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Serial Spouse

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Elizabeth Taylor: eight weddings, seven husbandsnote 

Robert: I'll tell you what I've found to be the key to a great marriage...
Raymond: —Says the man who married a stripper, then divorced a stripper, then married a regular person, then hung in there for three whole months.

Some people just can't seem to make it work. They go through divorce after divorce and never seem to learn their lesson. These characters are typically middle-aged, otherwise successful men, but none of these are requirements. The only requirement is that the character has been through at least two divorces.

There are numerous reasons for a character's marriages to repeatedly fail. Sometimes a needy best friend drives a wedge between them and anyone new. Sometimes the character is still too devoted to a lost loved one. Maybe they're even trying to replace a lost love, and the divorces result because the new spouse is simply not the old one. Maybe they have an untreated mental illness or unaddressed personal problems, and their spouses just can't deal with them. Perhaps they are marrying with the expectation of getting divorced and receiving alimony. Maybe they have issues concerning commitment and fidelity. Maybe they are attracted to Broken Birds and the Troubled, but Cute, and erroneously think they can "fix" that person...only to find that a) they can't and b) the other person resents being expected to change or being treated like a project instead of a person. Usually, it's because they're simply Married to the Job.

This trope is often part of a character's Dark and Troubled Past, but it can also be Played for Laughs. In both comedies and dramas, the character is often part of a Dysfunction Junction. As it is exceedingly common in crime dramas, this is one element of the Standard Cop Backstory.

Bear in mind that an end of a marriage doesn't necessarily constitute a divorce. If the character has been married twice, but one of the marriages ended in death, it doesn't count.

Compare with the Black Widow, a woman who marries repeatedly and then kills her husbands, or the The Bluebeard, which is a man who does likewise to his wives.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • One Piece: This was "Big Mom" Charlotte Linlin's modus operandi to build up her family. She'd take a man as her husband, whether he wanted it or not, then after she'd had his child or children, she dumped him and moved on to the next man. She married and divorced 43 men, resulting in eighty-five children (spread across twenty-two single births and twenty-one multiple births).

    Comic Books 
  • Batman '66: It is established that Marsha, Queen of Diamonds has had no less than 52 husbands.
  • The Man of Steel: While fending off Lex's latest unwanted advances towards her in issue #4, Lois mentions that Lex has been married at least eight times.

    Comic Strips 
  • Jeff MacNally's Shoe has been married five times and divorced five times. He's a bitter crow and a Cigar Chomper boss with no further faith in women. It's hinted that he became a newspaper editor just to vent his frustrations.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Daria fic "God Save the Esteem," Amy mocks Rita about her failed marriages, only for Rita to bitterly remind her that "You're still winning that race." It turns out that Amy's been married four times (though she doesn't like to count the one in Vegas).
  • In the Pokémon fic "Siebold's Special Guest", the eccentric socialite is married to her thirteenth husband.
  • In TheLegendOfZelda fangame "The Fallen Sage", Felonius tries giving Link advice, before offhandedly commenting "What do I know? I've only been married three times!" He is also implied to have conceived another character in a one-night stand.

