Blonde: The true story behind Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller's relationship

Netflix's Blonde explores Marilyn Monroe's three marriages, with her relationship with her third husband getting the most screen time

Blonde: what happened between Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller?
(Image credit: Getty)

All eyes are on the late Marilyn Monroe once again, as fans of Netflix's Blonde scour the Internet to find out everything there is to know about the US film star's third and last husband, Arthur Miller. 

The fictionalized biopic starring the wonderful Ana de Armas continues to make headlines, with its exploration of Marilyn's three short-lived marriages prompting even more fascination into the Hollywood icon's private life. 

Viewers have been particularly enamored by her relationship with her third and final husband, Arthur Miller, whom the US actress wed in 1956. 

Blonde, which was adapted for Netflix by Andrew Dominik from the 2000 eponymous novel by Joyce Carol Oates, received a 14-minute-long standing ovation when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September. 

While some critics have questioned the historical accuracy of the film, others have praised the portrayal of Marilyn's marriages as (relatively) true to reality. 

It's understood that the depiction of Marilyn's relationship with her first husband a factory worker named James Dougherty whom she married when she was only 16, was fairly true to life. 

As shown in the film, it's also true that she suffered abuse at the hands of her second husband, US baseball player, Joe DiMaggio. The doomed marriage lasted less than a year, with Marilyn filing for divorce nine months after the couple tied the knot. 

Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio

Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio

(Image credit: AFP / Staff)

It's no secret, however, that fans are most curious about the relationship between Marilyn and her third husband, Arthur Miller. The playwright and author of works like Death of a Salesman and A View From the Bridge, who died in 2005, has widely been considered to have been the most important love in the actress's life.

What really happened between Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller?

As shown in Blonde, Arthur and Marilyn were first introduced to each other by director Elia Kazan in the early 1950s. 

At the time, Arthur, portrayed by Adrien Brody in the Netflix production, was married to Mary Slattery and Marilyn was in the middle of her divorce from Joe.

By 1955, when the world was aware of Marilyn and Arthur's relationship, the war on communism within the United States started affecting their partnership. The FBI started investigating Arthur for possible ties to communism, and he was even subpoenaed by the House Committee on Un-American Activities to testify about his political leanings. 

Marilyn Monroe

(Image credit: New York Daily News Archive / Contributor)

Devoted to her partner, Marilyn stood by Arthur the whole time. 

"I am so concerned about protecting Arthur. I love him – and he is the only person – human being I have ever known that I could love not only as a man to which I am attracted to practically out of my senses – but he is the only person – as another human being that I trust as much as myself," the star wrote in a letter that was published in her own book, Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters.

On June 29, 1956, Arthur and Marilyn got married in a four-minute civil ceremony by Judge Seymour Rabinowitz in Westchester County Court House in White Plains, New York, according to a report in Esquire

On July 1, the couple celebrated with a full Jewish wedding (Marilyn even converted!) at Arthur's agent's house. 

Things took a turn for the worse shortly after that, with Marylin suffering from two miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy over the next two years. She was then hospitalized for a barbiturates overdose. 

Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller

Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller

(Image credit: New York Daily News Archive / Contributor)

In 1961, Arthur reportedly re-wrote the film The Misfits, which would end up becoming the last one that Marilyn ever starred in and Arthur's most famous work to date. 

Rumor has it that, the year prior, Marylin began an extra-marital affair with Yves Montand, her co-star in the 1960 movie Let's Make Love. Arthur was also rumored to be in a relationship with photographer Inge Morath, with whom he eventually married. 

Following a tumultuous few years, Marilyn and Arthur got a divorce in Mexico (according to Esquire, "it was easier, quicker and cheaper [... and] done away from the prying lens of the paparazzi cameras.".) 

Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller

Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller

(Image credit: Bettmann / Contributor)

The rest, as they say, is history: Marilyn died by suicide at the age of 36 on August 5, 1962, are taking an overdose of barbiturates (sleeping pills). Although Arthur did not attend his ex-wife's funeral, he did explain his decision in an essay that has recently surfaced, as reported by The Independent.

"Instead of jetting to the funeral to get my picture taken I decided to stay home and let the public mourners finish the mockery," Arthur, who himself passed away at the age of 89 back in 2005, wrote. 

"She was destroyed by many things and some of those things are you. And some of those things are destroying you. Destroying you now. Now as you stand there weeping and gawking, glad that it is not you going into the earth, glad that it is this lovely girl who you at last killed."

Anna Rahmanan

Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers culture, entertainment, food, fashion and travel news. Anna’s words have appeared on Time Out New York, the Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Us Weekly, Bon Appetit and Brooklyn Magazine, among other outlets.