Warning: Spoilers ahead for Blonde.
Netflix’s Blonde trades back and forth between real-life facts and imagined details of Marilyn Monroe’s pregnancy stories, which makes it hard not to wonder how much of it is based on her real life. Since its premiere on Netflix on 28 September 2022, Blonde has received incredibly polarizing reviews from viewers and critics. While some have appreciated it for its engaging, emotionally-charged, narratives surrounding Marilyn Monroe’s life and Ana de Armas’ scintillating performance, others have panned it for its grossly dehumanizing and one-dimensional depiction of the late Hollywood star.
From portraying Monroe’s traumatic childhood experiences with her mother to the salacious stories about her three-way relationship with Charles Chaplin Jr. (Xavier Samuel) and Edward G. Robinson Jr. (Evan Williams), Blonde walks through it all. In its second half, Blonde delves deeper into these harrowing stories of Marilyn Monroe’s life through shocking representations of her supposed abortion and miscarriages. While some of these arcs in Blonde provide valuable insight into Marilyn Monroe’s life and death, and do so respectfully, others come off as creative liberties that lack credibility.
Blonde accurately shows that Marilyn Monroe did not have any children. However, as Donald Spoto mentions in his book, Marilyn Monroe: The Biography, the late actress loved children and regularly attended charities for kids to spend time with them. Her affection for children was also highlighted by her close friend Allan Snyder who recalled for Spoto’s book that “she loved children so much. My daughter, other people’s children—she went for them all.” Other details surrounding her abortion and miscarriages in Blonde are either shrouded in mystery, purely fictionalized, or have some real factual foundation.
Did Marilyn Monroe Have An Abortion?
Blonde clearly renders a narrative where Marilyn Monroe (played by Knives Out‘s Ana de Armas) gets a forced abortion, but there is no concrete evidence to prove it. With no official accounts of Marilyn Monroe confirming that she had an abortion, it cannot be determined whether Blonde‘s premise holds true. However, considering how her gynecologist, Dr. Leon Krohn, affirms in Donald Spoto’s book that “the rumors of her multiple abortions are ridiculous,” it seems likely that Blonde‘s take on Marilyn Monroe’s abortions is predominantly, if not entirely, riddled with fiction. With that said, though, evidence (via Vanity Fair) suggests that many Hollywood actresses were, indeed, asked to terminate their pregnancies between the 1920s and the 1950s since studios believed it would hurt their glamorous on-screen personas. While this does not serve as solid proof for Marilyn Monroe’s abortion, it shows how Blonde‘s portrayal of the times isn’t too far from reality.
Is Blonde’s Depiction Of Marilyn Monroe’s Miscarriages Accurate?
There is real accuracy in Blonde‘s depiction of Marilyn Monroe‘s miscarriages, but their implied cause, her accidental fall on the beach, was likely invented for the movie. Blonde stays true to the fact that Monroe got pregnant thrice during her marriage with Arthur Miller, and all three ended in a miscarriage (via NPR). The first happened in September 1956 and was followed by an ectopic pregnancy in 1957. Later, the third miscarriage reportedly happened soon after she filmed Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot in 1958.
Dr. Krohn confirmed this in Spoto’s book by quoting that “there were two miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy requiring emergency termination.” The book further adds that Monroe blamed herself for her third miscarriage and as revealed in Randy Taraborrelli’s The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, losing her child also took a toll on her mental health. All these accounts establish that the controversial NC-17 biopic Blonde takes many a creative liberty but also accurately draws a clear picture of some defining moments of Marilyn Monroe’s life and death.