    Films — Animated 
  • Rosie from A Bug's Life mentions that she's been married twelve times, and at least her most recent husband has died, making her a black-widow widow.
  • Lola Buzzard from Queer Duck: The Movie is stated to have married and divorced a lot of times, with her manservant and chauffeur Peccary being her second and fifth husband.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A Wedding (1978): Muffin's aunt Marge has been married and divorced four times, and spends most of the movie striking up a relationship with the Sloan family's gardener.
  • Mrs. White from Clue is a combination of this trope, Black Widow, and Really Gets Around.
    Col. Mustard: How many husbands have you had?
    Mrs. White: Mine or other women's?
    Col. Mustard: Yours.
    Mrs. White: Five.
    Col. Mustard: Five?
    Mrs. White: Yes, just the five. Husbands should be like Kleenex: soft, strong, and disposable.
  • Ma Flodder from the Flodder movies has been married 5 times but is currently single again.
  • Hortense Ditherwell (Alice Brady) in The Gay Divorcee has been married three times and is looking for a fourth.
    Hortense: Let's see, I didn't marry in 1929 or '30. That was the year of the crash, and men didn't know whether they had money or not.
  • Maria Ragetti from Grumpier Old Men has five ex-husbands. Her mother convinces her that she is "cursed in love" since all her exes were dirtbags in one way or another and she talks Maria out of pursuing a relationship with Max. The two end up marrying by the end of the film.
  • In The Heartbreak Kid (2007), Ben Stiller character Eddie rushes into marriage with Lila. During the honeymoon, he realizes how mismatched they are and meets another woman Miranda. After many mishaps, both women leave him. Years later, he is settled in Mexico, and Miranda visits him. In the final scene, he makes plans to go on a date with her and after she leaves, it is revealed that he is married to a third woman, and possibly is going to divorce her to be with the One.
  • In The Jane Austen Book Club, Cool Old Lady and Team Mom Bernadette has been married six times (once to a producer of Fred Astaire films) and muses that she would like to do it one more time. She does during the epilogue.
    Prudie: For such a famously romantic story, Pride and Prejudice is a parade of bizarre marriages.
    Bernadette: I've had every marriage in this book!
  • In the film version of Jurassic Park, Ian Malcolm comments at one point that he's always looking for the next ex-Mrs. Malcolm. It's implied that all of his marriages ended in divorce.
  • In Like Normal People, Roger's coworker Donna mentions that she's had at least five husbands.
  • The movie The Marrying Man centered on a couple who married each other and then divorced multiple times over the span of decades. By the end of the movie, they are about to get married for the fourth time.
  • In the 1960 Ocean's Eleven Jimmy's mother is on her fifth or sixth. When she nags him about missing her wedding, he asks if he has ever missed one of her weddings; "Yes", she replies tartly, "my first."
  • The princess in The Palm Beach Story has possibly been married six times; she's had three divorces and two annulments, and she says she's "not quite through with the Prince" (although she is certainly looking for candidates to replace him).
  • Lawanda Dumore of Problem Child 2 already has had six husbands and immediately wants to make Ben Healy her seventh when he shows up at her bank (and for a visual gag, we see the photos of her with each one, and they're all portrayed by Ben's actor John Ritter).
  • Osgood Fielding from Some Like It Hot has been married seven or eight times (his mother is keeping score) and plans to marry again, even after he finds out that his fiancée is a man in drag.

  • 1066 and All That's genealogical table of English kings shows John of Gaunt as having been married to Lady Godiva, Margaret of Angoulème, Joan of Arc, The Infanta, The Maria Theresa, Ann of Geierstein, etc. and etc. etc. The text also states that Henry VIII had VIII wives and that he considered marrying a Good Thing. There was also the Scottish queen Mary, who had so many husbands that she was known as Mary Queen of Hearts.
  • Helene Roffe-Martel in Sidney Sheldon's Bloodline has several ex-husbands. All of whom she married to become wealthier than she already was. Her current (at the book's time) husband is a henpecked one she married because he was a nothing she could mould into whatever she wanted.
  • In the folktale Bluebeard, the eponymous widower gives his new bride the keys to all the doors in their house but instructs her never to enter the room that takes the golden key... which turns out to contain the corpses of all the previous wives.
  • In The Canterbury Tales the Wife of Bath has been married five times. She started at age 12, and her first three husbands were elderly men, whom she claims she was quite happily wedded to.
  • In The Devil Wears Prada, Miranda is preparing to marry her ninth husband.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg's uncle Gary has been married three times prior to the series, all of which ended in divorce, and one book has Greg and his family attending Gary's fourth wedding. However, the best man's speech indicates that Gary is probably about to end up divorced again, with Greg dryly noting that they'll likely be attending Gary's fifth wedding soon. Sure enough, next time he appears, Sonja (the aforementioned fourth wife) is nowhere in sight.
  • Nanny Ogg of the Discworld novels has been married three times "...and that's only the official score."
  • Eccentric Neighborhoods contains examples on both sides of narrator Elvira's family:
    • On the maternal side, there's Lakhmé Rivas de Santillana, who marries three times. Her first husband, Tom is an American soldier who returns from the war with PTSD and dies young. Her second husband is a Spanish Muslim who keeps her isolated in Rabat, Morocco until she escapes. Her third and last husband is a business owner she marries to keep her social standing.
    • On the paternal side, there's Ulises Vernet. His first wife, Carolyn Allan, is an American heiress who is unwilling to put up with his extramarital activities. His second wife, Venecia, is more open-minded and puts up with his activities as long as he spends at least four days out of the week at home. After her death, he marries three more times.
  • In The Goblin Emperor, Maia's father, the previous emperor, divorced his first wife for barrenness, then went through a number of wives who all died before their thirtieth birthday, apparently for natural causes. His banishing the Empress Chenelo, Maia's mother, to a remote country estate can be considered the equivalent of divorce, as he never saw her again. Upon his death at the start of the novel, he leaves a widow who is about as old as his youngest son, Maia.
  • John Putnam Thatcher: Thatcher's friendly competitor Tom Robichaux is married to a different woman in almost every one of his appearances. Thatcher has difficulty imagining how he's able to pay all of the alimony.
  • Georgia from Love Anthony has been divorced four times. After each divorce, she puts a Post-It note on the refrigerator that says "DO NOT GET MARRIED EVER AGAIN." But she's a wedding coordinator constantly surrounded by beautiful weddings, so the Post-It always comes down sooner or later.
  • In The Mark of the Lion trilogy, Julia Valerian goes through three husbands, one fiancé and multiple lovers. Two of the husbands die, but relations with the fiancé and one of the husbands are broken off by divorce.
  • Moll Flanders has been married five times by the end of the book (officially)
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: See the title? Granted, one of them was annulled (it was a Vegas marriage that barely lasted the weekend), but it still counts. Ironically, the one Evelyn loved most was her "wife", Celia St. James, who she wasn't even officially married to.

