Norma Jean had many lovers in her short life, but none of marriages of Marilyn Monroe stood the test of time. The actress was divorced three times before dying of an overdose at age 36. At the fragile age of 16, Monroe, then known as Norma Jean Baker, married her first husband, James Dougherty. After they had split, she became Joe DiMaggio’s glowing bride on Jan. 14, 1954. Monroe went on to wed writer Arthur Miller 8 years after announcing it quits with DiMaggio.
Following each divorce, Monroe explained that she’d rather be sad on her own than in turbulent relationships. “I would prefer to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone,” were her exact words.
The three ex-husbands were not the only men in Marylin’s life. The blonde was known to have had relationships with John F. Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, and several others.
Here’s a closer look at Marilyn’s marriages and how they played out:
1. James Dougherty (1942-1946)
In 1942, Marilyn Monroe married a marine merchant named James Dougherty. Later, in 1944, Dougherty was sent on an overseas mission. He returned two years after to find a motivated Monroe embarking on a modeling career with hopes of also becoming an actress. She decided to pursue her dreams, but Dougherty wasn’t part of them. “My marriage with James didn’t make me sad, but it didn’t make me happy either,” the actress said. “We hardly spoke to each other. The disconnect wasn’t because we were angry. We simply had nothing to say. I was bored.” Later on, Dougherty became a police detective.
2. Joe DiMaggio (1954 – 9 months)
Monroe and the Yankees icon started their journey as a married couple in January of 1954 at San Francisco City Hall. Their ‘simple’ wedding ceremony drew nearly 500 viewers. After just nine months, Marylin stated she would end her union with the baseball player. At the time, her attorney indicated a “conflict of careers.” The Hollywood star later claimed that her husband was “angry” and “indifferent.” DiMaggio wrote heartbreaking letters to his love after a TV announcement revealed that she was filing for divorce. “I want to be with you,” DiMaggio said in one of the letters. He continued by saying “There is nothing I would like better than to restore your confidence in me.” The two would reconnect after Monroe’s divorce from her third husband, Arthur Miller.
At Monroe’s funeral, DiMaggio blamed an alcohol and drug addiction for her death. In devotion, he had white roses delivered to Monroe’s grave each week for almost two decades after her death.
3. Arthur Miller (1956-1961)
Marilyn Monroe married Arthur Miller in a small civil ceremony during 1956 in White Plains, New York. Rumors say it was during her marriage to Miller that she became depressed and addicted to drugs. Five years later, they parted ways. Several sources claimed that Miller left the actress for a photographer he met on the set of the film “The Misfits.” He and Monroe worked on the movie together, and it was her last appearance on the big screen.
This failed attempt with Miller concluded a whirlwind trio of Marilyn’s Marriages before Norma Jean made her premature exit. But, her legend, her beauty, her image still lives on yet today.
A fitting, ongoing tribute to Marilyn Monroe can be found here at immortalmarilyn.com