When asked about this, Stan Lee claimed it was purely coincidental, that he knew nothing about drugs and never tried marijuana. I don't think she had a mean bone in her body, and wasn't likely to do something that was likely to screw things up for Peter, out of some misguided sense of self-aggrandizement, which Mary Jane was quite capable of doing - which makes her a much more interesting character." In 1987, the character was married to Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21. De Matteis commented that "'Kraven’s Last Hunt' has a lot of darkness in it, but the story primarily is about Peter and his journey into the light and the power of simple human love.Like Lee, Conway found Mary Jane to be more compelling than Gwen: "[Mary Jane] hadn't lost the edge that made her an interesting character. The reason Peter makes it out is because he has Mary Jane in his life, and that is his salvation." Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada said that he feels the marriage ages the characters, making them less appealing to young readers, and lessens the dramatic, "soap opera" possibilities, but also stated that "divorcing or widowing, or annulling the marriage..."made the definitive statement of his arrival by pulling Mary Jane out from behind the oversized potted plant [that blocked the readers' view of her face in issue #25] and placing her on panel in what would instantly become an iconic moment." Romita has stated that in designing Mary Jane, he "used Ann-Margret from the movie Bye Bye Birdie as a guide, using her coloring, the shape of her face, her red hair and her form-fitting short skirts." According to co-creator Stan Lee, he and Romita had intended for Gwen Stacy to be Spider-Man's one true love, and introduced Mary Jane "just for fun", but that "somehow, Mary Jane seemed to have all the personality, and much as we tried to make Gwen more attractive, we couldn't!We, ourselves, felt that Mary Jane ended up being not only more attractive but more fun and more interesting, and we finally decided to let Peter end up with her, but it was ... " The names "Mary Jane" and "MJ" are also common slang terms for marijuana. De Matteis made Mary Jane and her marriage to Spider-Man one of the central themes of the critically acclaimed "Kraven's Last Hunt", published the same year as the wedding.He questions her ability to ever care about people like him and Gwen, and states "You wouldn't be sorry if your own mother died," unaware that her mother had actually died. She attempts to leave, but hesitates as she approaches the door, and ultimately chooses to stay with him.This served as a turning point in their relationship, and over the next couple of years, she and Peter become very close friends.However, they eventually become irritated with each other and Peter subsequently chooses to date Gwen.Mary Jane, who becomes Harry Osborn's love interest and girlfriend, remains a close friend to Peter and Gwen.
Following an attack on Peter by Puma, she breaks down and admits her knowledge of Peter's secret identity in The Amazing Spider-Man #257.
Eventually, upon realizing the feelings that they share for one another, they decide to take their relationship to the next level.