    Live-Action TV 
  • All My Children's Erica Kane was married seven times to six different men. One of whom was Adam Chandler, who was himself married 10 times.
  • John Sheridan of Babylon 5 is far from the worst example of this trope, but he has been married enough times to cause Garibaldi to exclaim, "How many wives does he have?" Just three.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon's older brother George Cooper Jr. has two ex-wives.
  • The Brokenwood Mysteries: DSS Mike Shepherd has been divorced three times, a fact which gets brought up frequently. Some of the exes make appearances, including as potential suspects.
  • On Castle, the titular character has two ex-wives.
  • On Charmed, Grams was married four times and engaged at least twice more; she was quite happy with the girls' grandfather, who was killed by a demon, but the next five husbands left her with a decidedly poor outlook on men.
    • For that matter, Phoebe gets married three times over the course of the series: to Cole, then to Dex, and finally to Coop. To be fair, that second one happened when they were under a spell.
  • Lt. Provenza of The Closer and Major Crimes was married four times (twice to the same woman). He nearly got married for the fifth time but they broke up.
  • On Community, Pierce has been divorced seven times.
  • On Criminal Minds, Rossi has been divorced three times.
  • Doctor Who,
    • It is mentioned that Cassandra was married nine times.
    • The main character also fits. Besides the hypothetical grandparent of Susan, they've married Cameca the Aztec woman, River Song, Elizabeth I, and Marilyn Monroe over the course of the series.
    • River Song marries the Doctor in "The Wedding of River Song" but in "The Husbands of River Song", we learn she also married Hydroflax, Ramone, and Stephen Fry. She also had at least two wives (one of whom is Cleopatra).
  • Eerie, Indiana: In "The Dead Letter", Mary B. Carter tells the ghost of her one true love Tripp McConnell that she was married six times but none of them worked out as they weren't him.
  • Frasier:
    • Frasier Crane. Aside from his many girls of the week, he's had a rough record with matrimony. His first wife was Nanette Guzman, a hippie-girl he met in college and was married to for only a few months before divorcing, but she never fell out of love with Frasier and tried to rekindle with him once in Cheers and again in Frasier. Next, he was engaged to Diane Chambers, who left him at the altar. Then he married Dr. Lilith Sternin and had a son named Frederick before Lilith cheated on him and they divorced after several years together. They too attempted to reconcile a few times, but it also never stuck.
    • Frasier's brother Niles went through two shrewish wives (Maris and Mel) before finally marrying his true love Daphne.
    • Sherry Dempsey, one of Martin Crane's girlfriends was married and divorced six times. She didn't want to marry Martin because of this, which led to the end of their relationship.
  • Ross on Friends had three ex-wives by the end of the series, and was often mocked for it (sometimes by himself).
    Ross: I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say No Divorces in '99!
    Rachel: But your divorce isn't even final yet.
    Ross: Just The One Divorce in '99!
    • His first divorce occurred shortly before the start of the series from Carol, who realized she was gay and left him for a woman. However, Carol soon realized she was pregnant and went on share joint custody of Ross's son Ben while raising him with her new wife Susan. Ross's second marriage is to Emily, who he marries after knowing for just a few months... and then says Rachel's name at the altar. Emily is furious but eventually agrees to take him back, but they soon divorce after Ross makes her admit she doesn't trust him. Ross's last marriage is to Rachel after they get drunk and marry in Las Vegas. They try for an annulment, but for complicated reasons have to get a divorce instead.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Sansa is put in an Arranged Marriage four times. With Joffrey in Season 1 (although the wedding itself never happens), then with Tyrion in Season 3, then with Robin (doesn't pass the engagement part) then with Ramsay in Season 5.
    • Margaery as well, with the benefit that she manages to marry a king each time: First Renly Baratheon (to whom she is The Beard; he prefers her brother and hence never consummated their union), then Joffrey Baratheon who is poisoned at his wedding reception, and finally Joffrey's younger brother Tommen Baratheon.
