Opie Winston was a staple of SAMCRO on Sons of Anarchy and a legacy as his father was part of the club for several decades. Despite his status, his first wife, Donna, doesn’t trust the club after Opie ends up in prison for five years to protect them. She is afraid that Opie might go back to prison and she shows it.
When Agent Stahl comes to town and tries to make Opie look like a federal informant, Donna changes her mind about abiding by the law. After her tragic death, that turnaround weighed heavily on Opie and affected his relationship and subsequent marriage to Lyla. Here are five times Opie and Donna were the perfect couple, and five reasons he was better with Lyla.
10 Perfect Couple: Getting Through Hard Times
At the beginning of the show, Donna begs Opie to distance himself from SAMCRO. She’s terrified that he will end up in prison again. While many fans faulted her for wanting him to stay away and work at a lumber yard, Opie’s loyalty to Donna and his family while they worked through these difficulties was one of the ways they were a perfect couple.
Opie loves Donna literally more than anything, even the club, and he will do anything to keep his family together and safe.
9 Better With Lyla: Club Loyalty
No fan will ever say that Opie wasn’t loyal, but in season 1 he struggled with his commitment to SAMCRO and his dedication to Donna and the kids. When Opie gets together with Lyla, this stops being an issue.
Lyla wants to be part of the club. She’s happy and grateful to have them as her family. She never asks Opie to choose or to distance himself, even when he ends up in prison again.
8 Perfect Couple: A Normal Life
Donna and Opie don’t have a fairytale romance. They are not full of drama and at home, Opie is just a father and husband and not an explosives expert and SAMCRO member.
With Donna, Opie had the opportunity to just be himself and fans saw this as something rare in the world of Sons Of Anarchy. Together, they could get through anything and Donna was Opie’s rock in all the craziness.
7 Better With Lyla: Part Of The Team
Donna and Opie were a team together but Lyla was also part of the team that was SAMCRO. She started out as a porn star at Cara Cara, then worked her way up to being a director in her own right. Her ideas and her work bring a lot of revenue to the club.
At first, Opie did not like her profession, but Lyla changed what she did in the industry to make her own money while not actively participating in what Opie hated her doing. They worked together in this way and she got to be part of the team as more than a wife and mother, a rarity in this universe.
6 Perfect Couple: Donna’s Moral Compass
Donna understood that breaking the law came with being part of SAMCRO and it was one of the reasons why she did not want Opie to go back to them.
While Opie was on a job, he had to kill someone but ended up freezing up. Bobby killed the target instead. Opie later talked about how he was thinking of Donna and the kids, how he did not want to go back to prison. He made that choice not to kill for them.
5 Better With Lyla: Never Has To Hold Back
Donna might be a great moral compass for Opie but at the same time, he has to hold back with her. After she dies, he is ruthless and doesn’t let anything stop him from protecting his family in the club, Lyla, or their kids.
With Donna, Opie felt he had to answer to her when he came home. With Lyla, she never made him feel like what he had to do for the club was a bad thing.
4 Perfect Couple: A Present Father
The club is a family to the people that are part of it and that means that they take care of each other, especially when it comes to the children of club members. When Opie pulls back from the club at Donna’s request, he comes home at night and is a present father to his children.
Later, after Donna’s death, he often drops off the kids with his mother or Lyla takes them along with her own little boy. Even when Opie gets involved with the club again, he is a present father right up until the day of Donna’s death.
3 Better With Lyla: Never Guilted Into Staying Away
One thing Donna did often on the show is to use the kids to guilt Opie into staying away from the club. She knows he wants to be part of their family as well as part of the SAMCRO family but that he will always choose his children over anything else.
If Opie ends up in prison again, she has to be a single mother and she is well aware of that. She doesn’t want to have to lean on the club for help if it happens. Lyla doesn’t have that same fear. She knows the club will help her and she wants to be part of the group. She is willing to take care of her son along with Opie’s kids when he leaves, even after their marriage doesn’t work out.
2 Perfect Couple: A Love That Transcends
Opie and Donna are iconic even though Donna dies in the first season. Her memory resonates all the way through Opie and Lyla’s marriage, which does not last long.
Lyla is a sweet woman who is also a good mother but she is not Donna and that ultimately leads to her and Opie’s demise. Donna is Opie’s one and only. He will kill for her and he will always love her.
1 Better With Lyla: Amicable Split
Eventually, Lyla realizes that Donna will always get in the way of her and Opie’s marriage. After Opie found out that Lyla had an abortion, he did not want to be with her anymore; however, he still had respect for her and she still loved his children.
Lyla would never make Opie choose between being who he wants to be or being with her. When Opie is killed in prison, she takes care of his children. With the help of the club, even after admitting she wasn’t sure she could do it, she still took on Opie’s children along with her own after the couple split up. In the end, Lyla knew that the best way to love Opie was to let him go.