Divorce Material: The 25 Worst Husbands in TV History

Mad Men (2007)

It’s always delightful seeing lovey-dovey couples on TV that make you go “awww” every time they kiss. Who doesn’t love a thoughtful, romantic, and caring TV husband? Men like Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation, Marshall Eriksen from How I Met Your Mother, and Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights set the bar high, but many TV husbands don’t even come close to it. From weaponized incompetence to blatant abuse, some TV husbands make us cringe rather than swoon.

1. Ray Barone

Everybody Loves Raymond Patricia Heaton, Ray Romano
Image Credit: HBO Independent Productions.

Everybody Loves Raymond is a wildly funny show. Ray and Debra aren’t always the nicest to each other, often leading to hilarious stalemates. When it comes to putting his family first and being emotionally available, Ray drops the ball, but with parents like his, it’s no wonder he’s not the best husband.

2. George Bluth

arrested development george bluth
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

There are several bad husbands in Arrested Development, but George Bluth takes the cake. He committed an impressive myriad of financial crimes and then abandoned his family to deal with the horrendous aftermath. Don't worry, he still pops up when he needs something from them!

3. Darrin Stephens

Bewitched (1964) Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York
Image Credit: Screen Gems.

Back in the day, I think people found Darrin Stephens funny and quirky, but watching Bewitched now, he is pretty annoying. Samantha is a beautiful, charming, and magical wife, but all he does is get frustrated with her, even when she’s trying to help him. He’s ungrateful and high-strung, and Samantha deserves better!

4. Peter Griffin

Family Guy (1999) Alex Borstein, Seth MacFarlane
Image Credit: 20th Television Animation.

Unsurprisingly, Peter Griffin also makes the list. He has no respect for Lois and constantly cheats on her, bad-mouths her, and belittles her throughout the series. He’s a pretty terrible father, too, but I find the show difficult to watch because of how he talks to Lois. In all fairness, she's not much better.

5. Archie Bunker

All in the Family Carroll O'Connor
Image Credit: Tandem Productions.

Archie Bunker is the husband and father of All in the Family, and whether or not he’s a good husband is debatable. Some show fans think he’s relatable and snarky, but others feel he talked down to Edith, and his behavior even bordered on verbal abuse.

6. Dennis Reynolds

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005) Glenn Howerton
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

It’s easy to forget that Dennis Reynolds from It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia was a husband for part of the series. He’s married to Maureen Ponderosa, an unhinged woman who believes she is a cat trapped in a woman’s body. Dennis is always mean and dismissive toward her. She might be crazy, but he was a horrible husband.

7. Pierce Hawthorne

Community Chevy Chase
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Television.

Pierce Hawthorne from Community says he was married several times, and when he references his marriages throughout the show, they sound awful. He treated his wives like trophies or burdens and never talked about any of them like they were humans.

8. Ross Geller

Friends David Schwimmer, Courtney Cox
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Television.

A running joke in Friends is how Ross keeps getting divorced, but many fans don’t think how he treats his wives is funny. Carol is up for debate, as she wasn’t always fair to him, especially concerning Ben. But he neglected Emily and broke her heart. He even lied to Rachel about dissolving their brief and mistaken Vegas marriage.

9. Norm Peterson

Cheers George Wendt
Image Credit: Paramount Network Television.

Norm Peterson from Cheers is a somewhat lovable and hilarious character, but he will not win The Best Husband award anytime soon. He wasn’t mean or abusive toward his wife, but he did everything he could to avoid spending time with her, and he was an alcoholic on top of that.

10. Randy Marsh

South Park (1997) Trey Parker
Image Credit: Comedy Partners.

Randy Marsh forcing his family to move to a rural area so he could become a weed farmer will always be funny. But if I were his wife Sharon, I’d be unhappy. Randy is supposed to be an idiot, and he fills these shoes nicely, acting like a child, forcing his wife to mother both him and their son Stan.

11. Tim Taylor

Home Improvement (1991) Tim Allen, Richard Karn
Image Credit: Touchstone Television.

Tim Taylor from Home Improvement didn’t seem so bad when I was a kid, but now that I’m older, I realize Jill had to deal with his shenanigans and immature behavior. Ultimately, I think they truly loved one another, but that doesn’t mean his often selfish and childish actions were acceptable.

12. Al Bundy

Married... with Children (1987)Christina Applegate, David Faustino, Katey Sagal, Ed O'Neill
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures Television.

Al Bundy from Married… with Children is another hilarious character who, in hindsight, wasn’t a stellar partner. He wasn’t usually mean, but he tended to be an absent father and husband who was too wrapped up in his regrets and woes to be available to his family.

13. Doug Heffernan

The King of Queens (1998) Kevin James, Leah Remini
Image Credit: CBS Paramount Television.

Doug Heffernan from King of Queens is a lovable character but not always the most considerate and caring husband toward Carrie. He would lie to her, sneak around behind her back to do dumb things, and consistently put his wants and needs before hers. However, she wasn’t always the most generous partner either.

