I had a male friend growing up who absolutely adored Marilyn Monroe. She was his "perfect woman."
The naive teenage girl that I was, who had a crush on said male, didn't understand why he would like an old lady who was long dead. What about Britney Spears? Gwen Stefani? These were the women I thought I needed to look like to be considered beautiful.
Though these ladies are, in fact, gorgeous, they are not perfect. No human is. However, Marilyn Monroe seems to stand the test of time as far as iconic beauties go.
But did Marilyn Monroe get plastic surgery?
Rumors may have began way before 2017, when Alicia Keys posted a photo on her Instagram with the caption, "Real bodies=gorgeous." And, of course, as with everything on the internet, if you post something, there will be those with differing opinions.
A post shared by Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) on Apr 15, 2017 at 3:38pm PDT
Some praised Keys for her body positivity, while others took issue with the fact she was showcasing a larger body form, and then others commented about Monroe's plastic surgery, including fake breasts and beauty treatments she underwent to achieve her iconic look.
Wait, what?! Marilyn Monroe had plastic surgery?
I'll admit, I'm no expert on Monroe. The extent of my knowledge is that her real name was Norma Jeane Baker and she had a lot of boyfriends. But Monroe having plastic surgery? I would have lost money if I was a betting woman.
How tall was Monroe and how much did she weigh? At 5'6" and 115 pounds, I would never consider her in need of any changes, but that might be my own body issues coming through.
So, I had to do a little digging, and what I found was more than jaw-dropping. In 2013, her X-rays and medical records were released, and here's what they indicated.
1. Marilyn Monroe may have had a nose job.
Norma Jeane Baker / Marilyn Monroe (Photo: MarieClaire)
As you can see from the above photo, the before nose is wider while the after nose is petite. Many reports indicate she had surgery early in her career, in 1950, to refine the tip of her nose. And her autopsy records showed a small fracture on her nose, which many speculated was either due to additional surgery or domestic abuse.
Nose jobs are quite the norm nowadays among celebrities, but back then? Not as common. And celebrities getting plastic surgery was not as widely discussed in the pre-internet era.
2. She had a procedure called hairline electrolysis done.
Norma Jeane Baker / Marilyn Monroe (Photo: MarieClaire)
Monroe was well-known for undergoing hairline electrolysis to get rid of her widow's peak and change the way her face looked.
Electrolysis is a method of removing individual hairs from the face or body. Today's medical electrolysis devices destroy the growth center of the hair with chemical or heat energy. After a very fine probe is inserted into the hair follicle, the hair is removed with tweezers.
3. Monroe may also have received a cartilage implant on her chin.
Rumor has it, in about 1949 or 1950 and while struggling to find her place in Los Angeles as a model and actress, Monroe overheard a casting director refer to her as a “chinless wonder.” In 1950, she visited a Hollywood plastic surgeon who performed a chin augmentation, using an implant made of carved bovine cartilage.
Since both the technology and materials used in the 50s were primitive compared to today's standards, the implant absorbed or dissolved by 1958, leading her to visit another doctor to repair what she called a "chin deformity."
4. Monroe was rumored to have had a breast job.
Much has been speculated about whether or not Monroe had fake breasts. Although nothing has ever really been confirmed, it has been said that Marilyn Monroe had an infection in her breasts which was likely caused by liquid silicone injections.
The reports say that she wanted her doctor to do something to fix her breasts, but he was unable to reverse the injections.
Monroe expert Gene London said of the icon, "She always wore a bra to bed because she didn’t want her breasts to sag... Marilyn took to placing marbles in her bras, or she’d take three buttons… and sew the buttons together and place those inside her dress.”
The buttons and marbles made it look like her breasts had hard nipples.
5. She may have used hormone cream.
In the same interview with London, he maintained that Monroe would try to keep her pale complexion by using a slew of products, like Vaseline, hormone cream, Erno Laszlo Active pHelityl Cream, or Nivea.
"She had the heaviest peach fuzz beard of any actress in Hollywood. They [studio chiefs] wanted to remove the facial hair, but Marilyn absolutely refused. She said that when the light hit the fuzz it caused her face to have a soft glow, so they didn’t have to photograph her through special lenses, lace, or Vaseline the way they did with so many stars.”
The hormone cream story has been debated, with other reports saying that she hated the peach fuzz and wet shaved her face using a razor to remove it. This is also known to exfoliate the skin, giving it a youthful glow that Monroe was also famous for.
6. Medical reports revealed that Monroe had false teeth.
It's been said that Monroe originally had an overbite (that was fixed during her time at Columbia pictures) as well as false teeth, which were noted at the time of her death.
Sadly, Monroe died at the young age of 36 from an overdose of barbituates in 1962. Reports indicated that, at the time of her death, she was unrecognizable.
If this teaches us anything, it's that it doesn't matter how much you work on your outside, it's solely how you treat yourself on the inside that counts.
Liza Walters is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture, and relationship topics.