Relationship of Clark Kent and Lois Lane

The wedding of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, from Superman: The Wedding Album (1996).

Clark Kent and Lois Lane are among the best known fictional couples. Both characters debuted in the DC Comics publication Action Comics #1 (dated June 1938), and have remained in a complicated relationship ever since.

The couple's relationship was based for a long time in a dysfunctional love triangle, in which Clark was interested in Lois, who was taken with Superman. Clark, unable to reveal to Lois that his mild-mannered demeanor was a ruse, was unable to compete for Lois' affection, the irony being he was his own rival seeing that Clark and Superman are the same person. Following John Byrne's The Man of Steel re-boot, Clark's character became not only the more dominant personality of the Clark Kent/Superman character, but also more outgoing, aggressive, and assertive (more in line with George Reeves' portrayal on Adventures of Superman). This allowed a more natural romance to develop between Lois and Clark.

Finally, Clark decided to reveal his real identity to Lois and so they began a long engagement which was complicated by the reintroduction of Lori Lemaris into Clark's life. At last, after a breakup and several problems, in 1996, Lois and Clark got married and a wedding album was released. The event was also made to coincide with the wedding on the TV series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

Despite the fact that Lois Lane is Clark Kent's love interest in almost every Superman incarnation, in Smallville, Clark's affection began directed toward Lana Lang, his childhood crush in canon. The producers were constrained to limited usage of the relationship between Clark and Lois - and in the Lois Lane character in general - because this series' focus began with an adolescent Clark Kent who was just learning to balance the demands of his super powers with his desire to lead a normal, ordinary life. Since they began this story with Clark just a teenager at the onset of the Smallville universe, naturally they explored the doomed-to-fail relationship with childhood sweetheart Lana.

Lois Lane was finally introduced into the "Smallville" universe in their fourth season, but only recently in the series has a romantic interaction between the two characters begun to develop, although there did tend to be "anvils" foreshadowing their future relationship woven throughout their interactions from the moment she appeared on screen. However, the ninth season of the series certainly changed the status quo for that relationship, and in the sixth episode of the season. "Crossfire" (which premiered October 30, 2009), the two finally shared their first real-time mutually reciprocated romantic kiss—one without any time-altering affects, drugs or Kryptonite influence, a point that was amusingly clarified in many a marketing plug for the episode prior to its airing. Finally, in the season nine finale, "Salvation", Lois discovers Clark's dual identity as The Blur through a very passionate kiss she shares with him. At the start of the tenth and final season of the series, Lois learned of Clark's powers, and over the course of the first half of the season she learns about his Kryptonian heritage and weakness to different forms of kryptonite. All these elements add more strength to her relationship with Clark and he finally takes the next step in their relationship by proposing to Lois in the eleventh episode mid-season finale entitled "Icarus".

In practically all of Superman's incarnations, Lois, despite being a brilliant woman and an ace reporter, is unable to see through Clark's thin disguise of mere glasses and a flashy costume that leaves little to the imagination to discern that he is Superman. This is despite Lois being constantly in close quarters with "both" men. This contradiction is sometimes explored, but more often ignored in canonical pieces—unless it makes for a good joke or plot development.


Clark and Lois in different media


Superman first appeared in Action Comics #1 in June 1938. Other than the fact that he'd been rocketed to Earth as an infant, his complex backstory had yet to develop, but Lois Lane was there from the beginning. That first story included a sequence in which Clark behaved in a cowardly fashion, leaving Lois to defend herself against an aggressive man, from whom Superman later saved her. From then on, Clark was established as a shy man attracted to Lois, while she was interested in his heroic alter ego.

This remained the status quo in the comics for a number of years, though Lois did warm up to Clark for the most part. Yet their relationship couldn't really advance with Lois left out of the secret and with Clark Kent's persona being a disguise. This changed in a comic from 1978 (the 40th anniversary of Superman). A wizard wanted to rid the world of Superman, but he had no idea that Superman had a secret identity. With Superman gone and no memory of being Superman and therefore no need to pretend to be a coward, Clark Kent finally became a man with a backbone.

