Everybody Who Knows Batman's Secret Identity (Who Isn't In The Bat-Family)

It was once a closely guarded mystery to the citizens of Gotham City and beyond, but these days the list of people who know Batman’s secret identity is getting pretty long. That’s partly due to Bruce Wayne’s ever-expanding cadre of allies, even outside of the Bat-Family, but the also-expanding amount of villains who know Batman’s true identity is pretty troubling. It’s hard to keep a secret for nearly a hundred years of published history, it seems, and now dozens of Gotham’s best and worst are in on it.

Some of Batman’s worst enemies know he’s Bruce Wayne under that mask, and so do a long list of current and former Bat-lovers. DC Comics’ continuity has rebooted a couple of times over the decades, but the Dark Knight’s personal history has remained fairly consistent through it all - including the not-so-secret nature of his alter ego.

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  • Hugo Strange
    Photo: DC Comics

    Doctor Hugo Strange, celebrity psychiatrist turned supervillain, is often credited as one of the Dark Knight’s most intelligent nemeses, and much of that reputation is derived from the time he figured out that Bruce Wayne was Batman almost entirely on his own.

    In Batman: Prey, a storyline set early on in the Caped Crusader’s career, Strange was brought in by the GCPD to investigate Batman after psychoanalyzing the vigilante on late-night television. Almost immediately, Strange started stalking around his apartment in a replica Batman costume and talking to a mannequin, demonstrating his own issues with mental health. But he cracked the case all the same - partly due to context clues convincing him that Batman must be an extremely wealthy individual, and partly due to dosing Batman with hallucinogens until he cried out about the demise of his parents, tipping Strange off to the Wayne family connection.

    Instead of turning Bruce in to the GCPD, Strange engaged in a bizarre scheme to “become the Batman” and ultimately ruined his own reputation. He would maintain knowledge about the Dark Knight’s secret identity in an on-and-off fashion until a continuity reboot seemingly robbed him of the secret.

  • Catwoman
    Photo: DC Comics

    As Catwoman, Selina Kyle has been a part of Batman’s story for nearly as long as he’s existed. Over their eight decades of shared history, Catwoman has learned - and then subsequently forgotten - that Batman was Bruce Wayne almost a dozen times, and while the timing may differ, the method is always the same.

    The most recent, post-New 52 and Rebirth canon at DC Comics is a little unclear on when exactly Bruce first revealed himself to Selina - even the two lovers disagree on the details - but the “how” was never in question. Under any continuity, the Bat and the Cat become wildly attracted to one another, fall in some sort of love, and then Bruce takes his mask off in front of her en route to a passionate rooftop make-out session.

    These days, the two operate as a married couple, and Catwoman has become a bonafide member of the Bat-Family with a more-than-intimate knowledge of Batman’s deepest secrets.

  • Superman
    Photo: DC Comics

    Batman and Superman have been teaming up since 1952’s Superman #76, which was also the first time they learned one another’s secret identity. In keeping with the silliness of the era, this involved the duo being booked into the same cruise cabin, attempting to change into their costumes in the dark, and catching one another in the act. Thankfully, they’ve mostly remained on the same side of things ever since.

    Continuity reboots have adjusted the Batman/Superman relationship, but never to an excessive degree. The New 52 era made their friendship a little less special, if anything, by having the entire founding roster of the Justice League reveal their true identities to one another shortly after their first mission, including Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent. But the two are still superheroic besties, and Batman has gone on to trust Superman with a lot more than just his real name.

  • Lois Lane
    Photo: DC Comics

    As the eventual spouse of Superman, one might reason that Lois Lane learned of Batman’s secret identity from her husband, but that wasn’t originally the case. Lane is a legendary investigative journalist, after all, and doesn’t really need anyone’s help to solve a good mystery. She first figured it out surprisingly late in the game, when she teamed up with Bruce Wayne to infiltrate the White House in Detective Comics #756 and steal a Kryptonite ring from President Lex Luthor.

    It’s unclear if Lois learned the truth in a similar fashion under modern DC Comics continuity, but she must have done so at some point before she started double-dating with Bruce and Selina Kyle prior to their wedding.

    In any case, the fact that Lane had to crack the case on her own, without help from her husband, speaks to Clark Kent’s inherent trustworthiness. When the question was raised as to why Superman had not simply told his wife who Batman was, it was pointed out that Bruce had never given him express permission to do so - and that Superman would never share a personal secret without express permission, even to his partner. 

  • Ra's al Ghul
    Photo: DC Comics

    The Batman may consider himself to be the World’s Greatest Detective, but Ra’s al Ghul has a strong investigatory reputation all his own. When the two first met in the landmark Batman #232, Ra’s revealed he had already studied the Dark Knight and figured out it was Bruce Wayne hiding under that mask. Of course, for someone who moves in as lofty of circles as al Ghul does, the whole concept of a secret identity has always been a little passé, so he’s only rarely used it to threaten Wayne.

    Since that first meeting, Ra’s and Bruce’s lives have become deeply entangled. Ra’s is now the grandfather of Batman’s son, Damian Wayne, and it’s only his continued dedication to ecoterrorism that prevents him from becoming an honorary member of the Bat-Family. Still, he’s developed a more-than-begrudging respect for both Batman and Bruce Wayne - enough so that he would never make his secrets public. 

  • Talia al Ghul
    Photo: DC Comics

    Clearly, Ra’s al Ghul let his daughter Talia in on the secret of Batman’s identity sometime before the two famously clashed in Batman #232. The initial plan involved Talia seducing the Dark Knight with her considerable feminine wiles, but it backfired on Ra’s when Talia fell hard for the Bat.

    There were some seriously thorny consent issues at play when Talia did successfully seduce Batman for their first drug-fueled encounter, but the end result was never in denial, and through it, she gained all sorts of knowledge about Bruce Wayne, including carnal knowledge. Talia saw Bruce without his mask, and without all his other Bat-Gear on, too, and a few months later that hookup led to the birth of Damian Wayne, who would go on to train under both of his parents and become a Robin.

    As such, Talia is practically family, but she’ll never be Bat-Family.