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Serial Homewrecker

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Killian: Now what are you doing aboard my ship?
Rumpelstiltskin: W... well... you have my wife.
Killian: I've had many a man's wife.

Put simply, these are people who prefer their sex buddies married, in a relationship, or otherwise romantically involved. Perhaps it's the challenge involved in getting a committed partner to be unfaithful, perhaps they have a morbid fascination with monogamy, or perhaps the idea of seducing another person's lover and emasculating them gives them a feeling of superiority. For whatever reason, they'll bed a married woman in her husband's own home while he works late, or take a guy home with them from the club after seeing him with his girlfriend, and be completely okay with this behaviour.

While the trope in itself is quite gender-neutral, the trope is played out differently depending on whether the character is male or female.

A male Serial Homewrecker will be seen as the sexual competitor he is but rarely an actual antagonist, even if the main character is also male. Instead, he is way more likely to pass off as a regular lady killer or a Chick Magnet, just a less ethical one, since he's usually motivated by sexual gratification and the thrill of the challenge to be better in bed than their target's husbands, especially if said husband is richer than him. In any case, his casual flings and flirts are usually not depicted as direct threats to a marriage, just regular gallivanting since he never wants the married women he has sex with to leave their husbands and kids for him, he just wants the good sex with a woman willing to experiment in bed what she won't do with her husband. Typically, a male Serial Homewrecker is a Hunk or Tall, Dark, and Handsome to explain his success with women and, when it's brought up, very well endowed downstairs.

A female Serial Homewrecker is much more often an antagonist, especially if the protagonist is another woman. Quite unlike her male counterpart, her motivations for looking especially for married men are much darker and are conflated with Daddy Issues in the most Anvilicious takes on the trope. Even though she is sometimes just a lustful hedonist, she's more often than not a Foil to a more virtuous heroine and is always on the "whore" end of the Madonna-Whore Complex and will very often be called just that by other women, while men will usually lust after her. In its darkest form, which doesn't exist in the male version of the trope, a female Serial Homewrecker wishes to take away from married women what she herself cannot have i.e. a home and family. In this case, she weaponizes her illicit relationship with the husband, often trying to get him to leave his family for her, just to dump him afterwards and try again on another man, the real target being other women whose life and status she envies. Like her male counterpart, this character is often Ms. Fanservice, often in a Femme Fatale kind of way.

You will hardly find a female homewrecker as a protagonist, but a male one can be at times. Much more frequently, this trope is relegated to side characters who exist as a hurdle to the main character's arc, tempting them to be unfaithful as a moral challenge.

Compare and contrast archetypes such as The Vamp and The Casanova.

Female versions of the trope are very common antagonists in the Lifetime Movie of the Week, and usually pay a very high price for this behaviour.

Subtrope of Has a Type. Related to Honey Trap and Really Gets Around. Usually found in Cuckold situations. Compare/Contrast Attempted Homewrecker, which this character might also be if they are rejected by someone they want to be with.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Remi from The Feelings We All Must Endure is an Embodiment of Vice for Envy, so she takes a particular pleasure in seducing girls already in a relationship.
  • Defied in Fragments of Love: Mika has regular trysts with older women but balks at the idea of doing it with married ones.
  • Love Tyrant: Shikimi has a love of "stealing or tarnishing things other cherish", which includes seducing the Love Interests of other people just to make them feel like a Cuckold. She molests Seiji in front of Akane just to make her suffer and is later caught trying to seduce Mr. Kusunoki, just because she knows he and Mari have feelings for each other and wants to ruin it. It's heavily implied Akane turned into a Yandere Clingy Jealous Girl due to trauma of having to grow up with Shikimi doing this to her throughout her life.
  • Peach Girl: Sae is known for stealing many a girls boyfriends away from them. Part of the plot in the manga is based on her trying to do this to Momo using tactics such as Bed Trick and trying to blackmail Touji with photos of a fake rape involving Momo into dating her.
  • Ranma ½: Mikado Sanzenin is a man who wants to kiss as many women as he can (with an established goal of one thousand and boasting that he is quite close to getting there), without giving a damn about such details as the girl's consent or marital status. This reputation becomes somewhat more literal than usual when it turns out that his signature double-team attack with Asuza Shiratori (which is to grab the girl of an opponent skating couple, wait until the guy tries to pull her away, and then twist around like a tornado until one team member eventually lets go of the other, getting the guy badly hurt and hopefully breaking the team's mutual trust) has the name of "the Couple Cleaver".

