"He drowns in his dreams, an exquisite extreme I know
He’s as damned as he seems, and more heaven than a heart could hold...
He's so beautiful
Such a beautiful disaster..."A hottie, usually in high school and usually male, whose first name is spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e, often expressed through fondness for leather jackets and antisocial behavior. Has fangirls in both his own universe and the real one because All Girls Want Bad Boys. They may be revealed to have a heart of gold or a difficult home life. Ladettes and Femme Fatales also sometimes fit here. Troubled but Cute may eventually age up into Grim Grizzled Gorgeous. See also: The Woobie, Broken Bird, Draco in Leather Pants, Evil Is Cool, Evil Is Sexy, Don't You Dare Pity Me!, and Jerkass Woobie. Can overlap with Mr. Fanservice.
— Kelly Clarkson, "Beautiful Disaster"
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Anime & Manga
- Harima Kenji from the anime School Rumble takes a lot from this trope. Being rather antisocial and a juvenile delinquent, with a liking for leather jackets and bikes, he likes beating up Yakuza goons and is all around good-looking...except that, beneath all that, he's an oaf with a heart of gold who likes drawing manga and is too scared of confessing his love for a classmate. All while obliviously gaining the attention of several other girls.
- Hayato Gokudera from Katekyō Hitman Reborn! - a smoker, delinquent, and lover of high explosives. Naturally, the girls go wild for him. The only break in his Troubled, but Cute personality is that he turns all mushy and affectionate for Tsuna.
- Kouji Kabuto from Mazinger Z. High-school student, male, Jerk with a Heart of Gold with love for bikes and reputation for being a Delinquent. And he pilots a Humongous Mecha. Girls gush over him (especially Sayaka Yumi).
- Sasuke completely misses the look (or at least, the dress code), though - that turtleneck, shorts, and kneesocks combination fairly scream "scrawny kid". Then again, Ninja are supposed to cultivate an unassuming personal appearance, even if, in fiction, they usually don't. He gets...better when he gets an Akatsuki trench coat and a Kill 'em All attitude later on.
- Fakir from Princess Tutu. He even has a fanclub at his school, although it's likely none of his fangirls have ever talked to him, given his anti-social nature.
- Seto Kaiba, from Yu-Gi-Oh!, is a very troubled Anti-Hero who starts off as merely an arrogant jerkass who considers himself the best in games until Yami Yugi one-ups him, but his backstory is revealed to be more than a little harsh: dead parents, an outcast in an orphanage with his brother Mokuba when they were kids, and when they did get adopted, he was abused by his adoptive father, Gozaburo, and forced to toughen up as his heir to Kaiba Corp. It's little wonder he's so cynical and bitter, with his soft side only coming out when around Mokuba. This also applies to his ancient Egyptian pre-incarnation, Priest Set, who also has problems from his father having abandoned him when he was young and only finding out he's actually fellow Priest Akhenaden later on, and loses the love of his life, the Mysterious Waif Kisara.
- Kyo Sohma from Fruits Basket, an antisocial martial artist with Don't You Dare Pity Me! attitude who's obsessed with beating Yuki. Tohru seems to genuinely like him, though, and in his defense, he does have a good Freudian Excuse: his mother was Driven to Suicide, his father rejected him completely after that, and being the cat of the Sohma clan has brought him lots of unhappiness, Akito's scorn, and an uncertain future.. His reason for obsessively trying to beat Yuki doesn't make him a bad guy at all: Akito said that if he beat Yuki fairly (at anything), he won't be locked in isolation until he's dead. His general issues with Tohru are revealed at the very end of the manga to be the result of how he could have stopped her mother Kyoko from being hit by the car, but grabbing her would have caused him to transform into a cat. He blamed himself for being a coward (a running theme in his Character Development) and thought her dying words were her blaming him and telling him to stay away from Tohru (in reality, Kyoko was trying to ask him to protect Tohru, but she was dying at that moment and couldn't finish).
- Sagara Sousuke from Full Metal Panic!. Although he's not "troubled" in the normal rebellious sense, and more just plain troubled. It's pretty obvious that the poor boy has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and an automatically violent personality that he can't control. His extreme paranoia has him doing things like bombing his school, planting land mines everywhere, and pointing guns/shooting at people. All of this is played for laughs, and he tends not to angst (considering his past and current situation, he angsts remarkably little). And despite all this, any girl (or guy, even) who has watched him or gotten to know him well enough seems to fall for him - even the series' resident Tsundere. On one occasion, Kaname was kidnapped by a group of thugs who planned to back him into a corner. He retaliated in a way so nightmarish that, that particular episode wasn't aired for a while because of a similar incident in real life. Then, when she got kidnapped AGAIN by the Yakuza, Sousuke went after her with a rival gang clad in theme park mascot suits converted into powered armors. Seriously, who would convert theme park mascots into powered armor and try to sell it to the military and law enforcement sector, then wonder why didn't it sell? He first stole the suit while trying to keep an eye on Kaname while she was at an amusement park and decided to make it more useful in the future by upgrading it. He's dumbfounded by it not selling because his raised-by-wolves attitude left him without a sense of aesthetics, so he didn't realize just how silly it looked.
- Ciel Phantomhive from Black Butler is a Hollywood Atheist in Victorian England. Check that page for his Freudian Excuse, if you don't know his backstory already. The result is a stubborn, bitter teenager who honestly believes that once something is lost, you can't get it back (a plot point in the anime) and has a serious issue with showing his real emotions unless it's anger. Despite this, there are still girls (and two or three men) in universe who like to fawn over him, and aside from Sebastian, he has an extremely large fanbase out of universe.