The new 'take charge' Clark Kent, who was fearless and bold, became very attractive to Lois Lane, which proved it was more about attitude and personality than super powers that attracted her to Superman. Lois and the new Clark Kent began dating, fell in love and eventually he proposed and the couple got married. Then, on their honeymoon, when Lois saw Clark caught in a crossfire that should have killed him, but left no mark on him, she began to suspect he was really Superman. She tried to cut a lock of his hair and the scissors broke. As much as she loved Clark with no memory of being Superman, she knew the world needed Superman and so found the wizard who had cast the spell and had him reverse it.

Clark remembered he was Superman, but he also remembered being married to Lois and didn't want to back out of the marriage. Instead, he took her to the Fortress of Solitude and married her again, but as Superman and a Kryptonian marriage ceremony. From that point until the revamp, Lois and Clark of the alternate universe known as Earth-2, remained married; on Earth-1, however, it was business as usual. Lois loved Superman, but he said he belonged to the world and couldn't commit to anyone. Also Lana Lang, who had been created for the Superboy comics, was introduced into the Superman comics as an adult rival against Lois for Superman's affections. Lois won that competition, but still was not told of Superman's dual identity. However, a big change was coming...

In 1985, the DC Comics universe went through an enormous overhaul and revamp called Crisis on Infinite Earths. The purpose of the year-long event was to get rid of some character histories, conflicting continuity and overlapping worlds and create a more logical universe. When the Crisis ended, Clark never was Superboy as a youth and Clark Kent became the real person and Superman the disguise. There was finally a setting in which Lois could logically fall in love with Clark Kent because he was the real person this time; although it would take a couple of years for Lois to feel anything romantic for Clark after he scooped her on the Superman exclusive.

In Superman #44 (A Dark Knight over Metropolis), the couple buried the hatchet and began dating and fell in love. In Superman #50 (Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite), Clark proposed to Lois and she accepted, but Clark didn't tell Lois his secret until weeks later in Action Comics #662. That threw Lois for a loop and she needed time to think it over. After contemplating the revelation and its implications, Lois decided it all came down to love. She loved Clark and would accept and share his complicated life and secret. Then, due to the pending debut of the series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, a chain of events were put into motion to prevent Lois and Clark in the comics from getting married until the TV couple was ready to walk down the aisle.

Superman was killed by Doomsday in Superman #75. Then, after a year of mourning, searching and resurrecting, Superman returned to the land of the living and the arms of Lois Lane. But the comics still had to drag their feet because Lois and Clark on the TV series met as strangers when the show debuted and it would take three years for them to make it to the altar. The comics launched into a series of arcs designed to keep the couple apart including a broken engagement arc, but Lois and Clark on the TV series finally married in October 1996 and so did their comic book counterparts.

More than a decade later, the legendary couple are still married and have recently adopted a boy, Chris Kent, the natural son of Kryptonian villains General Zod and Ursa. Although Clark was quick to fatherhood, Lois was more reluctant, until she saw how vulnerable and sweet Chris was, and the three of them became a happy family. Unfortunately, soon after Zod invaded Earth and during the battle, Chris along with his birth parents were sucked into the Phantom Zone, leaving Clark and Lois heartbroken. He would return later as a teenager under the guise of Nightwing.

In DC's 2011 relaunch, The New 52, it is revealed that Clark and Lois are no longer, and have never been married.

Christopher Reeve's Superman films (1978-1987)

Lois Lane and Superman in the memorable flight scene in Superman: The Movie (1978).

Superman was released by Warner Bros. in 1978, and based on the popular DC Comics character. It was directed by Richard Donner and executive produced by Ilya Salkind, with music by John Williams. Superman/Clark Kent was portrayed by Christopher Reeve and Lois Lane was portrayed by Margot Kidder.

The movie led to three theatrical sequels: Superman II (1980), Superman III (1983) and Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987). Superman Returns (2006) is based on the continuity of the first two films and Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006) is director Richard Donner's original vision of his sequel to Superman: The Movie.

One of the most important aspects in the first and second movies was the romantic relationship between the two main characters; Clark was hopelessly in love with Lois Lane and even (in Superman II) gave up his powers in order to be with her.[1] The scene of the first movie where Superman takes Lois in his arms and both fly over the nocturnal sky of Metropolis has become classic and has inspired several parodies over the years. A similar scene occurred in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.

