Marilyn Monroe and Adoption

Monroe, mid 1950s


Born Norma Jean Baker to an unmarried woman, Monroe was fostered from babyhood until about the age of seven, because her mother was working and not well enough to care for her as well. During this time she had contact with her mother, but did not know who she was. Then she went to live with her mother, who soon became mentally ill and was hospitalized, whereupon Monroe was adopted by her best friend.

In spite of the adoption she lived in a series of nine more foster homes and an orphanage until she married for the first time at 16 in order to get out of the care system which had so seriously failed her. In one of the foster homes she was sexually abused by a lodger when she was eight.

She became one of the most famous actresses of all time and was also the mistress of President John Kennedy. Her death from an overdose of sleeping pills may have been an accident, but has also been attributed to suicide and murder.


Dever, Maria, and Dever, Aileen. Relative Origins: Famous Foster and Adopted People. (Portland: National Book Company, 1992) Dictionary of American Biography Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-97 American Movie Classics Company. "Marilyn Monroe." [Includes portraits]. Available at: Wilkins, Peggy L. "Marilyn Monroe." [Includes portraits]. Available at: