Of all the characters on Gilmore Girls, it’s safe to say that Luke Danes is the grumpiest. Played by Scott Patterson, this popular diner owner has a great work ethic and a kind soul, but he does let little things get on his nerves. It’s fun watching him and Lorelai (Lauren Graham) fall in love as they strike the right balance with each other.
Rory and Lorelai may be the main draw of this show but there are many episodes that flesh out Luke’s story. From his complicated personal life to the women he has loved, and some of the plans that others have for his diner, there are many things about Luke that are super sad.
10 Luke’s Dad Died
Before fans even wished that they could drink coffee and eat burgers at his lovely diner, they found out that Luke’s dad had died before the events of the series.
Luke’s dad ran a hardware store and Luke turned the same location into a restaurant. It was a sweet and moving gesture and it’s so sad to think about Luke grieving his father. He had a “dark day” where, once a year, he would remember his dad.
9 The Woman He Loved Left Town (Twice)
Lorelai was stunned to find out that Luke had dated a woman named Rachel (Lisa Ann Hadley). She was a photographer who lived to travel and just couldn’t hack it in tiny Stars Hollow.
Luke loved Rachel so much, and she left him behind not once but twice. The first time happened before Lorelai knew him, and the second break-up was at the end of season one. This was terrible and made Luke think that he couldn’t ever find love.
8 He Struggled To Commit To Lorelai
Luke and Lorelai both messed up with each other and Luke struggled to let Lorelai know his feelings for her. When he finally did and they began dating, he couldn’t commit that easily.
From keeping Lorelai in the dark about a lot of things in his life to his inability to express his feelings, Luke had to get over a lot before he could be the right partner for Lorelai.
7 He Didn’t Know He Had A Child For A Long Time
When April Nardini (Vanessa Marano) came into Luke’s life, it was a huge shock and completely turned his life upside down.
Luke was never told that he had a daughter, and it was only when she was a pre-teen that she found Luke and announced that she was his kid. It’s really sad that Luke missed out on most of her life and that he wasn’t able to be a more involved parent for so long.
6 He Couldn’t Help Jess
Jess Mariano could be sweet and Luke tried really hard to be there for his rebellious nephew, played by Milo Ventimiglia.
But no matter what he did, Luke never really got through to him, and Jess left Stars Hollow with as many problems as he had before. It’s sad that Luke wasn’t able to connect with Jess, as he wanted to make his sister’s life easier and he hoped that he could make a positive impact. While these two connected again in the Netflix revival and seemed to be on better terms, it was rough for a while.
5 His Wife Nicole Cheated On Him
Luke and Nicole got married, which was a bit surprising for fans as he had never expressed a huge interest in settling down before. This character, played by Tricia O’Kelley, was a lawyer, and with her overbearing personality, she was the total opposite of Luke. While he was always cynical, he had a massive heart.
Nicole ended up cheating on Luke, which is one of the saddest things that has happened to him. He knew that things wouldn’t work out, but it was still horrible. It really hurt his confidence, which was never all that great to begin with.
4 Lorelai’s Parents Didn’t Support Him
It was confusing when Richard and Emily split up, and Lorelai’s parents, played by Edward Herrmann and Kelly Bishop, never understood why their daughter was with Luke.
They not only thought that he was beneath them, since he owned a diner and didn’t have a lot of money, they pressured him. Richard thought that Luke should franchise the diner, which was a big storyline in the revival, and not in Luke’s wheelhouse at all. It’s too bad that Luke wasn’t welcomed by the Gilmores, as he was a kind and loving partner for Lorelai.
3 He Almost Lost The Chance To Parent April Properly
Near the end of the series, Luke learned from Anna (Sherilyn Fenn) that she wanted to move to New Mexico with April.
This was really sad for Luke, who faced a future where he wouldn’t get to see his daughter very often. After not being in her life for so long, this was a bleak prospect. Thankfully, they were able to work it out so he could continue being an active parent.
2 Luke Didn’t Have Friends Or Socialize Much For Years
When Lorelai and Luke began their relationship, it really opened up his world. He suddenly had a whole community rallying around him since Lorelai and Rory are so popular in Stars Hollow.
Before that, Luke was known in town and everyone loved coming to his diner, but it’s hard to say that he had good friends. He was definitely a loner who didn’t socialize much, and since he’s such a good guy, that’s really sad to think about.
1 Lorelai Became Engaged To Max Then Married Another Man
Luke and Christopher are Lorelai’s main love interests, but Rory’s dad, played by David Sutcliffe, never seems good enough for Lorelai. When Lorelai married Christopher, it was a devastating moment for Luke, who knew that he wanted to be with her.
It was also tough for Luke to watch Lorelai become engaged to Max Medina (Scott Cohen). He wasn’t quite at a place where he could tell her how he felt, but he knew that he didn’t want her to marry someone else.
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