While Marilyn Monroe's image graced the covers of magazines, movie posters, and film screens for much of the latter half of the 20th century, the true story of her childhood is far less romantic than the Hollywood starlet's reputation may lead you to believe. Born to a mother with undiagnosed schizophrenia and an essentially nonexistent father, Norma Jeane Baker (who would later change her name to the well-known moniker Marilyn Monroe) spent much of her childhood and adolescence moving between orphanages and foster homes, seeking out any semblance of familial stability she could find.
In Marilyn Monroe's early years, there were few signs to suggest she would one day become a beloved Hollywood icon. The star of films like Some Like It Hot and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Monroe created an image for herself based not on her tragic upbringing but her ability to mesmerize audiences with her beauty, wit, and charm. Though her demons never ceased to follow her, Monroe was able to leave behind her troubled childhood and, at least for a short time, bask in the spotlight of international adoration.