Content Warning: This article contains discussions of death
Although Meredith and Derek are known to be the fans’ favorite OTP, that didn’t mean there aren’t others that come a close second. One of Grey’s Anatomy’s most tragic love stories was between Mark and Lexie.
Mark and Lexie had a rollercoaster of a romance, having more ups and downs than any other couple. Despite breaking up more times than you could count, the pair still managed to find their way back to one another. Unfortunately, their last reconciliation ended in tragedy as both doctors died after succumbing to their injuries. In tribute to the pairing, here are five moments that proved they were couple goals (and five that proved they weren’t).
Updated on May 12th, 2021 by Kayleigh Banks: With season 18 now officially confirmed, fans are all wondering what other creative avenues the writers will go explore (especially as season 17 has been full of emotional surprises). Not only have Derek, George, and April made brief appearances, but Mark and Lexie also did too, providing fans with the closure they so desperately needed. Everyone just hopes this momentum will continue on into the next year.
20 Worst: They Didn’t Exactly Get On (S5 Ep1)
When season 5 began, no one would have thought that Mark and Lexie would have ended up together as it was clear that the two didn’t get along. Lexie hated the way he spoke to the interns and residents, and the way he ridiculed George in front of their colleagues.
Mark didn’t exactly help himself either, as he was seen to mock Lexie over her crush on George and told her not to speak to him. Ideally, it wasn’t an ideal start.
19 Best: Mark Believes In Lexie (S5 Ep3)
Up to this point, Mark and Lexie had only briefly interacted, with the plastic surgeon teasing her over her crush on George. However, this was quite a significant milestone in this would-be romance as Mark was seen to be the only one to believe in Lexie’s medical expertise.
As many fans remember, Lexie would often get ignored by Cristina and co. because she was only an intern. When Lexie figured out what was wrong with their patient, everyone would dismiss her suggestions. Only Mark was willing to test out her theory and teach. Fans didn’t notice it at the time but one would be able to see how happy Lexie was that Mark trusted her instincts.
18 Worst: Mark Was Only Interested Because She Was “Forbidden Fruit” (S5 Ep9)
Mark and Lexie’s relationship wasn’t exactly a fairytale romance as the plastic surgeon initially had no interest in her. It was only until Derek warned him to stay away from her did his attraction towards Lexie begin to grow.
Mark even admitted to Derek that he didn’t even think of Lexie in that way until he put the thoughts in his head. If Lexie would have found out that he had only been interested in her because she was “off-limits,” it probably wouldn’t have lasted.
17 Best: Mark reveals the relationship to Derek (S5 Ep16)
Mark and Lexie were first classed as a forbidden romance as the plastic surgeon was warned off by Derek. For weeks, they kept their relationship hidden from friends, meeting up at hotels and on-call rooms. However, the pressure of keeping it hidden began to get to Lexie.
Lexie gave Mark an ultimatum: either he told Derek about them or they couldn’t be together anymore. Fans had seen how much he cared for Lexie, so it wasn’t surprising when Mark ended up telling Derek. Although this led to another falling out between the best friends, there was a nice moment when Lexie came rushing to his aid.
16 Worst: Lexie’s stress eating (S5 Ep20)
Mark and Lexie’s relationship was still going strong weeks after the fight; however, it began to take its toll on Derek and Mark’s friendship, with the former still hurt by Mark’s betrayal. It also took its toll on Lexie who found herself caught in the middle of their arguments.
As a result, Lexie began to stress eat. Meredith then intervenes after noticing Mark and Derek try to use Lexie to fuel their work desires. Overall, it wouldn’t exactly make a person feel good if their partner is trying to use them for their own gain.
15 Best: Mark Meets Lexie’s Dad (S5 Ep21)
Surprisingly, Mark continued to be the perfect boyfriend when he decided to meet Lexie’s dad, Thatcher. Earlier in the episode, Mark was reluctant to meet Thatcher because he believed he wouldn’t like him. He also implied that he preferred their relationship to be private and didn’t want an outsider’s perspective to ruin it. Lexie looked disappointed by his decision but respected it all the same.
