This Is Us Creator Explains Why Kate and Toby's Divorce Is "Not All Bad"

Before you swear off love and This Is Us, hear what creator Dan Fogelman has to say about why Kate and Toby's split is actually a good thing not only for them but the show itself.

By Cydney Contreras Jan 05, 2022 3:45 PMTags

This Is Us may be breaking up beloved couple Kate and Toby, but don't expect a nasty divorce.

Following the season six premiere on Jan. 4, show creator and executive producer Dan Fogelman admitted that the writers' goal was to portray what a divorce really looks like. As he told The Hollywood Reporter, "a marriage falling apart is not all bad constantly."

"It can get there, and certainly there are ones that are like that," he explained. "I think Toby [Chris Sullivan] and Kate [Chrissy Metz] had come into this with a great love story, and to have them be at a 180-degree paradigm shift as we open the season, and ready to kill each other and on the cusp of divorce, wouldn't be fair. We're going to build it slowly."

As for the decision to break up Kate and Toby, Fogelman said that's life: "Marriages not always working out over time is something that happens more frequently than not."

This Is Us Season 6: First-Look Photos

Moreover, Fogelman and the writers felt they hadn't "addressed" divorce in the series, even though "the odds are that not all couples make it." 

And while viewers many not like the decision to separate these particular characters, don't give up on the storyline just yet.

"I think it's going to be a fulfilling and very sad but, hopefully, a little bit of an uplifting journey for the many people who go through this type of stuff—marriages and remarriages, and co-parenting," he explained. "I hope it won't all be traumatic and terrible!"

Fogelman acknowledged that the team of writers has taken viewers on a rollercoaster of emotions, but he ultimately thinks that the series has been "wildly optimistic" about life and human nature. And that will continue in the final season, even as Rebecca (Mandy Moore) faces Alzheimer's, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) embarks on a career in politics and Kevin (Justin Hartley) continues to pursue acting gigs. 

Ron Batzdorff/NBC

And though Fogelman didn't offer further teasers on the season, the cast spoke to E! News about the finale in a December cover story, with Moore promising closure and exciting developments: "Lots of questions will be answered, but there will still be some surprising things because that's the trick of the show."

To see what else the cast teased, read our story here.

This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

(E! and NBC are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)

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