Decades after her time in the White House, Jackie Kennedy is still seen as one of the most popular First Ladies in US history. With her iconic style, tragic romances, and high-key messed up family, Jackie’s life was always going to be the stuff of soap operas. But what was she like behind the infamous bloodstained Chanel suit? Strap in as we unpack Jackie Kennedy's jaw-dropping life story.
She's now known as Jackie Kennedy and Jackie O, but when she was born, her name was Jacqueline Lee Bouvier. As soon as the baby girl took her first breath on July 28, 1929, she was already part of New York's elite social circle. Her father was the infamous Wall Street stockbroker “Black Jack” Bouvier III and her mother was the socialite Janet Norton Lee. Despite her well-to-do parents, Jackie quickly learned that money couldn't buy happiness. It just bought great outfits and a metric ton of drama.
Jackie’s charm was evident from an early age, especially where her father was concerned. He openly preferred Jackie over her younger sister Lee, even calling Jackie “the most beautiful daughter a man ever had.” This was...not the best parenting strategy. Thanks to her dad's favoritism, Jackie and Papa Bouvier were close for their entire lives. As for Jackie and her sister? Their story is very different.
Jackie's childhood home was exactly as repressed as you'd expect. The Bouviers put on a show of being the perfect family, but behind closed doors, things could not have been more different. As Jackie and Lee competed for their parents' affection, Jackie’s father John struggled with his own demons. He was an alcoholic and a serial adulterer—and after the Wall Street Crash of 1929, things only got worse.
After the Bouvier family's bank account took a serious hit in the stock market crash, Jackie's parents reached their breaking point. Years of Papa Bouvier's affairs and drunken antics finally pushed Jackie's mom into demanding a divorce. If you think this high-society scandal stayed hidden, you'd be wrong. Tabloids aired the lurid details of the Bouviers' failing marriage with glee.
According to one of Jackie Kennedy's biographers, the story behind the Bouvier divorce was more outrageous than anyone knew. Getting a divorce was hard in the 1930s—so Jackie's mother may have stacked the deck in her favor. She is said to have hired a beautiful Scandinavian woman to seduce Jackie's father and thus prove his status as a top tier cheater.
Evidently Mama Bouvier's sneaky plan worked. Jackie's parents separated in 1936.
The future First Lady did not take her parent's split well. The eleven-year-old girl became shy and retreated into novel-reading and horse-back riding. Then when Jackie's mother married a wealthy lawyer just two years after her divorce (!), Jackie lashed out with a belated "Screw You." She refused to attend her own mother's wedding.
At the age of 22, Jacqueline Bouvier beat over a thousand other applicants to win an internship at Vogue magazine. But after landing the coveted gig, she quit in the middle of her first day. According to Vogue itself, her reason for doing so was dicey at best. After an editor told Jackie that working would hurt her chances on the marriage market, Jackie packed up her bags and found herself a man—but not the one you might expect.
Jackie’s first serious suitor was not John F. Kennedy, but rather the Wall Street banker John Husted. She was engaged to him at 22, but the wedding plans didn’t last more than three months. Once Jackie got to know her fiancé, she realized he was, and I quote, “immature and boring.” She kicked him to the curb and soon met the man she'd forever be associated with: JFK.
Jackie Bouvier and John F. Kennedy ran in the same social circles for years, but it wasn’t until March of 1952 that they were formally introduced. Sharing the same interests in reading, writing, travel, and Catholicism, Bouvier and Kennedy got along fine, but they didn't have some legendary "love at first sight" connection. Instead, things were a little more complicated.
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According to a recent biography of Jackie Kennedy, the couple met three different times before John F. Kennedy even thought about dating his future bride. Plus, once they did go out, Jackie wasn't convinced that JFK was her guy either. She dragged the president in her diary, writing, “He has a funny body, skinny with toothpick legs.” Between this and her "boring" ex, am I right in thinking that Jackie O was secretly savage?