- InuYasha: Inuyasha is considered cute (especially his ears!) but had a very rough life. His parents died when he was young, leaving him with only a few memories of both of them* . As a Half-Human Hybrid he is ostracised by both human and youkai societies. Even his older brother mocked or ignored him when he was growing up, escalating into Sibling Rivalry and a temporary bout of Cain and Abel when they both discovered Inuyasha had inherited their father's famous Infinity +1 Sword. He was torn apart from his First Love by the Big Bad who framed them both, causing them to turn on each other in anger and hatred in the moments before she was brutally murdered and he was sealed to a tree for fifty years. Only after he meets Kagome, Miroku and Sango does his life begin to improve for the better. Eventually, he even makes peace with his brother.
- Bishop Frau in 07-Ghost. Badass badboy who disregards convention and does as he pleases. Still, he has a difficult backstory and is a genuinely caring person.
- Mikael from I'm Gonna Be an Angel! is a very, VERY troubled and unstable pretty boy. You wouldn't guess that because for the first 13 episodes, he acts very little, and when he does, he's usually calm, polite, always smiling gently - an epitomy of sanity in a crapsack world. Then, in the second season, we get to see the real him under that mask - a very stubborn, obsessive, and insecure boy. And at the end, he goes all evil and insane and has an epic breakdown - and then he returns back to his former self. He remains stubborn, unfortunately.
- Akemi Homura from Puella Magi Madoka Magica has the same vibe as most characters on this page, with a few exceptions: she's a girl and she's in junior high. But boy, doesn't she make up for this with an extremely troubled past.
- Chapter 36.5 of Natsume's Book of Friends shows that Natsume, of all people, had a reputation as the pretty-but-seriously-disturbed boy back in middle school. That sort of thing happens when you're regularly attacked by things almost no one else can see.
- Bridget L. Satellizer in Freezing is known as "The Untouchable Queen" because of her skill and tendency to beat the crap out of anyone who touches her. Because There Are No Therapists, everybody avoids and ostracizes her without realizing her problems are the result of being abused both emotionally and sexually by a family member.
- (Half-)Japanese Delinquent Jotaro Kujo of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure manages to be hit on by nearly every woman he's come in contact with, much to his ire. Unfortunately for him, attempts to dissuade it tend to backfire.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena: Wakaba sees Saionji as this, playing Gentle Girl to his Brooding Boy even after he's expelled for ambiguous reasons. Unfortunately, he's a bit more of a Jerkass than most examples and their brief relationship does not end well.
- Jonah Von Brucken from Amazing Agent Luna is a perfect example of this. He is considered handsome by nearly everyone in the series, and has a Dark and Troubled Past with an attitude to match.
- Tomoe from Kamisama Kiss is a Little Bit Beastly Bishounen Kitsune and InuYasha Expy that is a Retired Monster (ex-demonic bandit and warlord to be exact) with a Dark and Troubled Past that has slowly mellowed into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- Light Yagami of Death Note, though he's more Cute, but Troubled - since the former is far more obvious than the 'troubled' part. You're not likely to think him troubled unless you're privy to his hobbies, in which case you're not likely to be around for very long.
- Sunahara is seen as a troublemaker during Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note arc The Egg Hamburg Steak Knows, but, like every male in the cast, he is obviously handsome.
- Minako Aino from Sailor Moon is a girl example of Cute, but Troubled: her good looks are immediately apparent, but the results of her Dark and Troubled Past are well hidden behind a happy and carefree facade.
- In Endride, Emilio is the princely version of this trope. He is quite bishonen and has an interested childhood friend, but his personality became completely warped after hearing his Parental Substitute killed his father, and he started wanting revenge beyond all reason.
- Kimagure Orange Road: Madoka is a female example. A moody, mysterious, gorgeous girl with a tough past as a sukeban (delinquent schoolgirl) and bad reputation at school. She isn't good at connecting with other people but still manages to attract many guys (especially the main character, Kyosuke) and even a few girls.
- ThugBoy. The trouble's in the name, and the leather jacket is also included.
- Ninjette is an alcoholic on the run from her abusive, psychopathic father, who fully intends to amputate her limbs and use her as a breeding machine. Despite this, she is adorable and way tougher than your average Broken Bird, able to kick an army's butt single-handedly.
- Spooky (female example). Even before her breakdown as the result of her girlfriend dying horribly, she has paralyzing self-esteem and bullying issues (and seems to lack a family, despite being high school age). She is also cute and tough as nails, so strong that she can defeat an entire army on her own.
- Batman. Has attracted a number of women, including Villains, and is the Trope Namer for Dating Catwoman. But he also lost his parents at a young age, he suffers from Survivor's Guilt, has seen some of the orphans he took in and his own son die, and another become a Serial Killer
- Pre-Crisis Supergirl was innocent and gullible, but her modern incarnations fit this trope.
- Post-Crisis Kara Zor-El was at the beginning an emotionally-unstable, quick-tempered jerkass due to Kryptonite-poisoning and being a teenager stranded in a strange land (she got over her issues and got better after a while, though). She is also an Amazonian Beauty and boys were obsessed with her, especially during her "troubled teenager" phase.
- Post-Flashpoint Supergirl was a lonely, sad, hot-tempered, Hot-Blooded teenager with abandonment and anger issues -a ton of anger issues- before Character Development kicked off. She was a also Guy Magnet. Once she asked a boy if he wasn't frightened of her, and he said no, because she was beautiful.
