When we think of Marilyn, we think of her smiling and carefree. We think of Monroe as the pinnacle of curvy beauty, as physical evidence that a woman doesn't have to be a size zero to be considered one of the most powerful sex symbols of all time.

Most of the photos we have of Marilyn, however, hid a secret.

Marilyn Monroe had a large scar on her stomach.

The scar was the result of a gallbladder surgery Monroe underwent prior to her infamous "The Last Sitting" photo shoot with photographer Bert Stern. 

Prior to the shoot, Monroe was said to be so nervous about revealing her scar, she had to have a pep talk with her hairdresser George before stepping in front of the camera.

When Stern noticed the scar, Diana Vreeland reportedly told him:

"I think there's nothing duller than a smooth, perfect-skinned woman. A woman is beautiful by her scars."

Unfortunately, Stern ended up removing the scar from his photos of Monroe.

The scar was also removed from the film and behind-the-scenes snaps of the blonde in her last movie, "Something's got to Give." 

The film was also ironically the first that allowed Monroe to expose her full stomach on camera, including her belly button. 

This is one of the "approved" retouched photos from production.

Flawless. Also belly button-less.

Here's an un-retouched version.

Marilyn Monroe stomach scar
photo: 20th Century Fox

Still flawless. Ooh, check out that belly button!

We think Monroe was a mega-babe no matter what — scar or no scar, belly button or no belly button.