TV Shows About Divorce to Help You Cope With Your Breakup
Going through the divorce process can be isolating and overwhelming – including the days, months, or years before you’ve made the decision to end your marriage (or are trying to salvage the relationship). Sometimes you just want to unplug your overactive brain or be around people who get what you’re going through. One of the easiest ways to do this is to put on comfy clothes, fix yourself a snack, and sit down to watch some TV.
Here is a list of shows you can find on live TV or streaming on apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Apple TV+. We’ve broken them down by genre so you can find just what you need. If we missed your favorite, let us know!
Comedy TV series about divorce
The hilarious Netflix comedy series Grace and Frankie stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterston, and Martin Sheen. It explores same-sex marriage, divorce, aging, friendships, marital conflicts, career reinvention, co-parenting, and just about every other daily struggle divorcing individuals go through with heart and lots of humor.
To embrace the reality that your divorce can be one of the best things to happen to you, watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Mom of two Miriam "Midge" Maisel discovers her true calling (standup comedy) after her husband leaves her in this award-winning show.
Uncoupled is one of the newest TV series about life during and after divorce. Neil Patrick Harris plays the lead, who thinks his life is perfect … and then his partner of 17 years leaves him. This comedy-drama captures the pain of losing your soulmate and starting over (in this case, as a single gay man in your mid-40s).
Laugh over those co-parenting and dating-after-divorce struggles with a big glass of wine and The New Adventures of Old Christine. It stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus, mom to a smart little boy and sister to a live-in brother who can be childlike, too (along with her ex and his new girlfriend “New Christine”). She’s just learning as she goes along (aren’t we all?).
Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce is a dramedy with divorce in your 40s as the central theme. It’s written with sharp wit and well-developed characters. It lasted five seasons, and it’s up your alley if you wish you had more girlfriends who could relate to what you’re going through.
If you need to laugh, Frasier is a clever sitcom about self-sabotaging and eccentric psychiatrists and their loveable but quirky family members and friends. This award-winning comedy series ran for 11 seasons, so you can binge on it for a while.
If you like the formula of classic sitcoms, try One Day at a Time – either the 1970s original or the 2017 reboot on Netflix. It’s about a recently divorced mother of two teenage daughters (teen daughter and tween son in the reboot) and their new life in the city.
Single dads, we have a show for you if you need time with some funny bros: Two and a Half Men. It became popular at the start when Charlie Sheen played the main character (until his downward spiral). Ashton Kutcher took over as the lead alongside the series-long costar Jon Cryer and a slew of A-list guest stars.
If you loved Courteney Cox as neat-freak Monica on Friends, you’ll love her as bossy, wine-guzzling Jules in Cougar Town. She stars alongside a strong cast of supporting characters who navigate different aspects of life after divorce or other breakups, dating again, and co-parenting misadventures. The show also spotlights the (lighter side) perspective of her teenage son.
Drama TV series about divorce
Netflix’s series Sweet Magnolias is based on the book series by Sherryl Woods. Newly divorced mom Maddie Townsend returns to her hometown and reconnects with a diverse group of girlfriends and locals. They meet up for margaritas and dish about their lives. If your ex has put you through hell and back, this show will validate all your feelings.
Stuck in a divorce that seems endless? You’ll sympathize with the couple in the HBO series Divorce (the divorcing couple is Sarah Jessica Parker as Frances and Thomas Haden Church as Robert). It only lasted for three seasons, but the acting is solid, and you’ll enjoy the relatable plotlines. If you were a Sex and the City fan in your single days, you’ll likely enjoy this series.
Related: 5 Ways to Get Your Divorce “Unstuck”
An intense musical drama with a Black cast, Empire is for viewers who want equal ex-husband and ex-wife perspectives. Terrence Howard plays the CEO of a major record label who must decide which one of his three sons will take his place in the company (he’s battling ALS). But it gets even more complicated when his ex-wife (Taraji P. Henson) is released from prison and wants to take charge of the company she co-founded.
Once and Again was a short-lived series in the late 1990s and early 2000s about a divorced dad who begins dating a newly separated mom. It explores their relationship's impact on their children and ex-spouses as well as their own newly single lives.
Better Things is one of the more recent TV series about life after divorce. Actress Pamela Adlon leads the cast as an actress in Hollywood who is juggling her career and raising three daughters.
For a fun show with strong characters, The Starter Wife captures the experience of being in the first of probably at least two marriages – in keeping with the “stereotypical” lifestyle of the rich and famous. This limited series lasts only 10 episodes, so it’s the perfect show to binge in one weekend.
The Stepford-esque Desperate Housewives was an Emmy Award-winning series that centered around housewives’ suburban lives. Chock-full of drama, nosy neighbors, romance, and dark plot twists, it’s packed with A-list actors and campy fun interlaced with more serious storylines, including divorce, illness, natural disasters, and murder.
Speaking of housewives, perhaps no TV characters have experienced as many divorces as the Real Housewives (the irony of the title is thick). Start with the Beverly Hills, Atlanta, or Orange County franchises, all on Bravo or Peacock. The real estate, designer everything, and lavish vacations are entertaining, and you may just feel a kinship with several women, their husbands, and their children. There are also franchises in New York, Salt Lake City, New Jersey, Miami, and other wealthy locales.
Gilmore Girls doesn’t focus on divorce as a core theme, but it is about a young single mom, her teenage daughter (her “mini-me” – they literally have the same name), and their incredible bond. This feel-good series is for you if you’re interested in witty dialogue, small-town life, and the bonds between the members of a complicated family. Netflix also did a rebooted four-part series called Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life that lets us see how the characters have evolved a decade after the original series ended.
Want campy good fun? Try Melrose Place. This 90s nighttime soap has a lot of over-the-top drama that will (hopefully) help you feel so much more in control of all your own divorce-related stress.