a bindweed who fall in love. Their families object because the honeysuckles twine in one direction and the bindweeds twine in the other.
- Nightwish's song "Astral Romance" is all about this. Arguably also several other of their songs.
- The song "Starcrossed" by Ash.
- "For Love" by Blood Angel and Kate Warwick (Gothic-/Symphonic- Metal, also released as a single)
- David Bowie's song "Heroes" is about two lovers who are separated by the Berlin Wall.
- Secret Lovers by Atlantic Starr is about a pair of these—they aren't allowed to be together because they're both engaged/married to someone else.
- "The Leader of the Pack" by the Shangri-Las, im which the guy dies in a motorcycle accident immediately after their breakup.
- The animated character and his real-world girlfriend in the video for A-ha's "Take on Me". The story is concluded at the beginning of the "The Sun Always Shines on TV" video.
- Also the narrator and his ex-girlfriend in Manhattan Skyline. They refuse to get in a Long Distance Relationship, the girl leaves on a boat, the guy angsts about how he won't be able to fall again... and then decides to leave to New York.
- The song "Que no destrocen tu vida" ("Don't let them tear your life apart") by Los Prisioneros is about a person whose close friend and said friend's girlfriend are in this situation, and is telling them to not give up on their relationship.
- One of the main themes of the song Fatal by The Amazing BrandO. The trope is even mentioned by name.
Mythology & Folklore
- Tristan and Iseult (also known as Tristan and Isolde). The legend of Tristan and Iseult is an influential romance and tragedy, retold in numerous sources with as many variations. The tragic story is of the adulterous love between the lovers. The narrative predates and most likely influenced the Arthurian romance of Lancelot and Guinevere, and has had a substantial impact on Western art and literature since it first appeared in the 12th century. While the details of the story differ from one author to another, the overall plot structure remains much the same.
- Guinevere and Lancelot from the Arthurian Legends, which is also a form of Bodyguard Crush. Some stories have Guinevere not only cheating on Arthur (and Lancelot with Elaine), but have her plotting Arthur's downfall with Mordred. Ouch.
- Merlin and Nimueh may or may not count; it certainly does for him, since she winds up locking him in crystal in most incarnations of the legends.
- Pelleas and Melisande (French: Pelléas et Mélisande) is a Symbolist play by Maurice Maeterlinck about the forbidden, doomed love of the title characters. A classical myth, was a common subject for art during the Renaissance and Baroque eras.
- Hero and Leander. It's a Greek myth, relating the story of Hero (Greek: Ἡρώ), a priestess of Aphrodite who dwelt in a tower in Sestos, at the edge of the Hellespont, and Leander (Greek: Λέανδρος, Leandros), a young man from Abydos on the other side of the strait. Leander fell in love with Hero and would swim every night across the Hellespont to be with her. Hero would light a lamp at the top of her tower to guide his way.
- Prince Paris of Troy and Helen of Sparta of The Iliad seem to be this, but it's subverted in that Helen really regrets what happened and clearly doesn't like Paris.
- Orpheus and Eurydice from Greek Mythology. When Orpheus’ wife dies from a snake bite on their wedding night, he does what any doting husband would do: he dives down to the depths of the Underworld to rescue her. After hashing things out with Hades, Eurydice is freed on the condition that Orpheus will not look at her until they return to Greece. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Orpheus fails. His beloved is sent back to the Underworld, leaving Orpheus to wander the countryside.
- Classical Mythology has several: Hero and Leander, Troilus and Cressida, and Aphrodite and Adonis.
- Adonis is based directly on Innana/Ishtar and Dumuzi, the Older Than Dirt Mesopotamian story of the vegetation god whose annual death and resurrection cause the seasons because of the misery of his bereaved love.
- Aeneas and Dido, Orpheus and Eurydice, and Pyramus and Thisbe show up in Ancient Roman writings.
- Geb and Nut, Egyptian god of the earth and goddess of the sky, respectively, are forever kept separated by their father Shu, god of air and light. As in, he physically holds them apart so they can't touch more than their toes and fingertips. One version has him trying to prevent the birth of the god Set.
- Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl. It refers to a number of mythical and folkloric explanations of the origins of the volcanoes Popocatépetl ("the Smoking Mountain") and Iztaccíhuatl ("white woman" in Nahuatl, sometimes called the Mujer Dormida "sleeping woman" in Spanish) which overlook the Valley of Mexico.
The most popular version of the myth says that Warrior Prince Popocatépetl went to war in Oaxaca to overcome the Parental Marriage Veto coming from his beloved Princess Iztaccíhuatl's father; however, this was an Uriah Gambit from her dad, and when it failed he told his daughter that her beloved boyfriend had died in battle and she succumbed to Death by Despair. When he returned and found himself in the path of his girlfriend's funeral, poor Popocatépetl commited suicide on the spot; the Gods then covered them in snow and transformed their corpses in mountains, with Popocatépetl's angry and pained spirit transforming his new rock body in a volcano rather than a simple mountain.
- Layla and Majnun (by the Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi). It is a classical Arabian love story. It is based on the real story of a young man called Qays ibn al-Mulawwah from the northern Arabian Peninsula, in the Umayyad era during the 7th century. There were two Arabic versions of the story at the time. In one version, he spent his youth together with Layla, tending their flocks. In the other version, upon seeing Layla he fell passionately in love with her. In both versions, however, he went mad when her father prevented him from marrying her; for that reason he came to be called Majnun Layla, which means "Driven mad by Layla". To him were attributed a variety of incredibly passionate romantic Arabic poems, considered among the foremost examples of the Udhari school.
- Mark Antony and Cleopatra.
- Oepidus and Jocasta from Oedipus the King.
- Pictured above: Chinese mythology speaks of the Weaver and the Cowherd, a legend of the stars Vega and Altair. Star-crossed lovers Zhi Nu and Niu Lang are separated forever across the Milky Way. They may only reunite once a year when magpies form a bridge between them. This is the basis of the Chinese cultural equivalent to Valentine's Day.
- Tanabata no Matsuri is the Japanese version, with Orihime and Hikoboshi as the star-crossed lovers.
- And Chilseok as the Korean version with Jik-nyeo and Gyeonwu.
- The Butterfly Lovers of Chinese folklore, Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai. The Butterfly Lovers is a Chinese legend of a tragic love story of a pair of lovers, Liang Shanbo (梁山伯) and Zhu Yingtai (祝英台), whose names form the title of the story. The title is often abbreviated to Liang Zhu (梁祝) and often regarded as the Chinese equivalent of Romeo and Juliet. The girl, Yingtai, convinces her father to let her disguise herself as a young man in order to attend school. She meets and becomes roommates and best friends with Shanbo, a nerd who doesn't pick up that his roommate is actually a girl. Eventually he figures it out and they fall in love. Unfortunately, Yingtai is betrothed to someone else; Shanbo becomes heartbroken and eventually dies. On her wedding day to the Romantic False Lead, Yingtai visits Shanbo's grave. The ground swallows her up and both of their spirits become beautiful butterflies.
- There's a Japanese belief that twins are star-crossed lovers reincarnated.
- The Spanish version is Los Amantes de Teruel, "The Lovers of Teruel": they were childhood friends but he was poor, she was rich, and he left to fight the Moors and find enough money to be allowed to marry her. When he returned, though, he found that her father had made her marry another man. He tried to get her to kiss him, but when she said she couldn't cheat on her husband no matter how much she loved him, he died of grief. During the funeral, she appeared dressed in her wedding dress to say her goodbyes, kissed his corpse and collapsed dead as well. They were buried together. And, since then, there is a refrain about them:
Los Amantes de Teruel, tonta ella, tonto él. (The Lovers of Teruel, stupid him, stupid her.)
- Spike Dudley and Molly Holly's romance in 2001, as their families (the Dudley Boyz and the Holly Cousins) hated each other. The storyline took on new meaning when the WWF vs. the WCW/ECW Alliance feud began, as Paul Heyman kept trying to get Spike to "come home".
