“They’re only interested in my body. That’s what it always comes down to.” Marilyn often lamented this perspective to friends and professionals. It was said by various people who knew her that Marilyn never believed any man truly loved her for her but I doubt she felt that way. Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller were two men who loved her dearly, albeit the relationships were ill-fated.
Naturally Marilyn’s first husband, James Dougherty, didn’t exploit his wife (at the time). She was then Norma Jeane Dougherty, not Marilyn Monroe. Dougherty himself stated, “I wasn’t married to Marilyn Monroe. I was married to Norma Jeane.” Of her teenage marriage to Dougherty, Marilyn stated, My marriage didn’t make me sad, but it didn’t make me happy either. My husband and I hardly spoke to each other. This wasn’t because we were angry. We had nothing to say. I was dying of boredom.
Marilyn suffered many lonely, suspicious years with men after she became Marilyn Monroe. It was very difficult for her to establish and maintain relationships with men when she often believed her men had ulterior motives. If anyone should know, however, it would have had to be the star herself. I’m certain there were many men who came and went after they got sex. They must have plied her with promises of a future together and lies about true love and marriage. Sadly, Marilyn often stayed in relationships with men who hurt her very much, just to avoid being alone. These were men who were straightforward in telling her they had no future, but no matter how much it hurt her, Marilyn stayed and was often the one who was left.
One such man had a son. He often told a young Marilyn he loved her yet he was cynical and misogynistic towards this sensitive girl. He liked to imply that they had no future, just to make her react. In the quasi-autobiography My Story, written by Ben Hecht, Marilyn offered an interview where she described this man:
“What’s most important in life to you?” [he asked].
“You are,” I’d say.
“After I’m gone,” he’d smile.
“You cry too easily,” he’d say. “That’s because your mind isn’t developed. Compared to your breasts it’s embryonic….. You mind is inert…you never think about life. You just float through it on that pair of water wings you wear.”
He was happy to inform Marilyn that “it would be alright for me” if they got married “but I keep thinking of my son….it wouldn’t be right for him to be brought up by a woman like you.”
I cried all night….that’s why I had tried to make myself more and more beautiful for him, why I had clung to him as if I were half mad…”
Marilyn finally left this cold-hearted lover but only after weeks of humiliation and insults. It wouldn’t be the only relationship where Marilyn was abused and despised by the very man who warmed her bed and pretended to warm her heart. The most famous of these men was JFK, who made promises to Marilyn of marriage, and divorcing Jacqueline Kennedy for her. Why he maintained this charade during the eight times they were intimate together, who knows.
Just another example of the kind of man who exploited and slowly helped to destroy Marilyn Monroe.