Warning: this article touches on subject matter that some readers may find distressing
Andrew Dominik's new Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde is by no means an easy watch.
The film – which arrives on Netflix on Wednesday 28th September following a brief theatrical run – details several harrowing incidents from the life of Norma Jeane, painting a disturbing portrait of a star who was brutally exploited at every turn.
One of the bleakest scenes in the film concerns an encounter between Monroe and John F Kennedy in 1962, in which the then US President is portrayed as coercing the Gentlemen Prefer Blondes star into performing oral sex on him before it is implied that he subsequently raped her.
It's important to note that the film is not intended to be a completely true-to-life account. Although many details do tally with the historical record, the script is based on Joyce Carol Oates's 2000 novel of the same name, which is a fictionalised take on the star's life.
With that in mind, many viewers will understandably want to know the truth behind Monroe's relationship with JFK. Read on for everything you need to know.
Did Blonde's Marilyn Monroe and John F Kennedy story actually happen?
There is absolutely no historical evidence that John F Kennedy sexually assaulted Marilyn Monroe. It appears this was an entirely fictional scene intended to make a point about the ways in which Monroe was exploited throughout her life.
In the early '60s, there were rumours about a relationship between JFK and Monroe, with some believing the pair were having a secret affair. This was partly fuelled by the star's infamous performance of Happy Birthday at a celebration for the President in 1962, but there is nothing to suggest anything of this nature ever occurred.
In Donald Spoto's 1994 book Marilyn Monroe: The Biography, Monroe's close friend Ralph Roberts is quoted alleging that the two did have a brief affair – but said it lasted for only one night.
"Marilyn told me that this night in March (24th March 1962) was the only time of her 'affair' with JFK," he said. "A great many people thought, after that weekend, that there was more to it. But Marilyn gave me the impression that it was not a major event for either of them: it happened once, that weekend, and that was that."
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The recent Netflix documentary The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes also includes testimony from people close to Monroe suggesting she also had an affair with JFK's brother, Robert, while her biographer James Spada previously told People magazine he thought "it was pretty clear that Marilyn had had sexual relations with both Bobby and Jack".
The exact nature of Monroe's relationship with JFK will likely continue to be the subject of much speculation, but the truth is that it's unlikely we'll ever know anything for sure – and the scenes that appear in the film should certainly not be taken at face value.
Blonde was released in select cinemas on Friday 23rd September and is available to stream on Netflix from Wednesday 28th September. Check out more of our Film coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.
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