10 Most Memorable Interracial Gay Couples on TV

In the last 20 years, a growing number of TV networks have come to embrace gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters in leading roles. Moreover, they’ve begun moving away from stereotypical depictions of same-sex couples, instead offering a broader range of dynamics and personalities.

Here are 10 couples whose romance made all TV viewers — gay or straight — swoon:

1. Jamal Lyon & Michael on Empire

After serving a 17-year stretch in prison for drug dealing, Cookie Lyon (played flawlessly by Taraji P. Henson) arrived unannounced at the home shared by her middle son Jamal (played  by Jussie Smollet) and his boyfriend Michael (played by Rafael de la Fuente). As she strutted into their abode, Cookie met Michael then turned to Jamal and, in her trademark well-intentioned but offensive-as-can-be manner, said, “Honey, you didn’t tell me you was datin’ a little Mexican! Look at her! She’s adorable!” Tired of living in the shadows, fearful of remaining Jamal’s little secret forever, Michael packed up his things and left — but not before telling Jamal that the only thing he seemed capable of loving was his own music. Burn!

2. Emily Fields & Maya St. Germain on Pretty Little Liars

For five years, Pretty Little Liars fans have spun elaborate theories about the identity of the mysterious and seemingly all-knowing “A,” who has endlessly tormented the four main characters. In Season one, “A” even threatened to out then-closeted lesbian Emily Fields (played by Shay Mitchell), who was pursuing a clandestine relationship with her new, free-spirited, African-American neighbor Maya St. Germain (played by Bianca Lawson). Every relationship “first” was followed by a taunting letter from “A”: their first quick peck, the sleepover that involved plenty of not-so-straight spooning and cuddling, and the make-out session inside a photo booth at a back-to-school party. But, after a while, Emily stopped caring about and, fueled by her love for Maya, burst out of the closet to her supportive friends and not-so-supportive mom.

3. Omar Little & Renaldo on The Wire

When a whistled rendition of “The Farmer in the Dell” rang through the streets of Baltimore in HBO’s The Wire, street-level drug dealers knew to hide their stashes because shotgun-wielding stick-up man Omar Little (played by Michael K. Williams) was fast approaching. Omar’s partners were typically also his partners in crime, and so he was known to enlist their help when executing heists — a choice that he came to regret after Brandon Wright, his paramour in Season 1, was brutally killed. After seeking (and getting) revenge for Brandon’s grisly murder, Omar found comfort in the arms of cornrow-wearing Latino hottie, Renaldo (played by Ramón Rodriguez), who happily helped him scope out targets and commit robberies.

4. Santana Lopez & Brittany Pierce on Glee

During their first two years of high school, Santana Lopez (played by Naya Rivera) and Brittany Pierce (played by Heather Morris) shared clandestine kisses and neck nuzzles — all the while keeping the full extent of their relationship private, largely due to Santana’s fear of being ostracized. Whenever Britt asked for clarity regarding the relationship, Santana’s Hulk-like, snippy, angry alter ego (which she dubbed “Snix”) would emerge to belittle, insult, and crush anyone in its forked-tongued path. By Season 3, however, their love could not be concealed any longer, and they were smooching in the hallways, dedicating romantic playlists to each other, and sharing tender glances and coy smiles. After a brief attempt at a long-distance relationship, Brittana split up — but that wasn’t the end of this TV love affair! On Glee’s 100th episode, the two were joined in matrimony. Both brides wore white and long veils, embracing tenderly while they were serenaded to “At Last.”

5. Captain Raymond Jacob Holt & Kevin Cozner on Brooklyn Nine-Nine

The officers at the Brooklyn Nine-Nine precinct may know Captain Holt (played by Andre Braugher) as a stone-faced leader, but his husband Kevin Cozner (played by Marc Evan Jackson) insists he’s the “funny one” in the marriage. It all goes to show, no matter whether you’re gay or straight, a special someone out there will laugh at your jokes and actually mean it.

6. Jesus Velazquez & Lafayette Reynolds on True Blood

During all his years working as a short-order cook at Merlotte’s, Lafayette tried to avoid the seemingly endless drama wrought by the vampires, werewolves, and shape shifters lurking in Bon Temps. Sure, he wasn’t above selling weed, Vicodin, and V (vampire blood) or running a gay escort business to rake in some extra cash, but he wasn’t particularly interested in exploring the supernatural realm — that is, until he met his mother’s sexy new caretaker, a Mexican brujo named Jesús Velasquez. Urged by Jesus, Lafayette began to explore his own “gifts” tripping out on “V” with his new squeeze and experiencing ominous hallucinations; and even attending a Wicca support group.

7. Connor Walsh & Oliver Hampton on How To Get Away With Murder

An unrepentant “man-whore,” law student Connor Walsh (played by Jack Fallahee) will shamelessly use sex to get ahead. In fact, his relationship with boyfriend Oliver Hampton (portrayed by Conrad Ricamora), an IT expert and genial hacker, started as a manipulative hook-up, prompted not by raw lust but by Connor’s desire to obtain illegal documents that would win a case for Prof. Annalise Keating. However, after finding himself at the center of a murder cover-up, Connor began longing for Oliver’s companionship, and what started off as a casual romp has blossomed into an intimate bond. But will Oliver’s shocking revelation in the season one finale doom the relationship? We’ll have to wait and see!

8. Stef & Lena on The Fosters

The Fosters focuses on the lives of long-term lesbian partners Stef (played by Teri Polo) and Lena (played Sherri Saum) Foster and their children: Stef’s biological son Brandon; the couple’s adopted twins, Mariana and Jesus; and their new foster children, Callie and Jude. Though many deem their family unit “atypical,” its strength lies in it being built on a foundation of love and respect — a truth we're reminded of in moments like those leading up to Stef and Lena’s wedding, when Lena caresses the newly-healed bullet wound on her cop wife’s body and proclaims: “If I’ m going to marry you, I’m going to marry all of you: the scar, the bullet, and the cop.” If you ask us, that’s a way better line than “You complete me!”

9. Dr. Callie Torres & Dr. Arizona Robbins on Grey’s Anatomy

Sometimes love just ain’t enough — or at least it wasn’t for Dr. Callie Torres (played by Sara Ramirez) and Dr. Arizona Robbins (played by Jessica Capshaw) on Grey’s Anatomy. Nicknamed “Calzona” by viewers, the lesbian duo enjoyed some of the most romantic moments in the series’ history. Remember their white wedding? It seemed like the culmination of a perfectly imperfect love story. Still, Calzona hardly enjoyed a drama-free existence. Over their six-year journey, the two overcame a mountain of obstacles. Eventually, after some intense couples therapy and a trial at-home separation, Arizona decided she wanted to recommit to her marriage, whereas Callie realized that their relationship had finally hit its breaking point. Sadly, Calzona went kaput.

10. Samantha Jones & Maria on Sex and the City

In season 4 of SATC, after a virtual parade of male sexual partners, Samantha opened the gates to a new Sapphic universe thanks to her short-lived, but committed, relationship with feisty Brazilian artist Maria (played by Sonia Braga). Thanks to Maria, Samantha learned how to truly connect during sex. Still, she found herself missing the companionship of strong and muscular men, as well as the no-strings-attached, less-talking-more-humping, carefree attitude afforded by her former. After an epic argument in which Maria smashed a china cabinet’s worth of dishes, the two decided to pursue fireworks via other relationships.