Follow TV Tropes


Relationship Reveal

Go To

The point within a series where an existing couple goes from merely being implied (or Subtext) to being firmly entrenched in canon proving that they've actually been together for some time.

Shouldn't be confused with Relationship Upgrade, where the relationship is beginning just as the audience becomes aware of it; this is when the relationship started before the audience knew, but was hidden from the audience. A similar but different trope is Word of Gay, when a same-sex couple has their relationship confirmed by the creator outside the work itself.

Not to be confused with Connected All Along, which also reveals a relationship between characters, though not necessarily romantic or sexual in nature. Reverse Relationship Reveal is not the reverse of this trope, despite its title. If the couple is queer, this can serve as a Queer Establishing Moment if they haven't been depicted as queer beforehand.

This is a Plot Twist trope, so beware of unmarked of spoilers!


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Chapter 17 of Beastars, we learn that Louis and Haru are seeing each other covertly.
  • Jenny Dolittle and Lynn Lambretta of Bodacious Space Pirates get a few Subtext-y scenes together. They're the President and Vice-President of their yachting club, and they're also a Tomboy and Girly Girl duo in an all-girls school setting. The subtext is pushed even further when Jenny becomes a Damsel in Distress in a wedding gown, and the girls attempt to rescue her with Lynn dressed as a Prince Charming. Subverting all the Hide Your Lesbians that similar works would resort to, the two run into a hug and kiss when they finally meet back up again.
  • Sonsaku and Shuuyu, the ruler and strategist from the Son kingdom in Koihime†Musou show a lot of unspoken intimacy towards each other which hint at them being lovers. It's in season 3: episode 7, that the two characters are explicitly shown to be long term lovers.
  • Naruto: It had long been hinted that Kurenai and Asuma were a couple and finally confirmed when Kurenai was revealed to be pregnant.
  • Phantom Quest Corp.: The first Incident File features Bosco, who's a reformed vampire and Makiko, a 19 year old college freshman that he's in love with. It initially seems that he stalks her each night, but she's revealed to be his girlfriend. She knows he's a vampire and allows him to feed off her 4 times a year, at 200cc per quarter.
  • In Stray Little Devil Aregna and Lizyerra are hinted at then revealed to have a pre-existing relationship in volume five of the manga.

    Comic Books 
  • In Robin (1993), Ives and Callie's relationship was mostly displayed through subtext and they are not outright stated to have been dating until shortly before they break up.
  • In an issue of X-Factor, long-time Heterosexual Life-Partners Rictor and Shatterstar put an end to a decade's worth of innuendo and editorial wank with an in-panel kiss. Shatterstar's co-creator Rob Liefeld was not pleased and declared his intention to undo it as soon as he can. The chances of him actually getting his hands on the characters by this point are fairly remote.
  • X-Men: Although Destiny is long gone, whenever she's mentioned, there's no ambivalence to the fact that she and Mystique were indeed lovers. It could be argued that this started as early as the Shadow King using an obsolete word for "lover" back in 1989, but by the 2001 Retool, it was done.
  • Wiccan (Billy Kaplan) and Hulkling (Teddy Altman) in the Young Avengers. Fans suspected that they were a couple from the first issue, but it wasn't made canon until the end of the first arc. It was originally going to be a bigger reveal, but so many people caught on that the writer didn't bother. Kate simply mentions that Billy, then going by "Asgardian", needs to change his codename to something that "won't become a national joke when the press find out about you and Teddy". Billy suddenly realizes he really needs a new codename.

    Fan Works 
  • Advice and Trust: In the beginning Misato teases Shinji about his relationship with Asuka, and the audience are led to believe both teenagers remain in the "we like each other but are completely oblivious to each other's feelings so we fight and argue instead of dating" phase... until it is revealed that they got together a while ago and they have been keeping their relationship secret.
  • Chapter 3 of Doing It Right This Time opens with one of these for Ritsuko and Maya. And boy is it a memorable one!
    Maya: [sporting a brand new collar] "Sempai noticed me, nyaa!"
  • In The Second Try, it's revealed after several scenes that Shinji and Asuka are in a Secret Relationship.
  • In-universe example in "we'll bury these old ghosts here", which looks at the characters of Brooklyn Nine-Nine in the aftermath of the Snap (Avengers: Infinity War). While Jake and Rosa come together and form a relationship after Amy was one of the victims of the Snap, this is only revealed to the other survivors of the 99th (Holt and Boyle) when the four are out for drinks and Rosa ends up sitting next to Jake in a manner that prompts him to kiss her forehead, having grown so used to doing that in private that he didn't consciously register they were in public (Jake also muses that he had expected Holt and Boyle would have guessed this on their own anyway).
  • Tyrantly Ever After: When it becomes clear that Fuuka intends to keep meddling in his love life, Valvatorez reveals that he and Fenrich have been Friends with Benefits for hundreds of years.

