While Peter Parker has a crush on fellow Midtown School of Science and Technology classmate Michelle Jones in this summer's Spider-Man: Far From Home, fans of the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler typically associate him with a totally different "MJ"—Mary Jane Watson.
Ever since Peter first met Mary Jane face-to-face in 1963's The Amazing Spider-Man #42, she's been a fan-favorite love interest for the web-slinging superhero. Over the past half-century, comic book readers and film viewers alike have grown invested in their relationship and been thrown on quite the emotional roller coaster as a result.
While Peter Parker is known and loved for being one of Marvel's most honorable heroes and role models, fans who look closely at his rocky romance with MJ can see that he's definitely not without his share of flaws. He hasn't always treated Mary Jane well, and some of his relationship blunders are too shocking to ignore or excuse. Here are the 20 Worst Things Spider-Man Has Ever Done To Mary Jane.
A running joke in early issues of The Amazing Spider-Man was Peter's constant attempts to avoid going on a date with Mary Jane. Aunt May repeatedly tried setting him up with her friend's niece, but since Peter didn't think he'd like a woman his aunt approved of, he came up with all sorts of excuses for why he was too busy to ever meet MJ.
When he finally saw Mary Jane, however, he realized just what he'd been missing out on. But he nearly missed out on meeting his soulmate because he was too rude and shallow to give her a chance.
There was definitely chemistry and attraction between Peter and Mary Jane when they first started dating, but their relationship quickly fell apart due to some major personality clashes. Mary Jane didn't love how flaky Peter could be, and Peter resented MJ for being so carefree and for partying too much.
Luckily for Mary Jane fans, Peter later realized that there was more to her than he'd initially believed and that he shouldn't be so quick to judge someone off of first appearances.
In the comics, the Green Goblin famously threw Peter Parker's love interest Gwen Stacy off a bridge and caused her iconic demise. In the first live-action Spider-Man film, however, Mary Jane took Gwen's place in Norman Osborn's revenge scheme against Spidey.
Norman knew that Peter loved MJ, so to crush Spider-Man's spirit, Osborn forced him to choose between saving Mary Jane or a cable car full of innocent children. If Spider-Man hadn't formed a rivalry with the Goblin, MJ never would've found herself plummeting off the George Washington Bridge.
After Gwen Stacy perished at the hands of the Green Goblin in the comics, Mary Jane tried her hardest to comfort Peter in his time of grief. Unfortunately, Peter was too hurt and felt too guilty to respond appropriately to MJ's efforts to help him. He snapped at her and told her to just leave him alone, causing Mary Jane to break down into tears.
MJ was heartbroken by Peter's reaction, but she stood by him anyway and made sure he wasn't alone in his mourning.
The first time Peter proposed to Mary Jane, she turned him down because she didn't think they were ready to take that next step in their relationship. Peter was devastated, and found himself seeking comfort from one of his exes, Betty Brant.
He and Betty were good friends and Betty was married to Ned Leeds, so their connection seemed innocent enough at first... but it soon got intimate and Peter found himself kissing a married woman.
When Peter Parker got into a fight with Ben Reilly in Spectacular Spider-Man #226 over which one of them was the clone and which was the original, Peter became so angry that he fell into a sort of berserk, mindless rage. Mary Jane tried to step in and break up the fight, but Peter screamed for her to get away and leave him alone, and accidentally slammed her back with his arm in the process.
What made this act even worse was the fact that MJ was pregnant with Peter's child when he hit her.
As if striking a pregnant MJ wasn't bad enough, shortly after that happened, Peter tried ending his wife's life. Granted, he was acting on hypnotic suggestion by the Jackal at the time, but it still had to be pretty traumatizing for Mary Jane to see her husband attempt to eliminate her.
Thankfully the Scarlet Spider, the New Warriors and Kaine were all on hand to stop the mind-controlled Peter from doing something he would have regretted for the rest of his life.
Peter Parker always worries in both the films and the comics that his life as a superhero puts those he loves at risk, and unfortunately, he's right to feel that way. His long and heated rivalry with Norman Osborn in particular has put several people in harm's way, and it actually led to Mary Jane losing their child.
Osborn paid a woman to pose as a server at a restaurant Aunt May and Mary Jane were dining at, and slip poison into MJ's food.
After Peter struck his pregnant wife and Osborn caused her to lose their child, he agreed to stop being Spider-Man so he could focus more on his marriage and keep his family safe. This didn't last long, though, because he never stopped feeling the tug of his great responsibility to be a hero.