- X23. Troubled is an understatement. She was created to be a living weapon, tried to rebel against her training, ended up as a teenage prostitute, and then, after joining Xavier's School, ended up conscripted to X-Force, a squad created specifically to kill people that Cyclops deemed a threat to mutantkind, which has alienated many of her very few friends. The books make it very clear that Laura is a very beautiful young woman: several characters have outright called her hot, when planning to pull a Grand Theft Me on her Miss Sinister expressed satisfaction she would be getting a very attractive new body, and she caught the attention of both pretty boy Hellion and the time-displaced teenaged Cyclops, before eventually getting together with the pretty boy of the X-Men, time-displaced teenaged Angel (and this despite being on a team with the teenaged Jean Grey).
- Spider-Man. Brilliant, athletic (in secret most of the time), magnet for beautiful women of all hairstyles... and yet he's haunted by death, failure and the worst luck in Marvel Comics.
- Chase is a cute bad boy who's still haunted by the death of his girlfriend and for a long time believed that he'd killed his own uncle.
- Victor Mancha is a Long-Haired Pretty Boy who's also the son of a genocidal robot, and may be fated to become an Omnicidal Maniac. In one alternate future, he's also the only surviving Runaway after his evil dad went on a rampage.
- Klara Prast is an adorable plant controller with unaddressed psychological issues stemming from sexual abuse. She also still believes that she's responsible for the apparent death of the team's beloved pet deinonychus.
- Ghosts of Evangelion: Teenager Ryuko is a delinquent and has a bit of a rebellious side, but she's quite charming, too.
- In Superman story Superman of 2499: The Great Confrontation Katherine reads her forebear Kara Zor-El's diaries and correctly deduces Kara's lover Dev-Em was the kind of cute bad boy who many women find charming.
Eventually Katherine's labors brought her a flatpic of Dev-Em. Unruly ginger-colored hair that spilled across his forehead framing deep brown eyes that danced with mischief and a striking smile that made her shake her rueful head.
"I'll bet you were a devil, you were," she thought.
- In Supergirl fanfic Hellsister Trilogy, Dev-Em is a former bully, reformed delinquent and still a jerkass whom Kara finds charming and handsome.
Films — Animated
- Kovu from The Lion King II: Simba's Pride definitely fits this trope - if he wasn't, you know, a lion, he would definitely wear leather jackets and ride a motorcycle. he has dark charms and mysterious vibes and Princess Kiara likes him immediately. His family makes his life difficult and miserable because they supported Scar, Simba's (Kiara's father) arch-enemy.
- The characterisation of Jim Hawkins in the original Treasure Island mostly revolved around his maturation to a man who knows the meaning of honour and duty and can be held responsible for his actions. The Disney adaptation of Treasure Planet Woobiefied him by making him more of a troubled troublemaker trying to find his place in the world, with low self-worth and paternal abandonment issues.
Films — Live-Action
- Two famous characters played by Hollywood icon James Dean are the real Trope Codifiers here:
- Cal Trask from East of Eden is an antisocial loner who believes himself to be the Evil Twin in comparison to his well-behaved brother Aron. Despite his oddness and mean-spirited attitude on occasion, all he wants is love from his father. This is reflected in Abra's attitude towards him; she at first finds him creepy, but then gets to spend time with him and sees he's Not So Different.
- Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause. He opens the film getting hauled into the police station for underage drinking, and he freely participates in gang-related activities. But most of his problems stem from trouble at home, and he's a kind-hearted guy underneath it all. The bulk of the conflict comes from him ducking gang members because he wants to go to the authorities about Buzz's death.
- Tommy from Warrior. He's ridiculously damaged, and has got a fractured (to the extreme) relationship with his father and his brother. But he's a good guy, as shown by his reason for entering the tournament and by how he selflessly saved a bunch of marines in the war.
- Dan from Peaceful Warrior. Bitter, arrogant and anti-social, especially after his leg is severely injured in a motorcycle accident. Nonetheless, he's very handsome and athletic, and manages to attract the attention of Joy
- Billy Costigan in The Departed, to Madolyn.
- Roger Davis from RENT. The guy has HIV and is really, really cranky, but is still beloved by any straight girl.
- John Bender in the mid-1980s Brat Pack film, The Breakfast Club
- Jason Dean from the film Heathers fits this trope, though he eventually reveals himself to be a psychopath.
- Danny Zuko from the film/musical Grease.
- Warren Peace of Sky High (2005), proving you can never go wrong with a Firebender with father issues.
- This trope is Discussed and mocked through Zeke in Disney Channel's movie Minutemen, when girls come up to him and ask, "You know, you're kind of scary and unapproachable... can we sit with you?"
- Fans of Repo! The Genetic Opera are divided over whether or not Grave-Robber is actually troubled or just a sociopath with a sense of humour, but there's no denying he's incredibly foxy. The fact that he canonically lives out of dumpsters seems like it would be enough to make him the former.
- Patrick Verona from 10 Things I Hate About You. However, as we learn later, he is more in the line of "he doesn't deny any of this, so it must be true". He does stay away from most of his peers, but that's mostly because he just does have different tastes. Kate is the real Troubled But Cute, with her open disgust of the people around her and with her "the reason I am so angry at everyone" backstory.
- Donnie Darko from Donnie Darko.
- Luke from Cherrybomb. One the one hand, he's a violent, arrogant drug-dealer who treats his best friend like crap. On the other, he's a lonely, angel-faced◊ sixteen-year-old boy whose father abused and abandoned him.