    Comic Books 
  • This is fodder for a joke in Red Ears. A lothario is shown having sex with multiple different married women in a Sex Montage, then shows him handing his male buddy at a diner a note from an angry husband who is threatening to kill him. His friend suggests simply calling off that affair, but is rebuffed: the guy who sent the note didn't sign it.
  • In Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer, the former Golden Age heroine Sally Sonic has become a pathological homewrecker as a result of being stuck in a permanently teenaged body, deliberately seeking out married men and sleeping with them specifically to ruin their marriages. For added villainy, after she finds out that her latest target, Lance Harrower, died in an accident, forcing his widow Alix to rent out her house in order to pay the bills, she moves in under her civilian identity, ingratiating herself with the unsuspecting Alix so that she can eventually kill her.
  • Michonne is accused of being this by Heath in The Walking Dead; he believes it's because she feels the need to prove she's "better" than other women. There's a more likely explanation, though: her romantic history strongly suggests that she's only attracted to black men, and there are few enough of them around that she'll go after any that seem receptive, whether they're currently attached or not.

    Fan Works 

  • James Bond in Casino Royale's Bond is completely this.
    • Bond's conversation with Vesper Lynd regarding his interest in women. Specifically, he initially rebukes Vesper, and when asked why she's not his type, he responds that she's "single." Subverted, in that he eventually does sleep with her. Double subverted when it's discovered she had a boyfriend all along.
    • Another example from the is Solange Dimitrios, the wife of Bond's first mark in the film, who even gives us this exchange, hinting that it's because either It's Not You, It's My Enemies or Married to the Job is at play.
      Solange: You like married women, don't you James?
      Bond: It keeps things simple.
  • The Last King of Scotland: Nicholas pursues two married women at different points, despite having plenty of opportunities to go for less dangerous conquests. The first one doesn't progress past Unresolved Sexual Tension, but the second has the husband finding out... who just so happens to be an Ax-Crazy dictator.
  • True Lies: Simon's role in the film is to get Helen to have an affair. While talking to Harry (who he doesn't know is Helen's husband), he explains his strategy is to seek out married women with occupied husbands and pretending to be a secret agent to impress them. In reality, he's a Casanova Wannabe who runs an Honest John's Dealership and lives in a trailer.
  • Virtual Girl has an odd example with an artificial intelligence designed as a sex program which starts to prefer married men over the original target demographic (single men), to the point of stalking the main character and attempting to destroy his life. Obviously, this defeats the entire purpose of creating such a program in the first place which makes sense when it's revealed that the program was corrupted by one of the original people who worked on it.

