Even though his wife knew about the mistresses, "she just didn't mind their presence as much as she might have."
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on October 25, 2021. It has since been updated.
John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis got married on September 12, 1953, and since then, she'd "endured years of anguish and embarrassment over her husband’s womanizing and inattention," according to Washington Post. Things only took a turn for the worse when Jackie went into early labor on August 23, 1956, with what would have been her first child.
She had decided to call her baby Arabella, per Ranker. Unfortunately, it was a stillbirth. One would think that her husband would have been beside her, to comfort her. But apparently, Jackie had to deal with the grief of losing their first child all by herself, because her husband was on a yacht with his mistress at the time.
He was "reluctant to return home quickly to his devastated wife," even though he'd only heard of the news three days later. "With his cool detachment, he saw no reason to rush back — the baby was already lost."
However, per Vanity Fair, Kennedy only flew home after one of his best friends in the Senate, George Smathers of Florida, told him during a transatlantic call, “You’d better haul your ass back to your wife if you want to run for president.”
The couple went on to have two healthy babies in the future— Caroline in 1957 and John in 1960.
But, here's the thing: Jackie knew about her husband's mistresses, but she wasn't bothered about them. Singer Carly Simon revealed in her book, Touched By the Sun: My Friendship with Jackie, about how the First Lady was quite aware of her husband's extramarital affairs but didn't "mind their presence as much as she might have."
Simon and Jackie's friendship began in 1983 at a restaurant called Ocean Club on Martha’s Vineyard.
During an interview with NBC News, the singer opened up about her friendship with the former First Lady and her then-husband's extramarital relationships. "In a cheerful but resigned way, she told me that of course, she knew about them," Simon wrote in her book. "She just didn't mind their presence as much as she might have. Because she knew he [Kennedy] loved her much, much more than any of his dalliances."
But it was clear that there were some incidents where Jackie was hurt by her husband's behavior. "For instance, his not being there for the birth of a child, his being off with a mistress while she was in the hospital," Simon said. "There are various things that he did that by comparison to having a mistress must have hurt more."
JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963, and Jackie went on to marry shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis, in 1963. He too, cheated on her, revealed Simon, adding that she knew it wasn't something serious. “She learned the fact that it didn’t necessarily mean anything more than ‘wham bam thank you ma’am,’ ” added Simon.
Years after her second husband's death, in April 1994, a family spokeswoman announced that Onassis had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, and didn't have too long to live. A month later, in May 1994, Jackie breathed her last.
Even on her deathbed, Jackie had Simon right beside her. “I was holding her hand, telling her I loved her and saying goodbye,” Simon told PEOPLE. “There was an otherworldly recording of monks singing, intermingled with sounds of uproarious laughter from the next room, where various Kennedys were having an Irish gathering. It was surreal.”
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