- In X-Men: First Class, pre-supervillainy Erik Lehnsherr is a Nazi-hunting Byronic Hero with an intensely Dark and Troubled Past (involving the Holocaust, loss of his parents, and being a victim of human experimentation) and bucketloads of trauma and cynicism. He also wears a leather jacket on a few occasions.
- Audie Murphy had a number of Troubled, but Cute roles early on in his career, including his portrayal of Jesse James in the bland and highly inaccurate Kansas Raiders. Universal stopped putting him in these roles once they realized that his fans preferred him in Beware the Nice Ones mode.
- A Royal Night Out has Lower-Class Lout Jack Hodges - a WWII bomber boy who gets into fights and snarks his way through life. But he's a Broken Bird who had his idealism shattered by the war, and the deaths of his many friends.
- Noni from Beyond The Lights is a Rihanna expy with severe depression due to her Stage Mom's intense micromanagement and her hyper-sexualized image, forced upon her by the record label she is signed to. Troubled, yes. Cute◊, very.
- In Calvary the barkeep uses this expression nearly literally referring to the Father James' daughter who has visible suicide scars on her wrists.
Barkeep: A generous serving of the old water of life for this beautiful, yet troubled...
Fiona: Fuck off!
- Sirius Black in Harry Potter, though, rather than being antisocial, he is represented as popular, despite various acts of callous teen cruelty. At least, as an adult, he is a good person at heart. Judging from his possessions, before the Potters got slaughtered by Voldemort, he was a biker.
- Anti-Hero Edmund Pevensie from The Chronicles of Narnia. It's played up far more in the film, which implies he became troubled as a result of his father having to serve in World War II and Peter's Big Brother Bully tendencies (the book suggests it stems from bad influences at school).
- Turin Turambar from The Children of Húrin and Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings are both described at points as being handsome but grim, though Aragorn downplays both the handsomeness and grimness in comparison to Turin.
- Feanor of The Silmarillion however is the logical conclusion of this trope.
- Ronan Lynch from The Raven Cycle. He's got a mean streak, a violent streak, and an unhealthy dose of self-loathing. He also has been called handsome by at least two characters, has a pet bird he treats like a daughter, and deeply loves his baby brother. It's no surprise he's a fan favorite.
- Nico di Angelo from Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Emphasis on the "cute", since he's only twelve years old, but he's certainly troubled after his sister's death. Taken to a whole new level in The Heroes of Olympus after he's been through Tartarus, literally and we find out that he used to have a crush on Percy that he couldn't deal with, causing him to avoid other demigods.
- Yozo Oba of No Longer Human, who is always depressed and fears other people, cannot help but attract women throughout his life due to his apparent good looks.
- Rafael Gives Light, from the Gives Light trilogy, a loner who is known for getting into fights at school and his dad's a serial killer. Only the main character ever describes him as attractive however, and only after he's already falling in love with him.
- The Changeover: Sorenson 'Sorry' Carlisle, something of a subversion in that his troubled side doesn't show when he's in public, rather he holds up a facade of a polite, well-behaved young man. Was abused as a child, and suffers from an inability to emotionally express himself, or connect with others, as well as somewhat sinister behavior towards the main character near the beginning of the story.
- Vampire Academy:
- Dimitri is very attractive but boy, does he have a lot of issues. He had a troubled home life, was forced to abandon his family to become a guardian, his first Moroi charge (Ivan Zeklos) was killed by Strigoi, he has a troubled conscience over the Strigoi and later humans that he has killed, struggles to accept his love for Rose while feeling that he took advantage of his student, and is mentally scarred by his time spent as a Strigoi.
- Christian's main appeal for Lissa. He comes from a broken home, his parents turned Strigoi and were killed before his eyes, his aunt who raised him is a social outcast and so is he, he is treated as a freak by classmates and has a bitter attitude towards the world.
- 13 Reasons Why: Justin is made of this trope. He's a bit of a Jerk Jock but he has a troubled home life: he's poor, with an addict mother and his own problems with drug abuse. He's also a Chick Magnet, with many of the female characters (Jessica, Hannah, and Kat) interested in him. Clay lampshades this in the penultimate episode of Season 2, telling Hannah that girls always go for that sort of thing.
- The former is a traumatized survivor of a shipwreck that left him stranded on an island; he's self loathing, has lost most of his former social skills, and is plagued by guilt, both survivors guilt and guilt for hurting his ex girlfriend, who he's still in love with. He's also a Sex God of sorts.
- Roy Harper is a brooding orphan who's spent his life fighting to survive poverty and looking out for himself, is a petty crook that most write off as a thug, and like Oliver he's a self-loathing bag of guilt with no social skills who always looks out to help others when he can.
- Beverly Hills, 90210:
- Dylan, very close to being a Trope Codifier. On top of being a Lonely Rich Kid, he has problems with his con-artist father and New Age hippie mother, and is an occasional alcoholic and drug user. This doesn't stop viewers from seeing him as the show's Breakout Character and residential heartthrob.
- Liam especially as they're now setting him up for a fling with good-girl protagonist Annie. It also helps that he is an Expy of Dylan.
- Boy Meets World: Shawn Hunter. The rampart trailer park trash jokes started as innocent and one dimensional character traits. Then, for a good while from season two onward, it seemed like every other episode was a Shawn pity-party fest. And he got girls to boot.
