Since her death more than 60 years ago, fans have wondered if Marilyn Monroe had children and whether she wanted a family with any of her three husbands.
Marilyn, whose real name was Norma Jeane Mortenson, was born on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles, California. Her mother, Gladys Pearl Monroe, placed her into the foster care system when she was a child. (Marilyn never knew her father, though a 2022 test revealed that her biological father was Charles Stanley Gifford, her mother’s co-worker whom she had an affair with in 1925.) Marilyn moved from home to home throughout her childhood until her marriage to her first husband, James Dougherty, when she was 16 years old.
Around that time, Marilyn also started modeling and acting. It didn’t take long for her career to take off. By 1955, Marilyn, who had divorced her her first husband, had starred in movies like Niagara, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire and her biggest box office success of her career, The Seven Year Itch. Marilyn, who had become known for her comedic “blonde bombshell” characters, went on to star in dozens of more movies, including Bus Stop, The Prince and the Showgirl and Some Like It Hot, which she won the Golden Globe Award in the Best Actress, Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy category for in 1960. Her last movie, The Misfits, premiered in 1961, a year before her death on August 4, 1962, at 36 years old.
Since Marilyn’s death, her life has been made into several movies and documentaries, including 2011’s My Week With Marilyn (in which she was played by Michelle Williams) and 2022’s Blonde (in which she was played by Ana de Armas.) “She was very inspiring. And the more I learned about her, the more I studied, the more I understood what was going on and what she went through, the more respect I felt for her,” de Armas told Out in 2022 about what inspired her about Marilyn. “Just so much more empathy, and understanding, and self-evaluation of everything as a woman in the industry, and same age [as me], same everything. A lot of things I didn’t even think we had in common.”
But back to Marilyn Monroe’s family. Did Marilyn Monroe have children? Read on for what we know about Marilyn’s fertility issues in the last years of her life and the three pregnancies she had with her final husband.
Did Marilyn Monroe have children?
Did Marilyn Monroe have children? The answer is no. Though Marilyn was married three times to husbands James Dougherty, Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, she did not have any kids before her death in 1962. Marilyn was married to James, a factory worker, from 1942 to 1946. She was married to Joe, a retired New York Yankees player, from 1954 to 1955. She was married to Arthur, a screenwriter, from 1956 to 1961.
Though Marilyn didn’t have any children, she had been pregnant at least three times with Arthur according to Netflix’s 2022 documentary, The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes. She first became pregnant in 1956, but lost the baby to a miscarriage. She became pregnant for a second time in 1957, but lost the child to an ectopic pregnancy. Marilyn became pregnant for for a third time in 1958 while filming the movie, Some Like It Hot. Though the movie went on to become one of Marilyn’s most successful films at the box office, director Billy Wilder told journalist Anthony Summers in audio released by the documentary that the movie was one of Marilyn’s most trying times. “She was slightly discombobulated at all times,” Billy said in the tapes. “I had no problem with Monroe. Monroe had problems with Monroe. She had problems with herself.” Marilyn lost the baby for a miscarriage in December 1958.
Marilyn’s fertility issues are believe to be due to her struggle with endometriosis, a gynaecological disorder in which tissue similar to the issue that lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of the the organ, which can cause severe pain, especially during menstrual periods, as well as fertility issues, according to the Mayo Clinic. According to Endometriosis UK, the disease affects one in 10 of people with a uterus.
Anthony Summers’ 2013 book, Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe, reported that Marilyn’s endometriosis and “Wish” to have children led to her “drug dependency” in the final years of her life. “One of the most famous sufferers from endometriosis was Marilyn Monroe. The condition was so severe that it destroyed her marriages, her wish for children, her career and ultimately her life. In days before effective conservative surgery or effective medical therapies, it led to progressively increasing use of strong analgesics, tranquilisers and hypnotics – and drug dependency,” Summers wrote.
Marilyn died between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on August 4, 1962. A toxicology report showed that her cause of death was acute barbiturate poisoning, with 8 mg% of chloral hydrate and 4.5 mg% of pentobarbital in her blood, as well as 13 mg% of pentobarbital in her. Empty medicine bottles were also found next to her bed. An accidental overdose was ruled out because the dosages found in her body were several times over the lethal limit. Marilyn’s doctors also have stated that she had been “prone to severe fears and frequent depressions” and had overdosed several times in the past. Los Angeles County Coroners Office’s deputy coroner Thomas Noguchi classified Marilyn’s death as a probable suicide
For more about Marilyn Monroe, read her 1974 autobiography, My Story. Written in her own words, My Story takes readers through Marilyn’s life, from her childhood as an unwanted orphan to her rise as a movie star and sex symbol. The intimate book also tells all of Marilyn’s three marriages (including with her controversial second husband, Yankee Clipper Joe DiMaggio) and the vision she had of herself as “the kind of girl they found dead in the hall bedroom with an empty bottle of sleeping pills in her hand,” according to the publisher’s description. Illustrated with rare photos of Marilyn throughout her life, My Story tells the real story of how Marilyn became the American Hollywood icon the world knows and loves today.
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