Newly released interviews taken soon after JFK’s assassination show a wild side to Jackie Kennedy.
The unprecedented trove of interviews recorded by historian Arthur Schlesinger in 1964, four months after John F. Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas, was presented in a two-hour special on ABC television and published in a book and CDs set .
In more than eight hours of interviews, Jackie’s love for her husband shines through – though she does mention her husband’s infidelities.
He was “the most unselfconscious person I’ve ever seen,” she says, then aged 34.
She recounts how her deceased husband, who was 12 years her senior, used to teach their daughter Caroline how to swim, and how he would read books in the bath, at the table, and even while dressing. The president, she says, liked to take his naps in pajamas.
Self-effacingly, Jackie Kennedy also insists her role was always to serve her husband and never to enter politics herself.
“I get all my opinions from my husband… How could I have any political opinions, you know? His were going to be the best,” she said.
Her marriage, she explained, was “Victorian or Asiatic,” meaning that she did not expect independence. Her role was to create “a climate of affection and comfort and detente when he came home.”
“I think a woman always adapts, and especially if you’re very young when you get married. You know, you really become the kind of wife you can see that your husband wants,” she sad.
But that deliberately humble self-portrait is combined in the tapes with a sassy, provocative bluntness about what she observed from her privileged perch in world affairs.
She spills the beans on her husband’s apparent disdain for his own vice president, Lyndon Johnson, recalling him saying: “‘Oh, God, can you ever imagine what would happen to the country if Lyndon was president?’”
She is scathing about a string of revered international figures, calling French leader Charles de Gaulle “full of spite” and the French in general “not very nice” and “all for themselves.”
Indira Gandhi, who was to become Indian prime minister, was a “bitter, kind of pushy, horrible woman.”
And even US civil rights icon Martin Luther King comes in for her acid tongue: he was a “phony.”
In an interview with ABC, Caroline Kennedy said her own children were “absolutely horrified” at Jackie Kennedy’s apparently pre-feminism views on the wife’s role in marriage.
“Of course time has moved on and it shows you both there are many timeless things in here but it really is a snapshot of a world that we barely recognize,” Caroline Kennedy told ABC.
The book and audio set is titled “Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy.”
The tapes are full of personal bombshells, too – they reveal what was really going on in the White House while JFK was President,” said on expert, a highly placed individual in the publishing world.
They show what the Kennedy family was like, what Jacki’s personal opinions actually were and what she and other individuals really said and did behind the scenes.
Among the other revelations:
- JFK seduced as many as 10 women a week in the White House, including of course, the famous movie star Marilyn Monroe. Jackie know abut JFK’s numerous affairs, but didn’t care because she had lost all romantic feelings for her husband.”I caught Jack with one of his women one night,” Jackie says in the interview. ”I didn’t bother to confront him. I got used
- to his betrayals”
- Jackie and JFK rarely made love after John-John was born. Jackie’s third pregnancy with Patrick was planned to help JFK win votes for the White House. After the birth and death of their second son, the pair never went to bed together again.
- A bored Jackie dropped acid in the White House – twice.
- Jackie had a hopeless crush on Actor Richard Burton and secretly wished to marry him. She eventually followed up on her feelings and invited him to the White House when jack was away. They made love in Lincoln’s bedroom.”He was my ideal man,” she wrote in her diaries. ”He is talented, passionate and masculine. He lives life fully, even though he’s in the public eye. He has courage – oh, how I admire that! I often wonder what my life would be like if I were married to him.”
- Jackie and Marilyn Monroe once had a hair-pulling, face-scratching brawl in the Green Room of the White House. This, surprisingly, led to the the two women making love – in the Lincoln Bedroom.
- Jackie was a chain smoker so addicted to cigarettes that she could not stop smoking even when she was pregnant.
- Jackie desperately wanted to be with Elvis Presley.