- Breaking Bad: Jesse Pinkman is a high school dropout who was kicked out by his own family because of his drug use and suffers the worst Trauma Conga Line of everyone. Despite being a junkie, he still manages to be very attractive to Mr. Fanservice levels. And despite his criminal lifestyle, he's probably one of the most kind-hearted people in the series, although it takes time to be shown.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike and Angel. Bad boys. Leather coats. Troubled by their love for a pretty slayer. Hearts (well, souls) of gold! Creepy mom (in Spike's case), being ridiculed while alive, and, later, guilt for the "troubled" part. Low social skills for the "cute" one.
- Community: Jeff has attracted the attention of every female main character, as well as several one shot girls and a few guys, but he's narcissistic, moody, has anger issues, a drinking problem and when it comes down to it is a severely depressed broken man.
- Daredevil (2015):
- Matt Murdock is troubled. Blinded in a car accident when he was nine, father was killed a year later for refusing to take a dive, spent fifteen months being trained by a sensei, etc. Troubled, but his good looks make him great at charming women like Karen and Elektra.
- Karen Page, who has a sweet and compassionate exterior, but has had to endure lots of hardships along the way.
- Dexter: The title character is a deeply disturbed loner with a dangerous, murderous side and Dark and Troubled Past. He's also handsome, charming, and can be genuinely Adorkable.
- The Finder: Willa is often in trouble with the law but is shown to have a softer side.
- Freaks and Geeks: Daniel Desario is a James Dean-looking, scholasticly-challenged heart breaker from the wrong side of the tracks, yet manages to have both female leads wanting him.
- Friday Night Lights: Tim Riggins is a drunkard and the resident Mr. Fanservice.
- Gilmore Girls: Jess arrived fresh out of the rougher side of New York, and horrified the idyllic, small-town Stars Hollow with his rebelliousness, rudeness and prank-pulling. He also carried a lot of personal baggage from his Disappeared Dad, neglectful, unstable mother and her rounds of scummy boyfriends and husbands. That said, he turned out to be very intelligent and a total bookworm which was enough for good-girl, straight-A student Rory to fall for him despite his issues. He also did genuinely care about her and his uncle Luke, although he was terrible at showing it. After being put him on a bus he returned in the sixth season having shed most of his troubled aspects, matured greatly, actually learned to communicate and reconnected with Rory and Luke.
- Happy Days: Fonzie, token bad boy of the show (Badass Biker, leather jacket, and all) and resident Chick Magnet. Some early episodes has him coaching the boys on how to act this way in order to arouse female interest.
- House: Gregory House. Both in-universe women seem to adore him unless he does show his Dr. Jerk tendencies. He has lots of emotional baggage from his past relationships, abusive father, and his chronic pain in leg. He is played by Hugh Laurie who is Tall, Dark, and Handsome with deep blue eyes and sense of humour.
- Nip/Tuck: Christian Troy is shallow, sex-obsessed, and in the habit of treating his sex partners like dirt — but he's also handsome, successful, and really good in bed, plus the unexpected vulnerable streak.
- Married... with Children: Played for laughs with Bud Bundy. He tries to create different troubled but cute persona's to get young women, like his infamous Grand Master B character. The funny thing is, it mostly works until one of the family members interrupt and reveal his true character.
- MI High: Oscar Cole, although his dad eventually came back and his mum was put into prison for good, so life got better from there.
- Nashville: Is Juliette troubled? Let's see... brought up by a seriously damaged mother solo, developed a tough shell to get through her personal and professional life, is difficult to work with, has a truly heroic capacity for the demon drink, and did not take well to motherhood ("Gimme the damn baby!") to the extent of having to go into rehab? Yep, troubled... but also damn talented, not intentionally evil, and capable of love. But is she cute? Girl, please - she's played by Hayden Panettiere...
- The O.C.: Ryan is a troubled teen from Chino with Parental Issues, and abandonment issues who is also Mr. Fanservice, has a good heart and attracts some female characters.
- Pretty Little Liars:
- Caleb is a reformed bad boy with a troubled family history, also a badass hacker, and quite attractive and charming.
- Toby is a motorcycle-riding Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold who has a relationship with one of the main girls.
- Riverdale: Jughead is a snarky, apathetic, self-described "outsider" who lives in a trailer with a criminal father. However Betty falls in love with him despite his Sugar-and-Ice Personality. In fact the character is supposed to be an "emo heartthrob".
- Roseanne: Mark is an extremely handsome tough guy, mechanic expert, with frequent disregard of authority. The basis for Becky's relationship with Mark is his rebellious nature.
- Scrubs: Dr. Cox. Troubled? He perpetually sees a shrink, regularly abuses the people he cares about, and is in love with a woman that he hates. Cute? He appears to be the only doctor in the place that regularly exercises. Plus, he's very proud of being forty and retaining all of his hair. Cox's violent temper wins over him being a perfectionist. The cute/honorable part is that his perfectionism is over saving his patients' lives.
- Six Feet Under: Most of Claire's love interests. She was dark in a way, but beautiful, kind and caring and a magnet for all the troubled boys. Her mother lampshades it by saying that she's an angel, so naturally, they are attracted to her and want to be "saved" and redeemed. However, the real question was why Caire felt compelled to start a relationship with them, knowing how messy it would be.
- Gabriel was Claire's high school boyfriend with certain charms and jerk vibes. He wore dark clothes and jeans, and he had tattoos and piercings. Gabe gave her strong drugs and told everybody about their sex experience (she sucked his toes, which made her a laughing stock). His family background was horrible: a white trash mother, a father who abandoned them, a jerk of a step-father, and he had to deal with a death of his small brother. He later got suicidal and then committed burglaries. He got lost later, and Claire sort of learnt about his fate when she might or might not have visited afterlife.
