Marilyn Monroe Had A Half-Sister That Not Many People Knew About

Norma Jeane Baker — more popularly known as Marilyn Monroe — was born on June 1, 1926, in California. Just a couple of weeks after Monroe's birth, her mother, Gladys Baker, left her at a foster home. She lived with a few foster families throughout her childhood years, and she eventually made a name for herself in modeling and acting and became a Hollywood icon (via History).

Throughout her years in the entertainment industry, Monroe would often be asked about her family, to which she would reply that she had none; she stated that she grew up in an orphanage and her biological mother was dead. Per History by Day, the public only found out the truth about her family when the actress died of an accidental overdose in 1962 at 36 years old. It turned out that Monroe had an older half-sister named Berniece Baker Miracle, who she had a close relationship with.

Berniece Baker's childhood

Berniece Inez Gladys Baker was born to Jasper and Gladys Baker on July 30, 1919, in Venice, California. In 1923, however, the couple divorced, and Jasper brought Berniece and her older brother Robert to his hometown of Kentucky and raised them there. According to ATI, Jasper eventually married another woman, and Berniece grew up without memories of her biological mother, and she had no idea whether she was dead or alive.

At 19 years old, Berniece married a man named Paris Miracle. It was after her marriage that she learned that she had a half-sister. Berniece's father gave her a letter saying that it was from her biological mother. Initially, per History by Day, Jasper didn't want to show his daughter the letter, but he ultimately decided that it was Berniece's decision to do what she wanted with the information in it. The letter stated that Berniece had a 12-year-old half-sister named Norma Jeane, and it also came with an address where she could send a letter to her sister. Berniece was ecstatic to learn about Norma Jeane's existence, and she immediately wanted to get to know her.

Berniece Baker's early relationship with her sister

Norma Jeane Baker also learned from a family friend that she had an older half-sister when she was 12 years old. Soon, she received a letter from Berniece Baker Miracle that came with a photo. She replied and attached her own photo as well. As noted by History by Day, Norma Jeane asked her sister several questions, such as details about her life and what it was like living in Kentucky. They kept in touch throughout the years and formed a close relationship, despite not having met in person.

Berniece learned of Norma Jeane's first marriage in a letter, and the older sister was happy to learn that she has found someone she loved. Soon World War II erupted, and Berniece and her family moved to Detroit, but the correspondence between the two sisters never ceased. They made it a point to update each other about their lives, and they made plans to finally see each other in person.

The sisters' first meeting

After six of exchanging letters, Norma Jeane Baker and Berniece Baker Miracle finally met for the first time in 1944. Norma Jeane told her sister what she would be wearing, and she traveled to Detroit via train to visit Berniece her husband (via ATI). Berniece was worried that she wouldn't recognize her sister, but when she saw a gorgeous girl at the station that stood out from the crowd, she immediately knew that it was Norma Jeane.

The sisters stared at each other and were overwhelmed with emotions after seeing each other for the first time. They shared some physical features, but while Berniece's eyes were brown, Marilyn's were bright blue. Per History by Day, the two made up for the lost time by sharing stories of their childhood and showing pictures to each other. They also talked about their mother, Gladys Baker, whom Norma Jeane hadn't seen in a decade by that time. As the years passed, Berniece and Norma Jeane's relationship only grew stronger, and they made it a point to see each other once in a while.

Berniece Baker Miracle was there for her sister until the end

Norma Jeane Baker started gaining popularity in her career and by 1946, she had changed her name to Marilyn Monroe. The following year, Berniece Baker Miracle headed to Hollywood to visit her sister, and it was also during that time when she met her mother, Gladys Baker, for the first time, as reported by History By Day. The three women visited different locations in Los Angeles and took lots of photos together.

Despite their very close relationship, Monroe denied having a family in interviews, as she wanted to keep the lives of her mother and sister private; Berniece understood Monroe's reasons for withholding the truth. When Monroe died in 1962, Berniece was there to help with the funeral preparations. She chose her sister's casket and the dress that she wore when she was buried. Berniece was one of the last people who talked to the Hollywood star before she died, and she told her sister about the new house she purchased. Berniece doesn't believe in the theory that Monroe took her own life, per ATI, as she talked about her plans for the future and she sounded happy during their final conversation.

She wrote a book about Marilyn Monroe

There have been many books and documentaries released throughout the years after her death. In 1994, Berniece Baker Miracle and her daughter Mona Rae Miracle wrote their own book about her titled "My Sister Marilyn: A Memoir of Marilyn Monroe." Berniece was finally able to tell the public about her relationship with her sister, and how they came to know about each other. It's a glimpse of both their lives and paints a picture of Norma Jeane Baker's private life rather than Marilyn Monroe, the blond bombshell known to the public. The book also contains personal photographs of the sisters and their outings throughout the years.

Miracle described Monroe as a wonderful sister who was sweet and very hardworking. Miracle died in 2014 at the age of 94 years old and is buried beside her husband in a cemetery in Kentucky (via Marilyn Remembered).