Blonde: Separating fact from fiction in Netflix’s controversial Marilyn Monroe film

New Netflix movie Blonde sees actress Ana de Armas transform into unforgettable Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe - and it's safe to say that the x-rated film has caused quite a controversy with viewers.

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The much-talked about film about the life and death of the star is actually based on Joyce Carol Oates's Pulitzer-nominated novel of the same name, which is a self-confessed 'fictionalised' version of her life. As a result, viewers have been a little confused about what elements from the film are taken from real-life. So what was fact and what was fake? Read on to find out…

WATCH: Will you be watching the film? 

Was Marilyn Monroe abused as a child?

The film opens with Marilyn Monroe - real name Norma Jean Baker - experiencing a torrent of abuse from her mentally ill mother, Gladys (Julianne Nicholson), before she eventually put up for adoption. In reality, while her mother did have a history of mental illness, it appears that Marilyn's early childhood was stable and happy.


There is no evidence that she was abused by her mother to the extent shown in the film (at one point, Gladys attempts to drown the young girl in a scalding hot bath). However, Gladys 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.

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Did Marilyn Monroe ever learn who her father was?

One of the main threads throughout the film is Marilyn's search to discover her absentee father, who she is told left her mother as soon as he learnt that she was pregnant. While she is told that her father is a man working and living in Hollywood, she never is able to learn who he really is, even after breaking into the industry.


It's true that Marilyn never discovered the real identity of her father - nor did anyone else in her lifetime. However, DNA testing carried out this year revealed the identity of Marilyn's real father to be a man named Charles Stanley Gifford, who was a co-worker of Gladys during her time working at a film studio.

Was Marilyn Monroe in a throuple with Chaplin Jr. and Edward G. Robinson Jr.?

In Blonde, Marilyn is shown entering into a three-way relationship with Charlie "Cass" Chaplin Jr. and Edward "Eddy" G. Robinson Jr. during her early days of stardom.


This has never been confirmed in real life, although rumour has it that Marilyn did had an affair with Chaplin in 1947. The relationship allegedly ended when Charlie caught Marilyn in his brother Sydney's bed.

Was Marilyn Monore's first husband Joe DiMaggio abusive?

In one scene in Blonde, Marilyn's husband, Joe DiMaggio (Bobby Cannavale) is shown both verbally and physically abusing the actress despite promising to protect her and give her a normal life away from Hollywood.


It is well documented that the New York Yankees player did abuse his wife, although neither commented on the alleged abuse publicly. The couple divorced after nine months of marriage in 1954, with Marilyn citing reasons of "mental cruelty." Despite this, the two remained close for the remainder of Marilyn's life and it was Joe who identified her body, organised the small funeral, and chose her headstone after her untimely death

Did Marilyn Monroe have abortions and miscarriages?

Blonde depicts in horrifying detail Marilyn having an unwilling abortion after falling pregnant ahead of shooting Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Later on in the film, when she is married to married to playwright Arthur Miller, she sadly trips and falls while bringing a tray to a beach picnic, resulting in a miscarriage. Despite her deep desire to have children, she sadly never becomes a mother.


The truth is that there is little concrete evidence that Marilyn ever had an abortion during her lifetime, although this has been speculated by friends of the actress. We'll sadly never know, although it's not hard to imagine that a rising unmarried star might be persuaded to get an abortion by studio execs at that time period in history. As for her miscarriage, Marilyn really did fall pregnant while married to the famous playwright in 1956, and then lost an ectopic pregnancy a year later, followed by a second miscarriage in late 1958.

MORE: Did you notice Ana de Armas' tribute to Marilyn Monroe at Venice Film Festival?

Did Marilyn Monroe really have an affair with John F. Kennedy?

One of the most horrendous scenes in Blonde comes when Marilyn is dragged, in a booze and drug-induced state to the suite of John F. Kennedy, where she is sexually abused and degraded by the President.


There appears to be little evidence that the actress and the leader ever had an affair despite the constant rumour over the years, thanks in part to the fact that she serenaded him with a breathy rendition of Happy Birthday while wearing the famous skintight dress at a Madison Square Garden gala fundraiser in 1962.

How did Marilyn Monroe die?

At the end of the film, Marilyn is shown dying by accidental suicide in the bed of her Los Angeles home after overdosing on barbiturates, also known as sleeping pills, and this is really how the Hollywood star met her ended.


After years of public adulation and private struggles, Marilyn was discovered dead at age 36 on 4 August 1962. She was found nude, lying face down on her bed and clutching a telephone receiver by a psychiatrist who broke into her room.

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