Once she stepped into the world of Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe captivated audiences instantly with her charming personality and alluring looks. The blonde beauty died at the age of 36 in 1962 after a series of heartbreaking romances and three highly publicized divorces from her ex-husbands, James Dougherty, Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller.
Monroe and Dougherty became friends early on during her difficult childhood. The future entertainer was made a ward of the state when her mother, Gladys Pearl Baker, was admitted to Metropolitan State Hospital after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. The California native was forced to move around to different foster homes throughout her teen years.
At the time, she was known by her given name, Norma Jeane Mortenson, and had been living with family friend Grace Goddard when she began dating Dougherty, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Goddard family intended to move across the country, influencing the young couple to get married.
“They wanted to move back to [West] Virginia, and they couldn’t take Norma Jeane,” Dougherty told United Press International in 1990. “She would have gone back to an orphanage or another foster home, so her foster mother suggested I marry her.”
Monroe was just 16 years old when walked down the aisle with her first husband in 1942. Doughtery was 20 years old at the time of their union and admitted that he was initially hesitant about their age gap.
“I noticed she was a pretty little thing, and she thought I looked angelic in white shirts, but she was only a child so far as I was concerned, and five years was a great difference in our ages,” he said, per Donald Spoto’s 1993 biography Marilyn Monroe.
Their marriage ended in 1946, just as Monroe was paving a career for herself as a model. She would later evolve into a Hollywood starlet that the entire world came to know and love. The Niagara actress was also linked to Frank Sinatra in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, but the pair never wed. The singer instead popped the question to dancer Juliet Prowse, however, they never made it down the aisle.
“I do think it had to do with Marilyn in some way, maybe trying to break from her a little,” Sammy Davis Jr. previously said about Sinatra’s failed engagement.
Keep scrolling to learn more about Monroe’s three ex-husbands.
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