Did Joe DiMaggio Beat Marilyn Monroe? Was He Abusive?

Blonde. L to R: Bobby Cannavale as The Ex-Athlete & Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe. Cr. Netflix © 2022

Although Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe always appeared to be in the headlines in the 1950s and early 1960s for her alluring image, the truth is her relationships were just as highly publicized. That’s not only because she seemingly got involved with some of the biggest names in the world but also because they were often quite tumultuous, as openly fictionalized in Netflix’s ‘Blonde.’ So now, if you wish to learn more about the intricacies of the actress’ second marriage to retired baseball centerfield star Joseph “Joe” Paul DiMaggio, in particular, we’ve got the details for you.

Was Joe DiMaggio Abusive?

It was back in 1952 when Marilyn and Joe began a cozy romance after being introduced to one another by a mutual friend, just for their initial, unexpected spark to soon evolve into much more. They actually weren’t familiar with their partner’s professions at first, according to ‘Marilyn Monroe: The Biography,’ yet it’s the aspect that allowed them to truly explore their personal connection. Therefore, the couple blissfully tied the knot in a simple ceremony at the San Francisco City Hall on January 14, 1954, before traveling to coastal California and then Japan for their honeymoon.

Image Credits: Marilyn Monroe Video Archives/Youtube

Marilyn and Joe were both aware their union wouldn’t be easy, but neither expected problems to become apparent during their honeymoon itself — it turned out he did not like her working at all. The athlete was genuinely unhappy when his wife was asked to cross over to Korea from Japan and perform a USO show, which is a sentiment that persisted even upon their return to the US. In other words, the rising starlet’s participation in the concert for American troops did not please him, and later on, neither did any of her acting roles, public commitments, or television interviews.

Donald Spoto’s forenamed 1993 biography of the actress actually reveals the reason behind it by stating Joe was “a traditionalist” who “resented” Marilyn’s income, fame, as well as independence. He reportedly “wanted his wife at home, nicely subordinate,” which is part of why his behavior soon turned controlling, jealous, and sometimes even physically/mentally abusive in the worst of ways. The book ‘Joe and Marilyn: Legends in Love’ further indicates that the littlest things, like her not responding to a question in the manner he liked, could prompt the baseballer to strike her.

However, as also depicted in the Netflix original movie, one of the worst assaults Joe ever inflicted on his wife came following the shooting of the infamous skirt-blowing scene for ‘The Seven Year Itch.’ He hated the fact the sequence was filmed amongst spectators as much as he hated her being put on display, driving him to “punish” her the moment she returned to their hotel room that night. According to ‘The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe‘ by J. Randy Taraborrelli, Joe “took out his rage…, slapping her around the room” to such an extent she had multiple bruises when she arrived on set the next day.

Image Credits: Marilyn Monroe Video Archives/Youtube

Marilyn hence filed for divorce around ten months into their marriage in October 1954, citing only “mental cruelty.” “[Joe] didn’t like the women I played — he thought they were sluts,” the actress once told a friend, per ‘Marilyn Monroe: The Biography.’ “I don’t know what movies he was thinking about! He didn’t like the actors kissing me, and he didn’t like my costumes. He didn’t like anything about my movies, and he hated all my clothes. When I told him I had to dress the way I did, that it was part of my job, he said I should quit that job. But who did he think he was marrying when he was marrying me?”

We should mention Joe reportedly started therapy, stopped drinking, and expanded his interests once his marriage ended, which paved the way for the duo to reconnect in 1961. Unfortunately, though, it was cut short when Marilyn died from a barbiturates overdose inside her home on August 4, 1962 — her ex-husband never remarried and passed away at 84 on March 8, 1999.

Read More: Who Was Martin Edward Mortensen? Was He Marilyn Monroe’s Real Father?