- Claire dated Russell in college. He was very insecure and possibly gay or bisexual who was uncomfortably with his sexuality. She told him he was hot, but he said the best he would get was cute, considering it Damned by Faint Praise. He's a talented artist, though, and attractive enough to be sought out by their male professor who had sex with him while he and Claire were dating.
- Brenda's brother Billy once used Claire when she was a teenager, trying to get to close to Brenda and Claire's bother Nate. He had a weird relationship with Brenda, verging on brother-sister incest, and his parents screwed them both up horribly, over-analyzing them constantly. They had some happy moments, but once bipolar Billy decided to stop his medication, it went to poop.
- The Secret Circle: Nick and Jake
- Dean from Supernatural, and it didn't take long for his brother Sam to catch up. Castiel also fell into this before too long, further proving that improbably good-looking men angsting a lot is kind of the show's main draw.
- That '70s Show: Hyde is a delinquent with parental abandonment issues but still sleeps around and has a good heart. In Jackie's eyes, he's definitely this trope.
- The Vampire Diaries:
- Stefan and Damon, attractive male vampires with Dark and Troubled Past who fall in love with the main heroine. The former is the "stoic and brooding" variant, the latter is the "dangerous yet charming" Jerk with a Heart of Gold variant.
- Elena's brother Jeremy. Emo Teen, The Stoner, struggling with the death of his parents and other tragedies, very sweet and romantic towards all his girlfriends.
- Veronica Mars:
- Logan Echolls Really Gets Around (not to mention manages to be an on-again, off-again boyfriend for the title character). He's an entitled rich kid prone to self-destructive behavior and bullying, who winds up as a murder suspect with alarming regularity and has some serious daddy issues - but also a heart of gold and good timing for Big Damn Heroes moments.
- Eli "Weevil" Navarro for a straighter "Badass leather-clad biker from the wrong side of the tracks who is kinder than he lets on" example.
- The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon grew up in a poor and abusive family, is kind of an aloof and brooding loner, as well as a tough and aggressive fighter, but is extremely loyal and caring towards the people who are close to him, and often shows his kind and vulnerable side. He becomes the show's Breakout Character, especially after his Character Development in season 2.
- White Collar: Neal Caffrey. Troubled is a given, considering he's a con artist and everything, and cute... well, just look at those eyes.
- Wizards of Waverly Place:
- J.D. from Heathers, even more so than his movie counterpart. Yes, he's a serial killer with a nasty Yandere side and a skewed sense of morality... but he's just so tragic. His sense of humor (however dark), horrid home life, and slight Cloud Cuckoo Lander tendencies keeps him within the realm of likability, at least at first. It probably helps that his actor is incredibly pretty. As a result, many girls in the fandom have declared J.D. their fictional crush, even if they do acknowledge that dating him in real life would be a bad, bad idea.
- Chris too, in Resident Evil 6. He's pretty damaged, but a good guy, and cute too.
- N from Pokémon Black and White. Granted, he's more deluded than troubled.
- Pokémon Gold and Silver Silver, particularly in the remakes where he's even more bishonen. He starts off as a bit of a jerk but gets some Character Development, and Heart Gold/Soul Silver confirm that he's Giovanni's son, which explains a lot about him.
- Pokémon Diamond and Pearl: Cyrus has more "trouble" than "cute", but his issues actually make him more endearing to many fans.
- Persona 3:
- The main character applies, with his ever present headphones, sad past, reclusive attitude, and, finally, his damn blue hair. He's also a Chick Magnet.
- Shinjiro Aragaki, though he's not a Chick Magnet. The Updated Re-release takes it well past eleven in the female protagonist's path. This is played with, though. Despite all of his troubles (the ones he doesn't complain about), it's made clear that he's a very nice guy (downright Moe, even!) and that quite a bit of his behavior is because he's fairly certain that he doesn't have much time left.
- Renee of Mana Khemia Alchemists Of Alrevis cites this as a reason why she puts up with her partner Tony's "quirks".
Renee: Ugh, you're so stubborn... I kinda like that.
Tony: Now's not the time for that!
- The protagonist from Jak and Daxter in the second game. After all the Dark Eco experimentation.
- Both non-DLC male Love Interests in Dragon Age II, lampshaded on occasion by Varric. The girls count to a lesser extent as well, particularly Merrill. It's just the boys who get the "brooding" jokes (especially Fenris).
- Zelos Wilder from Tales of Symphonia: he's a young, playful womanizer with long, red hair, flirting with every woman and having a bunch of Fangirls (his "Hunnies"). But later in the game, it is revealed that he never had any real parents, his father was absent due to his forced marriage to Zelos' mother, who stated that he "should never have been born" in her dying moments. This made him develop a great self-loathing and the feeling of worthlessness. In the superficial society of Meltokio, he was forced to lock his emotions away, therefore adapting to their expectations. This made him becoming the playful, careless guy he pretends to be.
- All three Metal Gear protagonists so far:
- Solid Snake is considered by the women and men of his universe to be extremely attractive and glamorous (at least, before he gets old), but has a history involving drinking problems, mental illness, emotional isolation, and murder, as well as being difficult to handle and having a moody personality. However, another character tells him, "That's what I like about you. That's what makes you human."
