Things are getting messy. Nate Jacobs (Jacob Elordi) and Maddy Perez (Alexa Demie) had a toxic on-again, off-again relationship before her best friend Cassie Howard (Sydney Sweeney) came along and stirred the pot.
When Euphoria premiered in June 2019, fans were introduced to a broken-up version of Nate and Maddy. Following a party scene that featured the exes hurling expletive-laced insults at each other as Maddy hooked up with Tyler Clarkson (Lukas Gage) in a pool, the teens got back together.
As the first season continued, viewers were given glimpses into the early days of Nate and Maddy’s relationship through flashbacks. The look back at their past paired with the present-day scenes helped fans piece together when things went awry between the duo.
Demie told The Hollywood Reporter in July 2019 that she believes her character “really is in love with Nate, despite how dysfunctional and toxic their relationship is.”
The actress added, “I think she is in love with him, and she has a little bit of hope inside of her that he will be everything she wants him to be. She’s also just really young and thinks that Nate is her world. Later on, things might change, but now she just wants to defend him and be with him.”
Amid their reconciliation, the pair had an extremely violent altercation in which Nate chokes Maddy. They stay together.
“She doesn’t want him to go to jail — he’s her boyfriend. Despite what you see on camera — I know we show a lot of the toxic parts of the relationship — but there’s also been the good parts of the relationship,” Demie told THR. “You also feel like when your parents or any adult is trying to tell you what to do, you want to rebel against that, and she definitely wants to rebel and just be with Nate.”
By the end of season 1, the characters realize that they’re not good for each other and eventually break up.
Nate and Cassie start their love story in the season 2 premiere, which aired in January 2022. Reeling from her abortion and subsequent split from Christopher McKay (Algee Smith), Cassie gets drunk before a New Year’s Eve party which leads to a fight with her sister, Lexi (Maude Apatow). Nate finds the inebriated Cassie in a gas station parking lot where he offers her beer and a ride. Once at the party, the two proceed to hook up in the bathroom.
In a Euphoria behind-the-scenes featurette, Sweeney recalled the first moment creator Sam Levinson told her about the “crazy” Cassie and Nate story line.
“My first response was: ‘But, what about Maddy?’” the actress recalled. Elordi, for his part, said that, at first, he “didn’t understand” the Nate and Cassie relationship.
“I was worried that it was just the high school trope of different people sleeping with different people,” the Kissing Booth actor said, noting that he eventually realized it was an “important part and development” of his character.
Keep scrolling for a timeline of Nate, Maddie and Cassie’s love triangle:
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential support.