Menu

The 7 worst on-screen mothers-in-law

Text: Karen Tennent; Photography: Taken from the films/series

October 3, 2016

These gems will make your own MIL look like an angel!

The 7 worst on-screen mothers-in-law1 Viola Fields (Jane Fonda) from Monster In Law

From the moment Viola set eyes on Charlie, her beloved son’s bride-to-be, she does whatever she can to tear them apart. From faking an illness so that Charlie would have to look after her to triggering Charlie’s allergy by tricking her to eat nuts, this is one monster-in-law who meant business, and even wore white to her son’s wedding!

The 7 worst on-screen mothers-in-law2 Bunny MacDougal (Frances Sternhagen) from Sex and the City

Upper-crust Bunny loves nothing more than doting on her pampered son Trey, and that includes looking after him when he has a cold, talking to him while he’s in the bath and even picking out his marital bed – much to his wife Charlotte’s dismay. But when Bunny walks in on Trey and Charlotte having sex, she finally learns to keep her distance – proving that boundaries are there for a reason.

The 7 worst on-screen mothers-in-law3 Jackie Florrick (Mary Beth Peil) from The Good Wife

Jackie is unwaveringly loyal to her son Peter, and this loyalty includes taking his side when he cheats on his wife Alicia. When the couple splits up, Jackie sneaks behind Alicia’s back to visit her grandchildren and takes every opportunity she can to blame her for the breakup of their marriage – and remind Alicia of exactly what she should have done to keep her son happy.

The 7 worst on-screen mothers-in-law4 Mayor Kate Hennings (Candice Bergen) from Sweet Home Alabama

As the Mayor of New York City, Kate has high hopes for her son Andrew, who she wants to one day run for US president. So naturally, no one is good enough for him, including his fiancé Melanie. Kate secretly investigates Melanie’s past and does everything in her power to show Andrew Melanie’s true colours, which she eventually succeeds in doing, but loses his respect along the way.

The 7 worst on-screen mothers-in-law5 Jane Burke (Diahann Carroll) from Grey’s Anatomy

Despite the fact that her future daughter-in-law Christina is a talented cardiac surgeon, Jane expects her to give up her promising career once she and Jane’s son, Preston, are wed. Jane throws racist slurs at Christina and insists that she waxes her eyebrows before the wedding, culminating in a scene where Christina woefully proclaims, “Mamma took my eyebrows. She took my eyebrows and now I am a Burke.”

The 7 worst on-screen mothers-in-law6 Gillian Darmody (Gretchen Mol) from Boardwalk Empire

Gillian has always had a special bond with her son Jimmy, resulting in Angela, Jimmy’s wife, having to listen to Gillian’s cringe-worthy anecdotes, like how she used to “kiss his little winky” when changing Jimmy’s nappy. But this closeness is taken a step too far when Gillian has drunken sex with her son, while his wife is carrying his child.

The 7 worst on-screen mothers-in-law7 Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) in Game of Thrones

She turned a blind eye when her son Joffrey abused his betrothed Sansa and had her father killed, but Cersei truly showed her evil mother-in-law ways when she blew up the Sept of Baelor and everyone in it – including her youngest son Tommen’s wife Margaery. But Cersei got what was coming to her when Tommen committed suicide from grief over his lost wife.

Want more GLAMOUR roundups? Check out our 10 favourite kids’ book adaptations and our 10 top romance novels.

Free Glamour newsletter!

Current post

The 7 worst on-screen mothers-in-law

Glamour International