Despite their rocky start, Jackie and JFK eventually hit it off. Mere months after meeting, John F. Kennedy popped the question. However, Jackie played hard to get. She considered JFK’s marriage proposal for an entire month before she said yes in November of 1952, Why the wait? Part of it was scheduling; Kennedy was running for the US Senate, and Bouvier was working as a journalist. But there was a darker reason too...
Apparently, JFK's father Joe was incredibly picky about who his son would marry. After all, this wasn't just about romance. It was also a major career move. If JFK wanted to be president, he needed a very specific kind of woman by his side. With her pedigree, education, and chic sense of fashion, Jackie was perfect—for Joe Kennedy Sr., that is. Some sources say he ordered JFK to propose.
In 1953, Jackie Kennedy tied the knot with JFK in front of 700 wedding guests in Newport, Rhode Island. The nuptials were considered the high society event the season, which included a 1,200-person reception at Hammersmith Farm. Even Jackie's dress was an event unto itself; her gown is still preserved today at the Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts.
Today, JFK’s presidential libido is the stuff of infamy. So how much did Jackie know about her husband’s affairs? According to most biographies, she was basically raised to expect it from her future husband. Men of their “rank” often kept mistresses. Because JFK always returned to Jackie, she accepted his indiscretions. As one source said, “It was a marriage of its time.” But that's not exactly the whole story.
Have you heard the saying about how women tend to marry men who are like their fathers? Well, in Jackie's case, that was creepily true. She outright admitted that JFK shared many of her dad's worst traits: Both "loved the chase and are bored with the conquest." After both JFK and Mr. Bouvier got married, they needed "proof" that they were "still attractive" so they "flirted with other women and resented" their wives. Yikes.
Despite Jackie's cool-as-a-cucumber remarks, she wasn't always as aloof as she seemed.
According to an unauthorized biography, Jackie Kennedy wasn’t always so amendable to her husband’s affairs. In this book, the author alleges that Jackie's father-in-law, Joe Kennedy Sr., offered Jackie a whopping $1 million to put up with her husband's constant philandering. If JFK brought home any diseases, that price would jump to a cool $20 million.
It's easy to forget that before her famous marriage, Jackie was already making her mark of society. She was an accomplished horseback rider, 1948's "Debutante of the Year," and, most surprisingly, she worked as a Billy Eichner-esque “Inquiring Camera Girl” for the Washington Times-Herald. Jackie would do “man on the street”-style interviews with random citizens. Imagine getting questioned by the future First Lady.
During, Jackie's marriage to John F. Kennedy, she had an utterly brutal time with motherhood. Though the First Lady became pregnant five times, only two of her children, Caroline and John F. Kennedy Jr., made it past infancy. Jackie's first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage in 1955. Somehow, her second pregnancy was even worse.
Jackie’s second pregnancy was even harder than the first. This time, Jackie did give birth to a daughter, Arabella, in 1956, but sadly, the baby was stillborn. And as though that wasn't enough, Jackie's husband was going through some horrific health scares of his own. After years of crippling back pain, JFK underwent spinal surgery in 1954—oh, and he also had Addison's disease. TL;DR: The early years of Jackie and JFK’s marriage were no honeymoon. And unfortunately, things only got worse.
For the most part, JFK's many affairs didn't bother Jackie too much. However, some of her husband's betrayals were unacceptable. For example, when Jackie gave birth to her stillborn daughter Arabella, JFK wasn't even present to help Jackie through the heinous day at the hospital. When Jackie learned what he was doing instead, she was furious.
It turned out that JFK wasn't around to support his wife for a horrible reason. He was on a yacht in the Mediterranean, getting busy with one of his mistresses. Even worse, once he found out that Jackie had suffered a stillbirth, he didn't exactly hurry home. In his mind, the loss had already happened. Why fuss over something you couldn't change? Ouch, JFK...
