‘Blonde’ separating fact from fiction

Blonde, adapted from the bestselling Joyce Carol Oates novel of the same name, is a work of art. But is any of it true?

In the name of art, in this instance, it pays to remember that this particular film, is not a biopic per se, just as the novel is a fictionalized retelling of Marilyn Monroe’s life.

Blonde director, Andrew Dominik has stated that he did a tonne of homework for the film, spending hours researching the icon’s life. But in the end, he used very little of it.

blonde film
Credit: Slate

In a recent interview with People, he shared, “And I’m aware of how that’s different to the book Blonde. I did all that research and I used very little of it in the movie.” He added,Blonde the book was pretty much the bible for the film.” Additionally, it has to be said that the film adaptation is a “work of art” above all else.

Just to keep things on the straight and narrow, we have taken some of the bigger happenings from the movie, to establish fact from fiction. 

Did Monroe have an abortion?

While it’s long been speculated that Monroe may have had one or more abortions in her life, it’s never been confirmed.

Was Monroe ever in a throuple?

In Blonde, Monroe enters a three-way relationship with Charlie “Cass” Chaplin Jr. and Edward “Eddy” G. Robinson Jr. However, this was never confirmed to have occurred in real life.

Monroe’s rumored relationship with a President

Monroe’s biographer, James Spada shared in 2012 that while he doesn’t believe there’s any proof the Kennedys were responsible for Monroe’s death, “it was pretty clear that Marilyn had had sexual relations with both Bobby and Jack.”

Was Joe DiMaggio Abusive?

This, unfortunately, is largely true. DiMaggio was quite controlling. He discouraged her from taking roles that sexualized her blonde-bombshell image, and encouraged her to leave her career behind in order to become a full-time housewife. He also asked her to dress modestly. DiMaggio, who was under treatment for anger management, was physically abusive. His son, Joe DiMaggio Jr, recalled waking up to “the sound of my father and Marilyn screaming…After a few minutes, I heard Marilyn race down the stairs and out the front door, and my father running after her. He caught up to her and grabbed her by the hair and sort of half-dragged her back to the house. She was trying to fight him off but couldn’t.”

Was Monroe’s Mother Mentally Ill?

Short answer, yes. Monroe’s mother, Gladys Baker, did have a history of mental illness. Baker had a mental breakdown in January 1934 and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, after which she was in and out of institutions for the rest of her life.

Did Monroe Have a Father Fixation?

Although she was into older men, there is no proof she was as fixated on ‘fathers’.

Blonde is streaming now on Netflix.