Even before marriage, she knew her husband was a ladies man who would eventually cause her heartbreak, but "such heartbreak would be worth the pain."
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on December 31, 2020. It has since been updated.
Even to this day, John F Kennedy remains one of the most revered Presidents of the United States of America and Jacqueline B Kennedy, an adored First Lady. As most romances begin, the iconic couple too met by chance and witnessed an undeniable spark between them. John was a young, aspiring American Congressman and Jackie was a writer for the Washington Times-Herald when they were introduced at a dinner party hosted by Charles Bartlett in 1952. "My brother really was smitten with her right from the very beginning when he first met her at dinner," JFK's brother Ted Kennedy was quoted as saying in the book America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Sarah Bradford. A few months after their meeting, the two began courting and by the summer of 1953, they were engaged, reports Nine.com.au.
On the morning of 12 September 1953, they were married in a religious ceremony in Newport, Rhode Island. The Kennedys brought a new, youthful spirit to the White House, especially Jacqueline who set out to restore art and celebrate American history, culture, and achievement. Both were incredibly intelligent, educated, and seemed like the perfect match. However, their marriage was far from it. Although it wasn't extensively reported at the time, JFK was believed to have had numerous affairs throughout his ten-year marriage to Jackie. "If I don’t have sex every day, I get a headache," he would tell anyone who listened, according to New York Post.
Seymour Hersh portrayed an unsettling picture of the assassinated President in his book The Dark Side of Camelot, which regarded him a womanizer who frequently used the Secret Service to get women into the White House for his regular rendezvous. Apparently, he has turned the prestigious White House into a Playboy mansion as he kept pictures of his trysts in the form of photographs. "Over a number of years, we framed a number of photographs of people — naked and often lying on beds — in the Lincoln Room," Sidney Mickelson, who used to run an art gallery in DC, told Hersh during an interview. The women were always beautiful, according to an excerpt provided by The Atlantic. Although Mickelson said that the Secret Service agents told him it was Kennedy behind the masked man in the photos, it can't be said for sure.
According to History, JFK was rumored to have an affair with Marilyn Monroe, who famously sang him a breathy version of "Happy Birthday." Per These Few Precious Days: The Final Year of Jack with Jackie, Monroe wanted to be more than just his mistress and saw herself as a Second First Lady, even calling Jackie one time telling her about their relationship. His affair with Judith Campbell Exner also stirred up some dark controversies after she began dating mobster Sam Giancana. Although there's no evidence for these claims, he did have some verifiable affairs with many other women, including a 19-year-old intern Mimi Beardsley who opened up about the 18-month affair in her memoir.
Moreover, he had a relationship with his wife’s friend Mary Pinchot Meyer, whose 1964 murder remains unsolved to this day. Despite this, Jackie decided to stay by her husband's side. Even before marriage, she knew her husband was a ladies-man who would eventually cause her heartbreak, but "such heartbreak would be worth the pain." She expressed her longing in a letter addressed to her "atypical" husband in 1957 or 1958. "I know everyone says married couples should never separate — as you get off the same wavelength, but I think it is usually good when we go away from each other as we both realize so much," she wrote.
"You are an atypical husband — increasingly so in one way or another every year since we've been married — so you mustn't be surprised to have an atypical wife," continued the letter which was put up for auction in 2018. "Each of us would have been so lonely with the normal kind." Although she spoke about the imperfect parts of their marriage, she did ultimately voice her love for him. "I can't write down what I feel for you, but I will show you when I am with you — and I think you must know. All my love, Jackie."