Unsurprisingly, Jackie was devastated by her husband's callousness. In fact, his actions after the birth of their stillborn daughter pushed Jackie to the edge. It was one of only two times that his behavior was so awful that Jackie actually considered divorcing him. She only stayed because her family urged her to accept her situation and make her marriage work.
While on the Senate re-election campaign trail with her husband, Jackie finally gave birth to her first living child. The baby's name was Caroline and she was born on November 27, 1957. After two failed pregnancies, Jackie and JFK were thrilled to welcome their daughter with that classic newborn ritual: A glitzy photoshoot. The family posed for the cover of Life Magazine.
During JFK's campaign, the Kennedys realized that Jackie was a public relations boon to their operation. Whenever Jackie accompanied her husband to rallies, crowds were “twice as big” as when JFK went stag. John F. Kennedy caught onto his wife's popularity. He began to feature Jackie in ads and refer to her as “simply invaluable” to his public success. Off stage, however, things weren't so rosy.
Although she was incredibly popular with the public, Jackie was always a classic Horse Girl on the inside. She didn't love JFK's enormous crowds and was uncomfortable with all the attention. In private, she was observed as quite shy and far from the “natural-born campaigner” that everyone in America believed her to be. Hey, what's a fancy shmancy upbringing good for if it doesn't teach you to grin and bear it?
In 1959, the Kennedys began to prepare for JFK’s 1960 presidential election. Jackie, already a style icon with her Chanel suits and timeless silhouettes, was obviously in charge of her husband's wardrobe. She advised the future president on how to dress for the campaign trail. But a twist of fate meant that she wouldn't be around to help JFK out for very long.
Shortly after launching JFK’s presidential bid in 1960, Jackie Kennedy found herself pregnant for the fourth time. With her history of high-risk pregnancies, she decided to play this one extra-safe. Instead of accompanying her husband on the trail, Jackie spent most of her time at home in Georgetown. But she kept busy: Jackie did her part by writing a weekly syndicated column, Campaign Wife. The column featured the supportive wife giving interviews and answering correspondence on behalf of her husband. And how did JFK repay his dutiful wife? Well, it wasn't...great.
Little Caroline's birth had a profound impact on JFK, but you don't just say goodbye to a lifetime of womanizing overnight. While on the campaign trail, John F. Kennedy made good on his player reputation. He had several flings and struck up one especially controversial affair with a woman named Judith Exner, who literally worked for the mob. Conflict of interest, JFK!
Despite her husband's philandering, Jackie played the part of the picture-perfect wife. She was a public fashion icon whose personal style regularly made news in women’s magazines. As a sign of how famous her chic Parisian outfits were, JFK once jokingly referred to himself not as the president, but "the man who took Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris." However, Jackie’s taste for French fashion sometimes worked against her.
Jackie's penchant for fancy clothes was usually a good thing, but over time, her outfits led to bad press. Her chic ensembles alienated regular Americans who couldn't afford to wear head-to-toe Chanel. After this backlash, Jackie would try to downplay her elite background by...still wearing head-to-toe Chanel pretty much all the time. But hey, now she wasn't talking about it as much?
The campaign trail had been a wild ride for both JFK and Jackie Kennedy, but after everything they went through, they were finally rewarded on November 8, 1960. That was the day that John F. Kennedy became the 35th president of the USA. With their victory in hand, the First Couple revolutionized the White House with their style and youth—but the good times wouldn't last for long.
In the early morning of November 25, 1960, Jackie Kennedy gave birth to her son, John F. Kennedy Jr. Unfortunately for Jackie, the day was yet another instance of her hard road to motherhood. Little John was born three weeks premature and for a terrifying moment, he was so weak that he couldn't even breathe until a resident blew air into his lungs. The labor was so difficult that both mother and son had to spend two weeks in the hospital to recover.
To maintain her idealized image, Jackie Kennedy became the first First Lady to employ her own Press Secretary, Pamela Turnure. Together, the pair meticulously controlled Jackie’s image. Public statements were crateful crafted and photograph access to her children was heavily restricted. Considering her husband's, ahem, busy personal life, I'd say that a PR team was a good call.