  • Circleverse: Fans had long suspected that Lark and Rosethorn, two women who lived in the same cottage, raised children together, and occasionally shared the same bedroom were a couple, but it wasn't until The Will of the Empress that this was confirmed.
  • Cyber Joly Drim has the protagonist in a Love Triangle... a Two-Person Love Triangle with her husband and his online persona.
  • In the Dragon Age tie-in novel The Calling, Julien and Nicolas are a pair of Grey Warden warriors with an intense friendship. They spend most of their time together, one is never mentioned without the other, etc. When Julien dies, Nicolas flies into a rage and is distraught. He picks himself up and keeps going, but when a Lotus-Eater Machine brings Julien back to him, he opts to stay in the dream rather than return to reality.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A minor example happens in Angel's penultimate episode "Power Play", with Spike's line: "Me and Angel have never been intimate. Except that once."
  • In Bones, Bones spends the night at Booth's house, but the audience doesn't find out if they slept together in the figurative sense or just the literal one until the season finale, when Bones reveals that she's pregnant with Booth's baby.
  • In the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow and Tara were only implied to be a couple for a fair while before it was finally revealed that they were actually a couple.
  • One episode of Castle opens by revealing that Lanie and Esposito are in a secret relationship. Later on Castle, Beckett, and Ryan reveal they've all known, so it was only the viewers who were in the dark.
  • Criminal Minds: JJ gets some flirtation in with a Detective of the Week, and the episode ends with them exchanging phone numbers. Nothing more is mentioned of the detective (Will) or JJ's relationship status in general until a few seasons later when they bump into each other on the job again which reveals they've been dating since they met and JJ spends all her free time flying down to see him in New Orleans. (JJ's actress was pregnant, and since her character wasn't in an established relationship, the writers realized Will would be the best (or at least most logical) choice of father.)
  • Doctor Who:
    • Barbara's fling with the Thal Alydon in "The Daleks" is only canonised with his goodbye kiss to her.
    • One that had a very long time to pay off is the Doctor and Sarah Jane, which had some UST and flirting between her and the Fourth Doctor but nothing more, and Sarah Jane was Put on a Bus. It was eventually slightly more canonised six Doctors and thirty years later when the Tenth Doctor and Sarah had a conversation implying their friendship to have been romantic.
    • Barbara and Ian's Ship Tease is again only confirmed as romantic years later in The Sarah Jane Adventures, in which they are said to be married.
    • A very weird example with the Doctor and River Song, as the gimmick of their relationship is that they're both time travellers who keep meeting in (roughly) reverse order. Therefore, the reveal that they were married only happened when the Doctor chose to marry her, before which she'd already (from her perspective) been married to him for years.
    • Another interesting example is "The Doctor's Wife", in which the TARDIS is temporarily put into a human body and she and the Doctor get very romantic, with her even choosing to go by the name "Sexy" as that was apparently the Doctor's pet name for her. None of this comes as a mystery to her or the Doctor, but due to the fact that she is a spaceship she normally isn't anthropormophised enough for a relationship to apply, let alone be obvious. There'd previously been a bit of Ship Tease about it in "School Reunion", where both Sarah Jane and Rose gossip about the apparently very intimate way their respective Doctors (Fourth and Tenth) stroked the TARDIS. The Expanded Universe (notably "Zagreus" and "Unregenerate!") had also featured some shippy Doctor/TARDIS goodness, but "The Doctor's Wife" was the first one to make the ship explicit. They get a Big Damn Kiss and everything.
    • Fans had been wondering for forty-three years whether or not the Doctor and the Master had a thing going on. 2014 finally revealed that, yep, they have a thing going on. What kind of thing is still left ambiguous, but they get two big damn kisses, one initiated by the Master and one by the Doctor.
  • In Farscape, D'Argo and Chiana were shown to have growing feelings for each other and are implied to become intimate at the end of "Out of Their Minds", but it isn't until Crichton walks in on them having sex in "Look at the Princess Part 1" that it's confirmed.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Renly and Loras are revealed to be lovers in a scene where Loras is shaving Renly's chest.
    • Bran discovering Cersei and Jaime.
    • Tyrion discovering Shae in Tywin's bed.
  • Good Omens (2019):
  • Hill Street Blues uses a variant; the audience are made aware of precinct captain Frank Furillo and Public Defender Joyce Davenport's relationship at the end of the pilot episode, but it's not until some way into the series that it becomes common knowledge among the rest of the main characters... when Joyce, sick and tired of hiding it, grabs Frank by the lapels and gives him The Big Damn Kiss in the middle of the main office.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): Although Daniel Molloy suspected that Rashid was Sleeping with the Boss in "...After the Phantoms of Your Former Self", he (and the audience) doesn't receive official confirmation until the end of Season 1. Louis de Pointe du Lac and the vampire Armand ("Rashid" was merely his Human Disguise) have been a couple since at least 1973, and while Holding Hands, Louis informs Daniel that Armand is "the love of my life."
  • L.A. Law:
    • In the season 5 episode "God Rest Ye Murray Gentlemen," Leland cajoles Grace into representing the firm's old nemesis Rosalind Shays in an S&L dispute. At the end of the episode we find out why: He and Rosalind are in a clandestine relationship.
    • In the season 6 episode "Do the Spike Thing," Tommy Mullaney and the audience find out at the same time that his ex-wife Zoey and Jonathan Rollins are an item, when he visits her house drunk in the middle of the night. It's devastating for Tommy, who was hoping for a chance to rekindle his and Zoey's relationship.
  • Claire Kincaid and Jack McCoy on Law & Order. This one was posthumous - the character of Claire Kincaid was killed off before it was officially revealed they had been a couple. However, McCoy's backstory (Kincaid was his first onscreen ADA) had him hooking up with all of his former ADAs, and the relationship between McCoy and Kincaid was very flirtatious. Sources vary on whether either or both actors were even informed that their characters were sleeping together. Some sources claim that Sam Waterston, who played McCoy, was told but that Jill Hennessy, who played Kincaid, was not. Others say that Hennessy wasn't told initially but figured it out on her own, and the writers then told Waterston after she asked them about it.
  • In The Sopranos, Christopher has a new girlfriend, Kaisha; he tells his boss Tony that he's never brought her around because he doesn't want to deal with the racism of the other mafiosi. A couple scenes later, we realize he was lying; his girlfriend is actually Julianna, the hot realtor that Tony has been unsuccessfully trying to hook up with.
  • In the Torchwood episode "End of Days", Jack and Ianto publicly kiss for the first time. Arguably a Relationship Upgrade but considering the stopwatch, it seems this is a relationship that's been going on very quietly for some time.
  • The X-Files: Mulder and Scully get this in the last episode of season 8, where they kiss while holding their son. (Amazingly, some fans still tried to insist that was a friendly kiss. With the release of the 2008 movie, where they're sleeping in bed together and saying things like "that's why I fell in love with you," the last holdouts seem to have conceded.) However, exactly when their Relationship Upgrade was is anyone's guess, mostly due to the angst of season 8. It's a leading theory in the fandom that they started a relationship after season 7's "all things" (in which they finally sleep together) and simply hid it.