    • We hear about four marriages of Salladhor's, and those are only the ones whose weddings Davos was able to attend!
  • On General Hospital, both Carly and Sonny have had multiple marriages. Carly has been married 7 times, just 1 more than Sonny at 6. And out of those marriages, Carly and Sonny have shared 3 different marriages, over the span of more than 2 decades!
  • Miss Patty on Gilmore Girls, the older voluptuous dance teacher who is an incorrigible flirt, is asked to total up her marriages once. She comes up with "three men, four times", explicitly referencing Elizabeth Taylor in how she married the same man for her first and last marriage.
    Miss Patty: Well, there was Sinjin, John, Sergio, Sinjin. Three men, four times. [...] Well, Sinjin was a let-down the second time, but he was my Burton and I was his Taylor. Just wish I could've found a little Mike Todd there in the middle.
  • John Munch from Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit had two ex-wives in his past, married a bartender in Homicide's last season, and had divorced her by the final movie. There was a reason he always got teamed with Briscoe during crossovers.
    • By SVU, he's been married (and divorced) four times and states that he still believes in true love, but that it always eludes him.
  • Wilson on House had been divorced twice at the start of the show. He went through his third divorce in Season 2.
  • iCarly (2021): Freddie mentions that he's been gone through two divorces in the time since the original series. His first wife's identity is unknown as of this writing (though it almost certainly wasn't Carly), but his second wife was a woman named Gwen, whom he met at a wedding and the two were only married for 14 months. Freddie also adopted her daughter Millicent and shares custody with Gwen.
  • Knots Landing:
    • Valene has been married five times, the most of anyone in the Dallas / Knots Landing universe: she married and divorced Gary twice, then she married Ben Gibson and was (seemingly) widowed but she got a divorce instead of having him declared legally dead, then she married Danny Waleska (who died while they were in the process of getting a divorce) and then she married Gary for the third time. When she thought that she was Verna Ellers after losing her memory, she almost married Parker Winslow in the Season 6 episode "Fly Away Home" but Gary managed to convince her of her true identity and that Parker was using her after he discovered that she was a famous author.
    • Gary married and divorced Abby between his second and third marriages to Valene. He was also engaged to Jill in Season 8 but they never got married.
    • Abby was married to Jeff Cunningham (who is Olivia and Brian's father), then to Gary, then to Charles Scott, and then to Greg. Her very brief marriage to Charles was annulled while the other three ended in divorce.
    • Greg was married to Jane, then to Laura, then to Abby, and then to Anne. He claimed that he married Jane out of ignorance, Laura for love, and Abby for business reasons. His later marriage to Anne was one of convenience. Laura died while the other three marriages all ended in divorce. Greg was also engaged to Paige in Season 12 (between his marriages to Abby and Paige's mother Anne) but they never got married.
  • On Law & Order, Jack McCoy has been divorced twice, as has Lennie Briscoe, and naturally, his Expy, Ronnie Brooks.
    • Briscoe's associate John Munch from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has been divorced no less than four times.
    • Also on SVU, Detective Carisi mentions that one of his sisters has been engaged (though not married) about ten times.
  • On Mama's Family, Naomi was married and divorced twice before marrying Vinton. On their wedding day, a drunk and pissed-off Eunice called her Vinton's "recycled bride."
  • On The Munsters Grandpa has been married 166 times. However, it's not known if all the marriages ended in divorce.
  • On My Name Is Earl, Earl has been married three times. The first time was an Accidental Marriage to Joy until she left him (while he was hospitalized, no less!) for Darnell. The second time was to a friend's elderly mother until she wanted sex and he didn't want to give it to her. The third time was to a friend's ex-girlfriend who wanted to follow in his footsteps... then morphed into a Yandere when he was more focused on the list than on her before she finally left him to join an Amish-like settlement, doing him a final favor by leaving him all the money she got in her court settlement. Earl states that despite all their problems, Joy was his favorite wife.
