Most romantic relationships seem fated to end in tragedy, or at least in heartbreak, in the MCU. Almost every Marvel superhero has had a romantic interest in the comics, and their live-action counterparts have followed suit. Even characters whose romantic life wasn’t a central part of their story, like Loki, and characters who already had an existing relationship, like Hulk, have gotten new romantic interests in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Unfortunately, romance rarely works out within the franchise.

Tony Stark and Pepper Potts had a rather long and healthy relationship before Iron Man’s heroic death, Steve Rogers managed to reunite with Peggy Carter after her death of old age, and Hawkeye got another chance to retire with his wife and kids after they were snapped and later brought back to life. But beyond those specific cases, MCU superheroes tend to be unable to save their romantic relationships from breaking apart, or in some cases, to end up worse than they started. While these couples could eventually overcome destiny and make things work out against all odds, their ill-fated relationships still seem to be utterly tragic tales.

Related: Not Even MCU Wants To Remember Captain America & Sharon Carter’s Romance



7 Doctor Strange and Christine Palmer

Doctor Strange and Christine Palmer I Love You Quote in Multiverse of Madness

Unlike many other MCU relationships, Doctor Strange and Christine Palmer started out as a couple. However, it didn’t take long for Doctor Strange’s ego to get in the way, and Christine quickly knew that she needed to distance herself from him. Strange’s spiritual journey at Kamar Taj helped him realize how much he took Christine for granted, but even though they reunited briefly while Doctor Strange fought Kaecilius, Strange decided not to pursue her anymore. While Strange was able to confess his undying love for an alternate-universe Christine in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, his inability to fully attend her wedding confirmed that they don’t belong together.

Doctor Strange and Christine Palmer’s romantic relationship is destined to fail in every universe, as it is an “absolute point” in their MCU timeline. In What If…?, a different Doctor Strange variant tried every possible way to stay with his Christine, to no avail. Not only did Christine die every time this Doctor Strange tried to save her, but he also ended up corrupting himself with dark magic in the process. After accidentally destroying his entire universe, Strange Supreme only redeemed himself by letting Christine go and protecting other universes from Infinity Ultron.

6 Bruce Banner and Betty Ross

Bruce Banner and Betty Ross in the MCU's Hulk and Avengers Movies

Bruce Banner and Betty Ross’ relationship started on the wrong foot right from the get-go. The Incredible Hulk‘s flashbacks reveal that Bruce Banner’s first transformation into the Hulk injured Betty, creating what would be a fierce enmity between the Gamma monster and Betty’s father, General Ross. Hulk’s subsequent escape only put a bigger strain on Bruce and Betty’s relationship, and while General Ross began respecting Hulk after he defeated the Abomination, Bruce Banner still hasn’t reunited with Betty more than 15 years later. Banner briefly developed feelings for Black Widow afterward, and he now enjoys a peaceful life all by himself after merging himself with his alter ego.

Related: Betty Ross’ Captain America 4 Return Can Finally Fix A Ruffalo Hulk Problem

5 Scarlet Witch and Vision

Scarlet Witch and Vision's Tragic Romance in the MCU

Scarlet Witch brings tragedy everywhere she goes, and her romantic life is no exception. Despite their attempts to live far away from the spotlight, tragedy struck Wanda Maximoff and Vision in Avengers: Infinity War when Thanos’ henchmen injured Vision and left him vulnerable to Thanos’ eventual arrival. After Vision’s death, Scarlet Witch had to witness SWORD experimenting on his dead body, and her point of no return came when she visited the place that would have become their home.

Scarlet Witch briefly reconstructed Vision and created her twin sons with her chaos magic in WandaVision, but having to let them go only pushed her farther into darkness. While Vision’s consciousness appears to have entered his original body, Scarlet Witch has become such an evil villain that her ideal life with Vision may not be possible anymore. Besides, Scarlet Witch sacrificed herself to stop her pain from harming more innocent lives, so whatever reunion could come for Scarlet Witch and Vision after Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness may not be anything less than bittersweet.

4 Spider-Man and MJ

Peter Parker and MJ in Spider-Man No Way Home's Ending Scene

Peter Parker established a healthy romantic relationship with Michelle Jones despite all the obstacles that his double life as Spider-Man entailed. MJ loved Peter so much that she was willing to participate in his battles despite her lack of superpowers, and Peter knew he had to protect his secret identity in order to keep MJ and his loved ones safe. But instead of dealing with the consequences of being outed as Spider-Man by Mysterio, Peter reacted desperately by reaching out to Doctor Strange, which only made everything worse. After accepting that letting MJ go is the best way to protect her, however, Peter Parker understood that erasing his relationship with MJ from existence was the wise thing to do.

Related: Spider-Man’s No Way Home Ending Quietly Risked A Big MCU Plot Hole

3 Star-Lord and Gamora

Star-Lord and Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3

Like Spider-Man and MJ, Star-Lord and Gamora had the chance to enjoy their relationship a little bit longer than other MCU couples. Unfortunately, Peter Quill and Gamora’s unlikely romance only came to an end because Thanos needed to kill his daughter in order to accomplish his twisted goals. Since Gamora physically died, no amount of time travel or multiversal shenanigans will ever be able to bring her back. Star-Lord struggled to understand this given that he met an alternate-universe Gamora, who let him know that his attempts to win her over are futile because she’s a completely independent person. By the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Star-Lord finally accepts that he needs to move forward without her.

2 Thor and Jane Foster

Thor love and thunder jane and thor

Thor and Jane Foster tried to make their relationship work multiple times, but the circumstances were always against them. Loki, Malekith, the Avengers, and Thor’s responsibilities forced them to take various long breaks, and they only could make the most out of their time together in between the events of Thor: The Dark World and Avengers: Age of Ultron. After that, Jane Foster received a cancer diagnosis, which she managed to keep at bay by drawing power from Mjolnir and becoming the Mighty Thor for a brief time. Like several other Marvel heroes, Thor had to accept he had to let Jane go, this time because she would soon pass away. On a positive note, Jane Foster earned her ticket to Valhalla, where she reunited with Heimdall and possibly Odin, Frigga, and Loki.

1 Rocket Raccoon and Lylla the Otter

Rocket Raccoon and Lylla the Otter in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3

One of the most tragic relationships in the MCU is that of Rocket Raccoon and Lylla the Otter, who couldn’t fully enjoy their time together due to the High Evolutionary’s twisted experiments on them and their fellow test subject friends. After dreaming of freedom for so long, Rocket Raccoon’s attempt to break Lylla and their friends free resulted in the High Evolutionary’s cold-blooded murder of Lylla, Teefs, and Floor right in front of Rocket. Naturally, Rocket’s revenge on the High Evolutionary wasn’t enough to grant him peace of mind, so he engaged in self-destructive behavior before making peace with his past in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, where his brush with death briefly reunited him with Lylla in the afterlife.

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