“I know that I will never be happy,” said Marilyn Monroe, “but I know that I can be gay!” Those words would come back to haunt the screen goddess, because allegations of her being a lesbian have persisted for decades. We all know that Marilyn was linked to some of the most famous men of her time including President Kennedy, Elvis, Frank Sinatra, and Joe DiMaggio. However, her list of romances (and hot hook-ups) with women is nearly as long.
It seemed that Marilyn accepted love wherever she could find it—from her fans, from men and from women. She oozed with sexuality, so even women found her irresistible. Marilyn partnered with women of all ages. She carried on long relationships with women, and also had one-night stands. She was attracted to women for their looks as well as their intellect and because of what they could do for her career. In many ways, her relations with women paralleled her relations with men.
However, in many ways, Marilyn’s sensuality with women was of a varying sort from what she had with her boyfriends, husbands, and lovers. She found that she could be more open with women, and express herself more physically and spiritually. She also found partnering with women to be more satisfying, if you catch our drift. Still, women suffered at the hands of Marilyn, as she broke many hearts.
But who were these women that she spent so much time with between the sheets? We have some jaw-dropping names, and also some pics that will leave you speechless. After all, Marilyn wasn't a s*x symbol for nothing!
15 Joan Crawford
According to the National Enquirer, Marilyn Monroe confessed her lesbian encounters to her psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenson. The tabloid even claimed that the doctor had audio tapes to back it up. This is totally plausible because Marilyn’s psychiatrists tape-recorded every session with Marilyn. They were as fascinated by her as her fans were. According to the tapes, Marilyn hooked up with screen legend Joan Crawford. The Enquirer quotes Marilyn as saying, “We went to Joan’s bedroom. Crawford had a gigantic orgasm and shrieked like a maniac. Next time I saw her, she wanted another round … and I turned her down.”
A source close to Monroe said, “Marilyn decided not to have a long affair with Crawford because she didn't trust Joan, who could be cruel and demanding and hated being shown up by another woman. Marilyn made the right decision. Joan became particularly spiteful after Marilyn refused to go to bed with her again.”
14 Betty Grable
Pin-up queen Betty Grable was caught in Marilyn Monroe’s crosshairs when they filmed the movie How to Marry a Millionaire together in 1953. According to Betty, Monroe tried to seduce her but she rejected the advances. Apparently Marilyn didn’t take “no” for an answer and stalked Betty on the set of the picture. Betty called her relentless pursuit “sometimes scary.” We don’t know Marilyn’s side of the story, but it has been reported that she wasn’t so much sexually attracted to Betty as she was “in love with the idea of being Betty Grable.” Remember, Betty was a huge star in the 1940's, and her legs were once insured for one million dollars which was an exorbitant sum at that time period.
By the late 1960's, Betty felt more compassion for Marilyn. She is quoted as having told a confidant, “you have to understand that all her problems had to do with her not being able to have a child.”
13 Natasha Lytess
Over the years, Marilyn Monroe worked with acting coaches. It was said that she was terribly insecure about her acting ability, and the fact that she was beautiful only compounded the matter because she thought that she wasn’t taken seriously as a film actress due to her looks. One acting coach was a woman by the name of Natasha Lytess. According to reports, Marilyn moved in with her because she “gave her the kind of love she desperately needed, and didn't get from men!” When Marilyn was questioned about why she would be intimate with a woman, she apparently said with a shrug, “S*x is something you do with people you love. What could be wrong with a natural act?”
12 Jane Lawrence
It has been widely reported that Marilyn Monroe hooked up with a 16-year-old girl, Jane Lawrence, who was head of Marilyn’s fan club. The affair was said to be carefully orchestrated by Marilyn, who was 29 at the time. According to Hollywood lore, Marilyn invited Jane over to her house to help with some household chores. Most girls would have been reticent to be intimately involved at that age with any person—let alone a woman. But Jane wasn’t. In fact, she bragged about having been on the receiving end of lesbian advances. Marilyn wasn’t shy either. Jane said Marilyn displayed hunger and confidence.
Interestingly, it has been reported that Marilyn was submissive between the sheets with men. She described her encounters with JFK as “a soldier doing her duty for America's commander in chief. He says, ‘You do this’ — you do it. He says, ‘Do that,’ and you do that. I have done some of my best acting convincing partners that I was in the throes of ecstasy!”
11 Judy Garland
Marilyn Monroe pursued (and propositioned!) Judy Garland. According to Judy, Marilyn followed her from room to room one night at a party. Marilyn said (no doubt in her breathy voice), “I don’t want to get too far away from you.” No one knows for sure if Judy accepted Marilyn’s advances, but most guess that she did. Judy was no stranger to being around homosexuals, as three of her five husbands were gay men.