  • Martin in Spectrum prefers to date married women who are fine with their own husbands and are only looking for a casual affair. That's because he doesn't feel ready for a committed relationship and wants to make it as clear as possible he isn't planning marriage. Also, he likes a mature and experienced woman, because Age-Gap Romance is gross. In the end, he is in love with and engaged to Irina, who is unmarried and eighteen years his junior.
  • In Teen Idol by Meg Cabot, main character Jenny is secretly the agony aunt, Ask Annie, for her high school newspaper, and entries from this column are interspersed throughout the book. One of these is from a girl using the name Wannabe Yours... Till I Am, who is seeking advice because she only seems to be attracted to guys who are already dating her friends. Ask Annie's advice is, um, less than helpful: she advises the girl to "keep your mitts off your friends' guys," without giving any idea of how to do that.
  • Trisha Conrad of the Seniors spin-off from Fear Street seems determined to get her hands on guys who're dating other girls. She steals Gary Fresno from Mary O'Connor, and then cheats on Gary with Ty Sullivan while Ty was dating her best friend Jennifer Fear and the school's Ice Queen Greta Bradley. In fact, Trisha gets enraged when she learns Ty's also dating Marla Newman and Phoebe Yamura so the three conspire to teach Ty a lesson.
  • Discworld: Nanny Ogg isn't known to have ended any marriages, but when asked in The Shepherd's Crown about how many husbands she's had, she answers, "Three of my own, and let's just say I've run out of fingers on the rest, as it were..."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andor: When Cassian visits his friend and ex-lover Bix the morning after getting shaken down by (and unintentionally murdering) some corpo rent-a-cops, she asks him if he got the bruise on his face from getting punched by "another husband". A bit later, it's revealed that Cassian has a reputation for being a bit of a womanizer, implying that at least some of his hookups have been with married women, leading to Bix's current boyfriend assuming Cassian's making moves on his girl.
  • Constantine. On a couple of occasions, he's been seen being chased out of the house by some other guy's wife - he also has the courtesy to remember their names.
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: A small Running Gag in the first season is that two male characters mention leaving their wives for a prostitute. The Stinger in "Josh and I Work on a Case!" reveals that it was the same (unseen) prostitute breaking up marriages this whole time. Series creator Rachel Bloom offers the interpretation that the prostitute herself wasn't the problem, but the men were just using her as an excuse to leave their wives.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • Played with, in that they're already members of a swinger community and it's more "Homewrecker by proxy," but one unsub's fantasy scenario is having his wife sleep with another married man until he steps in and takes over, thereby proving his manliness is superior to the other's.
  • Desperate Housewives: Edie is mentioned to have slept with lots of married men. However, late in Season 1 when Mike chooses Susan over her, she seems to actively prefer married men and men that specifically had been married to the housewives: in Season 2, she had an affair with Susan's ex Karl (now married to someone else), and she "steals" Gaby's husband Carlos, although the two are separated, in Season 3 which continues in Season 4; she even kisses Orson in Season 4. Lynette describes this as Edie's problem at the end of Season 4.
  • Keeping Up Appearances: A number of Rose's boyfriends are married, and at one point in the show she laments that "they always go back to their wives in the end".
  • Mad Men:
    • Joan enjoys her sexuality and as she works at an advertising agency, she's mostly surrounded by married men who all want her. She has an affair with Paul Kinsey but ends it because he bragged about her, a one-night stand with Harry Crane, and has a lengthy affair (covering a period of years) with professional partner Roger Sterling. Although Joan and Roger's relationship is loving, she implies later that she viewed sex as her purpose, as she feels intense guilt for Lane's suicide because she feels she could have stopped it if she slept with him. However, Joan actually goes out of her way to tell her partners that she doesn't intend for them to leave their wives.
    • Don starts off as a subversion (he genuinely believes he can run away with Rachel in Season 1 and loses interest in Midge when he realizes she's in love with someone else). However, after his marriage to Megan between Season 4 and 5, he seems to prefer married women, such as his downstairs neighbor, because he won't be asked to leave Megan.
  • In Married... with Children, several episodes allude to the fact that Kelly sleeps around so much that ending a marriage is not a big deal for her.
    • Kelly's three closest friends, introduced in the later seasons, also have no qualms about sleeping with married men or stealing boyfriends.
  • My World… and Welcome to It: Implied about John and Ellen's sleazy widowed neighbor Farley Burrell in "Monroe the Misogynist." When his attempt to seduce Ellen is rebuffed, he says "Well, you can't win them all. I'll have to start on the girls in the next block."
  • Once Upon a Time. In the past, Killian Jones (AKA Captain Hook), started a relationship with a woman named Milah, the wife of Rumplestiltskin. She eventually ran off with him, leaving behind her husband and their son Baelfire. When Rumplestiltskin came to confront him about it, Killian nonchalantly said that he's been with many men's wives.
  • Reign: Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Conde, has a habit of sleeping with other men's wives and is never seen with the same woman twice. That includes sleeping with Mary Stuart — the queen. King Francis, her husband, reluctantly allows it. Their affair drives a lot of the conflict in season 2.
  • Exploited in an episode of Rules of Engagement, where Russell overhears an attractive woman saying to a friend that she prefers married men, as then there's no commitment. He then pretends to be a married man whose relationship with his wife is on the rocks, which succeeds in getting her in a hotel room with him. She suggests they try some bondage, and he eagerly agrees, getting Chained to a Bed... at which point she promptly ransacks his stuff, robbing him blind and cheerfully leaving him there. Turns out, she's pulled this stunt on multiple men and goes after the married ones specifically since they can't report it without explaining to the cops (and their wives) what, exactly, they were doing in a hotel room with her.
  • Wild Boys. Dan Sinclair's Establishing Character Moment happens when he's roused from sleep by his buddy, Jack Keenan when he whispers "Hey, you've been sleeping with my wife." in his slumbering ear.

