Strange Facts About JFK Jr.'s Marriage

After John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette secretly wed in October 1996, the world became obsessively fascinated by their intriguing relationship. Kennedy, who had long been considered a part of American royalty, had no shortage of women to pick from. But he chose to start a life with Bessette–a mid-level Calvin Klein publicist. 

On the outside, their marriage appeared to be a true fairy tale. But soon enough, allegations of drug use, infidelity, and explosive fights tarnished their union, which has haunted their image well beyond their tragic July 16, 1999 deaths in a plane crash over the Atlantic Ocean. 

Here are some of the strange facts about their marriage that many people aren't aware of.

She wanted a 'normal' life

She put on a brave face, but Bessette reportedly struggled with her newfound fame. Kathy McKeon who worked with Kennedy's late mother, Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis, wrote in her book Jackie's Girl (via People) that Bessette had once "gotten chased down the sidewalk by a wolf pack of photographers, and ducked into a building to escape them." Frequently photographed with her head down and her shoulders hunched, her former boss, designer Calvin Klein, nicknamed Bessette "the Hunchback of Notre Dame." 

RoseMarie Terenzio was Kennedy's personal assistant and close friend during the last five years of his life. In her book, Fairy Tale Interrupted (via the Daily Mail), she claimed Bessette believed Kennedy's main focus was his now-defunct magazine George. All she wanted was to live a normal life away from the public eye, but her reality was very different. "I'm not a priority. It's always something else. George. Somebody getting fired. A trip to meet advertisers. I just want some normal married time. I'm exhausted," she reportedly told Terenzio.  

Did she cheat before the marriage?

After their deaths, people came out of the woodwork to talk about their personal relationships with the couple, including Bessette's  ex-boyfriend, model and actor Michael Bergin. In his explosive book, The Other Man: A Love Story: John F. Kennedy Jr., Carolyn Bessette, & Me (via the New York Post), Bergin claimed he and Bessette had a passionate relationship while she was dating Kennedy.

Months before she wed Kennedy at their super-private ceremony in Cumberland Island, Ga., Bessette reportedly broke the news to Bergin that she had suffered a miscarriage. Bergin knew he wasn't the father because the two hadn't been intimate for awhile, but after she poured out her heart to him, they allegedly "began making passionate love." Bergin wrote, "I knew it was wrong, and she knew it was wrong, but we both found ways to justify our behavior."

They knew their marriage wouldn't be a fairy tale

Although the public was swept up by Kennedy and Bessette's romance, the bride and groom supposedly did not share the public's high expectations about their union. "John and Carolyn were very realistic about their marriage," said author RoseMarie Terenzio in her book, Fairy Tale Interrupted. "They did not have the fairy tale expectation that was projected on them. They were aware that there would be tough times."

In the SPIKE TV documentary I Am JFK Jr. (via People), Kennedy's college roommate, Chris Oberbeck, says the power couple had "intense passion," and sometimes that passion would devolve into "unbelievable fights."

They were living apart

They put on a united front when Kennedy could convince Bessette to be his plus one at public events. However, behind closed doors, the couple was living separate lives, according to journalist Edward Klein's book, The Kennedy Curse: Why Tragedy Has Haunted America's First Family for 150 Years (via Vanity Fair). Kennedy was reportedly staying at the luxurious Stanhope Hotel in New York while Bessette took refuge in their loft in Tribeca. 

Kennedy allegedly expressed to those in his inner circle that he couldn't believe the turn his marriage had taken. Just two days before the fatal airplane crash that took their lives, he was supposedly attempting to figure out why his relationship with his wife had "soured." According to Klein's tell-all book, Kennedy told a friend over the phone, "I've had it with her! It's got to stop. Otherwise we're headed for divorce."

Did he catch her doing drugs?

One piece in Klein's book turned heads was his shocking allegation about Bessette's drug use. Friends of the couple claimed Kennedy returned to their apartment one day and found Bessette "sprawled on the floor in front of a sofa, disheveled and hollow-eyed, snorting cocaine." Kennedy reportedly called her a "cokehead" before "retreating to his room," according to an excerpt in Klein's book (via People magazine).

Other insiders had a different story to tell. Kennedy's friend, John Perry Barlow, told People that Klein's allegations were "character assassination of the dead, without any substance." He admitted both Kennedy and Bessette "occasionally smoked a little pot," but claimed he never saw either of them engage in any cocaine use.

Was she suffering from depression?

Kennedy was used to being in the spotlight, and some said he enjoyed the attention. Throngs of paparazzi following his every move, and he didn't seem to mind. "He used to walk to the post office every day, just after he'd taken a shower. You could tell he wanted attention. He'd wear just a towel wrapped around his waist and no shirt," said a neighbor (via People). 

Bessette, on the other hand, wasn't as accepting of the "personal scrutiny and exploitation," reported Vanity Fair. Things got so bad, she retreated to the West Village apartment of her good friend, Gordon Henderson. A friend claimed Bessette didn't feel "at home" in the apartment she shared with Kennedy. She also reportedly displayed "classic signs of clinical depression."

Mere months after their wedding, Bessette allegedly spent her time "locked in her apartment, convulsed by crying jags," according to Klein's book. As Kennedy continued to live his life in the spotlight, she reportedly found it difficult to even go outside.

Was there trouble on their wedding day?

Not much is known about the couple's very private wedding, but some juicy information was leaked almost five years later by an unlikely source.

Jodee Sadowsky, the owner of the World Famous Breakfast Club in Savannah, Ga., was hired to cater the couple's nuptials, and he told Fox News that the nuptials weren't necessarily a happy occasion. Sadowsky said out of the 50 or so people who were invited, Bessette was the "only one" he didn't like. He also said she appeared to be "standoffish and seemed conceited." He claims the couple didn't seem to be overjoyed like most newlyweds, predicting that they "seemed like they'd be happy for a short time."

The morning following their wedding, Kennedy and Bessette reportedly woke Sadowsky up at 4 a.m. to make them a quick breakfast, so they could leave the island before the rest of their family members woke up. They chartered a helicopter to whisk them away to start their brief time together as husband and wife.

They were in counseling

Before John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette's untimely deaths, the two had been working on patching up whatever was left of their shattered marriage. According to Klein's book, the couple met with a marriage counselor in an effort to overcome its issues (via People). Unfortunately, their therapy sessions apparently didn't go so well. Klein claimed (via Vanity Fair) that counseling came to an abrupt halt a few months down the line because the therapist brought up Bessette's alleged drug use. According to the book, Bessette stormed out of the session. Soon after, she supposedly started sleeping in a spare room that held her husband's home gym equipment.

Did his family bully her?

It can't be easy joining a tight-knit family like the Kennedys, but no one knew just how difficult it was for Bessette to fit in with the clan until years later. News of family feuding came to light after a diary belonging to Kennedy's cousin, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., was leaked to the New York Post. The diary entries detailed how Kennedy's brother-in-law, Edwin Schlossberg, "hated" Bessette and "did everything in his power to make her life miserable." Kennedy's sister, Caroline, had also reportedly criticized Bessette for being late to her own wedding and wearing high-heeled shoes during the beach ceremony. 

Following the couple's death, Schlossberg and other members of the Kennedy family reportedly "bullied" Bessette's grieving mother, too. The family supposedly wanted Kennedy to be buried in the family plot in Brookline, Mass., and Bessette's family was told they could "do with [Bessette's body] as they pleased," according to one of the diary entries.