A disagreement between Margot Kidder and the producers after Superman II led to Lois' character's part being reduced in the third movie, along with the Clark and Lois content. Lana Lang (played by Kristen Kreuk) in essence, replaced Lois as Clark Kent/Superman's love interest in Superman III, although Lois returned for the fourth film as the female lead and Superman's true love.

In the treatment for the aborted Superman Reborn from the early 1990s, the film would end with Lois and Superman becoming engaged and ultimately married. In the final moments of the film, Superman and Lois would fly up into the stratosphere and into the sunset, similar to how Superman did so, alone in the previous films.

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1990s)

Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman was a live-action television series based on the Superman comic books.

It aired from 1993 to 1997, and starred Dean Cain as Superman/Clark Kent, Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane and John Shea as Lex Luthor. The series generally followed comic book writer John Byrne's 1986 revamping of the Superman mythos, with Clark Kent as the true personality, and Superman the secret identity. The main characteristic of this series is that it gave special focus on the relationship between Clark Kent and Lois Lane.

General plot of the series: in 1966, Jonathan and Martha Kent witness the crash-landing of a small spaceship in Shuster's Field near Smallville, Kansas. When they investigate the craft, they discover the baby Kal-El and decide to raise him as their own, naming him "Clark Jerome Kent". 27 years later, Clark moves to Metropolis and gets a job at the Daily Planet. There, he is partnered with Lois Lane, who at first considers him little more than a pest. Eventually, however, the two fall in love and marry after a turbulent courtship, including such problems as Lois being replaced with a frog-eating clone, Lois suffering from amnesia, and Clark being called away to serve as a leader on New Krypton. The marriage was timed to coincide with the release of Superman: The Wedding Album, which depicts the couple's wedding in comic book continuity.

The series spawned several short tie-in books aimed at young adults, as well as one full-length novel for adults, Lois & Clark: A Superman Novel (1996), written by C. J. Cherryh.

DC Animated Universe

When developing Superman: The Animated Series, the producers made the decision to establish Lois as a character much more grounded in her Golden Age roots, that of a sharp, cynical cut-throat reporter who wasn't afraid to dig deep into the Metropolis dirt to gain a story, with Clark as the voice of caution and reason in his alter-ego, and as the well-meaning, but overprotective boy scout in his role as Superman.

Accustomed already to a world filled with madmen, Superman's heroics in Metropolis do not impress Lois initially, and her professional rivalry with his alter-ego Clark Kent isn't any better. Lois is severely territorial over her stories, and constantly teases Clark by calling him "Smallville" (a line since adapted for the comics and Smallville television series for their version of Lois).

Following a trip to an alternate universe, Lois is surprised and dismayed to find Superman sold out to Lex Luthor after her alternate self was killed, finally beginning to realize she meant much more to the Man of Steel. After this version of Superman saved the world from Lex Luthor's dominion, Lois kissed him before returning to her own reality, becoming much closer to her own version of Superman afterwards, aware of how delicate his feelings are.

Lois also became more affectionate to Clark as the series progressed, confiding in him as a best friend, though their rivalry at times became more heated on a personal basis because of this. Lois eventually became quite close to Bruce Wayne, and sensed Clark's jealously almost immediately. Lois began teasing Clark over her new love interest, but eventually learned that Wayne was the Gotham City vigilante Batman, and ended the relationship.

In "The Late Mr. Kent", Clark is forced to fake his death in order to sniff out an assassin who has targeted his alter-ego. Unaware of his survival (only Clark's parents are aware he is alive), Lois takes the loss of her partner hard, and becomes consumed with uncovering the truth behind his "murder", enlisting Superman's help. Whilst investigating Clark's apartment, Lois breaks down, admitting to Superman that she respected and "really liked" Clark, but never told him. Upon learning of Clark's "survival", Lois is incensed that he didn't tell her and confided in his closest friend from Smallville, Lana Lang.