- Subverted in The Fantasticks: two neighboring fathers maintain the appearance of a virulent feud and forbid their children (a son and a daughter) to even look at each other as part of a scheme to get them to fall in love and marry.
- William Shakespeare did this a lot, either because he liked it or his audiences did.
- Romeo and Juliet, the Trope Namer, from the opening narration, although according to some interpretations, it's more of a Deconstruction of this trope, with Romeo and Juliet both being shown to be rather foolish and needlessly dramatic.
- Antony and Cleopatra
- Lorenzo and Jessica in a side-plot of The Merchant of Venice.
- Pyramus and Thisbe, a Show Within a Show in A Midsummer Night's Dream, which has its own forbidden lovers in Hermia and Lysander, but since this is a comedy, they end up together.
- Depending on how you look at it, Hamlet & Ophelia and Othello & Desdemona could count.
- Again, Tristan and Isolde, but now in the opera by Richard Wagner.
- Haemon and Antigone in Antigone by Sophocles.
- In the musical adaptation of The Secret Garden, it is revealed at one point that Lily Craven's family, especially her sister, were dead set against her marrying Archibald because he was a hunchback. Her sister threatened to disown her, but she married him anyway because she loved him so much. Then she died. Archibald is still in a mess over her death when Mary arrives ten years later.
- In Les Misérables, Eponine and Marius (or at least Eponine thinks they could be). Eponine sings about this in "On My Own", and unfortunately she is the hypotenuse in a love triangle involving herself, Marius and Cossette. She becomes a victim of Death of the Hypotenuse and lies dying in Marius' arms. In some stagings, they Almost Kiss, but she dies before they do. Bummer.
- Elphaba and Glinda from Wicked. It's far more blatant in the musical then in the books, and fits this trope far more than said source. That greatly depends on the staging. It's more like a star-crossed friendship. In the book, Elphie and Fiyero are the star-crossed lovers.
- Tuptim and Lun Tha in The King and I.
- In the original Vanities play, the three childhood friends are driven apart by their differences in the third scene, although The Musical fixes that. Played straight with Joanne and Ted, who are divorced by the musical's finale.
- Maria and Tony in West Side Story, a musical based on Romeo and Juliet
- In Knickerbocker Holiday, though Brom and Tina finally get a happy ending, they spend most of the play separated by the latter's Arranged Marriage and the former's threatened hanging. They also discuss it:
Tina: We'd be figures in story, the legendary lovers of the early Dutch occupation, Brom and Tina, drinking passion and death together in one dark draught!
Brom: I'd love to read about it, but that pleasure, unfortunately, would never be mine!
- Aida and Radames in the musical Aida. Their lover's duet is even called "Written in the Stars".
- Charlie and Sammy in Joshua Rollins' 25 Saints.
- The Last Of us DLC Left Behind reveals that Ellie and Riley were this.
- Arcueid/Shiki from Shingetsutan Tsukihime.
- Might as well throw Saber/Shiro from Fate/stay night in there. They're even worse since at least Arcueid/Shiki had a "Good Ending" and maybe a sequel to the "True Ending?"
- Well, there is a Good ending with Saber... Only it's Rin's...
- Hisao Nakai and Lilly Satou in Katawa Shoujo, if you get their Bad Ending and Lilly goes back to Scotland with her family, never to return. The Good Ending is all about Hisao deciding to Screw Destiny and taking a Race for Your Love to stop this at the last moment.
- Also Hisao and Rin Tezuka, specially in the Neutral Ending where she leaves Yamaku to go to Tokyo, fully knowing that she'll become a great artist but at the cost of destroying herself mentally. Her last scene has her begging Hisao to forget about her, and they share a last hug under the rain before she abandons him and her former life forever.
- In Hatoful Boyfriend, Anghel claims that he and Hiyoko were star-crossed lovers in a previous life. And at the end of Nageki's route, Nageki and Hiyoko. Nageki fades away, due to him realising that he loves Hiyoko, and tells her that as he loves her as he disappears.