And here’s a fun fact: Billie Burke, who played the good witch “Glenda” alongside Garland in The Wizard of Oz, was reportedly bisexual. One of her more well-known conquests was Katharine Hepburn.
10 Brigitte Bardot
French-born actress, Brigitte Bardot, wrote in her memoirs that Marilyn Monroe seduced her in a ladies’ restroom back in 1956. This was during a reception for Queen Elizabeth! Once news of this confession hit, Brigitte tried to backtrack and say that she meant it in a figurative sense but no one was buying it. French women are, after all, known for their sensuality.
Marilyn’s co-workers definitely believed that she was bisexual. Director Jean Negulesco, who Marilyn worked with on How to Marry a Millionaire, quoted Marilyn as having told him once that she “had never had an orgasm with a man in her entire life.” He read between the lines, and so do we.
9 Marlene Dietrich
After Marilyn Monroe partnered with Joan Crawford, she supposedly went to bed with German-born actress Marlene Dietrich. This isn’t a surprise to anyone familiar with old Hollywood, because Marlene was the original pansexual. A film critic once wrote of her, “She has s*x but no positive gender. Her masculinity appeals to women and her sexuality to men.”
Marlene was into the “gay scene” in Berlin in the 1920's, which was filled with lavish parties, booze, and promiscuity. She continued this lifestyle even when she became a big Hollywood star in America, as she had affairs with men and women. One source reported “[s]he even went above and beyond by having affairs with men who’d had affairs with women she’d also had affairs with.” Now that’s kinky!
8 Barbara Stanwyck
Barbara Stanwyck was another vixen that Marilyn Monroe was s*xually involved with. Barbara was a huge star, but those who knew her best (like this writer’s grandparents!) remember her as being a plucky broad from Brooklyn whose real name was Ruby Stevens. So it’s no surprise that she marched to the beat of a different drummer. Although not much is known about how torrid the love affair between Barbara and Marilyn was, Barbara’s lesbian loves are well recounted.
Gay actor, Clifton Webb, called Barbara “my favorite American lesbian.” This is especially funny considering that the two of them played a husband and wife couple in Titanic back in the day. Barbara was closeted to protect her career, which was ironic considering that she was briefly married to a gay vaudeville star. This is said to have inspired the film A Star is Born with Judy Garland.
Barbara has long been a gay icon. When she was first starting out in the entertainment business, she taught dance at a gay and lesbian club in New York. She was friends with elite bisexual ladies like Tallulah Bankhead and Greta Garbo. She even portrayed one of the first lesbians on screen in Walk on the Wild Side.
7 Jeanne Carmen
Jeanne Carmen was a B-movie actress during Marilyn Monroe’s heyday. The two stars were friends, although how intimate they were remains a source of dispute. Some say that they were BFFs. Some say they simply ran in the same circles as they were both friends/lovers of Frank Sinatra’s. And some say that they were merely acquaintances and that Jeanne embellished their relationship to further her own career. We do know that they were spotted dancing together at an early gay disco club in L.A. Jeanne wrote in her memoir that Joe DiMaggio had “lesbian fantasies” about Marilyn Monroe.
According to E!, Jeanne had a “dangerously close” relationship with Marilyn. This has been interpreted to mean that the two were lovers. According to Jeanne, it went further than that. She believed that Marilyn was murdered by the Kennedys because she “knew too much.” Jeanne said that she fled Hollywood after Marilyn’s death because she was afraid that she would be killed next. In fact, she said that she was told to leave town by a mobster. She ended up living in Arizona, where she got rid of her platinum blonde hair and started a family. Jeanne’s last published interview before her death was by an Australian gay and lesbian newspaper.
6 Jane Russell
Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell starred in the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes together. Although the movie isn’t all that great, it received much buzz because people read a lot into it. Fans and critics insist that the movie has bisexual undertones to it. Style-wise, Jane was cast as the taller, more masculine girl in the picture, which was a contrast to Marilyn’s blonde, feminine features. The costumes, gestures, and musical numbers also provide cues that the characters were romantically involved. But what about Marilyn and Jane in real life? Marilyn was known to not have female friends, yet Jane was frequently by her side. Coincidence? Doubtful. And this isn’t just our opinion. An HBO biopic of Marilyn clearly depicts her and Jane having a raunchy encounter.
