The Many Loves Of Spider-Man: A Brief History Of The Webhead’s Love Life
There are lot of things that make Spider-Man one of the most interesting and captivating characters in the Marvel Universe, but one of the franchise's greatest strengths has always been his supporting characters, and even more specifically, his love interests. For a character known for his "Parker Luck", he's attracted the attention of several impressive, accomplished, and beautiful women. We've put together a guide to some of the most important romances in Spider-Man's life.
Betty Brant first met Peter Parker when she was J. Jonah Jameson’s secretary at The Daily Bugle. They were each attracted to the other person’s kindness and confidence, but their relationship was fairly short, ending in an amicable break-up.
Betty went on to marry her colleague Ned Leeds, but his style of investigative reporting put a strain on their relationship, and she had a brief affair with Peter that was discovered by Leeds. Her marriage broke down completely when she discovered Leeds was the newest incarnation of The Hobgoblin.
After Ned was killed, Betty suffered a mental break and fell prey to a cult. She was rescued by Peter and Flash Thompson, and Betty and Flash began an on-and-off relationship that ended when she learned he had bonded to the Venom symbiote.
Peter Parker first met Gwen Stacy when they were both freshmen at Empire State University, but distracted by his Aunt May’s ailing health he was oblivious to her advances. Not one to wait around, Gwen briefly dated both Flash Thompson and Harry Osborn, but her shared interests and chemistry with Peter brought the two together.
Gwen’s relationship with Peter became strained after the death of her father, Captain George Stacy, which she blamed on Spider-Man. Tragically, Gwen was kidnapped by the Green Goblin and thrown from the top of the George Washington Bridge. Although Spider-Man attempted to save her, his webline caught her leg and the whiplash caused her neck to snap, killing her instantly.
Mary Jane was introduced as Aunt May’s neighbor, who Peter avoided being set up with at all costs until they finally met and he realized she was a stone-cold fox. Although they dated briefly, Peter eventually chose Gwen over MJ, which caused MJ to begin dating Harry Osborn.
After the death of Gwen Stacy, Mary Jane was there for Peter Parker in a way that no-one else was, and after he insensitively criticized her as a vapid party girl with no affection for anyone, she saw through his anger to his pain, and stayed by his side while he grieved.
Peter and Mary Jane would eventually marry and settle into a relatively happy family life, with MJ often concerned about Peter’s Spider-Man activities. The marriage ended as part of a bargain Mary Jane made with the demon Mephisto, who wiped the union from existence in exchange for Aunt May’s life. Mary Jane promised the demon she would never be involved with Peter again. .The pair have drifted in and out of each other’s lives since, never quite making it back together.
Felicia Hardy followed in her father’s cat-burgling footsteps and became the thief known as Black Cat, first encountering Spider-Man on the night she attempted to break her father out of prison. Black Cat was intrigued by the loner hero and felt an attraction to him, regularly flirting with him and teasing him during their encounters. Likewise, Spider-Man saw the good in Felicia, and gave her every opportunity to change her ways.
They eventually began a relationship, but while Peter felt comfortable being with someone he didn’t need to hide his double life from, Felicia didn’t understand his need for a double life at all, questioning why he’d be anyone other than Spider-Man. Eventually they broke up due to growing secrets between the pair, and Felicia’s out of control bad luck powers, but they remained friends and allies.
Since then, the pair have had multiple dalliances and flirtations, although Felicia's knowledge of Spider-Man’s true identity has been erased. Their relationship was severed permanently when Otto Octavius (in Spider-Man’s body) broke her teeth and abandoned her to the police, pushing Black Cat towards a permanent life of crime and a vendetta against Spider-Man.
Carlie Cooper was a forensic scientist who first met Peter Parker when her best friend Lily Hollister was dating Harry Osborn. Both Lily and Harry saw Carlie and Peter as perfect for each other, but for the longest time the two could never quite get it together. Eventually, she gave Peter an ultimatum and he finally asked her out.
After much speculation and frustration with Peter’s odd behavior, Carlie finally figured out that Peter Parker was Spider-Man during the Spider-Island crisis, in which every New Yorker gained Spider-Man powers. Furious with his lies, she broke up with him once and for all, and became friends with Mary Jane, bonding over their shared knowledge of Peter’s secret.
Carkue was later kidnapped and inducted into Norman Osborn’s Goblin Army, and briefly become the villain Monster. She still bore the scars of her ordeal after she was healed, and chose to leave Manhattan behind.
After Peter Parker’s roommate Officer Vincent Gonzales was sent to prison for his role in a police cover-up, his sister Michele moved in without Peter’s knowledge. Both roommates weren’t aware of each other's’ existence for some time, until they had an unfortunate run in while Peter was naked, which set a sour tone between the pair and created an antagonistic relationship.
Peter invited Michele to join him at Aunt May’s wedding to Jay Jameson, and after a significant number of drinks they woke up the next morning having spent the night together. Though the pair were no longer hostile, Michele eventually moved back home to Chicago.
As a teenager, Cindy Moon was bitten by the same radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker and gained similar powers. She was trained in their use by a mysterious man named Ezekiel, who locked her away in a bunker to hide her from Morlun, a man who was killing spider-powered individuals.
Peter learned of Cindy’s existence and freed her from the bunker after ten years in isolation. Due to their connection through the spider bite, they found themselves uncontrollably attracted to each other. They attempted to work together as friends and allies, but their primal urges overcame all other impulses, making it difficult for them to spend time together.
Cindy was able to build a life for herself for the first time in her adult life, and got a job as an intern at J. Jonah Jameson's FACT Channel. She began her own career as a costumed superhero and took the codename Silk, while spending her free time using her employer’s resources to search for her missing family.
The Peter Parker of an alternate Earth first met his universe’s Kitty Pryde when the X-Men showed up in Queens to bring in the renegade Latverian mutant Geldoff. Kitty later asked Peter out on a date, and the relationship benefited from their mutual ability to handle themselves in a fight.
However, Kitty Pryde's public persona as an X-Man put strain on Peter's ability to maintain his secret identity. Peter realized he still had feelings for Mary Jane, while Kitty attempted to get Professor Xavier to erase Aunt May’s knowledge of Peter’s secret identity
Peter and Kitty had a bad break-up, and then ended up at the same high school after Kitty was kicked out of the Xavier School. Eventually, the hard feelings faded and Kitty became part of Peter's social circle, dating reformed bully Kenny “Kong” McFarlane after he took a stand against anti-mutant prejudice.
Anna Maria Marconi first met Peter Parker when he re-enrolled in Empire State University. She offered to tutor him, but quickly realized his intellectual brilliance. A genius in her own right, with a specialization in molecular gastronomy, Anna Maria grew close to Peter and they began dating.
Unfortunately, Anna Maria did not know that the man she was dating was actually Otto Octavius in Peter’s body. When Norman Osborn kidnapped Anna Maria to get to Spider-Man, Octavius realized that he didn’t have what it took to defeat the villain, and sacrificed his own mind to return Parker’s to its rightful body, so that the real Spider-Man could save her.
After Peter’s resurrection, he broke the news to Anna Maria, but kept her on as his right hand woman at the newly founded Parker Industries. Although no longer a couple, Anna Maria proved to be an invaluable part of the company, keeping Peter’s secret identity confidential and keeping things running smoothly whenever he needed to duck out to be Spider-Man.