However, Mark soon changed his mind after speaking with Callie. Something she said must have resonated with the plastics attending as he turns up at the restaurant. Lexie looked taken aback but was nevertheless pleased that he turned up to meet her father. It showed her how committed Mark was to the relationship.
14 Worst: Lexie Doesn’t Want To Move In (S5 Ep23)
This was the episode where the viewers saw a tiny crack made in the relationship that eventually grew without any of the fans noticing. Even though Mark made a huge step in the relationship by meeting Thatcher, it appeared that he was willing to go even further to show his commitment to Lexie by asking her to move in with him.
However, Lexie decided to pretend that she had no idea what he was alluding to and showed excitement over him getting “his own place.” Then, later on, Lexie admitted that she just wasn’t ready for that. The signs that these two were heading towards different paths were evident but never properly picked up on.
13 Best: Lexie Moves In With Mark (S6 Ep2)
Although Lexie was quite adamant that she wasn’t quite ready to move in with Mark, George’s unexpected death and her bond with Clara helped to change her mind. While Lexie had initially wanted to focus on her career, for the time being, she eventually came to the conclusion that she was ready to move in with him.
Many fans loved this mini-arc for Lexie as they were able to see the maturity between the couple grow. Lexie took her time with her decision and didn’t rush into it. In return, Mark didn’t put any pressure on her and wanted her to decide when the time was right.
12 Worst: The Arrival Of Sloan (S6 Ep10)
As fans remember, Sloan’s presence ended up being the reason why Mark and Lexie broke up. Not only did the young woman drop the paternity bombshell in the middle of a work shift, but Mark immediately moved her into his and Lexie’s apartment without even discussing it with her.
It was clear to all that Lexie was uncomfortable with the situation. However, she, nevertheless, stayed quiet because she didn’t want to upset Mark. As everyone knows, this isn’t exactly how a healthy relationship should unfold.
11 Best: Attempting To Be A Family (S6 Ep10)
Although it was clear that Lexie wasn’t exactly comfortable with their new living situation, she still did her best to try and make it work, while also helping to build the bond between father and daughter.
She talked to Sloan about his interests, gave her money to buy him a Christmas gift, and even gave Mark advice on how to talk to his daughter. While the pressure did eventually become too much for Lexie, she deserves a lot of credit for forging the bond between the two.
10 Worst: The Alex/Addison fight (S6 Ep12)
The fight Mark and Lexie have in season 6 is probably one of their worst scenes together. After the couple breaks up, Slexie fans watched in horror as Lexie and Alex hooked up (“Blink”). It was even worse for them when Mark revealed he slept with Addison while he was at Oceanside (“I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked”).
The fight that proceeded left all fans cowering behind closed fingers as they revealed their infidelity to one another. Looking back, the couple was right to break up as they needed to grow separately. They both proved that they needed to mature as Mark’s disgust was seen as hypocritical and Lexie’s ‘eye for an eye’ attitude showed her immaturity. It’s still devastating to watch.
9 Best: Mark Confesses He Wants To Marry Lexie (S6 Ep22)
There was only one person Mark had ever said he would marry and that was Lexie. He first revealed his desire in “Shiny Happy People” when Callie encouraged him to go after her before it was too late. Mark also revealed he was thinking about proposing in the episode ‘Shock to the System.’
At the time, Lexie was not ready to settle down but it did show how much Mark had grown. As a former bachelor who enjoyed the single life, for him to admit that he wants to settle down and get married illustrates the influence the relationship had on him.
8 Worst: Terrible Communication (S7 Ep3)
From the first episode of season 7, Mark and Lexie were shown to be in an awkward limbo. For weeks, it was obvious to all their friends that they had some residual feelings. However, they wouldn’t act on them because they thought the other wasn’t interested.
This will-they-won’t-they dynamic went on for a few weeks until April provided Lexie with a much-needed wake-up call. Unfortunately, it appeared to be too late. Just as Lexie was about to confess her feelings, she saw Mark and Amelia kissing in the hallway. Their inability to communicate set them back once more.
7 Best: The Spontaneous Christmas Kiss (S7 Ep10)
While Mark’s and Amelia’s brief encounter did set the couple back for a few weeks, it wasn’t long before the viewers saw the sparks between them ignite again as they continued flirt at work. Although Lexie was adamant that they were in two different stages of their lives, Mark still believed it was worth trying again and asked her on a date.
