Marilyn Monroe’s Personal Life Revealed In Pictures

Naturally, the world ached to know every little detail about Marilyn Monroe’s personal life – a craving that only grew after her untimely death. Still, Marilyn managed to keep some intimate details away from the public sphere…

Going Under The Knife

Marilyn was no stranger to body modifications – she had work done on her nose, as well as a chin implant to change her facial structure. Marilyn was actually brave in going under the knife, seeing as surgery of that nature in the 50’s was no way near as advanced as it is today.

The Einstein Connection

Although Marilyn always portrayed a brainless, blonde bombshell in her films (a persona she hated), in reality she was in fact the opposite. It is reported that she had an IQ of 160+ – although there isn’t any proof that she had actually took the standardized IQ test. Still, that score is classified as a genius! 

Working With Explosives

During the war, Marilyn worked in an explosives factory, and interestingly enough, these photos of her are what initially set her career in motion. David Conover, an army photographer, was sent to her base to take pictures of Women in War Work. He moved down the assembly line taking shots of the most attractive employees when he came upon a girl putting on propellers. Loving Marilyn’s ‘plain Jane’ look so much, Conover sent her straight to Hollywood.

Nonstop Disappointment

Marilyn’s mother, Gladys, attempted at a normal life – trying to piece her life back together, her mother gathered what little money she had and bought a house just for the two of them. Sadly, little Marilyn was just too much to handle and Gladys, having enough on her plate, felt overwhelmed as she tried to support and take care of both herself and her daughter. Unfortunately, a few months afterwards she had a mental breakdown and had to be institutionalized.

Reaching For The Stars

One of her first modeling gigs was for Douglas Airlines, back when she was still Norma Jeane. Her curly hair, innocent smile and curious spark in her eyes made her seem like a complete natural whenever she was facing a camera. She also appeared in magazine shoots, but when photographer Raphael Wolff hired her for a shampoo advertisement and Marilyn bleached and straightened her hair, was when she truly started booking more and more modeling gigs.

They Never Had A Chance

James Dougherty, a retired Los Angeles police detective, earned a niche in Hollywood history when he married a pretty teenager named Norma Jean Baker in the early 1940’s. Although he was the first of three husbands, few know how much he’s changed Marilyn’s life – having married Marilyn when she was only 15-years-old. After their short marriage ended, James revealed that – “I never knew Marilyn Monroe, and I don’t claim to have any insights to her to this day. I knew and loved Norma Jean.”

Blonde Ambition 

Naturally born a brunette, Marilyn did not look like her iconic self at all when she was younger. When she signed her first modeling contact, the producer brought up a suggestion he felt strongly about – Marilyn should dye her hair blonde. Still not entirely convinced, Marilyn wasn’t sure that she was ready to part from her naturally colored hair, but then the producer explained it would appear to be much more alluring than her current brown hair. That was all Marilyn needed to hear.

Facial Hair

Known widely as extremely photogenic, Marilyn sought out different ways to maintain her good looks – and she was willing to try many off-putting, bizarre techniques to do just that. On one occasion, Marilyn revealed one of her secrets by admitting she would apply thick hormone cream to her face multiple times a day. The cream caused a sort of peach-fuzz to grow on her face, which she claimed gave her an intense radiance evident in all her photos.

Disruption Of Her Career

The Seven Year Itch was the most controversial topic discussed back in 1955, particularly the scene where Marilyn Monroe and co-star Tom Ewell exit a movie theater and a breeze from the subway passing below lifts Marilyn’s skirt. Instead of rushing to cover her legs, as any decent woman of that era would have, Marilyn exclaims, ״Isn’t it delicious?״ Rumor has it that second husband and baseball legend Joe DiMaggio became enraged at the director, claiming he had shot this particular scene far too many times.

Hard To Work With

Perhaps it was the pressure of fitting her own enormous shoes or trying to maintain a persona she was internally struggling with, but for Marilyn, it went beyond landing a part for her good looks. Despite having revealed her large collection of books, it seems that the blonde bombshell had a significantly difficult time remembering her lines. Standing in front of the camera, the actress was known to often jumble words together, mumble and ask for retakes, as the pressure was simply too much.

Hiding Her True Self

Becoming growingly aware of the fact that she was granted several opportunities in Hollywood thanks to her physical appearance, Marilyn had evolved into an intensely self-conscious individual. By hiding certain facts about herself, like the fact that she loved to read and had even wore glasses, she believed her everyday character – and thus, her success – could be sustained for a longer period of time. Therefore, she hid away her glasses and rarely, if ever, wore them in front of the public eye.