    • In the same series, one guy on the list is a man who's been married a few times in his life, and Earl slept with at least two of his wives, on multiple occasions.
  • Gibbs on NCIS has three ex-wives, though he has actually been married four times; it's implied that his multiple marriages are because he never got over the murder of his first wife and daughter.
    • Tony's father, affectionately referred to as "Senior," has been married so many times it's difficult to keep track.
    Tony: How's my stepmother?
    Senior: Ex-stepmother.
    Tony: Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. I actually liked Karen.
    Senior: Phoebe. You missed one.
    Tony: Were you going to tell me about that?
    Senior: I don't like to advertise my failures.
    Tony: Well, my condolences, my congratulations, and my condolences.
  • One Life to Live's Asa Buchanan was married 14 times to 10 different women.
  • NTSF:SD:SUV::: Agent Trent Hauser mentions that he's been married six times. His boss Kove has been married eleven times, including with Trent.
  • On NUMB3RS Lt. Walker mentions in "Robin Hood" to having been married and divorced three times.
  • Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation has two ex-wives named Tammy, which is also his mother's name. And despite his better judgement, Ron even remarries his 2nd ex-wife (Tammy II) again! He eventually marries a third woman (Diane) during the course of the series. Thankfully it works out this time.
  • Al Calavicci of Quantum Leap had five wives, three of which are confirmed to have left him in a divorce (or divorce-like circumstances), and one is implied to. Only the first one really "worked": She only left him because she waited long enough after he was declared dead. The series finale gave Sam a chance to change all that by telling her Al was still alive and would come back to her. The epilogue explains that as a result they stayed together and had Babies Ever After instead.
  • The Red Green Show: In an episode where Winston was seeking to get married, he comments that his self-help guru Anthony Anthony was married eight times.
  • On Scrubs, JD mentions that after his parents got divorced, his mother "started marrying everyone who rang the doorbell."
  • Mickey from Seinfeld, and he seems to take pride in it. When meeting a woman who is distraught over the possibility of her second marriage ending, he laughs and calls her a "lightweight" before walking out with his newest wife-to-be.
  • Guinan on Star Trek: The Next Generation has been married 23 times. It's not clear if all these marriages ended in divorce, or if she outlived some or most of her husbands.
    • This trope is standard practice for Trill symbiotes, as their marriages are considered to end automatically if they transfer to a new body. Dax on Deep Space Nine had been married so many times in various former host-bodies that when Worf insisted on a traditional Klingon wedding, she agreed to everything he wanted, simply because she was so completely bored with doing the Trill traditions every time (and because it meant so much to him).
  • St. Elsewhere: Helen Rosenthal has been married four times, each time to a Jewish man. All four marriages end in divorce.
  • Multi-millionaire Corrupt Corporate Executive Wilfred Tipton of the Suite Life franchise has been married and divorced anywhere between eight and fifteen times (London can never seem to remember just how many).
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", marriages are extremely short-lived in Marilyn Cuberle's society. Her mother Lana has had ten husbands, nine of them in the last five years, while Val's mother has had eleven.
  • Two and a Half Men:
    • Evelyn Harper has been married five times. Her first husband (Charlie and Alan's father) died, her second husband left her for a younger woman (then left said younger woman for an even younger woman), not much is said about her third and fourth husbands, but one was implied to have been a gay man using Evelyn as The Beard. Her fifth husband died at their wedding reception and was actually a Con Man trying to take her money.
    • Alan barely qualifies, having been married and divorced twice: first to Judith, then to Kandi.
    • Russell the pharmacist brags to Charlie about how he pays alimony to three women, but not one penny in child support.

