Marilyn Monroe’s Famous Flying Skirt Scene Allegedly Led To Her Divorce From Joe Dimaggio

When most people think of Marilyn Monroe, one iconic image comes to mind: We picture Monroe’s white dress flying up as she flushes to push it down. This incident occurs in a scene from The Seven Year Itch, directed by Billy Wilder. In the scene, Monroe’s character and her date leave a movie theater on 52nd and 53rd street in New York City. The breeze from a subway grate below causes her dress to nearly fly above her head. 

Thousands of onlookers drooled at the actor as the scene was shot, yet one onlooker was far from amused. In fact, he was downright furious. That onlooker was Marilyn Monroe’s husband at the time, the famous Italian baseball player known as Joe Dimaggio. Many believe that this iconic dress-blowing moment was the last straw that led to their divorce.

Marilyn Monroe in 'The Seven Year Itch'
Marilyn Monroe in ‘The Seven Year Itch’ | Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

How did Marilyn Monroe and Joe Dimaggio meet?

According to Joe and Marilyn: Legends in Love, Dimaggio was reading the paper when he stumbled upon a picture of Monroe. In the image, she is dressed in tiny white shorts with a baseball bat in her grasp. 

1952: Marilyn Monroe
1952: Marilyn Monroe | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Since Dimaggio loved nothing more than baseball and beautiful women, he decided that he would do anything to find the girl in the picture. He called up as many contacts as possible until he could find someone who could reach Monroe. 

Finally, he got in contact with an agent named David March, who had Monroe’s number.

DiMaggio & Monroe
Marilyn Monroe and her husband, American baseball player Joe DiMaggio | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

RELATED: Why Did Marilyn Monroe Divorce All 3 of Her Husbands?

According to her autobiography, March rang up Monroe and said, “There’s a nice guy I’d like you to meet.”

“Are there any nice guys left?” Monroe inquired.

“It’s Joe DiMaggio,” March responded. To his shock, Monroe had no idea who he was. 

“Marilyn, you must be kidding,” said the agent. “You’ve never heard of Joe DiMaggio? He’s the greatest baseball player since Babe Ruth.”

She asked, “Who’s Babe Ruth?”  

Hesitantly, she agreed to go on a date with DiMaggio. The whole time, according to her autobiography, he was silent. Usually, men would talk all night long, trying to brag and show off for Monroe. But to her shock, her date was practically mute. This intrigued the blonde starlet. She liked the fact that he was so mysterious. 

Not long after their initial meeting, the two went on to get married. 

Marilyn Monroe’s flying skirt allegedly led to her divorce from Joe DiMaggio

Marilyn Monroe And Billy Wilder
1955: American actor Marilyn Monroe stands on a subway grate and laughs as the wind blows the skirt of her white halter dress next to director Billy Wilder | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

RELATED: Why Frank Sinatra Was Banned From Marilyn Monroe’s Funeral

Despite the two being very much in love, DiMaggio was embarrassed with Monroe’s status as a Hollywood sex symbol. He often grew flustered when she’d revel in her sexuality for the cameras, and the flying white dress was no exception. 

Thousands of onlookers began cheering as her dress flew up, chanting, “Higher! Higher!” According to Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon

Marilyn Monroe on Subway Grate
Marilyn Monroe poses over a Manhattan subway grate as the wind blows her white dress up | Bettmann / Contributor

“DiMaggio’s face, rigid with tension, had gone white,” the book revealed. 

And as the autobiography points out, this moment ultimately led to their divorce.

Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio remained friends up until her tragic death

Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio
Marilyn Monroe with Joe DiMaggio | Bettmann/Contributor

Despite their split, Monroe and DiMaggio remained very close until the day she died. 

One day, Monroe told DiMaggio that when she passed, she wanted him to put a rose on her grave every week. 

And as revealed by The New York Post,

“Every week, until his death in 1999, DiMaggio had fresh roses delivered to Monroe’s crypt. He never remarried, and on his deathbed, his last words were, ‘I’ll finally get to see ­Marilyn again.'”