Daughter of the legendary General Ross, Betty Ross roomed with fellow "army brat" Janet Van Dyne at NYU. Earning a communications degree at Berkeley, Betty dated Bruce Banner, lead scientist in her father's Super-Soldier Research program. His experiments led to his recurring transformations in to the monstrous Hulk. Banner managed to suppress his Hulk transformations, but was still demoted when the Super-Soldier program expanded in to the Ultimates superhero team. Banner was made deputy to new head scientists Hank and Janet Pym, and Betty was hired as the team's Director of Communications. Betty said nothing about the Pyms' past personal problems at first, but later revealed all after Hank nearly killed Jan during a domestic fight. Meanwhile, Betty routinely belittled Bruce until he finally snapped and went on a destructive rampage as the Hulk, finally halted by the Ultimates. Betty converted this into a public relations triumph by concealing the Hulk's true identity. She also took new romantic interest in Bruce, flattered by his desperate devotion and perversely attracted to his savage Hulk persona. When the Hulk's true identity leaked out, Betty coldly went along with the government's plan to execute Bruce for the Hulk's murders - though she broke down during the trial, declaring her love for Bruce and asking forgiveness. Unaware that Hank Pym secretly helped Banner escape his seeming execution, Betty mourned Bruce's death but continued her work with the Ultimates.
Bruce eventually contacted Betty from India, and it was soon after that Betty discovered Nick Fury had enlisted the aid of Wolverine to hunt down and kill the Hulk. Enraged she wasn't told immediately, she pleaded with Fury and the Ultimates to leave Bruce alone, realizing she still loved him. No one would listen, fearing the Hulk was too dangerous, so Betty sought out other means to handle the situation on her own. Dr. Jennifer Walters was working on a serum that would duplicate the process of transforming an individual into a Hulk, but would leave them in complete control of their actions. Betty decided she would trick both Walters and Fury, so she could obtain the formula, and faked orders from Fury to charter a jet to the battleground where Wolverine had engaged the Hulk. Fury caught on, but it was too late. Betty administered the serum and became a super-powered knockout. She initially just wanted to stop Wolverine from fighting with the Hulk, but in a heartbroken rage, Hulk attacked her. The two fought until Fury launched a nuke at them, but the Hulk intercepted, saving both Betty and Wolverine. However, he whispered something to Betty before he left. Something only Wolverine heard. Wolverine confronted Betty in her apartment, but she was in no mood to hear a lecture from him. A quick change, followed by a brief scuffle, left Betty seriously wounded and ultimately in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. Fury met with the Hulk and told him Betty was being subjected to all sorts of experiments to reverse engineer what she did to herself, and he hoped by knowing this, he would be able to control the brute through Betty.