Never Seen Before

The last film shot before her untimely death was Something’s Got To Give. Her life was featuring so many ups and downs back then and Marilyn was struggling to show up at work, claiming to be ill. What she lacked in professionalism, she tried to make up in friskiness – during one scene, Marilyn was supposed to swim in a pool wearing a flesh-colored bathing suit, but opted to do without. Disappointingly, Marilyn had died before the movie was done filming, and so it never aired.

Severe Germaphobe

1661396 001 Running off from one set to the next and being constantly on the move, Marilyn managed to let her little quirks slip under the radar. However, after rushing to the bathroom numerous times a day, rumors about the beauty icon started spreading like wild fire. Only later were these rumors silenced, when the actress her self owned up to feeling unclean very often. Because of this, she reportedly washed her face about 15 times a day. Generally speaking, Marilyn had trouble working past her constant feeling of being contaminated.

Confining Physical Limitations

Although she saw many verbal coaches regularly to help her out with her problem, Marilyn’s speech impairment was very noticeable. Known to stutter even more so when she was put on the spot, Marilyn tried to calm her nerves and make coherent sentences when facing the media. Since there was no denying how difficult and restricting this issue was for an actress of her fame and rank, the media seemed to turn a blind eye in order to make her feel more comfortable.

Big Fan Of Politics

While it might seem like the two worlds are the furthest they can be from each other, Marilyn often amused herself by trying to combine politics and Hollywood. Her affair with President John F. Kennedy is infamous to this day, but few know that Marilyn took a genuine interest in politics and was immensely inspired by one of the nation’s greatest leaders – Abraham Lincoln. In fact, her favorite book was the Biography Of Abraham Lincoln, and was seen carrying the book wherever she went.

Would Do Anything For Money

Despite being discovered relatively young and spotted for her unique facial features and mesmerizing body, Marilyn had done excruciatingly poorly when she initially attempted at being recognized. In fact, her first job as a model was so badly paid, it is even more ridiculous when compared to the big bucks movie stars and fashion icons are making nowadays. Although only at the stage of trying to kick off her career, Marilyn received a sum just shy of five dollars for her first ever modeling gig.

Desperate For Kids

After Marilyn’s troubled childhood, she desperately wanted to create a stable home for herself. She truly loved children and wanted a family of her own. Sadly, Marilyn had two miscarriages throughout her life. Recently, it has been revealed that Marilyn Monroe’s friend, Frieda Hull, kept color pictures she took of Marilyn’s baby bump private. Unfortunately, the photos were sold as part of Frieda’s estate in 2016, along with a note saying “it was never made clear whether that was by way of a miscarriage or even an abortion.”

Uncredited Inventor

One of Marilyn’s best known features is her voluptuous figure, but few know that she had an amazing talent at taking ordinary items and transforming them into body enhancing ones. When she wanted to achieve a perkier look, she sewed marbles into her bras. Sometimes, if there were no marbles on hand, she would sew together a couple of buttons to get the same effect. Her invention was later perfected into what we call today a push-up bra.

Clinical Depression

“I am so concerned about protecting Arthur, I love him – and he is the only person – human being I have ever known that I could love not only as a man to which I am attracted to practically out of my senses about – but he the only person that I trust as much as myself.” Having written these words in Marilyn’s private diary, it is understandable why she completely fell apart when Miller left her for a photographic archivist, Inge Morath.

Getting In Touch With Her Inner Self

Rarely thought of as a fitness icon, Marilyn Monroe certainly has a lot of talents she has kept stacked away. “I am trying to find myself. Sometimes that’s not easy” said Marilyn on one occasion, but during a 1952 interview with LIFE magazine, she revealed that she lifted weights daily, and in a 1948 set of black-and-white photos, she showed off some asanas. She was also rumored to the student of Indra Devi, a Swedish-Russian Bollywood film star.

Priceless Moment

“Happy birthday Mr. President” she sang in a steamy, racy voice – and so, on the eve of JFK’s birthday, everyone was staring at Marilyn Monroe. More than 5 decades later, that 60-second performance is still making waves, and on November 2016, the Jean Louis dress that Monroe wore to sing Happy Birthday to JFK was up for auction, a glittering memento of her tragic last days. The dress she wore during that evening, a flesh-toned gown beaded with 2,500 glittering rhinestones, was sold for a record-breaking amount of $1.26 million.

