13 Things You Might Not Know About American Icons

History books like to portray American icons as pristine relics and flawless humans, but this is very far from the truth. Some of these facts may surprise you!

1. Marilyn Monroe was not a natural blonde.

Norma Jeane Mortenson (who you all know as Marilyn Monroe) was actually a dark haired brunette! She changed her hair color because she was told that blonde models were preferred in the industry.

It’s also a myth that Marilyn Monroe would have been a size 12 in contemporary American sizes. With a 35/22/35 inch figure, she was more likely around a size 4.

2. But Elvis Presley WAS a natural blonde!

My world has turned upside down.

3. Lady Gaga’s earlier fashion statements may have been inspired by her (now dead) friend Lina Morgana.

Lina Morgana’s mother Yana claims that Lina is the source of inspiration for Lady Gaga’s persona. Lina and Lady Gaga were high school friends, and they even recorded songs with each other. Lina tragically took her own life at the age of 19 by jumping off a hotel building. Lina’s mother claims that a month after her death, Lady Gaga’s transformation began.

4. Hillary Clinton was the head of the Young Republicans at Wellesley College.

Both of her parents were Republicans also! During her time at Wellesley, she slowly became more leftward in her politics.

5. John F. Kennedy had extramarital affairs.

Okay. So we all know that JFK had a relationship with Marilyn Monroe, but he also had relations with a White House intern named Mimi Alford. JFK once asked Mimi to have sex with his brother, Ted, but she refused.

6. Martin Luther King Jr. had extramarital affairs, too.

As MLK Jr’s ideas became more controversial, his popularity started to dwindle. To deal with his depression, he started drinking and smoking more. His marriage took a turn for the worse because he hardly saw his wife during his travels.

One of his mistresses was with him at the Lorraine Motel the night before he was shot.

7. Ted Kennedy was involved in a car crash that killed a woman named Mary Jo Kopechne.

The accident is referred as the “Chappaquiddick incident” because it took place on Chappaquiddick Island. Ted Kennedy was hosting a party, and afterwards he was driving Mary Jo Kopechne back out to the ferry. He took a wrong turn and drove off a bridge into water. Kennedy managed to get out of the submerged car, but Kopechne was not as lucky.

8. Laura Bush was also in a car accident that killed a friend named Michael Dutton Douglas.

When Laura Bush was 17, she ran a stop sign and hit a car being driven by Mike Douglas, a fellow classmate of hers. Douglas was killed instantly. No charges were made, and there was no evidence of drinking from either parties.

9. Eleanor Roosevelt had extramarital relations with women.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (who was also Eleanor’s cousin) had plenty of flings and relationships with other women, including Lucy Mercer, Eleanor’s social secretary. Eleanor’s closest female relationship was with reporter Lorena Hickok (pictured above). They wrote each other intimate love letters, and Eleanor once wrote, “I wish I could lie down beside you tonight & take you in my arms.” It is said that her affairs with other women spurred her to fight aggressively for women’s equal rights.

10. James Buchanan was our first gay president.

Many historians believe that James Buchanan was the first gay president of the United States. Buchanan was said to have a love affair with William Rufus King, a senator from Alabama. King was pro-slavery and convinced Buchanan to be sympathetic to slave owners. Buchanan’s gay affair essentially helped start the Civil War, because he did not intervene with the state secessions.

11. And Abraham Lincoln loved sleeping with men.

It was very common in the 19th century for men to bunk with other men because of space issues, but even if there was plenty of space in the White House, Lincoln still preferred to share beds with other men. There is no evidence that Lincoln did any thing more than sleep with these men, but you can come to your own conclusions if you wish.

12. George Washington bribed people to vote for him with booze.

The practice of giving alcohol for votes was called “swilling the planters with bumbo.” George Washington was said to have lost his seat in the Virginia House of Burgesses because he didn’t bribe enough voters.

13. Benjamin Franklin helped the American Revolution by sleeping with the right French women.

Benjamin Franklin loved the ladies. He even wrote an essay about having an older mistress! When the colonies were looking for French support for the American Revolution, they sent Franklin because they knew he could seduce the ladies. And wouldn’t you know, Franklin slept with the right women, and they introduced him to the elite French men who would ultimately support the American Revolution.

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