However, Jackie occasionally let her mask slip. While she showed a French reporter around the White House, Jackie ran into one of her husband's secretaries, Priscilla Wear. She casually introduced Wear to the reporter as "the girl who is supposedly sleeping with my husband." She wasn't wrong. Wear and her co-secretary Jill Cowen were both having affairs with JFK.
How did Jackie deal with her difficult marriage? The answer wasn't just repression. Throughout 1961 and 1962, Jackie also relied on the help of the infamous "Dr. Feelgood." This doc's real name was Dr. Jacobson and he quickly became a staple in the Kennedy White House. He supplied both JFK and Jackie with "vitamin shots" (drug cocktails) that helped them "feel their best" (get high as kites).
Jackie Kennedy was an undeniably stylish lady, but a political wunderkind she was not. Once when Robert Kennedy and his father, Joseph, were discussing air pollution, Jackie suggested that they could fix the issue by getting the Air Force to fly around the sky and spray Chanel No. 5. Fashionable? Yes. Practical? Not so much.
Throughout his presidency, JFK doted on a kajillion mistresses, but one dalliance was especially cruel to Jackie. This time, JFK's lover was White House staffer Mimi Alford, then just 19 years old. According to Alford, the first time that she and JFK became intimate, they were in a deeply inappropriate room. Alford lost her virginity in Jackie Kennedy's bed. That's harsh, even for JFK.
How's this for a change of tune? Though Jackie Kennedy isn't reported to have had any affairs of her own, she was very popular with high-powered gentlemen, including her husband's enemy, Nikita Khrushchev. The Soviet Premier seemed to have a thing for Jackie. When the Kennedys met Khrushchev in 1961, he insisted on shaking Jackie's hand before JFK's. He also sent Jackie a puppy whose high-profile mother was one of the dogs sent to space by the Soviets. I wonder how JFK liked them apples.
When it comes to JFK's mistresses, the most famous one isn't Priscilla Wear or Mimi Alford. That person will always be Marilyn Monroe. In May of 1962, the blonde bombshell serenaded the president with a famously breathy version of "Happy Birthday", immediately launching rumors that the two were more than friends. Nowadays, most historians believe that the gossip got it right. And unlike almost all of JFK's other affairs, this one actually got under Jackie's skin.
Christopher Andersen, one of Jackie Kennedy's biographers, described a dramatic face-off between JFK's wife and mistress. Apparently, Monroe called Jackie and told her that JFK had promised to marry her. Jackie was unfazed, saying, “Marilyn, you’ll marry Jack, that’s great . . . and you’ll move into the White House and you’ll assume the responsibilities of first lady, and I’ll move out and you’ll have all the problems.” The First Lady was playing it cool, but in reality, nothing was further from the truth.
In his book on Jackie Kennedy, Christopher Andersen claims that of all JFK's mistresses, Monroe was the only one who actually scared Jackie Kennedy. The reason for this was simple: Monroe was a huge star and if she went public about her affair with JFK, it would cause an enormous scandal. Not only would this destroy the First Couple, it would also run both Jackie and JFK's reputations through the mud.
By August of 1962, with the tragic death of Marilyn Monroe, the First Lady's fears lessened. However, more tragedy was on the way. On August 7, 1963, Jackie gave birth for the final and arguably most horrific time. Her fifth child, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, was five weeks premature and could only be delivered via emergency C-section. He lived for just 39 hours before succumbing to hyaline membrane disease.
Following the death of her son, Jackie understandably fell into a deep depression. The public, however, was less sympathetic about her coping mechanisms. The First Lady’s friend Aristotle Onassis invited her to recuperate on his private yacht. After begging Jackie to stay home, the President gave in and okayed his wife’s personal vacation but to this day, it's one of very few times that Jackie's behavior raised eyebrows. And considering what happened later, it's easy to see why...
