Gilmore Girls Wiki
Gilmore Girls Wiki

You are not your uncle. I mean, would Louie ever build someone a chuppah, or help fix things around someone’s house without being asked, or make a special coffee cake with balloons for a girl’s sixteenth birthday?
—Lorelai on Luke[src]

Luke Danes is a principal character on Gilmore Girls. He is portrayed by Scott Patterson.


Luke is Stars Hollow's local diner owner. He has lived in Stars Hollow his entire life,[1] and his dad's hardware store (William's Hardware, in the middle of town) became his diner after his dad passed away. While his father was heavily involved in town events[2], Luke has resisted all of them, including most Town Meetings and the War Re-enactments. Though Luke expresses animosity towards town events, it is evident that he cares for the town and never has huge ambitions to leave.[1] When Richard Gilmore attempts to have Luke open up a whole chain of Luke's Diners, Luke respectfully declines as he has no interest in becoming a business magnate.[3] This small-town feeling that he cherishes directly correlates to his failed relationship with Rachel.

Luke attended Stars Hollow High School where he lettered in Track (hurdles), a successful team that went to the State Finals more than once, and won twice.[4] After his father died, Luke moved into the office above the diner and converted it into a small apartment. He lived there alone until his nephew Jess Mariano was sent by his mother to live with Luke.[5] Luke is of a very sarcastic nature, often employing dry wit in his exchanges with everyone, and is known as the town grump with a heart of gold.


The focal point of much of Luke's storyline is his long term love interest, Lorelai Gilmore. Since Lorelai doesn't cook, Luke feeds Lorelai and Rory. Luke's Diner is included in almost every episode and is is a big part of their lives. The possibility of a Luke and Lorelai romance is hinted at early on[6][7], even though it takes long to accumulate[8]. At Rory's 16th birthday party Luke thoughtfully brings a bag of ice, just when Lorelai is about to leave the party to get some, and Emily comments that the "ice-man" was checking Lorelai out to which she blushes and denies it.[9] In particular, this comes to a head when Lorelai is eating at Luke's diner alone for Christmas and he lovingly makes her a Santa-themed burger. At this time, Lorelai hears news of her father's heart attack and panics; Luke announces an abrupt shutting down of the diner to drive her to the hospital.

He stays to comfort her, including a hug and thoughtful commentary (and Lorelai at one point inadvertently admits that he's good-looking to which he's very intrigued to hear more about). During a wait, Luke ends up speaking with Lorelai's mother Emily who asks if the two were on a date or are a couple. When Luke says no that they're just friends, Emily replies, "You're both idiots."[10] Things are complicated when, Luke's past flame, Rachel (who is "Elle McPherson pretty") returns to Stars Hollow to be with Luke.[11] While happy to see her, he is apprehensive about what this reappearance means, as Rachel is a world-travelling professional photographer, who Luke previously knew to have an adventurous heart and left him without a word.[1] In the end Rachel leaves, because she could see that Luke is in love with Lorelai, even if he has never acted on it.[12] However, Lorelai is engaged at the time and Luke doesn't act. When Sookie tells Luke that Lorelai has called off the wedding, he is joyful and gives everyone in the diner a round of free coffee.[13]

Luke begins dating one of Taylor Doose's lawyers, Nicole Leahy, eventually marrying her while on a cruise. This marriage turns out to be a mistake and they divorce when Luke discovers Nicole is seeing another man. This discovery also results in Luke's arrest for beating up "the other man's" car. After a flippant remark about self help books from Lorelai, Luke buys a book that helps him realize that he is in love with her.[8] After taking Lorelai to his sister's wedding[14], Luke kisses Lorelai on the opening night of the Dragonfly Inn.[15] Luke takes Lorelai out on their first official date and tells her that he has saved a horoscope she gave him on the first day they met in his wallet. He has been pining for her ever since he met her.[16] Lorelai surprisingly proposes to Luke, and he quickly accepts. However, their relationship becomes more and more strained as Luke pushes away his commitment to Lorelai to deal with the confusion caused due to his daughter, April, who appears in his life as a 12-year-old.[17] April is a daughter of Anna Nardini, an old girlfriend of Luke's. He discovers his paternity when April conducts a science fair experiment to discover which of three men are her father. The inclusion of April in his life causes much confusion for Luke who is unsure of how to combine his relationship with Lorelai with his blossoming relationship with his daughter. This culminates in Lorelai giving Luke an ultimatum – marry her now or it's over. Luke panics, and cannot commit, and Lorelai walks away.