When Lexie arrived, she had several excuses ready so she could leave. She even roped Jackson in to help her. However, after she and Mark kiss, Lexie decided to send Jackson away. Despite the list of reasons she had of why they shouldn’t be together, it was clear that the sparks between them hadn’t dissipated.
6 Worst: Lexie Asks Mark To Let Her Go (S7 Ep22)
After Mark told Lexie that Callie was pregnant with his child, she decided that there was no point in continuing their relationship as this reaffirmed her beliefs that they were in two different places in their life. Thus, they went their separate ways for a while, with Lexie eventually getting into a relationship with Jackson.
While she was happily dating Jackson for some time, Lexie did get frustrated that Mark did seem to find a way to intervene in her new relationship. As a result, she asked Mark to let her go so she could try to make things work with Jackson. At this point, it did seem like they were throwing the towel in as Mark agreed to call it a day.
5 Best: “It’s Nice Talking To You” Scene (S8 Ep21)
With Lexie in a relationship with Jackson at the start of the season and Mark trying to maintain a respectful distance, the two didn’t spend a lot of time together outside of work. While they would briefly talk at the coffee cart or when they were waiting for the elevators, there was now a lingering awkwardness that could be felt by all.
However, near the end of season 8, it seemed that they had managed to find a new normal by becoming friends. From joking about lentil soup to talking about the new Nine Inch Nails album, Mark and Lexie eventually admitted that they missed each other. It just proved that their connection was not going anywhere, anytime soon.
4 Worst: Mark’s relationship with Julia (Majority of S8)
After Mark gave his blessing to Jackson and Lexie, he began dating ophthalmologist Julia Canner. Their relationship was established in the episode “Put Me In Coach,” where the doctors noted Mark kissing an opposing team member. It became evident that Lexie was jealous of the new budding romance.
Jackson soon broke up with Lexie after realizing she still had feelings for Mark. Instead of doing something about it, Lexie decides to keep quiet and continues to watch as Mark’s relationship flourishes. She doesn’t react well to the news that he might move in with Julia (“Lion Sleeps Tonight”) and breaks down to Derek about missing him (“Moment Of Truth”). It’s so frustrating to watch her suffer when she could easily do something about it.
3 Best: “You’re like a disease” speech (S8 Ep22)
Who knew being compared to a disease could be so romantic? Lexie somehow made it work for her and created one of the show’s most iconic speeches. After weeks of pining, Lexie decided to confess her feelings for our favorite plastics attending.
She admitted that despite being happy with Jackson she couldn’t help but be drawn back to him. She also confesses to Mark that he is always on her mind, so much that it is beginning to affect her daily routine. Surprisingly, Mark is speechless by her admission, yet it proved one thing. No matter who they dated, the pair would always be drawn to each other in some form.
2 Worst: Lexie dies (S8 Ep24)
Arguably the worst death on the show, Slexie fans’ hearts were torn in two as they saw Lexie trapped under the plane. The other doctors tried to get it off her, but it quickly became apparent that Lexie would not survive her injuries. When Cristina went to find Meredith, Mark stayed with Lexie.
Mark appeared in denial over the incident, refusing Lexie’s pleas to hold her hand because she “wasn’t dying.” However, he soon changed his mind when he still couldn’t get the wing off of her. Mark then proceeds to confess his love to her, creating a dream scenario where they would live happily together. If only he had said something earlier because fans were haunted by Lexie’s last words: “Meant to be.”
1 Best: Together In Heaven? (S17 Ep10)
It may have taken nine years but Slexie fans managed to get their closure in season 17 when Lexie and Mark made an appearance. Although it occurred in Meredith’s mind, the show pretty much confirmed that the two were now together after reuniting in the afterlife.
It came as a great surprise for fans, especially as they could see how at peace they were while they hung out on the beach and joked around in the ocean. They may not have got their happy ending when they were alive, but at least they found each other again in heaven.
NEXT: Grey’s Anatomy: 5 Times Meredith And Derek Were The Perfect Couple (& 5 Times They Weren’t)
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