Jackie Kennedy Didn’t Like Eating in Public, Insider Says

When Jackie Kennedy rose to prominence on the national stage alongside her husband John F. Kennedy in the late ’50s and into the ’60s, she represented a modern American woman in an ever-changing society.

The picture of poise and grace, the stunning young mother was a style icon who people have idolized ever since. However, like everyone else, the late first lady was human and had her own particularities and insecurities. One insider says she especially hated eating in public.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis | Steve Liss/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

Jackie Kennedy was very particular about her image

Kennedy knew what she represented to the American people and her status as the first lady meant in the White House. With so many eyes on her at all times, the literature editor was very particular about her image.

Though the George Washington University alum had a weakness for Newport cigarettes, she held it as a closely guarded secret from the public. According to FirstLadies.org, she prohibited the staff from taking photos of smoking.

After JFK was assassinated, Kennedy became even more meticulous about her image. She shielded her children from the spotlight and once even fired her personal chef after sharing her recipes with Weight Watchers magazine.

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Jackie Kennedy’s diet allowed her to keep her slim figure

People always marveled at Kennedy’s slim figure, which was perfect for clothes. According to Kathy McKeon, Kennedy’s former assistant and children’s nanny, the first lady’s slim figure was due to her strict diet.

In her book, Jackie’s Girl: My Life With The Kennedy Family, McKeon describes meeting Kennedy in the months following JFK’s 1963 assassination, and as expected, the first lady was eating very little.

The then a 19-year-old Irish immigrant who worked for the Kennedys for 13 years describes the first lady’s diet as a “boiled egg and tea for breakfast, cottage cheese with fresh fruit at lunch, and a poached chicken breast or fish, with a salad or steamed vegetables for dinner (with plain yogurt to snack on when she was hungry).”

When Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis she eased up on her diet. McKeon explained she, “began to enjoy her cocktail hour and late-night desserts.”

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Jackie Kennedy did not like eating in public

As a result of her image, Kennedy did not like to eat in public. McKeon describes the former first lady or “Madame” as her staffers called her as someone who liked to indulge behind the scenes.

While she did adhere to her diet more often than not, McKeon says, she caught the first lady more than once having some tasty treats in the kitchen.

“Sometimes we’d crash into each other at night in the kitchen pantry,” McKeon said via Mercery News. “She didn’t put on the light because she didn’t want anyone to know she was in there! She was eating ice cream out of the container with a big spoon,” McKeon said. “Not a teaspoon but a big spoon!”