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It has been 20 years since John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife, Carolyn Bessette, tragically died in a plane crash and the couple’s longtime friend, Steven M. Gillon is shedding light on their troubled marriage. In a new interview, Gillon revealed that Kennedy and Bessette’s marriage was falling apart at the time of their death and that their final trip together was a last-ditch attempt to salvage their relationship.

 John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette
John F. Kennedy Jr. and Caroline Bessette in NYC, New York, March 11, 1996 | Photo by Evan Agostini / Liaison Agency

The truth behind Kennedy’s troubled marriage

Gillon wrote a biography on Kennedy’s life – America’s Reluctant Prince: The Life of John F. Kennedy Jr. – that inspired a recent documentary on A& E titled Biography: JFK Jr. – The Final Year. The book and subsequent documentary feature rare images of Kennedy and Bessette, along with some surprising details about their relationship.

In an interview with Extra TV, Gillon opened up even more about Kennedy’s marriage and revealed that drugs played a big role in the unraveling of their union.

Gillon explained how Kennedy enjoyed smoking weed while Bessette was hooked on cocaine. Living in the spotlight also hurt their marriage as both of them felt “trapped” and “hunted.” Despite their issues, Gillon insists that Bessette refused to give up on the marriage and as long as she held out hope Kennedy was not willing to part ways.

Their decision to attend a family wedding on the night of their fatal accident proved that Kennedy and Bessette were trying their best to make things work. Sadly, the pair never got the chance to see things through as their plane never made it to its destination.

Kennedy and Bessette fight in public

Fans may recall the time when Kennedy and Bessette got into a public fight at Washington Square Park in February of 1996. Photographers were on hand to catch the spat unfold, and things took a turn for the worse when Kennedy attempted to physically remove Bessette’s engagement ring.

Although the fight made headlines across the country, we never knew what they were arguing about until now.

In his book, Gillon claims that the fight started because Bessette felt like Kennedy needed to stand up for himself more. The couple had recently attended a wedding where Kennedy was invited to be the best man. Despite hardly knowing the groom and bride, Kennedy reluctantly agreed.

Bessette later found out that the only reason Kennedy was at the ceremony was that the bride wanted the New York Times to cover the wedding. She was then mad at Kennedy for not declining the offer and walking out of the ceremony.

While their fight in New York City was awful press, Kennedy and Bessette tied the knot later that year. The pair exchanged vows in a private ceremony on Cumberland Island and reportedly hoped that their marriage would stop the media from constantly hounding them. Little did they know that things would only get worse.

Gillon claims Kennedy and Bessette were not ready for fame

In his explosive interview, Gillon claimed that Kennedy and Bessette were not prepared to deal with the paparazzi when they got married. The couple incorrectly believed that their lives would quiet down after they tied the knot, but things only got worse.

Instead of leaving them alone, the press doubled down on their efforts to cover their relationship – which only put more strain on their already stressed marriage.

As far as Bessette is concerned, she felt as though the paparazzi treated her terribly. After they got married, Bessette went through a horrible time and there was nothing she could do to change it. While Kennedy was constantly being covered in the media, Bessette struggled to find her own identity within the confines of their relationship. Her usual energetic personality took a big hit and she started to feel trapped in the marriage.

While things were looking bad, Bessette never gave up on Kennedy and tried to push him to stand up for himself, both in his personal life and in the media.

Fans can watch the new John F. Kennedy Jr., Biography: JFK Jr. – The Final Year, on A&E.