Luke Danes is surprised to learn that he has a daughter named April Nardini on Gilmore Girls, but what happens during his custody battle?

Luke Danes (Scott Patterson) learns the life-changing news that he has a child named April (Vanessa Marano) in season 6 of Gilmore Girls, and the custody battle over her is dramatic and memorable. Although the series is about Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory’s (Alexis Bledel) Stars Hollow lives, several episodes are devoted to Luke and April’s growing father-daughter relationship. Luke and Anna (Sherilyn Fenn) had a brief romance several years before the start of Gilmore Girls and she never told him about April. Luke finds out after April appears at his diner wanting his DNA for a science fair project.

April is a mostly hated Gilmore Girls character, and her sometimes cold personality and need to share her knowledge on many scientific topics is off-putting to some. However, April helps Luke become more sensitive, and they are a good influence on one another. When Anna shares that she wants to move to New Mexico, Luke sues her for joint custody of his daughter so they can continue their close relationship.

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Luke Receives Joint Custody Of April

April Nardini meeting Luke in the park on Gilmore Girls

In season 7, episode 12, “To Whom It May Concern,” Luke and Anna go to court, and Luke is given joint custody of April. While Anna and April relocate to New Mexico, April will visit Luke on alternating holidays, part of each summer, and one weekend each month. This is not only a relief for Luke, who has been afraid of losing his daughter after spending so many years apart, but it also proves the strength that he has gained. Luke and April’s father-daughter moments help him see that he can ask for the future that he deserves instead of standing back and not wanting to cause tension.

Luke winning joint custody of April also enables him to learn better communication skills. When he was in a realtionship with Lorelai, they didn’t speak much about their problems, but when Luke hires a lawyer and shares his desire to be an active participant in his child’s life, he shows that he’s able to talk about his feelings.

Lorelai’s Reference Letter Helps Her And Luke Get Back Together

Lorelai talks to Luke outside while holding flowers on Gilmore Girls

Lorelai writes Luke a character reference that the judge can read, sharing that Luke has the compassionate qualities necessary to take care of April. Lorelai writes, “Once Luke Danes became my friend in this town, I never really felt alone” and adds that being part of his life is an “amazing gift.” Lorelai has to date Christopher before Luke because she realizes what she really wants in a relationship, and when Christopher reads the letter, he can’t ignore Lorelai’s love for the diner owner.

While it feels evident that Luke and Lorelai will get back together, the fact that Luke asks Lorelai to write this letter speeds their reunion along and becomes the catalyst for the serious conversation that is hinted at when they see each other in season 7, episode 22, “Bon Voyage.” Luke knows that Lorelai cares about him and sees him the way that he wants to be seen, and the fan-favorite Gilmore Girls couple is able to move past Luke’s envy of Christopher and Lorelai’s hurt feelings over Luke not telling her about April.

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