They Called Her Rude

She might have been the laughing stock of many, but those who actually had the advantage of working with Marilyn were surprised to find out that her devotion to work exceeded the levels of many others. Despite being named tardy towards the end of her career and life, Marilyn was so invested in her work that she often refused to go off character during filming breaks, and avoided mingling with fellow actors who she perceived as people who do not take their job seriously.

Internal Demons

It is no secret that Marilyn’s mother was diagnosed as clinically depressed and had suffered from many other mental illnesses, all of which had greatly affected Marilyn. What few know is that Marilyn’s entire family had a history of mental instability. Marilyn herself spoke of her internal demons on more than one occasion, claiming to be fearful of the moment the suicidal thoughts and gloomy state would take over her, as well. After all, her mother, her uncle, and great-grandmother both ended their own lives too.

Secret Body Hack

Her flawless physique and go-get-’em attitude were every young woman’s deepest desire in Marilyn’s time, and it is easy to understand why. Making more waves than the highest paid actress and swerving more heads than the most featured model, Marilyn Monroe let one of her secrets slip – she was actually double jointed in the knees, which meant she had to lock her knees in order to walk properly. This locking of the knees gave her the signature swoon in her hips.


Marilyn posed nude for a series of photos – “I decided I’d be safer than with some rich old guy who might catch me in a weak moment when I was hungry and didn’t have enough to buy a square meal. He told me he’d camouflage my face, but it turned out everybody recognized me.” That same friend later admitted to having paid Marilyn only $50, while he sold the rights to a calendar maker for $500. When the calendar was published, around 8 million copies were sold.


Marilyn was wonderful when it came to learning techniques such as makeup, hand positions and body posture. Marilyn Monroe, however, was one of the first starlets to contour her face using make up. Since her facial features made a fantastic canvas as they were, her makeup artist thought it would be best to mix it up a bit and try to apply makeup in a new way. And so, instead of the normal cat-eye and red lips, he would contour her nose with blush to make it seem smaller.

Natural But Faux

Natural beauty was big in Marilyn’s time, although this talent had a knack of adding external bits to her face and outfits that made an impeccable overall look. Wanting to seem dreamier but still maintain her rather simple makeup routine, Marilyn had started applying semi-lashes to her eyes, as she decided she wanted her eyelashes to look voluminous, but still natural. She ended up applying half false eye lashes on the outer corner of the eyes, a trick still used by makeup artists today.

Single Mother

Gladys Baker was a complicated woman. Alone by the time Marilyn was born, Gladys was determined to look after her new child despite how single mothers were frowned upon by society. Still, for almost seven years Marilyn lived without her mother, but stayed with the Bolenders who cared deeply for her and wanted to adopt her. Gladys was appalled by this, as she had already lost two children when her first husband took them out of state after their divorce.

Blamed For Her Brother’s Death

Then, Gladys decided to move Marilyn into a house she was sharing with the Atkinsons – an English couple who worked in the movies. Shortly after moving in together, news came through that Gladys’ grandfather had taken his own life and that her son Robert had been tragically killed. These two events were enough to push her over the edge, and she found herself blaming Marilyn for their deaths, yelling at her that it should have been her that passed. 

Almost Ruined Her Career

She was a star on the rise, and yet it all threatened to come crashing down with the discovery not only that she had posed nude, but that her mother, whom she had been declaring dead for years, was actually alive and living in an institution. These revelations almost spelled the end of her career, but Marilyn took a deep breath and decided to tell the truth. She claimed she had done the nude photos because she was broke and needed the money. As for her mother, well she wanted to keep her whereabouts a secret to protect Gladys, not herself.

Secret Notebook

In 1956, Marilyn and her husband at the time, playwright Arthur Miller, arrived in London to film The Prince And The Showgirl. However, this turned out to be a horrible time for Marilyn, who discovered Arthur’s secret notebook, elaborating in much detail how he felt let down by his new wife. Her marriage with Miller dissolved after he wrote the part of Roslyn for her in The Misfits. She found his Roslyn character entirely too personal and by the time it was finished – they were done.

She Already Knew

Marilyn had numerous miscarriages in her life. After marrying Arthur Miller, they seemed to be a reoccurring epidemic. Unwilling to give up, Marilyn endured several failed operations in an attempt to become a mother. Her last last surgery was in 1959, when the doctor informed her it was not successful. “I already know,” she told the doctor before he could even break the news. That was the last straw for poor Marilyn, who already felt like a failure as it was.