Jackie Kennedy would regret taking “too much” time for herself in “melancholy after the death of my baby.” The people wanted their First Lady and though she didn't know it, Jackie didn't have much time left in the role.
The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 requires little introduction. Riding with her husband in a motorcade in downtown Dallas, the First Lady initially mistook the sound of gunfire for a motorcycle backfiring. Jackie Kennedy only realized what was really happening when she heard the governor scream...
As JFK was shot clean thought the head, Jackie Kennedy appeared to climb towards the back of their limo. The Secret Service agent believed she was trying to reach for a piece of her husband’s skull, which had flown across the car to the trunk. Jackie herself would testify that she couldn’t remember the incident at all, even after seeing pictures.
After JFK's violent and untimely demise, Jackie refused to change out of her bloodstained Chanel suit. She wore it to Lyndon B. Johnson’s swearing-in ceremony, where she was asked to be present to “legitimize” the vice president’s impromptu administration. To quote Jackie herself, she wanted “them to see what they have done to Jack.”
In recently unearthed letters, Jackie revealed how horribly her husband's assassination had impacted her. She wrote to a priest that she had known for many years and said, “I am so bitter against God." In an especially dark letter, she did the unthinkable. Despite being a lifelong Catholic, the First Lady considered suicide. She asked, "Do you think that God would separate me from my husband if I killed myself?''
High society families have a reputation for being not-so-great at processing emotions. When it comes to Jackie's family, good lord the stereotype is true. Her mother, for instance, decided to support her grieving daughter by saying, and I quote, "We’ve all lost Jack, but it’s been eight months! You have to snap out of it.” Quick, grab the Mother of the Year trophy!
After her husband's death, Jackie still had to carry on with her administrative duties as the ex-First Lady. She collaborated with an architect named Jack Warnecke to design John F. Kennedy's eternal flame memorial in Arlington, Virginia. It was during this unromantic activity that Jackie and Warnecke became lovers. Showing that she had truly unstoppable game, Jackie ensnared a new man while literally planning her husband's tomb. Respect...?
Unsurprisingly, the public did not love the idea of Jackie Kennedy pairing up with her husband's grave designer. Perhaps because of the ensuing bad press, the couple never walked down the aisle. However, in a touching sign of his undying love for Jackie, Warnecke sent her a card on Valentine's Day every single year until she passed away.
Jackie Kennedy was beautiful, famous, and rich. Of course men came out of the woodwork for a chance with her. One of her more famous suitors was a diplomat named David Ormsby Gore. He and Jackie made news when they travelled to Cambodia together, sparking rumors that they were an item. If they were compatible, it would make sense: Gore also knew what it was like to lose his spouse. His wife had recently passed in a car accident. Unfortunately for Gore, more heartache lay ahead.
Recently released letters reveal the sad truth of Jackie and Gore's romance. The notes confirm that the two were involved, but unfortunately for Gore, the relationship didn't end the way he wanted. After Gore asked Jackie to marry him, she declined. Instead, she chose to pursue another option: The Greek business tycoon Aristotle Onassis. Why did she choose him? No matter how you slice it, it's not a happy reason.
The tragic 1968 assassination of Jackie's beloved brother-in-law, Robert Kennedy, rendered the ex-First Lady increasingly paranoid about her children’s safety. She was reported as saying, “If they’re killing Kennedys, then my children are targets...I want to get out of this country.” This desperate need for safety perhaps influenced her love life…
Jackie married long-time friend Aristotle Onassis in 1968. In remarrying, she surrendered her right as a widowed First Lady to Secret Service protection. But it’s not like she went without; her new husband was a wealthy Greek shipping magnate who could provide the security that Jackie desired for herself and her two Kennedy children. But that's not the only disturbing reason behind Jackie's second marriage.
