Natasha Romanoff, more popularly known to the Marvel fan base as Black Widow is one of the most iconic superheroes to ever grace the comic book pages and the silver screen. She’s rightfully earned her place in the Marvel Universe as one of the deadliest spies. She inspires feelings of mystery and intrigue, particularly her sexuality, which has always been somewhat confusing for most enthusiasts. So it’s only natural to wonder if she’s gay, bisexual, or straight.
The Black Widow is straight. Through the years we have seen her involved with various men including Bucky Barnes, Hawkeye, Daredevil, Hercules, Nikolai, and more. It wasn’t outrightly stated that she prefers either gender but still there’s no record of her being romantically involved with a woman.
This article will explore the Black Widow’s relationships in both the comics and MCU to put the question of her sexuality into clear perspective. So read on to get the inside scoop as this is guaranteed to be an enlightening piece.
Who Are Black Widow’s Love Interests?
Black Widow’s first appearance was in 1964’s Tales of Suspense #52 and her story is one of sadness and tragedy. Even though we don’t know where Natalia Alianovna Romanova was born, the earliest we know of her history is that she lost her parent’s in an apartment complex fire (some sources claim the Battle of Stalingrad). During the fire, her mother threw her through the window. Ivan Petrovitch, a soldier, was passing by on the street and managed to catch her and eventually raised her as her own.
While there are varying accounts when it comes to Black Widow’s history & origin, as well as different stories on how she become an elite assassin and a spy, several things concerning her relationships we know for sure. She was married to Alexei Shostakov who played a big part in forming her personality and she was involved with several Marvel superheroes as well. Let’s see some of her relationships in comics and MCU.
In the Marvel Comics
In her almost 60-year history in the comics, Natasha Romanoff has had several love interests, some flings, some born out of convenience, and others genuine relationships. They include:
1. Clint Burton, aka Hawkeye
In the comics, Clint and Nat first met as the latter was trying to infiltrate Stark Industries. They were married but it never managed to work out between them. They separated shortly after getting married. But some good did come out of it. Hawkeye helped her to build something meaningful as a part of the Avengers, although it should be noted that his responsibilities for the Avengers were part of the reason why they ultimately broke up after she retired.
A short-term romance but a romance nonetheless. The fling between Spider-Man and Black Widow started after he managed to save her from Hydra. Her worsened mental condition led to her assuming one of her old cover identities – Nancy Rushman, and developing unhealthy and unnatural feelings toward Spider-Man. After some time when Black Widow pulled through and got her memories back, both she and Spider-Man could agree that the relationship has run its course.
3. Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil
After some uncalled-for events, Natasha resumed her work as the Black Widow, but worked alone this time and on a much much smaller scale. While cleaning up the local streets she met Daredevil. Vigilantism was their thing, they moved to San Francisco together but eventually, they broke it off.
After breaking things off with Daredevil, Natasha moved to LA and joined The Champions, later on becoming their leader. The Champions consisted of Ghost Rider, Hercules, Angel, and Iceman. As the group fell apart, the relationship followed the same course as well, Nat and Hercules go their separate ways too. The two remained friends which is a common thing in almost all of her relationships.
5. Alexei Shostakov
During her Red Room training, Natasha met Alexei Shostakov who was a renowned Russian test pilot. The KGB arrange a marriage between the two of them and their marriage was a happy one until Alexei’s supposed death. This gave her motivation to continue serving her country as the Black Widow. However, after completing her Red Room training she discovers that the KGB faked Alexei’s death so they could make him into the Russian version of Captain America, the Red Guardian.
6. Tony Stark
After joining the Avengers, Nat and Tony became friends but nothing solid ever comes up between them. The closest they’ve come to a relationship in the main universe is a brief moment during a trip to Russia where they defeat Titanium Man. In the Ultimate Universe, the two end up getting engaged and she betrays him.
7. Michael Corcoran
Once she forayed into the spy world, Nat crossed paths with Michael Corcoran, an American scientist who defected to the Soviet side. At the time she was trying to locate Ivan Petrovitch, who had raised her. She went undercover as a scientist but soon a romance bloomed between her and Corcoran. However, when she found the information she was seeking and tried to verify the information as Black Widow, the KGB sprang the trap they’d set and killed him before her eyes.
8. Bucky Barnes
During the events of the Civil War, Steve Rogers is assassinated. Natasha rekindled her relationship with Bucky Barnes who is no longer brainwashed by HYDRA. She convinces Bucky to become the next Captain America. The two work together, tracking down and neutralizing Red Room and HYDRA sleeper agents. This was probably her healthiest relationship but it was cut short after Nat met her death at the hands of a HYDRA-controlled Steve Rogers.
A soldier named Nikolai was her first romantic relationship and they met while they were both Russian WWII soldiers. Nikolai is the least known character on this list. However, the two were married briefly and were even expecting a child together, sadly, the baby died during childbirth and the tragedy soon struck again when Nikolai was killed on the battlefield. Their relationship ended where it started, on the battlefield.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Natasha Romanoff was first introduced in the MCU in Iron Man 2 where she is sent undercover by S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Nick Fury to spy on Tony Stark. We see more of her in the following movies, where she eventually becomes an Avenger.
The MCU never really explored the romantic side of Natasha Romanoff. In the movies, she maintains a cordial friendship with Captain America and is best friends with Clint Burton. Other than that, the only romantic relationship that the movies hint at but only lightly explore is with Bruce Banner.
Natasha first met Bruce as she was recruiting him for the Avengers. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, it was revealed that the two had romantic feelings for each other. Natasha was the only one able to get to him when he was in Hulk form.
In truth, Black Widow and Bruce Banner’s romantic involvement was poorly executed. At the end of Age of Ultron, the Hulk disappears and it isn’t until Avengers: Infinity War that the two reunite. They are cordial to each other but so jarringly awkward. Later on in the movie, Nat sacrifices herself for the Soul Stone on Vormir. Bruce tries his best to bring her back but doesn’t succeed.
The Bottom Line – Black Widow’s Sexuality
From the foregoing, it is safe to assume that the Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanoff, is straight if you consider her love interests over the years.
However, there have been some confusing encounters that would make me second guess my assertion. For example, in Avengers + X-Men #2, Black Widow’s arm is injured so she kisses Rogue to transfer her shooting knowledge to the latter.
Despite this, all indications point to the fact that she is straight.