Another tabloid run at Marilyn has taken some candid photos sold at the recent Julien’s auction and made up a pregnancy to go with them.
The Daily Mail, a British publication well known for unreliable stories, published this story, which features photos from the Frieda Hull collection recently sold by Julien’s Auctions. They interview Tony Michaels, the man who bought the slides at auction. Michaels claims that Frieda was a friend of his, and told him that Marilyn confided in her about the pregnancy, a result of an affair with French actor Yves Montand during filming of Let’s Make Love in 1960.
Marilyn does appear to have a little tummy in the photos, taken in early July of 1960 during costume tests for The Misfits. The problem is that the tummy is nothing new, but was in fact just as visible during costume tests for Let’s Make Love a good six months earlier, prior to Marilyn’s time on set with Montand. Photos throughout the film show a somewhat heavier Marilyn with a small tummy showing. If this was a pregnancy, it started some time earlier and somehow managed to not advance at all for six months.
Putting aside photographic evidence, it doesn’t take much to look at the story itself and see a fabrication. If indeed Marilyn was pregnant by means of an adulterous affair, why would she confide in young fan Frieda Hull and no one else? And why would Frieda then tell her neighbour and no one else? And why would either of them keep the secret for so long, Frieda to her grave and Michaels until he purchased the photos from Julien’s? It wouldn’t be the first time a salacious story was fabricated about Marilyn to get some press and make a small piece of Marilyn history into a much bigger and more valuable one. And sadly, these stories are shared as gospel.
There was no word about this pregnancy at the time that the catalog was prepared for Julien’s, as Marilyn Remembered tweeted today in response to the article. No mention or evidence for a pregnancy during this time has ever surfaced, in spite of exhaustive research into every aspect of Marilyn’s life in the 55 years since her passing, and the fact that she was photographed everywhere she went. The odds of such a pregnancy going unnoticed and unreported at the time, and to have been kept a total secret all these years are incredible.
Marilyn’s weight fluctuated during her lifetime, and the years from 1957-1960 were heavier than previous years. Following her divorce from Arthur Miller, Marilyn slimmed down considerably. What is seen in these photos could be the result of the onset of the gallbladder problem that would lead to surgery in 1961. It could be bloating from Marilyn’s endometriosis – a condition that caused Marilyn to have difficulty conceiving and carrying a child to term, making this claim even more hurtful – or just from a big lunch. Or it could be nothing at all.
Sometimes, a tummy is just a tummy.