14. Fred Mertz

I Love Lucy William Frawley
Image Credit: Desilu Productions.

Fred Mertz is easily one of the worst husbands on this list. He is hardly ever kind toward Ethel on I Love Lucy and often makes degrading comments. It seems like he hates her. This attitude is compounded by the fact that the two actors did not get along, so the hate was real.

15. Niles Crane

Frasier
Image Credit: Paramount Network Television.

I adore Niles Crane from Frasier, and Maris was certainly not a walk in the park, but he was still a lousy husband. All he did was complain about her and make excuses to leave the house so he didn’t have to be around her. But he was a wonderful partner (mostly) to Daphne!

16. Ralph Kramden

The Honeymooners Jackie Gleason, Audrey Meadows
Image Credit: Jackie Gleason Enterprises.

Ralph Kramden from The Honeymooners is a prime example of a bad husband. “To the moon, Alice!” Need I say more? This thinly veiled threat was well-received when the show aired, but today, it wouldn't get the same reaction.

17. Dre Johnson

Black-ish (2014) Anthony Anderson
Image Credit: ABC Signature.

Dre Johnson from Black-ish is a horrendous husband who underappreciates his wife and thinks everything he does is more important. During one scene, she’s trying to tell him how she saved someone’s life at work, and he keeps talking about some trivial problem he had that day.

18. Phil Dunphy

Modern Family Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

Many fans love Phil from Modern Family and see him as a sweet and endearing father and husband, but he’s pretty selfish, oblivious, and a little creepy. He incessantly ogles Gloria, his father-in-law's second wife, and focuses on doing the fun parent stuff, leaving the discipline and chores to Claire.

19. Don Draper

Mad Men John Hamm
Image Credit: AMC.

Does this one even need an explanation? Most of the husbands on Mad Men are awful husbands, but Don comes out on top. He cheats on his wife countless times, and I think he has roughly 20 mistresses throughout the series. The worst part is his lack of remorse or guilt.

20. Chris Turk

Scrubs
Image Credit: ABC Studios.

People love Turk and JD’s friendship in Scrubs, but Turk often prioritizes JD over his wife. Carla is endlessly patient with him about this, but watching him neglect her and act like a child with his BFF makes me cringe. At least he matures a bit toward the end of the series.

21. Trey MacDougal

SATC Kyle MacLachlan
Image Credit: ABC Studios.

Trey MacDougal is Charlotte’s first wife in SATC; he’s the one with the overbearing mother who is obsessed with ducks and plaid. He seems sweet initially, but his impotence and mommy issues lead him to neglect Charlotte, making her feel small and unimportant.

22. Walter White

Walter White having breakfast
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Television.

Sure, he started his drug operation because he wanted to help his family financially, but his intentions and actions didn’t always line up. The more he sinks into his criminal life, the more he abuses Skyler with assault, harassment, gaslighting, and emotional blackmail.

23. Perry Wright

Big Little Lies (2017) Nicole Kidman, Alexander Skarsgård
Image Credit: Crazyrose.

Most of the first season of Big Little Lies is about Perry’s death and the events that led to it. He was a textbook domestic abuser who not only hit his wife regularly but would emotionally manipulate her and all the people around them, making sure he looked like the good guy.

24. Stan Smith

 American Dad! (2005) Seth MacFarlane, Wendy Schaal
Image Credit: 20th Television Animation.

Stan Smith is not nearly as bad as animated husbands like Peter Griffin, but he’s not a superb partner either. There are several episodes of American Dad where he tries to avoid Francine and acts like she’s lucky to have him, but Francine is the charming one.

25. Lester Nygaard

Fargo Martin Freeman
Image Credit: MGM Television.

The first season of Fargo follows Lester Nygaard, a meek man who can’t seem to satisfy his wife or himself in every department. He seems to be trying his best while she does nothing but tear him down. However, he bludgeons her to death with a hammer, so it’s safe to say he’s not a good husband.

Author: Veronica Booth

Title: Freelance Writer

Expertise: Food, Entertainment, Movies, TV, Fashion, Lifestyle, Celebrity

Bio:

Veronica is a food, fashion, and entertainment writer from Boston, MA, with a passion for all things lifestyle and culture. She graduated from Boston University in 2019 with a bachelor's in English literature. From Anna Wintour to Angelina Jolie to Alton Brown, she has her finger on the pulse of all things Hollywood and celebrity.

If she's not in the kitchen crafting new recipes, then she's binging the latest HBO series and catching up on the hottest trends in Vogue.

She has written for and been syndicated by publications like The Weather Channel, The Daily Meal, The Borgen Project, The Good Men Project, The Express, MSN, Wealth of Geeks, and Not Deer Magazine. Her writing experience ranges from global news articles to celebrity gossip pieces to movie reviews to homemade recipes and more.