The progressive damage in cross-ply laminates was modeled by discrete element method (DEM). A particle radius expansion method was used to account for thermal loading applied to cross-ply laminates in which nominal fibers were introduced in the 0° plies so as to achieve the anisotropic thermal expansion behaviors. A series of convergence and validation tests of both mechanical and thermal properties of the 0° plies with nominal fibers have been carried out in order to validate the method. The DEM results of interfacial stress distribution of cross-ply laminates under pure thermal loading and under coupled thermal/mechanical loading were compared with other theoretical predictions. Microstructure of 90° plies was also studied by the DEM model. Transverse cracking which was formed by the coalescence of micro cracks in matrix and at fiber/matrix interface has been observed in the modeling results together with the ply-ply delaminations. It was found that the DEM model can predict not only the stress distribution but also the progressive damage initialized from the constituent failure due to its multi scale nature.