Grey's Anatomy characters, ranked by how tragic their backstory is

I started watching Grey's as a high school sophomore. Now I'm four years out of college and it's somehow still going. Never say I have commitment issues. Backstory does not include things that occurred after they were made a regular character (or were a regular character in another Shonda show...*side eyes Amelia*
  1. Jo Wilson
    Pains me to put her first on any list, because tbh present day Jo is kind of The Worst. But she was a foster kid, lived in a car, and apparently had an abusive. All this awfulness would maybe make me forgive her being The Worst, but her flaws usually seem unconnected.
  2. Alex Karev
    Had to be the defacto parent to his younger siblings due to a drunk dad and schizophrenic mom. Also in and out of foster care.
  3. Meredith Grey
    Am perhaps inclined to rank her high because of how PERVASIVE her bad childhood is. Her dad left when she was young, her mother was Ellis Grey, found her mother after a suicide attempt, mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's while Mer was pretty young, etc.
  4. Amelia Shepherd
    Father was murdered in front of her when she was a kid. Spiraled into drug addiction.
  5. Derek Shepherd
    Father was murdered in front of him when he was a kid.
  6. Cristina Yang
    Father died in a car accident in front of her when she was a kid.
  7. Stephanie Edwards
    Born with sickle-cell disease, in a clinical trial for it at age five.
  8. Owen Hunt
    Sister (presumably) died when he was an adult. Also has PTSD from the war.
  9. Arizona Robbins
    Brother died when she was an adult. Army brat, moved around a lot. Grew up gay with the name Arizona, this knew how to fight on a playground.
  10. Teddy Altman
    Best friend died when she was an adult. Also has war memories.
  11. Izzie Stevens
    Grew up in a trailer park, pregnant as a teenager and gave the baby up for adoption.
  12. Richard Webber
    Alcoholism, very fraught marital affair. I also just remembered we JUST found out his mom died of cancer when he was a kid. So he should probably be up there with the dead parent characters. But that's new info and hasn't really been leaned on for Tragedy yet.
  13. Mark Sloan
    I feel like we never got anything detailed for him, except that his parents left him alone a lot while they went out at night?
  14. Addison Montgomery
    Grew up rich, but her parents were the most frigid of WASPs.
  15. Lexie Grey
    Seems to have only fond memories of her family, but her dad IS Thatcher Grey, so he couldn't have been as wonderful as she said. Also she seemed to have zero interest in the sister she grew up with, which isn't really relevant to this list, just something I've noticed.
  16. Maggie Pierce
    Adopted into a family of goofy sweet parents. She seemed to get picked on a lot in school for being younger than everyone else.
  17. Miranda Bailey
    Was a nerd in high school. Don't think we know of any other old issues....though her dad wasn't very nice in the one episode he appeared in.
  18. April Kepner
    Her family seems very close and in tact, but damn her sisters are annoying
  19. George O'Malley
    Sweetest mother ever, in tact family, but his brothers picked on him.
  20. Jackson Avery
    Grew up rich, has an awesome mom. Caveat that we don't know anything about his dad....is most likely dead, dunno when, but it has never been evoked as a Tragic Backstory.
  21. Callie Torres
    Rich, seemed to have a really good relationship with her family before the series. Feels a bit disingenuous since they got grossly homophobic, but that all happened during the show and this is not a Backstory.
  22. I genuinely don't remember anything about Burke, and I don't think they've ever gone into much about Ben's pre-show life.
  23. Thought about doing a list ranking who's had it the most tragic during the shows run, but that's a genuinely exhausting task