- Big Boss is an Even the Guys Want Him character, known for his charisma, presence, and magnanimity, who has had romantic and pseudo-romantic relationships with both women and men. He killed his mentor, and spends the rest of his life attempting to come to terms with it and trying to stick it to The Man...who turns out to be an actual character (his former best friend!)
- Raiden at first comes across as well-adjusted, but turns out to have been a recovering ex-child soldier with messed-up standards of intimacy. But...so bishie!
- Touhou doesn't have highschools in itnote , but Fujiwara-no-Mokou definitely screams this trope. She's a bifauxnen, she's cursed with immortality, she has a Dark and Troubled Past (and it's an arguably-masculine, daddy-why-wont-you-acknowledge-me Freudian Excuse), she distances herself from others, yet will help when help is needed. Highschool AU doujins where she appears typically cast her as a Japanese Delinquent who mellows out to Keine.
- Norman Jayden from Heavy Rain is quite handsome, but spends most of the game struggling with a debilitating addiction to triptocaine and his overuse of the ARI. Things get even less pretty when he starts having withdrawal symptoms from trying to break himself out of the habit.
- Miguel Caballero Rojo in Tekken 6 is the black sheep of his family who keeps on picking fights, arguing mostly with his parents, and running away from home at an early age. But in all this, he has a soft spot for his sister.
- Final Fantasy:
- Invoked by Cloud's Jerkass Façade Sexier Alter Ego in Final Fantasy VII, a hardened and highly-decorated mercenary with a mysterious past, a disaffected, sulky attitude and a love of striking poses and riding motorbikes. This attitude leads to women swarming around him, with Jessie outright telling Cloud she finds him attractive because of his bad-boy attitude. He later shifts to a slightly different form of 'troubled' once it becomes clear that he's insane, and Tifa and Barret continue to adore him anyway. Once he has a Heroic B.S.O.D. and admits to Tifa that in reality he'd just been a lonely, angry town misfit who'd been trying to prove his strength by picking fights so that people would like him, she admits she found that part of him fascinating as a teenager.
- Squall Leonheart from Final Fantasy VIII is a handsome loner who is plagued by a deeply troubled past and his inability to communicate with other people. He's also a schoolboy in a white tshirt and leather jacket, playing off the stereotypical appearance of this type. While genuine Wangst material, him being surrounded by quirky friends especially the Plucky Girl love interest causes him to come off as an Adorkable super soldier who facepalms and snarks a lot. That, and he has a tendency to show his actual cares toward friends as he develops more as a person, usually through monologues.
- Final Fantasy XIII:
- Lightning as a rare female example. She's a beautiful soldier who was forced to become the head of her house at a young age following her parents' death, and fought long and hard as a soldier in order support and protect her younger sister, Serah. She puts up a cold, stern mask to hide her vulnerability, but in doing so estranges the very person she sought to protect, not even realizing when Serah was turned into a l'cie during her absence. When trying to save Serah from the government captivity, Lightning herself was turned into l'cie and was hunted as a fugitive.
- Similarly, Cid Raines, a young Brigadier General who, despite his high position and good looks, holds a very dark secret: namely that he is a l'cie working under Barthandaleus in order to help the heroes (themselves were turned l'cie) to destroy Cocoon. His datalog in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII expands his Back Story further, mentioning how had sought to defy the gods and free humanity from the Fal'cie's rule, but lost the fight and was cruelly turned into their puppet.
- Complete with leather jacket and extreme moodiness, Chloe Price from Life Is Strange is a textbook example, gender notwithstanding. She was kicked out of school, spends most of her time drinking and smoking in a junkyard, and makes terrible life choices every single day. She'll still win you over with her sharp grin, Hidden Heart of Gold, and truly awful past.
- Berkut from Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia has a very rough backstory, being raised by harsh parents and then a caring, but still distant, uncle. This caused him to believe that strength is the only thing that matters, and that he has to prove himself worthy of his title as prince. The "cute" part comes from him being Tall, Dark, and Handsome, which a village girl in Rigel will swoon over if you talk to her.
- Inui Arihiko in Tsukihime, until Shiki stole all his luck with girls away, which made him a little bitter. In-story, Shiki himself might actually count, despite practically being a paragon of virtue. However, he actually tends to scare people due to familiarity and closeness to death. Yet the same people find themselves falling in love with him (Satsuki, Arcueid, Akiha, etc.) regardless.
- Miles Edgeworth in Ace Attorney. A suave, if somewhat snobbish and condescending prosecutor who causes women to go weak at the knees with his glare. His "troubled" part comes from his upbringing; having to deal with the possibility he killed his father, his fear of earthquakes, and the shadow cast over him by Manfred von Karma. However Edgeworth might be an aversion since all the women who find him debonair just roll of his shoulder (he doesn't really seem to care one way or another that women swoon over him unless that gets in the way of what he's trying to do).
- Nagito Komaeda from Super Dangan Ronpa 2 has one of the most tragic backstories in the series. Due to a cycle of extreme good luck and extreme bad luck that's followed him his whole life, Nagito's life has been full of tragedy, such as losing his parents in a plane crash, and getting kidnapped by a murderer, only to be stuffed into a trash bag and thrown into the garbage because he had no loved ones to pay ransom. He is also a white haired Bishōnen with a mysterious personality and Blue and Orange Morality who, while not very popular in-universe, is without a doubt the Breakout Character for the series.
- Rumisiel from Misfile. Semi-Fallen Angel, check. History with Drugs and Alcohol, check. Perma-Stubble, check. Strangely attractive to the opposite sex, check, Master of the Indy Ploy, frequent Crowning Moments of Awesome, seeking redemption, and Jerk with a Heart of Gold, check, check, check, and check.
