The action stars came under fire after a female interviewer from Digital Spy asked whether the Black Widow would be romancing The Hulk, portrayed by Mark Ruffalo, in the upcoming super hero sequel.

Renner joked, "She's a slut", and Evans added, "I was gonna say something along that line. She's a complete whore!"

The derogatory comments sparked controversy online, and the actors have now come forward to apologise to fans for the ill-advised remarks.

Renner released a statement which reads: "I am sorry that this tasteless joke about a fictional character offended anyone. It was not meant to be serious in any way. Just poking fun during an exhausting and tedious press tour."

Evans added: "We were asked about the rumours that Black Widow wanted to be in a relationship with both Hawkeye and Captain America. We answered in a very juvenile and offensive way that rightfully angered some fans. I regret it and sincerely apologise."

Evans and Renner's co-star Robert Downey, Jr. also hit headlines on Wednesday after he stormed out of a TV chat with British reporter Krishnan Guru-Murthy when the newsman's line of questioning hit a nerve as he attempted to dig up the actor's chequered past and his former substance abuse issues.