|“||Please tell me you're not hooking up with my sister.||”|
— Matt to Tyler in Pilot
The relationship between Tyler Lockwood and Matt Donovan is a friendship. They are also teammates on the football team. However, the relationship has gone through rough patches, due to Tyler becoming a werewolf and Tyler and Matt both being in love with Caroline Forbes.
Season OneEditMatt and Tyler hang out together in the Mystic Grill during the pilot. Matt isn't impressed at the idea of Tyler having a relationship with his sister, Vicki . He is even less impressed when Jeremy Gilbert implies that Tyler forced himself on Vicki sexually. Matt is quick to be suspicious of Tyler, suggesting that while they may be friends, their friendship is not a close one. The pair have a fight in the locker room during a football game, where it is revealed that Matt is fed up with Tyler's bullying behavior. The two become more distant after this fight, though Tyler does make the effort to approach Matt and offer his sympathy over Vicki being missing, and offer to help find her. The friendship appears to be on the road to recovery later on when the pair playbasketball together, discussing relationships, as Matt has just begun hanging out with Caroline Forbes, who he begins to like. Tyler also takes Matt home after getting in a fight with Jeremy at the school career fair, which causes him to get into a fight with his father, Mayor Richard Lockwood as well. Their friendship is put to the test when Tyler makes out with Matt's mother Kelly Donovan at the Founder's Day Kickoff party, shortly after Vicki's body is found buried in the woods. Matt punches Tyler, and Tyler's anger issues rise to the surface, causing him to completely lose control and beats Matt up badly before being pulled off him by Alaric Saltzman. We later see that the party was on a full moon, which only intensified Tyler's rage due to his (then unknown) werewolf gene. Mayor Lockwood, angry that his son embarrassed him, smacks Tyler around before re-joining the party. Matt and Tyler stop speaking to each other for months until Caroline convinces them to become friends again. They eventually do become close again, after all three of them were involved in a car accident that nearly killed him and Caroline, after the Gilbert Device inadvertantly affects Tyler. It isn't until he sees Caroline's mother Sheriff Elizabeth Forbes at the hospital that he learns his father has died after he is mistaken for a vampire and burned in a fire in Grayson Gilbert's office.
Season TwoEditMatt and Tyler remain friends, although Matt is preoccupied with Caroline's strange behavior after Katherine Pierce turns her into a vampire, unknown to Matt. Matt and Caroline end up breaking up, as Caroline feels bad for having a secret she can't tell him. Matt is compelled by Katherine to push Tyler around at the Masquerade Ball, to get him riled up enough to kill Matt, triggering Tyler's werewolf curse. Matt gets them both drunk, and begins to spill vodka all over the floor and a photo of the Mayor. When he brings up how the Mayor used to beat Tyler, they begin to fight again. Caroline is able to break it up and knock Matt out before he gets killed, but Katherine had a back-up plan, Sarah, who stabs Tyler with a letter-opener. Tyler pushes her and accidentally kills her, triggering his curse. Days later, Matt apologizes to Tyler about how he acted though Matt was unaware Tyler had accidentally killed Sarah. Soon after Tyler's first transformation into werewolf, Matt began to suspect there is something going on between Tyler and Caroline as he frequently sees them together; Matt doesn't know it was because Caroline was helping Tyler with his transformation. Matt, who still has feelings for Caroline, kisses her and she briefly reciprocates before pulling away and telling him he can't do that. Later that evening, Tyler comes over and asks her why Caroline would help him with his transformations, if she could die if he accidentally bite her. Caroline is frustrated that he is unable to accept help from people, and Tyler becomes overcome with emotion and kisses her. Again, Caroline reciprocates for a moment, but then runs into the house, yelling "Everyone just needs to stop kissing me!" Tyler meets a friend of his uncle Mason, Jules, who tells him that Stefan and Damon are vampires, and Caroline lied to him. When Jules believes Tyler is being held hostage by Stefan, her pack kidnaps Caroline and tortures her, while she was supposed to be meeting Matt. She is ultimately saved by Stefan, Damon and Jonas Martin (on Elijah's orders), but she ends her friendship with Tyler when he just stands there instead of saving her and her friends. Matt calls Caroline, who obviously forgot about their plans after the days events, and she lies and tells him that she's with Bonnie, who is having problems. Matt's at the Mystic Grill, and Bonnie is there as well, which leads Matt to believe that Caroline is having a secret relationship with Tyler. Matt tells both Caroline and Tyler that if there's something going on between them, they should just stop lying about it and tell him. Both Caroline and Tyler deny that there's anything going on between them. After losing Caroline's friendship, Tyler decides to leave town with Jules, and begins saying his goodbyes. He meets with Matt and confesses that Caroline has been helping him through a difficult situation, and though there's nothing going on between them, he fell for her. He reassures him that Caroline loves Matt, and admits that she deserves someone like Matt. Tyler leaves town with Jules and Matt and Caroline begin to get close again. He notices that she still seems to be hiding something from him, and finally finds out she is a vampire after Jonas Martin nearly stabs him to death, forcing Caroline to heal him with her blood. He freaks out when he comes to, because he thinks that Vicki, who he believes was killed by a vampire, was killed by Caroline. She finally tells him everything, and he gets overwhelmed and makes her compel him to forget. Unbeknownst to Caroline, Matt was working with her mother, Sheriff Forbes, who hates vampires and has discovered that Caroline, Stefan and Damon are ones, as well as that Tyler is a werewolf. He pretends to be compelled and stays with Caroline at the Sheriff's urging, and grows to believe that vampires aren't what the Sheriff believes them to be.
