June 1926. Gladys Baker, a 24-year-old film editor at a Hollywood studio, brought her daughter Norma Jean (Marilyn’s real name) to the family of temporary guardians. The girl was only two weeks old, but in addition to her, Gladys already had two children and a job. So the mother decided that her daughter would be much better off with guardians.
At first, Gladys Baker lived in the foster home herself. But the commute from work was taking a long time, and she made the decision to move back to Los Angeles. With baby Norma Jean, she would now see only on weekends. The future star of Hollywood grew up with the same foster children and was brought up in a strict Christian tradition
That was until 1933. By that time, her ex-husband had taken two children from Gladys, and the woman decided to “save” Norma Jean at all costs. By the way, who Monroe’s father was is still not exactly established.
In 1933, Gladys bought a small house. Taking her daughter on short excursions to Hollywood was no longer necessary: she seemed to be firmly on her feet and she herself could raise Norma Jean. But after a year of happy life under one roof with Marilyn Monroe’s mother, something strange began to happen.
Gladys Baker was showing signs of mental instability. After the diagnosis, the woman was sent to treatment, and custody of young Marilyn Monroe took a friend of her mother. However, the girl soon became superfluous in her family and ended up in an orphanage: Gladys categorically refused to sign a consent to the adoption, but there were those who wanted to.
Only as a teenager did Marilyn learn that she had a half-sister, Bernice Baker. The discovery was a blessing for a girl with a difficult fate. Now she was not alone! For many years Marilyn and Bernice corresponded, then they met and became friends.
Meanwhile Marilyn was living at her aunt Ana’s house. In the mid-40s her mother was released home, and Gladys learned that her daughter’s modeling career was on the rise, she was about to sign a lucrative contract and take a resounding pseudonym – Marilyn Monroe.
Although Marilyn was glad to have her mother back, Gladys Baker left the hospital clearly a different person. She was emotionally detached and expressed dissatisfaction with her daughter’s stellar career. Soon she would marry for a third time and leave. And Marilyn, for a successful career start, would tell everyone that she was a round orphan: both of her parents were long dead.
The truth came out in 1952. It turned out that Gladys was alive and well. She even got a job at a nursing home. But she soon lost her third husband and went back to treatment. Marilyn Monroe would remit $250 a month to her mother and entrusted her business manager to look after Gladys.
When Marilyn Monroe became a real star, she regularly received letters from her mother asking her to pick her up. On screen, Hollywood’s chief blonde seemed like a celestial, but she was always accompanied by earthly problems: an unstable mother, failures in her personal life.
Marilyn soon found herself going the way of Gladys. She briefly underwent treatment, but information about it quickly leaked to the press. Monroe would meet her mother for the last time in the summer of 1962, shortly before she passed away. Gladys asked her daughter only one thing: to give her a drink. This has happened more than once, and Marilyn always went on about her mother. Putting the flask in Gladys’s bag, Monroe heard her mother say:
“You’re such a good girl, Norma Jeane!”
In August 1962, the era of Marilyn Monroe ended. Even after the death of her caring daughter, Gladys Baker received $5,000 a year from a special fund. She repeatedly tried to escape from the institution in which she lived. And in 1966, Gladys gained her freedom.
At first she lived with her oldest daughter, Bernice Baker. And then Marilyn Monroe’s mother moved into a nursing home, where she remained for the rest of her life. 81-year-old Gladys Baker passed away in March 1984. She outlived Marilyn by 22 years.