Remember how Jackie and her sister Lee never really got along? Well, when Jackie married Aristotle Onassis, their relationship got even worse. You see, Onassis and Lee had been romantically involved and Lee still had feelings for the Greek tycoon. When Lee found out that Jackie was going to marry her old beau, she reportedly said, "How can she do this to me?" After this betrayal, their relationship, already strained, never truly recovered.
Becoming “Jackie O”, as the press dubbed her, was not a walk in the park. Not only did Jackie break her own sister's heart, she invited the bad will of the general public. Newspapers ran headlines like "Jackie How Could You?" and columnists quipped that Onassis was old enough to be Jackie's father. And they weren't the only ones who hated Jackie's new man.
Onassis was not popular with the Kennedy clan. When JFK was still alive, he called Onassis a "pirate." JFK's brother Bobby joined in the Onassis-bashing duties, saying that Lee's relationship with the Greek tycoon was a "betrayal" of the entire Kennedy family. Yeah, it's safe to say that they would not be on board with Jackie's new man.
The Catholic Church detested the idea of Jackie marrying Onassis too. Not only was Jackie's new beau a divorcée, he was a divorcée whose ex-wife was—gasp!—still alive. Back in the 1960s, this was a big no-no for a good Catholic girl. At the time, there were even talks about ex-communicating Jackie if she married Onassis. And the drama didn't even stop there.
Come what may, Jackie carried on with her scandalous new relationship. She married Onassis in a surprise wedding in Greece and based on testimonies about the day, it sounds like an absolute gong show. Poor Lee had to watch her sister marry her own ex-boyfriend and just before the ceremony, Jackie's mother encouraged her daughter to call the whole thing off. Unfortunately for Jackie, the messy wedding was a sign of things to come...
Jackie Kennedy often played up her maiden name of Bouvier and let the world assume she was French. In reality, she was mostly Irish.
Jackie's second marriage was about as far from romance as anyone could imagine. The couple slept in different bedrooms, as per their deeply unromantic pre-nuptial agreement, and Jackie received a hefty "allowance" from her new hubby, with thousands of dollars specifically devoted to her hair, makeup, and clothing expenses. On paper, this sounds like an okay deal, but in reality, the newlyweds were miserable.
Onassis married Jackie so that he could have the ultimate trophy wife. Jackie married Onassis so that she could feel safe and financially secure. In a way, both got what they wanted, but it wasn't enough. The couple argued over money (Jackie constantly spent more than her allowance) and their clear incompatibility. According to multiple sources, they spent most nights in silence, and over the years, Onassis began to call Jackie "The Witch." But his greatest betrayal was yet to come.
In the 1970s, Onassis's really kicked his "Time To Make My Wife Miserable" campaign into high gear. He would regularly flaunt his affair with the opera diva Maria Callas in Jackie's face and tell the press about Jackie's extravagant shopping sprees. But in November of 1972, her husband officially crossed the line. Onassis hired a man to take secret photos of his own wife sunbathing on a Greek island. Now, that doesn't sound so bad, but here's the thing: In the pictures, Jackie wasn't wearing any clothing. As though that doesn't make Onassis enough of a scumbag, he went even further.
Once the film was developed, Onassis humiliated his wife by getting the photos published in a lewd magazine. Jackie was furious and humiliated when the issue of Hustler came out. She demanded that her wealthy, powerful husband come to her defence and sue the publication. Of course, Jackie didn't realize that her own husband was the man who set everything up.
Over time, Jackie's second marriage just got worse and worse. In 1973, Onassis's son Alexander sadly perished in an airplane crash. In their grief, the family looked for someone to blame for the freak accident. Surprise, surprise, they settled on Jackie. Onassis's daughter Christina said that the infamous Kennedy Curse caused the plane to crash. She raved to her father that the curse was now impacting the Onassis family and "before long, she will kill us all."
Evidently, Onassis thought his daughter was onto something. Shortly after his son's demise, he started pursuing a divorce from Jackie. However, it looked like the Kennedy Curse would strike one more time, right before Onassis got away from his bride. Onassis died of respiratory failure in 1975 and with his demise, the real in-fighting officially began.
