When it comes to Hollywood legends, it doesn’t get much more iconic than Marilyn Monroe (or Norma Jeane Mortenson, as she was born). It's impossible to hear her name without picturing her in the windblown white dress on the set of The Seven Year Itch. This is no surprise — it’s one of her most famous film moments, and a photograph that captures her vivacious spirit.
Many aspects of this glamorous celeb’s life are widely known, from her acting and singing repertoire to her dating history. Between There's No Business Like Show Business, Some Like It Hot, and a host of other successful gigs before and after, Marilyn’s films initially grossed $200 million in all. Her estate continues to be lucrative, earning a reported $8 million in 2020 alone.
But a lesser-known facet of her life is motherhood.
Did Marilyn Monroe have children?
Marilyn had multiple pregnancies, but sadly, never carried to term. With multiple marriages and even photos made public of Marilyn during pregnancy, many assume that she may have children — even famous ones — out there in the world today. She was reportedly pregnant three times, but two were miscarriages, and one was an ectopic pregnancy that ended in heartbreak. Marilyn never went on to have more children.
Marilyn Monroe's pregnancies were reportedly with playwright Arthur Miller.
All three of Marilyn’s pregnancies were reportedly fathered by famous playwright Arthur Miller, to whom she was married from 1956 to 1961.
Having met at a party in 1950 and keeping in touch by exchanging letters over the years, Arthur later became Marilyn’s third husband and her longest marriage.
Marilyn passed after a suspected overdose on sleeping pills the year after she and Arthur divorced, in 1962. She was 36 years old at the time.
According to Metro, empty medicine bottles were found on scene with dosages at several times the limit, essentially ruling out an accidental overdose. The Los Angeles police department said her death was “caused by a self-administered overdose of sedative drugs and that the mode of death is probable suicide.”
But according to 2022 documentary on Netflix, titled The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes, the commonly accepted narrative about Marilyn's death may rest on a falsehood. Walter Schaefer, the owner of Hollywood Ambulance, revealed in an interview that Marilyn's psychiatrist might have found her alive — unlike it was previously claimed. She, Walter claims, died in an ambulance on her way to the hospital, not in her bed, as it's widely believed.
Marilyn had other high-profile relationships.
As mentioned, Marilyn was married three times in her short life. Her first marriage was to her teenage boyfriend Jimmy Dougherty in 1942. She was just 16 years old at the time, and he was a marine merchant who helped her escape her troubled upbringing and mentally ill mother. They parted ways in 1946. In 1954, Marilyn was married again — this time to baseball legend Joe DiMaggio. After nine months, the couple was divorced, and Marilyn wed Arthur in 1956.
Marilyn was also romantically linked to the likes of Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, and French actor Yves Montand. And in fact, there are rumors that one of Marilyn’s pregnancies may have actually been with Yves, and not Arthur — although they remain unconfirmed, and there is plenty of gray area when it comes to Marilyn's romantic life.
There are also rumors that she was romantically connected to President John F. Kennedy, to whom she famously sang her rendition of “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.”
Marilyn accomplished a lot in her life, but unfortunately, her dream of becoming a mother wasn’t fulfilled.
The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes is available on Netflix now.