Did Jackie Kennedy Marry JFK for his ‘Money and Power’?

Jacqueline “Jackie” Kennedy Onassis may have married John “Jack” F. Kennedy (JFK) at her mother’s request.

Jackie Kennedy’s mother taught her to marry for ‘money and power’

Author Randy Taraborelli has a theory about why Jackie married JFK and it has everything to do with Jackie’s mother, Janet Lee Bouvier Auchincloss.

In his book, Jackie, Janet & Lee: The Secret Lives of Janet Auchincloss and Her Daughters, Taraborelli explained the theory, writing that Janet told her daughters Jackie and Lee, to marry a man with “money and power” because those two things would bring happiness.

Taraborelli described the scene when the mother of two passed this information down to her daughters at one of their “Mother Daughter Teas” in 1951.

Jackie Kennedy and Lee Radziwill
Lee Radziwill and Jackie Onassis | Ron Galella/WireImage

“Do you know what the secret to ‘Happily Ever After’ is?” Janet asked Jackie and Lee.

She answered the question herself, replying “money and power.”

Janet ingrained the idea into her daughters’ minds likely because she married John Vernou “Black Jack” Bouvier III at the age of 21 and divorced him 12 years later because he wasn’t faithful, which left Janet to struggle to make ends meet for her and her daughters.

Jackie Kennedy broke off an engagement to another man to date JFK

Taraborelli explained that he believed the advice from her mother led Jackie to end her engagement to John Husted Jr., a man Jackie described to a friend in a letter as “the right one.”

The two became engaged in January of 1952 and when Janet found out how much money her future son-in-law made from his job as a stockbroker, she advised Jackie to end the relationship. He made $117,000 a year, which equates to $159,000 today.

CIRCA 1960s: Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy enjoys herself at a picnic circa the 1960s. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

“Janet told her ‘That was less money than your father made when I married him,’” Taraborrelli told People. “When Jackie asked her ‘How could I not know this?’ She answered, ‘You tell me.’”

Janet reportedly told her daughter to break up with him at their engagement party.

“She was ice cold,” John remembered of how Jackie ended their engagement. “Like we never knew each other.”

“Jackie was not a mercenary person,” Taraborrelli told People of Jackie’s actions. “Whenever she had to make one of those decisions, it was usually her mother behind it.”

Did Jackie love JFK? ‘In her own way’

Jackie began working for the Washington Times-Herald newspaper in the fall of 1951 as the “Inquiring Camera Girl,” according to Reader’s Digest. It was during this job that Jackie met JFK.

Jackie and John F. Kennedy at their wedding in 1953.
John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy at their wedding reception. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

By June of 1953, Jackie and JFK were engaged and they married later that year.

Even though Jackie may have married JFK for his ability to take care of her financially, she still loved her husband.

“It’s not to say Jackie did not love J.F.K. and Onassis in her own way,” Taraborelli told People. “She did. But if they were not well off, she would not have been with them.”

The author’s referring to Jackie’s second marriage to Aristotle Onassis, the Greek shipping tycoon, whom she married in 1968.

While we don’t know Jackie’s exact reasons for marrying either of her two husbands, we know she left behind an incredible legacy.