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Inside Marilyn Monroe And Joe DiMaggio’s Tumultuous Relationship

Long before there was Brad and Angelina, there was Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, and they epitomized the true definition of a “love-hate relationship.” The baseball icon and blonde bombshell were one of the most famous couples of the Golden Age of Hollywood, but they had a toxic relationship that included fighting, jealousy, and physical and emotional abuse. Their relationship was like a movie, and the whole world was watching.

Photo: en.wikipedia.org/Macfadden Publications

Marilyn Wasn’t Interested in Joe

In the early 1950s, Joe DiMaggio became interested in Marilyn Monroe after seeing her on the big screen – just like so many other men of the era. He reached out to her through a mutual fan, indirectly asking her out. She initially wasn’t interested, telling a friend that she was “nervous” about going out with a known womanizer. However, she soon gave in, and the pair became inseparable.

The couple rarely made public appearances, which just made the press more aggressive. So when DiMaggio and Monroe married in San Francisco in 1952, dozens of paparazzi showed up at the courthouse for a first glimpse of the bride and groom. 

Photo: flickr.com/Laura Loveday

They Were Very Different People

Some say they had simply “grown apart,” but DiMaggio and Monroe were truly never a match to begin with. While they looked great on the red carpet together, they each had their own interests. Monroe was a bookworm who spent much of her adult life reading and studying. She was a cultural buff who loved learning new things, while DiMaggio was a homebody who liked baseball, drinking, and not much else.

DiMaggio also became very controlling after their marriage, prohibiting Monroe from going out and trying to change her behavior and the way she dressed.

Photo: commons.wikimedia.org/Corpus Christi Caller-Times-photo from Associated Press

The Beginning of the End

To say Marilyn Monroe was a looker would be an understatement. She’s one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood history, and Joe DiMaggio didn’t like it. He couldn’t stand the thought of her being a sex symbol and adored by millions of men. In fact, he wanted her to quit acting and stay home to be the typical “50’s housewife,” but that wasn’t who Monroe was at all. She wasn’t ready to give up her career to appease her husband, even if she loved him. 

The last straw came when Monroe was filming The Seven Year Itch, and DiMaggio witnessed her filming the famous “air blows up her skirt” scene. He lost his mind, resulting in a massive fight between the two on set. He completely embarrassed Monroe and helped her come to the realization that they weren’t meant for each other.

Their Relationship was Physically and Mentally Abusive

Let’s just say that if Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were a couple today, he would be crucified by the media. He made “rules” for his wife, as he had her run all her acting roles and fashion choices by him first, in an effort to ensure she doesn’t “steal his thunder” in the press. If she broke any of these rules, he would turn physically and mentally abusive. DiMaggio’s own son even recalls a night where he woke up to the sound of his father and stepmother having an intense physical fight. 

Monroe filed for and was granted a divorce from DiMaggio in 1954 after nine months of marriage. However, her ex-husband began stalking her, wearing fake beards. He enlisted his pal Frank Sinatra to torture Monroe and accuse her of having an “affair” with her vocal coach, despite the fact that they were divorced. Though he was a dangerous and abusive man, DiMaggio got away with his behavior towards Monroe, thanks to his stardom.

She Never Gave Up On Him

Despite his abusive tendencies, Monroe went back to DiMaggio countless times until her death in 1962. It was DiMaggio who released Monroe from a psychiatric hospital after her divorce from playwright Arthur Miller, and who arranged her funeral after she infamously died from an overdose. Their relationship was complicated to say the least, and more toxic than anybody realized at the time, but many still believe that the two loved each other deeply and intensely.