Peter started being Spider-Man again behind his wife's back and continuously lied to her about it, putting a major strain on their relationship.
In Spider-Man 3, Harry Osborn conspired to break Peter's heart by sabotaging his former best friend's relationship with Mary Jane. He didn't really have to do much, though, since Peter was doing such a good job messing things up all on his own.
Big things were finally happening in MJ's acting career, but Peter couldn't make time to even see her Broadway debut because he was too busy swinging around the city as Spider-Man. She forgave him at first, but when Harry saw her musical several times before her own boyfriend even watched it once, she understandably got upset.
In an attempt to persuade other heroes to support the Superhuman Registration Act in the Civil War comic storyline, Tony Stark convinced Spider-Man to agree to publicly reveal his secret identity to the world. Peter took off his mask on live television and admitted to being Spidey since he was fifteen, without first thinking about what doing so might mean for his loved ones.
Mary Jane was forced to go into hiding with Peter, as several of Spider-Man's greatest enemies began to target her and Aunt May in order to get revenge on the wall-crawler.
When the Kingpin put a hit on Peter Parker after he revealed his identity to the world, Aunt May found herself caught in the crossfire. She got shot and the only way Peter could save her was by making a deal with the demon Mephisto. In exchange for saving May's life and making everyone forget that Peter was Spider-Man, Mephisto wanted to erase Peter and MJ's marriage from existence so he could feed on their sadness forever.
Peter was hesitant to take the deal, but knowing how much Peter loved his aunt, Mary Jane made the decision for him and sacrificed her own happiness for Peter's.
When Mary Jane accepted Mephisto's deal, a new timeline was created in which she and Peter never got married. In this new reality, Peter missed what was supposed to be their wedding day because he was busy as Spider-Man, prompting MJ to ask him to retire from being a superhero so he could give her the attention she deserved.
Peter's motto of "with great power comes great responsibility" made him unable to agree to this request, however, so Mary Jane called off their engagement.
Speaking of canceled weddings, Peter also denied Mary Jane the chance at a happy wedding day in Spider-Man 2 by convincing her to become a runaway bride.
She was meant to marry J. Jonah Jameson's handsome and honorable son John, but by confessing his feelings for his engaged ex right before her wedding, Peter ruined MJ's shot at a normal, healthy relationship and prompted her to choose him instead.
Mephisto's timeline-changing spell made all of those who learned of Peter's secret identity during Civil War forget, but everyone who knew who was behind the Spidey mask before that retained their memories. Peter soon realized that even this was too much, and asked Doctor Strange to perform a spell that would make everyone forget he was the web-slinger.
At the last moment, however, he decided to shield Mary Jane from the spell so she wouldn't forget his secret. This was undeniably selfish, since she still held feelings for her former husband and forgetting could have helped her finally move on from him.
Even after Mephisto erased all memories of their marriage, fans held out hope that Peter and MJ would find their way back to each other. It never happened, though, because Mary Jane realized she simply wasn't strong enough to be with Peter so long as he remained Spider-Man.
Years later, Doctor Octopus took over Peter's body and tried restarting his and MJ's relationship. She seemed excited to reunite with Peter, but Otto dumped her out of nowhere when a fragment of Peter's consciousness instructed his nemesis to stay away from her, breaking MJ's heart yet again.
Peter's questionable actions led to his marriage to MJ getting erased from Marvel Comics, but 2014's Amazing Spider-Man 2 took things a step further by erasing Mary Jane herself! Shailene Woodley was cast as the iconic redhead for the film to much fan support, but edits and script changes led to her being cut from the movie entirely.
In Into the Spider-Verse, one universe's Peter Parker divorced Mary Jane shortly after they got married because he wasn't willing to have kids with her. His intentions were pure as he worried that his life as a superhero would put their children in danger and wasn't sure someone bitten by a radioactive spider could even have kids, but his decision still hurt MJ considerably.
In Spider-Man: Reign, fans learned that being Peter Parker's lover comes with some serious consequences. The limited four-issue series, set several decades in the future, revealed that Mary Jane died of cancer brought on by repeated exposure to Peter's radioactive fluids.
"I am filled with radioactive blood. And not just blood. Every fluid. Touching me... Loving me," Peter sobbed as he held MJ's decaying body in the controversial comic.
Among the many alternate Earths seen in Marvel Comics is Earth-2149, in which several beloved characters became flesh-eating zombies. Peter attempted to save Mary Jane and Aunt May from some of these undead monsters in Marvel Zombies, but after a bite from Captain America spread the contagion throughout his body, Spider-Man soon found himself chowing down on his lover and his aunt.