  • Marina Diamandis' song "Homewrecker" is from the perspective of a woman who jets between relationships, breaking up her lovers' marriages in the process, before moving on to the next one and leaving her lover brokenhearted. Deconstructed, as she's a Broken Bird who doesn't think she'll ever find true love.
  • "Lunch With A Friend" by Anthony Newley is written like a Break Up Song towards a friend whom the narrator sees doing this, including with his own wife.

  • Ted from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals is sleeping with the married Charlotte and implies this is a pattern for him. However, it's also shown that he has sincere romantic feelings for her, making it hard to tell whether he genuinely is this trope, or if he's just claiming to be so he can cover up his emotions since she still wants to stay with her husband.
    Ted: [gazing into Charlotte's eyes] If I'm gonna die, I want to die doing what I love. [Beat.] Screwing around with another man's wife.

    Video Games 
  • Parodied in Fate/Grand Order: Lancelot's myth about being in love with Guinevere and (indirectly) ruining Camelot in the process makes him have a reputation for loving married women (or at least those who already have a lover). Cleopatra in Halloween 2017 event calls him "Sir Lances-a-lot-of-married-women".

    Visual Novels 
  • In Queen of Thieves, Parker Vos is a greedy man who collects valuables simply because they are valued by others, such as a rare film that he never even bothered watching after obtaining it. This attitude extends to his relationships — he prefers his women to already be in relationships, so he can seduce them away from their partners.
    Web Animation 
  • Etra chan saw it!: In this story, when Akane called Tachibana about Yuzuriha's presence at their last matchmaking party after Hiiragi broke up with her friend Yuri, Tachibana revealed Yuzuriha had a reputation in high school for stealing other girls' boyfriends, or at least guys whom other girls crushed on.
  • Gossip City:
    • Kana was revealed to have multiple boyfriends and Asuka's husband Yujiro was her favorite. After exposing her to her husband who divorces her and leaves her alone in the apartment, Kana receives lawsuits from all of her boyfriends' wives.
    • Ryoka spends more time sleeping with her bosses than on her work and uses them to harass co-workers that she doesn't like such as Asuka. After Yujiro took over the company, he fired Ryoka and the bosses that she slept with. Afterward, Ryoka received lawsuits from the wives of said bosses.
  • MoniRobo: Rena Yakamashi has a chance to be revealed as this whenever she's the main antagonist.
    • "My older sister stole all of my boyfriends…": After numerous failed attempts to steal Hanayo's current boyfriend and now-husband Rio, on top of escaping her angry ex-boyfriends and their demands for compensation, Reina decided to hook up with married men. Given her usual routine with guys, it didn't take much for their wives to sue her for alimony, and even her doting parents kicked her out of the house. She is reduced to desperate part-time jobs to pay the huge debts she racked up.
    • "My childhood friend stole my fiancé, but little did she know…." [sic]: Right when Rena was about to leave the sharehouse in disillusion after finding out Masayoshi had debt, three women showed up and reveal themselves as the wives of Rena's past lovers. Turns out she didn't care if the man she prowled after was married as long as he was rich.
    • "My Boyfriend dumped me for my sister…": Sorao called his ex-fiancee Nano to demand money from her to pay Rena for all the wrongs the former "did" to the latter. However, Nano swiftly exposes Rena's true colors and even reveals the latter doesn't have any female friends because she stole their boyfriends, with one ex-friend even throwing fireworks at her house window to get back at her.
    • "My sister slept with someone's husband and almost got murdered": When the story switches to Minami's POV, she reveals that her parents favored Honami over her and she slept with married men so she could feel a smidgen of the love her parents denied to her. However, Minami's cheating comes back to bite her when her latest conquest's wife comes to the hotel where they were going to celebrate her birthday to murder her.