Lois and Superman continued to have a friendly, yet distanced relationship, neither really pulling the trigger until the events of the series finale "Legacy", where Superman is briefly turned against the world by Darkseid. After overcoming the threat of Apokolips yet again, Superman admits to Lois that it will take him a long time to restore humanity's faith in him, but Lois assures him he's already got one less human to worry about, and kisses him.

The two continue to date in Justice League Unlimited, but nothing is really developed further. The producers had intended to have Lois uncover Superman's true identity in "Divided We Fall", but this plotline was not carried into the aired episode. Lois vanished from the DCAU altogether, leaving many fans frustrated with the lack of resolution to her feelings for either Clark or Superman.

In Batman Beyond, an aged Superman leads the JLU of the future. The status of Lois is unknown, but there is a possibility she could have lived into that time due to advanced medical resources.

Smallville (2001-2011)

Smallville is a series which aired on The WB from 2001 to 2006, and The CW from 2006 to 2011. It depicts a young Clark Kent (Tom Welling) learning to accept his powers and who he really is, along with his destiny. The series shows Clark's reluctance to accept his Kryptonian heritage, his responsibility over his abilities, his longing desire to be "normal," and his constant fear of others discovering his secret. While the show focuses on these issues, Clark experiences crushes and infatuations with some characters in the show, and finds love with Lana Lang during the early seasons.

Lois Lane was later added to the main cast in the fourth season; she and Clark first developed a friendship, and they ultimately grew stronger feelings towards one another romantically. Throughout the series since Lois' character came, the show rarely misses an opportunity to hint at their iconic love relationship that happens in the future. Hints have been given from Lois dreaming about a guy in a red cape or saying she prefers geeks in glasses, to Lois walking into the scene when Clark talks about not being able to imagine himself with anybody other than his first love interest Lana Lang. Clark has unknowingly dropped hints foreshadowing their epic love affair when he told Lois, after she just said goodbye to Smallville's Aquaman with whom she had a few dates in one episode, she would one day "find somebody even more special". In the episode "Lucy" after Lois and Clark admit for the first time to each other that they have become friends, two stars collide.

Erica Durance revealed at Wizard World Philadelphia 2006 that "DC Comics has really clamped down on Lois. You can't do a dream sequence (with her and Clark) or any of that sneaky stuff."

Starting in season 6 of Smallville- due to the release of Superman Returns-, the restrictions on Lois and Clark's romance were apparently relieved to a large extent. In the episode "Hydro," Lois and Clark share their first kiss. However, since Clark is disguised as Green Arrow, Lois doesn't realize his true identity. All she knows is that he is a better kisser than Oliver.

In "Crimson", Lois put on a lipstick—that contained Red Kryptonite and an aphrodisiac--that made her fall in love with the first man she saw, which turned out to be Clark. Under the influence of the lipstick love potion, Lois kissed Clark, infecting him with Red Kryptonite (which, in the series, removes his inhibitions). In this episode, Smallville's Lois Lane also finally adds her name to the list of Lois Lanes who have taken a flight with Clark Kent, as he takes Lois for a "flight" from the rooftop of Daily Planet building in Metropolis (although technically it was only a leap across the city, as Clark has yet to develop the ability to fly). Furthermore, Clark remembered the tryst and the implication was made that he was attracted to Lois at some level.

In the season 7 episode, "Siren", Clark and Lois made a huge progression in their relationship as Lois, in a very emotionally vulnerable state, told Clark she knows what it's like to love someone who has a destiny greater than her own. In the episode "Apocalypse", after beating herself up for not being as good at dealing with sad happenings as Clark is, Lois still tried to console him, and asked him to go out and have a drink with her. The same episode heavily underlines Superman mythos as it is set in an alternate universe where Clark never came to Earth, resulting in Lois Lane meeting Clark Kent- who has been sent to this reality by Jor-El to make a point- for the first time at the Daily Planet, and the two have an instant attraction to each other, Clark exposing his powers to save Lois's life and working with her to stop President Lex Luthor's plans of conquest. In the season 7 finale, "Arctic", Lana Lang who was portrayed as Clark Kent's first love interest broke up with him via a DVD, and as she said her goodbyes, Lois entered the scene and consoled Clark.

