Marilyn Monroe’s Husband Hated Her Sex Symbol Status, and Wanted Her To Be a Housewife Instead

For a brief period, Marilyn Monroe was married to the famous Yankees player, Joe DiMaggio. Their romance was filled with turbulence and passion, which ultimately ended in a divorce. And while many factors led to their split, one of the biggest hurdles in their marriage was Monroe’s fame.

DiMaggio was extremely uncomfortable because his wife was more famous than he was, and he especially hated her sex symbol status. His ultimate goal was to get Monroe to give up the spotlight to become a traditional housewife instead.

Marilyn Monroe
American actress Marilyn Monroe (1926 – 1962) | Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe shared a whirlwind romance

DiMaggio and Monroe were instantly attracted to one another. On their first date, the blonde bombshell was intrigued by DiMaggio’s mysterious nature. (She expected him to be loud and crass because he was a sports star.) Meanwhile, DiMaggio was “falling to pieces” at the sight of Monroe, according to the biography titled Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon. 

Marilyn Monroe On Set For 'There's No Business Like Show Business'
Portrait of American actor Marilyn Monroe (1926 – 1962) | Gene Lester/Getty Images

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The next day, DiMaggio delivered a bouquet of roses to Monroe’s house. The two were instantly smitten and ended up spending all their time together. When Monroe would leave to shoot a movie, he’d call her throughout the day just to hear her voice. For a brief period, everything was smooth sailing for the happy couple. 

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

That is until DiMaggio realized how big of a sex symbol his wife was. 

A series of naked pictures that Monroe had taken in the late 40s had spread across the country. You couldn’t go to a gas station or a bar without seeing the Hollywood icon posing nude on a glossed up calendar. The public began to wonder if it was really Monroe in the picture or if it was just someone who looked like her.

But instead of acting demure like most women would in the era, Monroe was ahead of her time. She told the public that yes, that was her in the photo, and she wasn’t the least bit ashamed about it. 

DiMaggio, on the other hand, was more than ashamed- He was downright furious. Suddenly, he was willing to do whatever he could to turn the sex positive icon into a conservative housewife.

Joe DiMaggio fully expected Marilyn Monroe to give up her acting career for him

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

DiMaggio fully expected Monroe to turn in her glittery red carpet gowns for kitchen aprons. He was determined to stifle her stardom so she could become his own version of a Stepford Wife. But his ambitions were delusional because Monroe wasn’t willing to give up the spotlight just yet.

“Joe misunderstood Monroe,” ­a close friend said, according to The New York Post. “Like, here’s this young, beautiful woman on the verge of becoming one of the most successful and famous actresses in the world, and she’s going to give it all up to make lasagna for Joe and spend her days changing diapers?”

Joe DiMaggio made Marilyn Monroe wear formal clothes to hide her sexuality

American actress Marilyn Monroe
American actress Marilyn Monroe | Keystone/Getty Images

DiMaggio despised Monroe’s openness with her sexuality. He would get extremely jealous when she’d flaunt her sensual persona for all the cameras to see. So to de-sexualize her, he’d make her go on shopping trips to buy modest clothing. “High necklines” were the key, according to Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon. 

But Monroe was unwilling to oblige to all his rigid demands. So what did she do? She ended their marriage.

Although the two divorced, they remained friends until Monroe’s tragic death. DiMaggio refused to remarry after their divorce. The former baseball star held on to the hope that they would get back together. When she died, he was devastated.  

And according to The New York Post, DiMaggio’s last words were: “I finally get to see Marilyn again.”