Losing Her Mind

Only days after filming the misfits, Marilyn’s coworker Clark Gable passed away. His widow blamed Marilyn for his death, which caused her to spiral into an abyss of self pity and hate. Attempting to pull herself out of that emotional rollercoaster, Marilyn checked into a hospital for rest – but accidentally entered a ward for seriously disturbed patients. Since only Joe DiMaggio could sign for her release, she called him up. The hospital released her after Joe threatened to take the hospital apart “brick by brick” if they wouldn’t.

Ending Her Life 

In death, Marilyn Monroe is every bit as fascinating as she was in life. One of the suggested reasons for her abrupt life ending was suicide. As the report read, the coroner’s initial finding was probable suicide by depressants: “Miss Monroe has suffered from psychiatric disturbance for a long time. On more than one occasion… when disappointed or depressed, she has made a suicide attempt. On these occasions, she had been rescued. It is our opinion the same pattern was repeated except for the rescue.”

The Cloaked Cover-Up

Suicide theory skeptics argued that if Marilyn had overdosed on pills, traces should have been found in her stomach during the autopsy – which they weren’t. What seemed more likely was a cover-up, since the stories told by the individuals who found her were inconsistent. The official story explains Marilyn’s housekeeper woke at 3.30am to see Marilyn’s light on and the door locked. She called psychiatrist who arrived shortly after, who called the police immediately. But in later interviews, the housekeeper said she discovered the body ‘about midnight’.

Something Smelled Fishy

Cover-up fanatics also claimed an investigation in 1982 by the LA District Attorney revealed an ambulance was called to the house while Marilyn was still alive. The head of the ambulance that took Marilyn to the hospital explained Marilyn “passed away at the hospital,” a very different statement than the one given before. Additionally, the first police officer to arrive at the crime scene, Jack Clemmons, believed the death scene was staged. The room was tidy, the linen fresh, the housekeeper was even doing laundry.

Murder Mystery

Marilyn was often associated with Bobby Kennedy, as the two were rumored to be having out an affair. Wiretapper Bernard Spindel came out to the public with the statement that he bugged Marilyn’s house. Spindel claimed to have listened to an argument between Bobby Kennedy and Marilyn the night of her death, during which he allegedly heard a loud bang. Spindel was convinced the bang meant Marilyn was hit strongly with something hard that caused her death. The tapes were seized by the DA in 1966 and “routinely destroyed”.

Devastated By The Death Of Her First Mentor

When Marilyn’s career was finally starting to pick up in the 1950’s, her agent and mentor Johnny Hyde, vice president of the William Morris Agency, died suddenly of a heart attack. His death was particularly inconvenient considering only a few days prior to his death he secured a seven-year contract for Marilyn. The rising star felt as though her promising future was about to dissolve, since the one man she learned to trust had left her alone in the world.

Ridiculed For Standing Up For Herself

Determined to break out of her sexpot typecasting, Marilyn endured several lengthy battles with her production company over the films she worked on. Since she felt as though she was not being taken seriously despite her many threats, Marilyn came to her senses and established the fact that she was the only one with her own personal best interest at heart. Marilyn went so far as to create her own company – Marilyn Monroe Productions – which was immediately lampooned by the press.

Betrayed By Her Biggest Love

After her marriage to Miller disintegrated, Marilyn was still forced to work with him on the The Misfits. Unfortunately for Marilyn, Miller started a new relationship during the filming, one that he carelessly flaunted around the set. To cope with the agony it caused her, Marilyn wrote in her diary: “Starting tomorrow I will take care of myself for that’s all I really have and as I see it now have ever had I still feel hopeless. I think I hate it here because there is no love here anymore.”

Fired For Faking It

The budget for Something’s Got To Give was getting tight, so the film executive had to do something about it. Therefore, in spite of being well aware of Marilyn having sinusitis and requiring lots of rest, Studio heads spread rumors about her, accusing her of faking her disease. Once setting the ground, they were able to sue Marilyn for $750,000 in damages, but at co-star Dean Martin’s insistence, they eventually attempted to resume filming before her untimely death.