  • The narrator of the George Strait song "All My Ex's Live in Texas."

    Mythology and Religion 
  • In The Four Gospels, the unnamed Samaritan woman who chats with Jesus at the well has been married five times, with each marriage ending in either divorce or death on the husband's part, making her a social pariah. (Which is why she went to the well by herself in the middle of the day, rather than at dawn or at dusk like most women would.) She was apparently living with a boyfriend (who likely already had a wife, making her The Mistress).
  • Classical Mythology: Zeus is famous for his many affairs, but according to some accounts Hera was actually his fifth wife, after previously marrying Metis (mother of Athenanote ), Themis (goddess of justice, mother of the Hours and Fates), Eurynome (mother of the Graces) and Mnemosyne (mother of the Muses).

  • Cabin Pressure — Douglas is on his third marriage by the time the series starts, and that ends after she has an affair with her Tai Chi teacher. Herc Shipwright has four ex-wives by the time he shows up and starts going out with Carolyn.
    Arthur: Wow, is that true? You two have got seven ex-wives?
    Herc: Between us, yes—I think. There isn't any overlap, is there, Douglas?
    Douglas: I'd have to check my paperwork.
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Marriage Madness", Mrs. Davis falls prey to a gold-digging butcher, who had married the first time when he ran away with his French teacher in Junior High.

    Tabletop Games 
  • PROTIP: Never, ever marry a darklord in Ravenloft.
    • Bluebeard is a darklord who keeps getting married and performing the same sadistic test on his brides as in the folktale. The spirits of his slain wives haunt him every night, terrifying him. His populace is under blanket Charm Person powers, and incapable of realizing they're dooming each poor girl they find for him.
    • Baron Urik von Kharkov is a vampire were-panther who'd love to be Happily Married but is cursed to become murderously jealous and paranoid about each new bride. His populace is not magically deluded about this and tries to find foreign girls to sacrifice to him instead of their own.

  • Joanne from Company has been married "three or four times".
  • Tanya from Mamma Mia!
  • Millionairess Claire Zachanassian in Friedrich Dürrenmatt's play The Visit. Over the course of the play, she divorces her seventh husband, marries and divorces the eighth, and prepares to marry the ninth.

    Video Games 
  • Grand Theft Pizza Delivery: Bob learns from his boss' wife that she's not his first wife. She's actually his 47th. His 33rd wife is in jail for a crime that he committed and pinned on her.

  • Tarquin in The Order of the Stick has been married nine times. He's implied to have killed most of his wives, though Elan and Nale's mother is still alivenote  and he turns out to be telling the truth about the last one dying in "mysterious circumstances." She was inadvertently snuffed out by Vaarsuvius.

    Web Original 
  • Chad Vader: Champion J. Pepper says that Clint is his third wife's son, indicating that he's been married at least three times.