5 Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo’s bisexuality was widely known in the Hollywood community, and ultimately in the public’s consciousness. She was a beautiful woman who was adored by men and women alike, and she returned their love enthusiastically. Garbo has been linked to many “power lesbians” of her day, including Mercedes de Acosta and Marlene Dietrich (who broke her heart). Unlike other bisexual or lesbian women of her time, Garbo never married a man. Given her history, it follows that she was a lover of Marilyn Monroe’s as both women got around. No concrete evidence exists that she and Marilyn were a thing, but reports persisted decades later. Garbo was often described as sensitive and simple, which would be a perfect match for Marilyn since she was the dominant one in lesbian relationships.
4 Paula Strasberg
Marilyn Monroe dumped her acting coach Natasha for another woman named Paula Strasberg. It turned out that history would repeat itself, because Marilyn and Paula had a homoerotic relationship. No one can fault Paula for being attracted to Marilyn, but it’s interesting when you consider that Paula was a dedicated heterosexual before meeting Marilyn.
Paula proved to be a big force in Marilyn’s life. The star wouldn’t make a move without her input, whether it was saying a line in a movie or traveling on the road. Paula even horned in on Marilyn’s relationship with husband Arthur Miller.
Meanwhile, Marilyn’s ex-lover, Natasha, was brutally hurt when she was dumped professionally and personally. She said, “The truth is, my life and feelings were very much in her hands. I was the older one, the teacher, but she knew the depth of my attachment to her, and she exploited those feelings as only a beautiful younger person can. She said she was the needy one. Alas, it was the reverse.”
This is especially sad when one considers that Natasha saved Marilyn from suicide due to a drug overdose after Marilyn’s agent/father figure died. But it seems that was what Marilyn did. She went from person to person, whether it was male or female. Even Joe DiMaggio knew about her proclivities, as he cited that it was Marilyn’s love of women that ultimately broke them up.
3 Jacqueline Kennedy
We’re pretty sure every woman on this list probably was linked to Marilyn Monroe as a lover in one way, shape, or form. However, we had to add this one conspiracy theory to the Sapphic line-up. Some people actually think that Marilyn Monroe had lesbian encounters with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Bizarre, right?! Well, let’s explore the line of reasoning just for fun.
It’s a fact that Marilyn Monroe had an affair with JFK, and his brother RFK. Many think that Jackie was a poor victim in all of this. But in reality, she had extramarital affairs as well and partook in drug use courtesy of the infamous Dr. Feelgood. So some people like to believe that Jackie hopped into bed with Marilyn as a revenge hook-up against JFK. Others think that Marilyn seduced Jackie to spite JFK, or simply because she has a penchant for bedding beautiful, famous women. It has been reported that the two women did have secret meetings, so who’s to say what really went on behind closed doors? After all, Jackie was known for being frosty toward men. She and JFK didn’t share a bedroom in the White House. And she didn’t even kiss second husband, Aristotle Onassis, during their wedding ceremony. So who knows what little Miss Prissy was really into?
2 Anne Baxter
One of Marilyn Monroe’s most important roles was in All About Eve. It starred Bette Davis, but the real star was Anne Baxter, an ingénue who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the film. Marilyn had a small part, but it was integral work because it was a big break for her to be cast alongside such successful players. Anne played the title character of Eve, who was initially conceived to be a lesbian character. However, for obvious reasons, that idea didn’t make any headway due to the social mores of the time. Well, many people weren’t surprised that Eve was supposed to be a lesbian, because Anne just had that look about her in real life. And we know that Marilyn was bisexual. So many put two and two together and assume that Anne and Marilyn knocked boots.
This isn’t such a crazy idea when you think about it. During the filming, Bette was mercilessly mean to Marilyn, and even made mean impersonations of her. This unnerved Marilyn, and she ended up having to perform her scenes for several takes in order to get them right. So who would she cozy up to when she was having a bad time? Anne, of course!
While homosexuality was taboo in mainstream culture at the time, it was accepted in Hollywood. Even Bette Davis was quoted as having said, “I have nothing against lesbians, I've known quite a few, but Christ if I ever woke up in the morning to a pair of tits in my face I would just about DIE!”
1 Elizabeth Taylor
Numerous media outlets from the Daily Mail to the National Enquirer have reported that Marilyn Monroe seduced Elizabeth Taylor. This is sensational, not only because Elizabeth has always been regarded as heterosexual, but because the two stars were rivals.
The year was 1961, and Marilyn and Elizabeth were at the Sands in Las Vegas where Frank Sinatra was doing a show. One thing led to another, no doubt fueled by champagne. According to reports, Elizabeth considered Marilyn’s touch to be “electric.” She was quoted as having written in her diary, “I wanted to see how far the b*tch would go. But she had to do all the work.” While it’s safe to say the women enjoyed each other, they never hooked up again. Pity!
Sources: nationalenquirer, dailymail, wikipedia, slantmagazine