Her Own Words

Few know that Marilyn was a secret poet, mostly thanks to her many psychologists who pushed her to write down her deepest, darkest thoughts: “I think I am very lonely—my mind jumps. I see myself in the mirror now, brow furrowed—if I lean close I’ll see—what I don’t want to know—tension, sadness, disappointment, my eyes dulled, cheeks flushed with capillaries that look like rivers on maps—hair lying like snakes. The mouth makes me the sadd, next to my dead eyes…”

Way Ahead Of Her Time

The contouring queen may often be associated with reality stars of the Kardashian descent, but it was Marilyn who nailed the trick of using several shades to tone her face better. To make her lips appear fuller, Monroe applied 5 different shades of lipsticks and gloss, thus creating dimension. Darker reds went on the outer corners, while lighter reds were brushed on the middle of the lips. This created a shadowy 3D effect giving the lips a plumper look.

Who Was She Really?

Monroe was so aware of her persona, her friends frequently commented on how different she acted when she wasn’t “in character.” Author Truman Capote noted that he once found her gazing into a mirror and asked what she was doing, to which she replied, “Looking at her.” Monroe’s Misfits co-star Eli Wallach recalled walking around NYC with her, saying, “Nobody noticed who she was because she was just being herself — suddenly her walk, attitude and appearance would change and in moments everyone would be ogling her and asking for autographs.”

Negative Side

Few people know that rock musician Marilyn Manson derived his stage name from Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson. When asked for the reason behind those two particular names, Manson replied that it was in order to project a dichotomy between good and evil. But oddly enough, in his autobiography, Manson smirked as he stated nobody ever suspects that the Monroe half might be just as dark as the Manson half. “Marilyn Monroe had a dark side, just as Charles Manson has a good, intelligent side,” he wrote.

Skinnier Than Most

Somehow the news have spread about Marilyn Monroe being a size 16, but Sara Buys, a fashion editor for The Times of London utterly dismissed that rumor, as she had the opportunity to try on articles of Monroe’s clothing. “Quite the opposite,” wrote Buys. “While she was undeniably voluptuous — in possession of an ample bosom and a bottom that would look at home gyrating in a J-Lo video — for most of the early part of her career, she was a size 8 and even in her plumper stages, was no more than a 10.”

Still Successful Post Death

Forbes magazine ranked Marilyn Monroe as 2013’s sixth highest-earning dead celebrity, entering a very prestigious list after Michael Jackson, Elvis, Charles M. Schulz, Elizabeth Taylor and Bob Marley. She was also named the new face of Chanel No. 5 in October of that same year, which should have occurred much sooner considering she was a volunteer advertiser for their perfume in her prime, as well. One of her most famous quotes was her answer to the question “what do you wear to bed?” – to which she replied, “my Chanel No.5.”

Threat To National Security

The FBI investigated Marilyn because they thought she was a communist sympathizer. They compiled a 34-page file monitoring the actress for ties to communism in the years before her death. Monroe’s file focus on her travels and associations, searching for signs of leftist views. For years, the FBI files on Monroe have intrigued investigators, biographers and those who don’t believe her death at her Los Angeles area home was a suicide, but the bureau never found any proof she was a member of the Communist Party.

Right Until The End

Marilyn Monroe is the exact embodiment of an insecure woman wearing a confidence mask. Emmeline Snively, the agent who had signed a young Norma Jeane Dougherty, shared that Marilyn “didn’t feel she was a qualified actress, how could she have felt any different? She’d signed her first contract before she had her first acting lesson. God I wanted to cry for her then. This can be the loneliest town in the world, and it’s even lonelier for you if you’re on top of the heap.”

No One Really Knew Her

Marilyn had a huge library in her home which contained over 400 books. Reading was Monroe’s favorite pastime and she once claimed that she could understand a book’s entire plot after skimming just 10 pages. This fact is surprising considering she became famous for playing comic “dumb blonde” characters. Feminist biographer Oline Eaton wrote on her blog that “the power of the phrase ‘Marilyn Monroe reading’ lies in its application to Monroe and in our assumption that she wouldn’t know how.”

A Woman Of Many Identities

Born by the name of Norma Jeane Baker, Marilyn was a small town girl trying to make it big in the bombastic Hollywood bubble. Having initially changed her last name to Dougherty, the actress’s new name didn’t have the life changing effect she had hoped. When she finally signed a contract with 20th Century-Fox, agents recommended switching to a more attractive name. Monroe, a last name from her mother’s side was chosen, and before she knew it, Norma Jean Baker was dead.