    Western Animation 
  • Hayley Smith from American Dad! has been married three times. The first was to Dill Sheppard in "Haylias", which only happened because of Stan activating a control chip in her head (plus, Dill was gay and only wanted to use her as The Beard). Once Hayley regained her free will, she had the marriage annulled. Her second marriage was to her long-time on-again/off-again boyfriend Jeff Fischer in "100 A.D.". In "One Fish, Two Fish", Hayley would divorce Jeff and marry Klaus in order to help him get his citizenship. She presumably remarries Jeff after this episode, so she's technically been married four times.
  • Batman Beyond: Terry's friend Jared mentions that his mother "goes through husbands like popcorn".
  • Even earlier than that in Batman: The Animated Series episode "Chemistry" Veronica Vreeland mentions that her new husband Michael was her fourth. Since Michael was a plant creature created by Poison Ivy, that marriage also ended. She has a daughter named Bunny in the prologue of Batman Beyond pilot "Rebirth", indicating that she got married again in the future. (Then again, Bunny has her mother's maiden name as her surname, so unless Veronica's husband took her last name, it's likely that she was a single mother).
  • Bojack Horseman: Mr. Peanutbutter starts the series with two ex-wives, Katrina and Jessica Biel. During the course of the series, he marries and divorces Diane and gets engaged to Pickles (though the last engagement falls through).
  • On Daria, Jane's oldest brother Wind is on his third or fourth wife by the time he first shows up. In this case, it seems to be because he's a neurotic mess who jumps into relationships with less-than-stellar women (he insists Wife #3 "isn't like the other ones").
    Relative: And [how's] your brother Wind?
    Jane: He's thinking about getting remarried if he can just figure out whether his divorces were legal.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: Catman implies in the episode "Cat-Astrophe" that he had been married nine times.
  • In Family Guy, Lois' sister, Carol, has been divorced nine times. She's currently married to Mayor Adam West.
  • On Hey Arnold!, Arnold has been left some money by a lounge singer that he had helped to rediscover his talents in an earlier episode. At the will-reading, are several different blond women that he had been married to at one point or another.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Marge's sister Selma, who over the years has been married to Sideshow Bob, Lionel Hutz, Troy McClure, Disco Stu, Grandpa Simpson, and Fat Tonynote . She's usually unable to find a man, so when she does find one, she leaps right in.
      Selma, when asked to have a Citizenship Marriage with Apu: My name's already Selma Bouvier-Terwilliger-Hutz-McClure. God knows it's long enough without Nahassapeema-whatever! From now on, I'm only getting married for love (starts to hang up, hesitates) and maybe once more for money.
    • In fact, the only marriage she had that didn't (technically) end in divorce was to Disco Stu, who got an annulment from the Catholic church.
    • Lurleen Lumpkin (a country singer that tried to seduce Homer) has been married 5 or 6 times, all to men that look and act just like Homer.
    • In "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy", the creator of Malibu Stacy (an Expy of Barbie) has been married to 5 different men, mainly parodies of Ken and G.I. Joe. She's single now and lives her life in a pink mansion (made to look like Bar-uh...Malibu Stacy's Dream House) as a Lady Drunk. Lisa talks her into creating a new doll, after finding that a talking Malibu Stacy doll was spewing sexist drivel.