In Season 7, Lorelai starts dating Christopher as an adult and fairly quickly they marry, initially souring the relationship between Luke and Lorelai, especially after Lorelai tells Luke that she slept with Christopher shortly after walking away from Luke after he refused her ultimatum.[18] In the scene, Luke drives to Lorelai's house, his truck full of supplies for their elopement, and tells her he is ready, before she tells him what happened. Eventually, a reconciliation occurs, Lorelai ends her marriage with Christopher and begins to rebuild her relationship with Luke, which is helped by Lorelai needing Luke's help with purchasing a new car and he goes to great lengths to help her. Audiences see a glimmer of hope when Luke returns to his signature blue baseball hat (a gift from Lorelai[10]) and a drunk Lorelai serenades Luke with "I Will Always Love You" at a karaoke party. The series ends with a kiss between Lorelai and Luke, after he worked all night to throw a goodbye party for Rory.[19]


You're not Warren Beatty. I mean, you could've been, girls like you, but you're a serial monogamist
—Liz on Luke[src]

Anna Nardini


Anna and Luke dated in the early '90s, and Anna was present at the opening of Luke's Diner.[20] According to Anna, Luke was always annoyed by children, which is why she kept April from him[21] and raised her alone. Anna also seems to have known Luke's family, as Liz says that she remembers Anna and that she liked her.[22]

They seem to have had a good relationship and been close, but not star-crossed as they are able to communicate somewhat calmly and tensionless upon seeing each other again after 12 years – aside from the matter of April, of course.



Rachel and Luke dated in the mid-'90s. Rachel is an adventurous spirit and wanted to live somewhere more exciting then Stars Hollow, but Luke didn't want to leave the place he grew up and so Rachel left, devastating Luke.[1] Rachel returns to Stars Hollow in 2001 having just spent time in the Middle East and, while Luke is stunned at first, they discuss later how they miss each other. Rachel asks what is going on between Luke and Lorelai, but Luke insists they are just friends.[11] Rachel begins working at Luke's and offers to take Lorelai to the old Dragonfly Inn across town since she is heading that way, which Luke seems to be find weird and uncomfortable – the idea of Rachel and Lorelai hanging out. During this outing, Rachel and Lorelai talk about Lorelai's dream to open an Inn and how Rachel is ready to settle down with Luke and ready to make things serious.

Rachel invites Lorelai over to Luke's apartment to look at photo she developed of the Dragon Fly Inn, Rachel tells Lorelai about how she has changed her mind and feels like she might leave Stars Hollow, she says she cant seem to convince Luke that she is serious about making the relationship work this time. Rachel asks Lorelai to put a good word with Luke if they talk about it. While Lorelai helps Luke unload groceries in the storage room, Lorelai encourages Luke to take the plunge and commit to Rachel, Luke gets angry with Lorelai for taking Rachel's side. Lorelai doesn't understand why Luke is so scared to commit unless there is another reason Luke doesn't want to be with Rachel. Luke says there isn't another reason. After this conversation, Luke cleans out a drawer for Rachel and gives her a key to his place.

