It’s fair to say that bad luck with loved ones is a big understatement where Spider-Man is concerned - and the rollercoaster of emotions and events between him and Mary Jane Watson is no exception. Still, given what MJ endured with Peter - including multiple near-death experiences, proposals, and giving birth to a stillborn child (or so they thought) - theirs grew into a love like no other.
But then the unspeakable happened. A trade was posed to them by the demonic Mephisto. Growing tired of soul ownership, he wished to make a deal, exchanging the life of Aunt May (injured by a soon-to-be fatal gunshot) for an unconditional love that only occurs once in a millennium (Pete and MJ’s). Not yet ready to part with his Aunt May, Peter and MJ agreed - reducing everything they'd built, the marriage, the trust, the love, to nothing more than an ex-relationship after a messy break-up.
We’ll be taking a look at the aftermath for Mary Jane, following one of the toughest decisions she and Peter Parker ever had to make.
Mary Jane Still Knew Peter's Secret Identity Even Though They Never Got Married
Although their marriage had been erased from their continuity, MJ had known about Spidey’s secret identity for quite some time before this, so that memory was still intact.
The first encounter the two had (post-memory erasure) was in an altercation between Spidey and Paper Doll, in Hollywood actor Bobby Carr’s apartment. Unbeknownst to Spider-Man, observing the fight and communicating from the panic room via the intercom was Carr’s new girlfriend - who was, you guessed it, Mary Jane!
Spider-Man, recognizing the voice, asks if the two have met - to which MJ poignantly responds “in another life.”
They Broke Up When She Found Out Peter Almost Had Her Brainwashed By Doctor Strange
In Brand New Day, the altered memory of the wedding day was that Peter didn't show up. In a flashback, we see that despite this, MJ agreed to take him back - on the condition Peter never propose to her again and that they never bring a child into their relationship, as it was too dangerous. Another flashback also revealed Spider-Man saving MJ from an attempt on her life (ironically by the same Kingpin mercenary who wrecked their wedding years before).
To better protect MJ, Spidey sought the help of Doctor Strange to erase her knowledge of Spider-Man while she was unconscious. However, emotions got the better of him, and he changed his mind at the last minute.
Mary Jane, devastated at the burden Peter wished for her to keep, ended the relationship, claiming she wasn’t strong enough. The two vowed to remain best friends and support each other in future relationships.
She Became A TV Host And Briefly Got Spider-Man's Powers During 'Spider Island'
Spider Island featured MJ situated in the Big Apple as a TV host. At the same time, an aptly named "spider-virus" hit NYC, turning all of its citizens into giant spiders. Thanks to Mary Jane’s past relations with our favorite web-slinger, she was only partly affected and was instead endowed with all of Spidey’s powers.
Using Doc Ock’s antenna-like helmet, Spider-Man was able to spread the cure via the Doctor’s octobots. The day was saved, but their relationship remained the same, as MJ’s sentimental “I love you” wasn't heard by Peter amid all the chaos. MJ was eventually given the cure, reverting to her normal self.
She Befriended Spidey’s New Love Interest Who Also Knew His Secret Identity
Ends of Earth saw Mary Jane cross paths with Carlie Cooper, another love interest of Peter Parker’s who also knew his big secret. MJ’s initial jealousy was overcome by her concern for Peter’s happiness, and the two became friends.
When Spidey then confessed to Silver Sable his feelings for a certain someone, saying "it'd just about take saving the world to be worthy of her," it was clear the two still loved each other more than ever - but neither knew this about the other.