    Real Life 
  • Emperor Claudius of Rome had two failed betrothals and four marriages, the final one ending in his death. His first betrothal was to a distant cousin, which was broken because her family came into conflict with Augustus, his great-uncle. The second one ended with his fiance dying on their wedding day. Later on, he divorced his first wife Plautia due to suspecting her of adultery and of murdering her sister-in-law. He divorced his second wife Aelia for political reasons and trivial offenses (allegedly). His third wife, Valeria, was a gold-digging nymphomaniac who cheated on him regularly, even going so far as to compete with prostitutes to see who could obtain more partners, and married her lover Gaius Silius before being executed along with him. After this, Claudius told the Praetorian Guard that if he ever married again they had his permission to kill him. Regardless, he married his fourth and final wife (and niece) Agrippina months later, who manipulated him into adopting her son Nero before poisoning him so Nero could take the throne.
  • Elizabeth Taylor was married eight times including twice to Richard Burton. Her third marriage ended when her husband died in a plane crash but all the other ones ended in divorce. There was even a well-known joke regarding how her name would be if she adopted all their surnames.
  • Burton himself was married five times, including his two marriages to Taylor. Only his last one didn't end in divorce.
  • Pamela Anderson has been married four times (twice to the same person). None of these have lasted more than 3 years, to the delight of late-night comedians.
  • Larry King was married eight times, to seven different women. All of his marriages ended in divorce, except for the last one, where they were in the process of divorcing but King died before it could be finalized.
  • Zsa Zsa Gabor had nine husbands during her lifetime. The first eight marriages ended in divorce, except one that was annulled. Her ninth husband outlived her.
    • Her older sister Magda was married six times (including once to one of Zsa Zsa's ex-husbands), and her younger sister Eva was married five times. Their mother was married thrice. Guess it's In the Blood? Interestingly, despite the sisters' collective 20 marriages, only one child was born to any of them: Zsa Zsa's daughter Francesca Hilton. As a girl, Francesca was briefly the sister-in-law of Elizabeth Taylor when she married her much-older brother.
  • Mickey Rooney was married eight times and divorced seven times. He was married to his eighth wife for over 35 years from 1978 until his death in 2014, which was more than the length of all of his previous marriages combined; however, they were separated for the last few years.
  • Henry VIII of England is probably the... er, king of this trope. He created an entire church (with him as the boss) in order to get his marriage annulled. He married six times in total; two of his marriages were annulled, three ended in the wife's death (twice with a bit of help from Henry), and the last ended with Henry's death. Unlike most of the serially married, it was his first marriage (to Catherine of Aragon) which lasted longer than all of the others combined, contributing to the popular conception of his subsequent marriages as the symptom of an ugly and protracted mid-life crisis.
  • Henry's reigning contemporary was Russian czar Ivan the Terrible. The details are rather sketchy with him, but he did have either six or seven wives (even though the church only sanctioned the fist four marriages, so the last partners might be more as concubines rather than wives). Some accounts say that the last three wives were killed by the czar; more likely all Ivan's wives except for two or three who died while married to the czar (possibly poisoned) were just forcibly sent into convents as nuns though.
  • Baptist minister Glynn Wolfe, married 29 times, although not all his marriages ended in divorce. His last marriage, solely a publicity stunt, was to Linda Lou Essex, who was married 22 times before.
  • Norman Mailer was married six times (though his marriage to Carol Stevens, which lasted for one day, was only to legitimise the child they had together).
  • Musician Ben Folds has been married and divorced 4 times, and currently has a girlfriend.
  • German chancellor Gerhard Schröder was elected in 1998 just one year after entering his fourth marriage with a much younger woman, earning nicknames as the "Lord of the Rings" and "Audi-Kanzler" (German car manufacturer Audi has four rings as their logo). Years after leaving office, Schröder divorced his fourth wife and married for a fifth time.
    • His vice chancellor and secretary of state Joschka Fischer, who had been married three times by then, drew even the next year, marrying an even younger woman. It didn't quite work and he finally surpassed Schröder in 2005 by saying the vows for the fifth time (needless to say, she's only slightly older than her predecessor).
  • Richard Pryor was married seven times to five different women. His last and longest marriage, which ended with his death, lasted for four years. All the other ones ended with divorce.
  • James Cameron has been married to five different women, though it seems the fifth time was the charm, as he and Suzy Amis have been together since 2000 (a longer time than his first four marriages combined).
  • Billy Bob Thornton has been married six times and divorced five times; none of his first five marriages lasted longer than a few years. After five divorces, he lived with Connie Angland for 11 years before marrying her in 2014.
  • Jim Davidson has been married five times. His turbulent marital life has formed much of his stand-up. He estimated that his four divorces cost him around £60 million. He has been with his current wife since 2009 and has joked that the reason he's still married to her is that he can't afford another divorce.
  • The unnamed Bridezilla described in this Reddit post. It seems she cared more about being a bride than about being a wife.
  • Ric Flair has been married four times, with all four ending in divorce. Although he had a fifth wedding ceremony in 2018, the couple broke up in 2021, and both confirmed that they had never applied for a marriage certificate. Flair's long-time rival Ricky Steamboat also had his first four marriages end in divorce, but unlike Flair did go through the proper legal process with his fifth (and current) marriage.
  • Both Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy's personal lives included multiple troubled marriages and turbulent divorces; Laurel had four wives (five counting a common-law relationship) over the course of his life (one of whom he remarried, only for them to end up divorcing a second time), while Hardy had three. Both men seemed to find lasting happiness with their final spouses (Ida Kitaeva Raphael and Virginia Lucille Jones, respectively), who remained with them until their deaths.
  • Harlan Ellison was married five times. His third marriage lasted only seven weeks, while his fourth lasted just eight months. His final one lasted for 32 years until her death in 2020.
  • Lana Wood (the sister of Natalie Wood) was married six times.
  • Tony Curtis was married six times; all of his marriages ended in divorce, except the last which ended with his death.
  • Jerry Lee Lewis was married seven times, most infamously the third to an underage cousin when the previous one's divorce wasn't even settled.
  • Roger Waters has been married five times, the latest one at the age of 78.
  • Two Brazilian singers are infamous for this, Fábio Júnior, who was married seven times, and Gretchen, who the media liked to say that had marriages in the double digits but in her own biography clarified that out of her many relationships she only wedded five men.
  • Buzz Aldrin had his fourth marriage at 93.