Nicole Leahy


Nicole is with the law firm contracted by Taylor Doose when he rents the building next to Luke's Diner, and Jess encourages Luke to ask her out, saying Nicole was obviously flirting. Luke later throws caution to the wind and asks Nicole out and the two date for a while. Luke, still interested in Lorelai, but unable to process it, goes away on a cruise with Nicole after a conversation about it with Lorelai. Nicole and Luke end up getting married on the ship and, while they both are overwhelmed by the prospect of marriage, they later decide, amidst divorce proceedings, to not divorce, start dating again and take things somewhat slow. Luke eventually agrees to move in with Nicole and later realizes that she's cheating on him, finalizing their relationship.

Lorelai Gilmore

Main article: Luke and Lorelai

The love of his life, without whom he would be forced to suffer a flannel stitched life alone and grumpy. It is mentioned a lot in the show that people think Luke has a thing for Lorelai. Luke often gets close to asking Lorelai out but is stopped by for example, Max. While they are dating, it is is often mentioned that they had to wait for years, watching each other go from person to person and they are happy to finally be together. They date for a while before breaking up shortly but quickly reconcile. They also get engaged but break it off due to Luke’s daughter April Nardini postponing the wedding. They get back together for the last time and get married nine years later. As Luke said to Max ”It doesn’t matter what time, I’ll always be around“. Also, early on in the series, Lorelai buys Luke a blue hat as a Christmas present, this hat is seen throughout most of the series and is worn almost every time we see Luke, but not always.


Well, if it was in the paper, then it must be true
—Luke to Kirk[src]
You ever worry if a bird flies into your head, it'll get stuck?
—Luke to Jess


  • Presented as a health nut concerned about Rory and Lorelai's unhealthy food habits, although this is toned down later on.
  • Has adverse reactions to hospitals.[10]
  • Kept his father's hardware shop as it was externally, but turned it into a diner.
  • Hates town events, but attends town meetings.
  • Always wears flannel or plaid shirts, jeans and a blue backwards baseball cap.
  • He wore a brown baseball cap at the start of the show, but after Lorelai gives him a blue baseball cap as a present he wears the same blue cap for the rest of the show[10]. The only exception was when he wore a black baseball cap after he and Lorelai's engagement broke off.
  • Has broken his nose at least twice, the first time as a kid during his "hockey phase".[23]
  • Gets frustrated a lot and has regular tiffs with Taylor Doose.
  • Once a year on the anniversary of his Dad's death Luke has a "dark day ", he closes the diner and isolates himself.[24]
  • Hates both coffee and champagne[16][25].
  • Often goes to bed early because he has to get up early to run the diner[25][26]
  • Is almost as devoted to Rory as he is to Lorelai, certainly he is more protective
  • Luke can waltz[14] – which impresses Lorelai
  • Likes to camp and go fishing
  • He lives in an apartment above the diner that used to be his father's old office.
  • He's a Scorpio.[16]
  • He was a record holder in track in high school.
  • His nickname was Butch in high school.[4]
  • No cell phones are allowed in his diner, a rule that Lorelai flouts constantly.
  • He constantly fixes up things for Lorelai, a sign of his feelings towards her.
  • When he was younger he was a 'Trekkie'.[27]
  • Had an uncle who, like Luke, wasn't involved in the town activities and showed much animosity to the town.[2]
  • He has a rule that Sookie, and everyone else, cannot be behind the counter. However, that rule was broken when the inn caught fire and she had to cook for all of the displaced vacationers.[28]
  • In high school, he may or may not have made out with Crazy Carrie under the bleachers during a football game.[29]
  • Luke & Liz's father, William Danes, died on November 30th, 1989.[24]
  • He is the godfather of Lane and Zack's twin boys, Steve and Kwan.
  • The character of Luke was actually supposed to be a woman, but the network thought the show needed "more testosterone."
  • Luke was only supposed to make an appearance in the pilot episode, but after seeing the undeniable chemistry between him and Lauren Graham he was made a main character.
  • In the script for the pilot episode, Luke is described as 'a scruffy though handsome man in his thirties with the body of a fireman under [his] apron'.
  • He speaks Spanish.[30]


Luke Danes/Gallery

Notes and references