However, in this case, Blonde is closer to the truth than the popular mythology. While she did not agree to marry DiMaggio on a whim after being catfished yet again by her “tearful father,” she did struggle with the decision to marry DiMaggio in real life. In reality, Marilyn was more prone to call him “my slugger” than “daddy,” but there was friction when they were dating, with DiMaggio referring to the Hollywood folk around his new girlfriend as “phonies” and “leeches,” and her not entirely disagreeing when Natasha Lytess suggested Joe never read cover to cover one book on his shelf. (Something Blonde glosses over is Marilyn was a voracious reader.)
Later in life, Marilyn said when they were dating that they avoided talking about anything of substance, and she kicked him out of her apartment at least once—possibly because the first act of violence occurred then. Whatever the case, he first proposed marriage in November 1953, and she did not agree to marry him until Jan. 12, 1954. They were wedded two days later in a small ceremony.
According to Natasha, who was pushed out of Marilyn’s inner-circle around this time, their evenings were “dire” with Joe watching sports on television and generally ignoring Marilyn who read script lines. DiMaggio did not want Marilyn to work, especially in roles like The Seven Year Itch (1955).
The first time Joe gets violent in Blonde is because Cass Chaplin attempts to blackmail him with photographs of a nude calendar photoshoot Marilyn did before she was famous. This is fiction. A blackmailer tried to use those photos before their marriage against RKO Pictures, which had a Monroe movie ready to release. So RKO shared the photos themselves on the wire service, although Monroe later claimed it helped her garner sympathy from audiences when she explained she took those photos because she didn’t have enough money to eat or pay for a car that had been repossessed.
The second depiction of domestic abuse in Blonde is accurate. While shooting the famous “subway grate” sequence in The Seven Year Itch on Lexington Avenue, DiMaggio was really there along with the press. The latter reported DiMaggio was either despondent or seething with his hands in his pockets while he watched his wife. He eventually left in disgust, returning to their suite at the St. Regis Hotel.
Later that night guests staying on the same floor as DiMaggio and Monroe, and below them, reported to the front desk that they heard screaming, scuffling, and then a woman weeping. Joe left the next morning without her, their marriage ended shortly thereafter. While they became pen pals later in life before Marilyn’s suicide, and he wrote clearly with the hope of rekindling their romance, it never stuck.