Jackie wrangled with her stepdaughter Christina Onassis over the estate of her late second husband after his death. Under Greek law, how much Jackie could inherit as a non-Greek widow was severely limited, but even with the odds stacked against her, Jackie got her way. The twice-widowed First Lady agreed to a “modest” $26 million settlement.
Now that she was set for life, the world was Jackie's oyster. She pursued her lifelong passion for literature by working as an editor at Viking and earning a measly $200 per week. Even though Jackie loved her new job, she left the publisher after they released a novel about one of the First Lady's sensitive spots: An attempt on Ted Kennedy's life. After that, she dumped Viking and went to work for Doubleday.
I think we can all agree that Jackie's first two marriages left a lot to be desired. Thankfully, when it came to the First Lady, the third time was the charm. She fell for a kind, soft-spoken diamond merchant named Maurice Tempelsman. The couple were together for the rest of their lives and, by all accounts, were extremely happy. But obviously, because this is Jackie Kennedy's love life, there just has to be a catch...
There was just one problem with Jackie's new relationship: She was in love with a married man. Tempelsman's wife was extremely religious and she refused to go through with an official divorce. Instead, the couple had an informal separation. This is why, despite Jackie and Tempelsman's profound bond, they never actually tied the knot.
Just because Jackie was in a serious relationship, that didn't mean that she couldn't have a little innocent fun. In 1991, she went to the opera with Alec Baldwin. Though he was a huge movie star at the time, he was incredibly intimidated by Jackie and felt flattered that she wanted to spend an evening with him. Even in her sixties, Jackie still had it!
Sadly, in 1993, a doctor discovered a mysterious lump on the First Lady. After that, it didn't take long for Jackie to be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Throughout the next year, she underwent chemotherapy treatment with Maurice Tempelsman by her side. According to her doctors, "He was always holding her hand or caressing her cheek, and when they sat their heads were always close together, like a sweet older couple. You had to smile when you looked at them.”
Over the next few months, Jackie's disease spread to her spinal cord, brain, and liver. After much thought, she decided that instead of spending her last days in a hospital, she would stop treatment and go home. The First Lady perished in her sleep on May 19, 1994. She was 64 years old and at the time of her death, hundreds of Americans kept vigil outside of her home. To this day, Jackie Kennedy is still regarded as one of the most popular First Ladies in American history.
Despite her demise, Jackie Kennedy's legacy lives on. American arts funding as know it is indebted to her. During her tenure as First Lady, she established the National Endowment of the Arts and began the National Endowment for the Humanities, an initiative completed during the tenure of Lyndon B. Johnson. Her dream of founding an official Department of the Arts, however, went unrealized.
We also have Jackie Kennedy to thank for the modern White House. When Jackie was 12 years old, she visited the White House and discovered that it was a god-awful tourist attraction, without any historical information for the public to read. Years later, when she became First Lady, Jackie fixed this problem. She renovated rooms, restored the historic Rose Garden, and turned the building into the historic monument it is today.
Here's another fun Jackie Kennedy fact. She won an Emmy! The First Lady received a special Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Trustees Award for her 1962 televised tour of the White House. To this day, Jackie remains the only First Lady to have won an Emmy.
However, not all of Jackie's legacy is so rosy...especially when you remember how she treated her sister Lee. You see, when Kennedy passed, she left nothing in her will for her younger sister Lee. This sounds harsh, but a recent book claims that htere was a shocking reason for the snub. Apparently, before JFK became President, he had a torrid affair with Lee, his own sister-in-law.
According to the writer Gore Vidal, who was a very close friend of both Jackie and Lee, the First Lady kept a secret list of her enemies. Can you guess whose name was on there? Her sister, Lee Radziwill. Some people wonder if Jackie married Lee's great love Aristotle Onassis as belated revenge for the time that Lee slept with Jackie's first husband, President John F. Kennedy.
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