With the beginning of Season Eight, the two took another crucial step towards their future relationship, with Clark starting work at the Daily Planet at the desk opposite Lois'. The writers for the series stated that in the eighth season, Lois finds out about her true feelings towards Clark. While put under a lie detector by a serial killer in the episode "Committed", Lois admitted while sobbing that she was in love with Clark. However, she later tells Clark that she had slipped the sensor off her finger before she had answered the question. This is probably a lie to hide the truth of her love for him as a lie detector would have encountered an error causing it to malfunction and shock Clark.

Later in "Bride", the couple shared many moments of attraction throughout the episode, with Lois being the most obvious of the two. This lead up to Lois and Clark almost sharing a kiss until interrupted by the arrival of Lana. Afterward, during a conversation between her and Oliver Queen, she remarks she felt someone needed her and that she couldn't ignore her feelings for Clark.

Lois leaves to Star City and takes care of Jimmy Olsen (who was injured in "Bride"), while Lana gained superpowers via Luthercorp's Prometheus suit, originally designed to help Lex Luthor recuperate after the season 7 finale. When Lana absorbs the kryptonite radiation from a bomb that would have destroyed Metropolis, she and Clark were unable to touch each other for prolonged periods of time. She then left so as not to hurt Clark.

When Lois returned in "Infamous", Clark tells Lois about his secret and asked her to write his story. When she did, the secret of the RBB (Red Blue Blur) is revealed to the world via a front page article in the Daily Planet. Things soon went awry however, and caused Clark to rewind time using his Legion ring (obtained in the episode "Legion"). Time was then returned to before he told Lois his secret. In the rewritten time-line, Lois invited him to get some coffee to discuss what happened between them during "Bride", but leaves him the option of backing out. Clark arrives across the street from the coffee shop, but decided to send Lois a text message indicating he couldn't make it. Lois responds with a similar message, and later told Clark that they should "go back to basics" and "keep the game on the field" (in the season 8 episode "Hex"). At the end of the season, Lois was taken to the future when she touched the Legion ring.

She returns in the "Savior" but loses memory of where she was. Soon, the two were seen flirting much more. In the first nine episodes, Lois is seen having visions of the future, which included visions of her and Clark making love. The truth of what she saw is revealed- including a world where the Kryptonian clones from Kandor had conquered the world and turned the sun red to deprive Clark of his powers- but her memories are erased. Clark finally made his move in "Crossfire" when he kissed her, which Lois reciprocated in "Idol." They decided in the end of "Pandora" to become an official couple. Throughout the rest of season nine, the two took slow steps in their relationship because they wanted to "make it right." In the season finale "Salvation" Clark kisses Lois as the Blur and she ultimately figures out Clark's secret (though it is made clear in the season 10 premiere "Lazarus" that Clark doesn't realize she knows).

In the tenth and final season of Smallville, several new milestones in their relationship occur: from 'I love yous' exchanged in "Homecoming" to Clark revealing his 'secret' to Lois in "Isis" to them consummating their love in "Harvest". In "Ambush," it is implied Clark asked Sam Lane for Lois' hand in marriage and the audience sees in "Abandoned" Clark with an engagement ring which he uses to propose to Lois in the beginning of the episode "Icarus", which she immediately accepts. Although the two have a wedding in the final episode, it is later stated that the two never completed the ceremony due to the appearance of Darkseid and Apokolips, the two apparently completing the ceremony seven years later for unspecified reasons.

Superman Returns (2006)

Lois Lane and Superman in Superman Returns (2006).

In the movie by director Bryan Singer, Superman has disappeared for a number of years. On his return, not only did he find the world he left behind change in ways he didn't expect, but the woman he loves is a mother and has moved on, being engaged. It is later revealed that the child is his.

Though in Superman II Lois had her memory wiped of being intimate with Superman via a kiss it's unknown how long she knew that the child was Superman's. Now that Warner Bros. has announced a reboot of the film, it would seem that the filmmakers are going to start from scratch.

The role of Lois Lane is played by Kate Bosworth and the role of Superman/Clark Kent is played by Brandon Routh.


  1. ^ Christine A. Colón, Bonnie E. Field (2009), Singled Out, ISBN 9781587432378 [page needed]

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