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Childhood Friend Romance
aka: Unlucky Childhood Friend

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Not pictured: 12 years of being Just Friends.

Zazu: Oh, just look at you two! Little seeds of romance blossoming in the savanna. Your parents will be thrilled, what with your being betrothed and all.
Simba: Be-what?
Zazu: Betrothed. Intended. Affianced.
(Simba and Nala both look completely dumbfounded)
Nala: ...meaning?
Zazu: One day, you two are going to be married!
Simba: Yuck!
Nala: Ew!
Simba: I can't marry her, she's my friend!
Nala: Yeah, it'd be so weird.

Childhood Friend Romance is a part of romantic plots, when characters develop romantic feelings for someone who they spent their childhood years with.

Often the pair will see each other as Just Friends (and may even deny accusations that they might have a different type of relationship); then, when puberty hits or when they meet again after being apart for some time, they will realize that the other is all grown up. If the pair goes through a Puppy Love phase from the very beginning, a Childhood Marriage Promise may be involved.

Resistance to see a childhood friend as a potential romantic partner is known as the "Westermarck effect", a theory that claims that people who grew up together before the age of 6 are likely to become hardwired to think about each other Like Brother and Sister, with a Stupid Sexy Friend squicked reaction to the notion of romance. (Other studies question this on the basis that though few of the people they examined had major romantic relationships with childhood friends, many had crushes and romantic feelings that just didn't make it.)


Subtrope of Childhood Friends.

See also Patient Childhood Love Interest, a subtrope common in Harem Series. Compare also with High-School Sweethearts. Often benefits from First Girl Wins.


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    Films — Animation 
  • Carl and his deceased wife Ellie in Up. Much of the plot revolves around his pain from believing that he failed to fulfill his promise to her.
  • The Lion King: Simba and Nala provide the page quote. They grew up playing around and then, after they finished growing up, they became the Ruling Couple of the Pride Lands.
  • Derek and Odette in The Swan Princess. Though it started as an Arranged Marriage that they both protested, and they didn't really get along, love came quickly once they were adults.
  • Gloria and Mumble in Happy Feet.
  • Nita and Kenai in Brother Bear 2. The whole plot revolves arounds them because Nita is in an Arranged Marriage but she can't marry her betrothed because the spirits already consider her married to Kenai through a little necklace he gave her when they were kids.
  • Barbie and Kevin in The Barbie Diaries.
  • This trope is heavily implied in Epic between Queen Tara and Ronin. Queen Tara makes playful digs at his serious nature, flirts with him, and is constantly trying to convince him to smile during the pod ceremony. Meanwhile, Ronin makes it all too obvious that he's crushing on her big time. Of course she's murdered before any of it can come to fruition, and several characters can't help but mention it when they hear the news.
  • In Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart, Joe seems to be harboring a crush on Miss Acacia from even before the titular Jack showed up, but it doesn't end favorably for him.
  • In The Book of Life, Manolo and Maria were close friends before she left to study abroad. Both fell in love 10 years later and become husband and wife by the end.

    Web Animation 
  • Jerry and Jackie from the HotDiggedyDemon series Jerry. Things don't work out however.
  • Nora from RWBY has been in love with Ren for a long time, but she's never actually told him out of fear that he might not feel the same way. She even has an Image Song all about how she Cannot Spit It Out.

    Web Original 

Alternative Title(s): Unlucky Childhood Friend, Victorious Childhood Friend, Childhood Friend Love Interest, Childhood Sweetheart


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