Jean Grey is one of the X-Men’s most stalwart members. She was Professor X’s student longer than anyone, and her telepathic and telekinetic powers make her one of the most powerful people on Earth. Her life on the team has seen some dizzying highs and terrifying lows, yet she never waivers in her dedication to the survival and prosperity of the human race.
Jean Grey is the patron saint of the X-Men, and like many patron saints, she’s had a very tough time of things. In fact, Jean’s life has been full of hardships that have made her existence quite harsh.
10 Professor X Was In Love With Her When She A Teen
Professor X saved Jean Grey’s life, pulling her out of her coma after the traumatic way her powers manifested. She became his student after this and was with him before any of the other original X-Men had showed up. They grew close as teacher and student, but Professor X eventually fell in love with her years before she turned eighteen.
He never acted on his feelings, and Jean never found out until it was revealed to her by Onslaught. While she never really dwelt on it, knowing that her mentor was in love with her when she was basically a child must be traumatic.
9 She Was Surrounded By Teenage Boys Fighting Over Her
Jean Grey was the only teenage girl on the X-Men, which would have been very hard for her. Cyclops and Angel were both in love with her, and the other members of the team treated her as someone they would need to protect. Cyclops and Angel were vocal about trying to woo her, and she had to deal with being an object as much as a person.
Jean Grey was easily the most powerful young X-Man, but to the boys, she was just a girl they either needed to protect or were in love with. This would have only gotten worse when her telepathy kicked in, as she would have known the fantasies they had of her.
8 She’s Spent Most Of Her Life With Society Trying To Kill Her
Jean Grey’s mutant powers manifested at age eleven. She’s been fighting for mutant rights for most of her life and has dealt with the Sentinels for the entirety of their existence. She’s had to live with the fact that society wants to kill her whole life, and worse, she can sense the racist thoughts of everyone around her.
All of the X-Men know the reality of their situation, but Jean’s telepathy lets her in on exactly what the bigots around her are thinking. She has to deal with knowing how much everyone hates mutants in a way that few other members of the team do.
7 Her Powers Have Been As Much Of A Curse As A Blessing Over The Years
Jean Grey’s telepathy is her greatest weapon and also her biggest curse. It’s not just that she can sense the racism around her but all of the terrible things happening in the minds of everyone. She knows the deepest, darkest secrets of everyone around her who don’t know how to block their minds or protect themselves from telepathy.
She’s one of the most powerful mental talents on Earth, and any mind is an open book to her. She has to deal with knowing how bad everyone, including the purest-hearted people, is on the inside, and she lives with that knowledge every day.
6 She’s Had To Deal With Her Own Death
Superheroes dying is nothing new, and Jean Grey is one of the biggest examples of that. While her most well-known death, at the end of “The Dark Phoenix Saga,” wasn’t actually her, she has had multiple other deaths, even before the Krakoa era, where resurrection became an assembly line process. She’s had to deal with her death and return to life multiple times, and that surely wears on her.
On the one hand, she understands her own mortality better than anyone else, but on the other, she’s been through one of the most terrible things a person can experience more than once. She’s intimately acquainted with her mortality and what it means to be dead better than anyone.
5 Her Friends Have Had A Hard Time Trusting Her
The Dark Phoenix affair had long-term effects on Jean and the X-Men, even though she was never actually the Phoenix until years later. Seeing what could happen with her, her friends feared her power ever-increasing because of what could happen if she lost control. Any time she did anything less than perfectly heroic, team members were ready to take her down.
This is bad enough, but because of her telepathy, she knows exactly how members of the team — her best friends and the only family she has left — feel about her. She can feel their distrust, and that has affected her adversely.
4 Her Life As A Superhero Has Been Terrible
Superheroes don’t have an easy time of things, but Jean Grey makes most of their tribulations look tame. For example, her entire family was slaughtered by the Shi’Ar because of their connection to her and the Phoenix while she was dead. Her daughter from an alternate reality, Rachel, was enslaved and used to hunt down mutants. She spent her honeymoon in a dystopian future raising the child of Cyclops and a clone of her.
Jean’s entire life as a superhero has been more terrible than just about any other hero’s. The things that have happened to her are on another level.
3 Her Powers Manifested When She Watched Her Best Friend Die
Jean Grey’s life has been defined by some of the darkest events imaginable, and the manifestation of her powers is a perfect example of that. She and her friend Annie were playing when Annie was hit by a car. The traumatic experience made her powers kick in and she was in Annie’s mind when she died.
Mutant power manifestations are never easy, and Jean’s put her into a coma. Professor X had to cut off her telepathic powers for years in order to get her out of the coma. It was the perfect kickoff to the traumatic superhero career that would follow, as she not only watched her friend die, she experienced it.
2 The Love Of Her Life Had An Affair During A Trying Time For Both Of Them
Jean Grey’s relationship with Cyclops is her most defining. In fact, other than flirtations and a current quasi-relationship with Wolverine, Jean has had no other serious relationships with anyone other than Cyclops. They were the X-Men’s first couple, and their marriage was a big deal for the team. Their relationship seemed unshakeable.
After Cyclops broke free from Apocalypse and the Phoenix started to manifest in Jean, their marriage became strained. Emma Frost took advantage of this, entering into a psychic relationship with Cyclops. Jean eventually found out, which must have been devastating for her on a level she didn’t let on.
1 She’s Constantly Blamed For Something She Didn’t Do
“The Dark Phoenix Saga” is one of the most iconic X-Men stories and is very important to Jean’s mythology. It linked her inextricably to the Phoenix Force, and while it was eventually revealed that she wasn’t the Phoenix at that time, she did gain all of the memories of that time. She understands the horror of those moments, even if she wasn’t actually there.
That hasn’t stopped people from blaming her for the Dark Phoenix’s actions, though. The Phoenix wore her face, and its actions have been pegged on her for that reason. She knows the horrors of the Phoenix without being responsible for them. Everyone else knows that, and though she’s even mastered the Phoenix Force, they still think the whole situation was her fault.
NEXT: X-Men: 10 Times Jean Grey Earned Her Status As An Omega-Level Mutant