Tyler returns to Mystic Falls after his mom is injured and he and Caroline are captured to be used as sacrifices to break Klaus' curse. Damon arrives to free them, when he runs into Matt, who has a rifle filled with wooden bullets. He kills Klaus' witch, who is standing guard, and goes to shoot Damon before Damon knocks him out with his rifle. When he notices that he has wooden bullets, he realizes that Matt knows, but forgets about it in order to free Caroline and Tyler. The four are trying to get back to town to stop the sacrifice when Tyler starts to transform. Damon gets bitten by Tyler, and he instructs Matt and Caroline to run to the Lockwood Cellar and barricade themselves in until the full moon is over. When the door doesn't hold, Matt shoots Tyler with his rifle, which disables him enough so that he and Caroline can escape to the Lockwood Mansion. Matt confesses Caroline he knows everything and so does her mom. Caroline is shocked, and asks where that leaves them, to which he responds, "That leaves us stuck in this house, trying not to get killed by our friend." Tyler shows up on the doorstep, back to his human form, and naked and Caroline brings him in to help him. Matt tells Caroline he can't handle her being a vampire and the drama being supernatural causes, and breaks up with her. Caroline finds comfort in Tyler, and convinces him to stay in Mystic Falls.
Season ThreeEditMatt and Tyler become estranged yet again, due to Tyler being a werewolf, and Tyler's new romantic relationship with Caroline.
Later, when Klaus feeds Tyler his blood and kills Tyler, turning him into a vampire-werewolf hybrid like Klaus, Matt senses Vicki's ghost's presence and believes she can help them keep Tyler and Elena alive. He decides to kill himself so that he can talk to ghosts and find a way to save Tyler, and does. Bonnie brings him back to live with CPR, and they learn that the reason Klaus can't make hybrids is because Elena is still alive.
In Smells Like Teen Spirit, Tyler's transition to a hybrid brings on a relapse to his old, jerk-like self. He notices Matt talking seemingly to himself, not knowing that Matt can now talk to Vicki. Matt asks him why is he in such agood mood, and Tyler tells him that life is good. Tyler later admits that becoming a hybrid was a gift, because now he no longer has to turn into a werewolf unless he wants to, and says that Klaus saved him from misery.
In Homecoming, Matt confronts Tyler when he injects Caroline with vervain to keep her out of harm's way, knowing that her friends were planning to take down Klaus. Tyler tells Matt that he needs to get Caroline out of there for her own safety and leaves Matt with the unconscious Caroline. Tyler later admits to Caroline that he can't control his sire bond to Klaus, and that he's accepted it. When she doesn't, it is suggested that the two break up.
In Our Town, when Tyler shows up at Caroline's Birthday party/funeral for her human self, Matt seems annoyed at Tyler's arrival and seems hesitant to allow him to stay and talk to Caroline. Later, after Tyler bites her (something that Klaus instructed him to do, although Tyler refused to do so), Matt carries Caroline home, extremely worried and tells her mother Tyler bit her. Tyler later realizes he needs help, and enlists Caroline's dad to help him break the sire bond by turning into a werewolf until it becomes painless.
At the end of Before Sunset, Tyler and Matt are seen laughing and drinking together at Elena's house after they succeeded in desiccating Klaus, despite their inability to take down Alaric.
In The Departed, when Elena gets a phone call from Caroline, telling her that Tyler was going to die as a result of Klaus' death, it is shown that Matt is deeply upset over Tyler's "death". Matt yells "Damnit!" over and over again while punching the steering wheel until Elena urges him to stop. Tyler and Klaus ultimately do not die, due to Bonnie casting a body-swap spell to protect her friends from Alaric, who was turned into an enhanced Original by Esther in order to make him the ultimate vampire hunter.
- Matt: "Hey, what am I supposed to do, Ty? She made her choice."
- Tyler: "Let her know she made the wrong one."
- Tyler: "Ten kegs? You know how much damage we could do with ten kegs? Duke's got it all hooked up."
- Matt: "Duke's a douche."
- Tyler: "Yeah, a douche with ten kegs. Aka my new best friend."
- Tyler: "Check this out!"
- Matt: "Your dad is going to beat you down if he catches you."
- Tyler: "Yeah. I’ll love if he tries."
- Matt: "Screw him!"
- Tyler: "Hey man. I’m so sorry. Look, I don’t even know what happened."
- Matt: "It’s okay man."
- Tyler: "Okay, you need to calm your drunk ass down!"
- Matt: "Do something about it!"
- Tyler: "I’m not gonna fight you."
- Matt: "I'm pissed at myself for picking a fight with you and I’m feeling guilty for what happened to Sarah. I mean, I’ve been dodging you for days because I didn’t know what to say to you."
- Tyler: "Don’t worry."
- Matt: "I’m really sorry. Please know that."
- Matt: "The two of you want to get together, fine. There's nothing I can do about it. But do me a favor, and both of you just stop lying about it!"
- Tyler: "Matt, there's nothing going on..."
- Matt: "Hey! I said stop lying!"
- Tyler: "You talking to yourself?"
- Matt: "What's got you in such a good mood?"
- Tyler: "We're seniors, man. Life is good."
- Their relationship is very similar to the relationship between Elena and Bonnie.
- Although, both Zach Roerig and Michael Trevino are friends in real life, Michael's real-life best friend is actually Steven R. McQueen. Steven portrays Jeremy, Tyler's enemy who eventually becomes his friend.