    Video Games 
  • Mario Power Tennis has Mario telling Peach he loves her, and her responding with a blown kiss. Before this, they were only Implied Love Interests.
  • In Mortal Kombat X, Tremor confirms the previously-ambiguous relationship between Mileena and Tanya by calling the latter "Mileena's concubine."

  • Occurs in Drowtales with regard to Mel'arnach and Snadhya'rune, who had been implied before to be a couple and were later confirmed. Mel presents them as Star-Crossed Lovers because of their rival families, but knowing Snadhya (who killed her own mother) it may be more complicated than that...
  • Theo and Sleipnir from Girl Genius are almost always together, but it was unclear whether they were an item or Like Brother and Sister...until this strip.
    • The novelization of the first three volumes makes an early joke about their relationship, hinting that this might be a very minor retcon.
  • In Homestuck's Act 6 Act 3 Intermission first walkaround flash, Meenah asked Kanaya whether Rose was her girlfriend and Kanaya replied coyly 'maybe'. And the shippers rejoiced.
    • A decidedly more joyless example occurs during the same intermission - Jade/Davesprite was revealed as canon and then sunk when Jade informs John that the two have just broken up.
    • And then in the third Act 6 Intermission 3 flash, Terezi<3<Gamzee, of all ships, was revealed to be canon.

    Western Animation 
  • The Owl House features a variation. Raine's first appearance in "Eda's Reuquiem" had a lot of awkward blushing between them and Eda, but didn't refer to the two as being anything other than Old Friends. Then the following episode, "Knock, Knock, Knockin' on Hooty's Door", revealed that they were a couple in the past... by showing a flashback to the day they broke up.
  • Though they're technically different series, Ren/Stimpy from The Ren & Stimpy Show became canon in Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon".
  • The Season 6 finale of Regular Show, "Dumped at the Altar", has Rigby reveal that he and Eileen have been dating for several months, after Mordecai goes on a tirade where he states Rigby has no business giving him relationship advice. The only reason he waited so long to say anything was because Eileen told him not to, so Mordecai wouldn't feel too awkward about his own romance issues.
  • From the very first episode, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated goes out of its way to not only put a large amount of focus on developing Fred and Daphne's decades-long Will They or Won't They? tension, but also depicts the resident chaste heroes, Shaggy and Velma, as having developed a romantic connection.
  • Steven Universe:
    • The season one finale "Jailbreak" reveals that Garnet is a couple. Specifically, she's a fusion of two Gems, Ruby and Sapphire, who love each other so much that they can't bear to be apart.
    • As flashbacks flesh out Pearl's relation with Rose Quartz, it becomes apparent the two shared a mutual, long-term romantic relationship, even as Rose was taking a series of human lovers.
  • In Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race, it takes eleven episodes for Crimson and Ennui to offhandedly mention that they've been dating for three years. It's not really any kind of twist, it's just that they're both so stoic that their exact relationship was ambiguous.