- Eiji of Red String. It annoys him to no end when it attracts a fanclub of bimbos.
- In the 'Cinderella' side story from Girl Genius, Tarvek very nearly quotes this trope when he and Gil are arguing over who should play the prince.
Gil: I'm the prince! I'm all tortured and driven by love!
Tarvek: Feh. I'm the misunderstood one with the mysterious agenda. Muy sexy.
- Benni from Forest Hill is a bully with serious anger issues, who possibly would have raped Tanya if Kaleb hadn't stopped him. It later turns out he has a very abusive father whom he is terrified of and that he is very protective of those he considers friends.
- Aaron's two protagonists fit in different ways:
- Adam was previously more troubled in his teenage years - reckless drinking and driving his parents mad - but he's attempting to atone for his past mistakes.
- Chris is an aloof Big Brother Bully who resents his brother's attention that he got from his reckless behaviour. But he's proven to be a good guy deep down.
- The Nostalgia Critic has lots and lots of issues. He also has a lot of fangirls. Those two facts are probably related.
- Ask That Guy with the Glasses is an extreme example from the same actor, an incredibly sexualized mess of problems and psychosis.
- The Autobiography of Jane Eyre: Mr Rochester is out of the preferred young teenage phase, being about thirty in this Setting Update. Otherwise he fits perfectly: a pair of jeans, a leather jacket, tattoos, and Perma-Stubble. He can be extremely harsh or even rude to Jane, but he's still attractive and fangirls have been swooning over him since he first appeared. The creators teased their viewers with the constant Unreveal, but the wait was worth it.
- Subverted in Kim Possible: Ron tries to become this character to get a date. It doesn't work, and through a little accidental Applied Phlebotinum, he becomes a full-on supervillain.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Mako from The Legend of Korra. Growing up on the streets while simultaneously raising your little brother will make even the hottest firebender stoic and brooding.
- Marceline from Adventure Time well not that cute, though her regular vampire form is adorable compared to her normal shapeshifting. She has a LOT of issues. It would take us a day, if not a week to go through them all.
- This also goes to Flame Princess, being destruction incarnate. and was locked up in a cell for the first 14 years of her life.
- Princess Bubblegum also applies somewhat as well. Looking normally pretty and graceful, she had the pain of ruling a entire kingdom for centuries, and eventually lost it to a Jerk Ass.
- Roger Klotz in Doug. He and Doug even get along once in a while, to show that he's not just a horrible jerk. He's also somewhat of a woobie. Sometimes, his mom doesn't spend a lot of time with him, and his dad lives in the next town over (his parents are divorced), AND lives in a trailer park (in the Nickelodeon version). Kinda makes you wonder why he started bullying in the first place.
- In one episode of Birdz, we meet Riley Raven, a good-looking bad boy who does whatever he wants, and is considered a "bad egg" for it. We later learn that he acts this way because of his workaholic parents never having time for him.
- Batman, as epitomized here in Justice League, where he's trying to convince Wonder Woman why they they wouldn't be good together:
Batman: "You're a princess from a society of immortal warriors. I'm a rich kid with issues. Lots of issues."
- In one episode of The Simpsons, Millhouse temporarily became one of these, complete with anti-socialness, a leather jacket, and in-universe fangirls. Even Lisa found that attractive
Nelson: He's troubled, but I can save him!
- Terry McGinnis in Batman Beyond seems to be Troubled, but Cute in the first couple of episodes before he opens up and reveals that he's actually a responsible, altruistic young man. He was a straight example in his Back Story, which included a stint in juvie.
- Duncan from Total Drama.
- Young Justice: Superboy, Artemis is a rare female example.
- X-Men: Evolution:
- Lance Alvers, aka Avalanche, post-Characterization Marches On. At first he was just a straight up criminal, then he gained some Noble Demon aspects and a soft spot for the Kitty of the X-men.
- Gambit is handsome and charming, able to leave people paralyzed via them being Distracted by the Sexy, and a criminal who grew up being used by his adopted father and hunted by the rival gang.
- Evan Daniels. Scruffy athletic teen rebel with a penchant for trouble, but, even after his secondary mutation, is still not exactly ugly.
- Johnny 13 of Danny Phantom, complete with rebel bike and all. He already has a girlfriend whom he loves despite his flirtatious nature and her constant nagging to keep his eyes focused on her at all times.
- Many Steven Universe characters fit into this. Starting with Amethyst, who looks stocky and adorable. But really she's very insecure, lonely, and worried what others will think of her.
- Steven himself mostly acts adorable, but hides insecurity and the loss of his mother.
- Definently Lapis Lazuli, adorable as a angel, but is a Broken Bird big time.
- Of the characters who actually do fit the "older teenage male" type common in this trope, there's a few examples, such as Buck Dewey, a cute, brooding teenage boy who often angsts over his father's mayoral position and the pressure it puts on him. He's not antisocial so much as stoic. Lars may count as well; he definitely fits the troubled part with his massive self-worth issues, rude behavior, and bad grades, and Sadie definitely thinks he's cute. However, his meaner behavior is actually shown to drive away others.
- Lance from Sym-Bionic Titan.
- Kaeloo: Mr. Cat. On one hand, he's portrayed in universe to be attractive to girls, such as Kaeloo and Pretty. On the other hand, he's a complete psychopath who loves violence and isn't afraid to inflict it.