Inside Marilyn Monroe's 3 marriages

Inside Marilyn Monroe’s 3 marriages

She is a screen icon, a legend and a mystery. Decades after her death, Marilyn Monroe is still much-loved and revered by many. Considering her legendary sex-symbol status, it seems fitting to take a look into her relationships.

The blonde bombshell had been married three times in her short life. Let’s take a walk down memory lane…

Husband 1: Jim Dougherty (1942)

A then-unknown 15-year-old Norma Jean Baker began dating Jim Dougherty, her 20-year-old neighbour in 1941. At the time, Monroe was living with Grace Goddard, a friend of her mother, Gladys, who was in and out of psychiatric facilities. 

“They wanted to move back to [West] Virginia, and they couldn’t take Norma Jean,” Dougherty said in an interview. “She would have gone back to an orphanage or another foster home, so her foster mother suggested I marry her.

The pair married a few days after Monroe’s 16th birthday in 1942. Monroe wore a floor-length A-line dress with sheer long sleeves and a ruffled neckline. A few months into their marriage, Monroe was discovered while working at Radioplane Co when a photographer used her as a subject in a project of women working as part of the war effort.

She quickly became an in-demand model, causing a strain on her marriage as her career ambitions rose. The pair divorced in 1946.

Husband 2: Joe DiMaggio

Her career quickly escalating, Monroe met world-class baseball player Joe DiMaggio in 1952. DiMaggio had seen a photo of the actress and asked the photographer to set them up on a date.

They tied the knot on 14 January, 1954 in an informal wedding ceremony at the San Francisco courthouse. For their nuptials, Monroe wore a dark brown skirt suit with a white fur collar and carried a small bunch of orchids. Upon her death, the suit was auctioned off in 1998, fetching a price of $33,350.

This relatively short marriage was also a turbulent one. Monroe had to cut their honeymoon in Japan short to perform for troops in Korea. DiMaggio became controlling of Monroe’s career, becoming a part of all her contract negotiations and restricting the roles she may accept. The pair divorced a mere 274 days after saying I do. Monroe cited “mental cruelty” as the reason for the divorce.

Husband 3: Arthur Miller

Her third and final marriage was to famous playwright Arthur Miller, who she had met on set of the 1951 movie As Young As You Feel. Monroe wrote about the encounter in her diary, saying “Met a man tonight … It was, bam! It was like running into a tree. You know, like a cool drink when you’ve had a fever.” Monroe went on to marry DiMaggio, however, but they began a scandalous affair years later, while both were still finalising their divorces. At the time, the playwright was also under much scrutiny by the FBI under Joseph McCarthy for being an alleged communist sympathiser.

The pair wed on 29 June, 1956 at Westchester County Court in New York. They followed this up with a traditional Jewish ceremony on 1 July at the home of Millers’ Hollywood agent, Kay Brown, in which Monroe also converted to Judaism. Monroe wore a mid-length figure-hugging gown with ruched sleeves for the occasion.

Their marriage was one filled with ups and downs. Both were in the media for having highly publicised affairs, and Monroe suffered many miscarriages that took a toll on her physical and mental health. The pair quickly divorced after filming wrapped on The Misfits, the short story Miller wrote for Monroe.

Monroe passed away in 1962 at the young age of 36. She’s left behind an iconic legacy that will never be forgotten.

Feature image: Pinterest

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