    • "A girl I hated in school invited me to her wedding and asked me to give a speech": Akemi had a reputation for stealing other girls' boyfriends and lying to make herself look good back in high school. Moreover, she's implied to have kept this habit well into adulthood as she cheated on her own fiancé, Junya Takagi, with other men before their wedding.
  • Revenge Films:
    • "My sister slept with my husband…" Ali's older sister is implied to be this as she not only slept with Ali's husband, but she's last shown being chased down by other women (implied to be her lovers' wives) while Ali herself narrates that her sister had multiple affairs and received several lawsuits for them all.
    • "This girl told me she was pregnant with my husband's child, but I'm not married...": Sadie was rumored to have been stealing boyfriends from other girls. Kristi found out that the rumors were true after her boyfriend broke up with her three days after she introduced Sadie to him.
    • "I rushed home because my house was on fire... My wife lied that she was at home...": Anna was revealed to not only have affairs with wealthy men after being forced to pay compensation to her ex-husband Max, but she also had secret romps with married men. Unsurprisingly, she ends up being chased down by her lovers' wives for settlement money.
    • Sister-in-law “This is my boyfriend” He was my stalker... My husband's plan...": Britney's sister-in-law Jill bragged about how she stole other girls' boyfriends, which caused her brother Jack to be chewed out by his female classmates and warn the OP about not interacting with her. However, Jack took advantage of his sister's homewrecking tendencies as she hooked up with Britney's stalker Roger to get both of them off their backs.
    • "My wife took the kids and left while I was at work. Did I do something?": The temp worker who asked Noah Williams out was notorious for targeting married men; six months after he rejected her, she asked another married male employee out, which he obliged. However, the lovebirds get caught and this resulted in the employee getting demoted, divorced, and sued for alimony. While the temp worker was also ordered to pay alimony, she got fired because she was a contract employee.
    • "Husband cheated on me and got another girl pregnant, but tried to give me the child,": OP's ex-husband is a rare male example; he turned out to be a serial cheater to the point of seducing married women, even when constantly hounded for compensation because of his cheating antics on top of the childcare costs for the disabled child his latest mistress left with him and his mother before vanishing.
    • "My wife was cheating on me with 25 different men": When OP's wife begs him for forgiveness after finding out he discovered her affairs as well as her sex videos and emails that proved it, the OP revealed some of the men she slept with were married and/or engaged; he even brought up how their wives and fiancées will sue her for what she did.

    Web Comics 
  • Neilen Everstar of Dominic Deegan had a habit of working to break up couples and apparently catching the girls on the rebound. He was responsible for wrecking Runcible Spoon's marriage and attempted it with Dominic and Luna, but was foiled by The Power of Trust.

    Web Original 
  • In Epic Rap Battles of History, Thanos mocks J. Robert Oppenheimer for this.
    Thanos: Apparently, the only thing you're good at wrecking is a home!
    'Cause you slept with your friend's wife, right there in your friend's bed,
    Then got another married girl pregnant—you should have gone for the head!

    Western Animation 
  • Bob's Burgers: Shelby Schnabel the sharpshooter only dates married men, to the extent that Mr. Fischoeder has to pretend to be married with kids to have a chance with her.
    Mr. Fischoeder: She left me for a married oil magnate. Then she left him for a married movie magnate.
    Tina: She's a magnate magnet.
    Linda: More like a homewrecker.
    Mr. Fischoeder: Exactly! Which is why I need to give her a home to wreck.
  • Pepper Ann has Gwen Mezzro, who famously has an on/off infatuation with Pepper Ann's best friend Milo. In one episode, Gwen announces she now finds herself strangely attracted to Milo when everyone thinks he's dating Pepper Ann. When Gwen asks what that makes her, Nicky Little bluntly states Gwen's a homewrecker.