Exactly How Many Husbands Did Marilyn Monroe Have?

Marilyn Monroe had a string of lovers all her life. She had romantic relationships with some of Hollywood’s most influential names, including Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. But just how many men married Monroe in his short life?

In Hollywood myth there were three husbands in her 36 years on earth. We look again at the men who were lucky enough to marry Monroe.

American actress Marilyn Monroe
American actress Marilyn Monroe | Robert W. Kelley / LIFE Photo Collection through Getty Images

Norma Jean Barker and her first husband, James Dougherty

Monroe’s first man was named James Dougherty. She married weeks after her 16th birthday, back when she was known as Norma Jean Baker. Before she discovered stardom, she was pressured into marrying Dougherty to escape her infamous foster home. (Monroe lived in a total of 11 nursing homes during her childhood.)

Jim Dougherty and Norma Jeane Baker on their wedding day in June 1942.
Jim Dougherty and Norma Jeane Baker on their wedding day in June 1942 Jill Brady / Portland Press Herald through Getty Images

Dougherty was a 21-year-old police officer at the time. And according to Monroe’s biography, Private life Public Image, he was initially skeptical about her marriage. It felt like Monroe was “just a baby” and not ready to get married. But after going on a date or two, they decided to tie the knot.

At first, things were very good for the married women. But when Dougherty left to serve in the Marines, Monroe began modeling work. In a short time, she had covered hundreds of magazines. After a taste of stardom, Monroe decided to separate her husband to move to Hollywood and become the next big star.

Marilyn Monroe and her second husband, Joe DiMaggio

Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio
Joe Dimaggio and Marilyn Monroe Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Monroe’s second was a baseball star who played for the New York Yankees. Initially, the two were inseparable. DiMaggio would send her roses and call you several times during the day just to look at her.

But as time went on, their marriage became chaotic. DiMaggio had a temper, and would often express the anger at Monroe. He was jealous because she was more famous than he was, and he hated her sexual symbol status.

And according to multiple sources, many maintain that Monroe ‘s white dress look is flying from The itch seven years on the divorce.

Marilyn Monroe on Subway Grate
Actress Marilyn Monroe tries to hold her dress down as wind from an underground grip blows up during the filming of The Seven Year Itch | Bettmann / Fios

In the iconic scene, the skirt of her dress rises from the wind. The bullet quickly reveals her clothes, which were enough to inspire her husband. According to several sources, that scene was “the last straw. ”

Marilyn Monroe with her third husband, Arthur Miller

Marilyn Monroe with her Husband Arthur Miller
Marilyn Monroe with Her Husband Arthur Miller | Mondadori Package / Contributor

Monroe was the third and final man of playwright Arthur Miller. (Miller is famous for Death of a salesman and After the fall.)

Monroe and Miller are considered by many to be one of the most unlikely couples in Hollywood history. The public could not believe that the most famous sex symbol in Hollywood was married to the hardcore drama writer.

But alas, they fell in love.

However, according to Monroe’s autobiography, she came across a letter which he said she intended to find, which said it was “shameful” and “ashamed” to be married to her. Eventually, along with several other problems, the divorce was eventually made.

Scroll to Top