- Haruki and Kazusa in White Album 2, particularly during the Introductory Chapter (the part which got adapted into an anime). Haruki and Kazusa. Haruki is a normal, if friendly and helpful guy, while Kazusa is a budding pianist with potentially world-class talent. The climax of the anime hammers home the fact that, in any other circumstance, it would still be impossible for them to be together. Which is exactly what happens in the end: Kazusa leaves to further develop her craft in Europe, and leaves Haruki behind in Japan.
- BLU Sniper and RED Spy in Cuanta Vida. Though it didn't last long...
- Kat and Alistair from Gunnerkrigg Court. It was a Foregone Conclusion that Ali would leave at the end of the week, but it's made worse when the details of his departure (and the word of the narrator) ensure that Kat will never see him again.
- Jeanne, one of the Founders of the Court, and an unnamed male elf from Gillite Wood.
- Aaron and Lily from Demonology 101. It did not end well for them.
- It's unclear just how much attraction there may be between Bob and Voluptua in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!. Unfortunately, Voluptua is a disguised giant bug, so nothing can come of it. Bob is going steady with Jean anyway, but the hint of a Love Triangle involving Voluptua still pops up now and again.
- Lance and Silvia from Shape Quest (Silvia is a princess!)
- Mom and Dad in Homestuck are brutally murdered shortly after hooking up after years.
- Eridan and Feferi (in both their current lives and their past incarnations) are a political example of this. One is a traditionalist who supports Alternia's caste system and defines himself as a warrior; the other is an idealistic rebel who wants to build a better world for all trolls. They may love each other, but they can never really agree on anything.
- In Question Duck, he and the mermaid had to part.
- In Tower of God, any Zahardian princess who ever loved a man. To stop the spread of Zahards blood, they are forbidden to have relationships or children, a rule that is enforced with the death penalty. This applies especially to the parents of Anak Zahard, who got assassinated, kicking of her journey to get revenge.
- This example, between a Hindu boy and a Muslim girl.
- Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga in Malawi. Their marriage was annulled because Tiwonge is a trans woman, they were jailed, then pardoned, then forced to move back to their respective home towns. Steven eventually married another woman.
- Peter Townsend and Princess Margaret of Great Britain. Townshend was an Ace Pilot and war hero, having flown Hurricane in the Battle Of Britain, and clearly had deserved the hand of princess and half the domain. Queen Elizabeth said "no" for their marriage; Townsend was a divorcee. That broke the hearts of both. Townsend later revealed Margaret was his only true love.
- Jose Rizal and Leonor Rivera who are first cousins. When Rizal traveled overseas to pursue studies, the two kept on sending letters to each other, hiding coded messeages since both their parents do not approve of their relationship (partly because Rizal is wanted by the Spanish authorities.) Leonor continued to be faithful to Rizal for six years despite not seeing him (and probably not knowing that Rizal had affair with numerous foreign women.) Rizal tried to marry her many times but their meeting is always prevented by their parents. In the end, Leonor was forced to marry an Englishman. The leading characters who are lovers in Rizal's Noli Me Tangere, Crisostomo Ibarra and Maria Clara, are inspired by the situation between him and Leonor Rivera.
- The aptly nicknamed "Romeo and Juliet of Sarajevo," Bosko Brkic (Serbian, Orthodox Christian) and Admira Ismic (Bosniak, Muslim), who were shot while trying to flee the city together during the infamous Siege of Sarajevo. As they attempted to cross the bridge over the Miljacka River, they were both fatally injured by snipers; Bosko died instantly, Admira crawled to his corpse and died next to him.
- Dorothy Osborne and Sir William Temple faithfully obeyed the Parental Marriage Veto as long as it was in effect, but when their fathers died, and Dorothy suffered smallpox to the ruin of her looks, they were permitted to marry.
- The romance between a Soviet soldier and a German girl. They met at the end of the war because he was sent to interrogate her father, they fell in love and lived together for a while until he was sent back to Russia for this relationship, since his party offials told him he could be sent to a gulag and so he was forced to end the relationship. They managed to meet again only 60 years after, both at age 80 and married to other people and decided to move in together, leaving the respective spouse. And since in USSR it was forbidden get married with foreigners until 1953, pretty much every Soviet soldier who had a German sweetheart ended up this trope.