The Dark Secret About Why Jackie Really Married JFK

Throughout the ages, people have tied the knot for a whole spectrum of reasons. Like Meghan Markle, many of us love a great love story. However, plenty have married for convenience, companionship — and of course, money. A recent book about Jackie Kennedy, one of America’s most famous first ladies, addresses the reasons she married both times.

According to Randy Taraborrelli, author of Jackie, Janet, and Lee, Janet Bouvier had a rock-solid influence on the marriage decisions of her daughters Jackie and Lee. See who Jackie almost married before JFK (page 3) and why her marriage to a wealthy millionaire was an escape (page 6).

Jackie’s father made a mess of his finances

Jackie’s father burned through the family fortune. | Evening Standard/Getty Images

Janet Bouvier and her husband John Bouvier married in 1928 and had two daughters together, Jackie (born 1929) and Lee (born 1933). The couple went on to separate in 1936 due to John’s womanizing. They divorced in 1940.

In addition to his philandering, John had depleted his money through a series of bad investments. He also frequently visited the racetrack. This was a major causal factor in the divorce.

Next: The advice Jackie’s mom gave her and her sister 

Her mom’s advice: Marry a rich man

Jackie Kennedy wife of American president John F Kennedy, on her way to visit the Queen

Janet Bouvier advised her daughter’s to marry rich men. | Evening Standard/Getty Images

As Taraborelli’s story goes, during one of their regular “Mother Daughter Teas” in 1951, Janet told her young daughters the secret to “Happily Ever After” was “money and power.” Her point was money matters when it comes to men.

Janet’s advice was based on her own experience with her first marriage. She had gone on to marry the financially stable Standard Oil heir Hugh Auchincloss two years after divorcing John Bouvier.

Next: Did Jackie take her mother’s advice?

Jackie was engaged to someone else before JFK

Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) his wife Jacqueline Kennedy

Jackie’s mother convinced her to dump her first fiance. | Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

In the early 1950s, Jackie became engaged to boyfriend John Husted Jr. When her mother found out the stockbroker was only making $17,000 a year, she told her daughter — at the engagement party — to break up with him.

Maybe not at the party, but soon enough later, Jackie ended the engagement, placing the ring into Husted’s coat pocket. “She was ice cold,” Taraborelli quoted Husted’s recounting. “Like we never knew each other.”

Next: She married a different John. 

Jackie married John F. Kennedy

Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy escorts his bride Jacqueline Lee Bouvier

She married into money and power. | Keystone/Getty Images

In 1953, Jackie married John F. Kennedy, a dashing Massachusetts Senator. He came from a politically-connected and wealthy clan worth at least $500 million. While her mother approved of the union for monetary reasons, she did have reservations due to Kennedy’s reputation as a philanderer.

Jackie pushed all that aside, however, enthralled by her new husband’s fame and lofty political ambitions. She went on to support his successful 1960 campaign for president of the United States.

Next: She met another John after the assassination

She considered marrying an influential architect

John Warnecke and Jackie Kennedy

She ended her relationship with John Warnecke after she found out he was in debt. | John F. Kennedy Presidential Library/Wikimedia Commons

A year after her husband’s untimely death in 1963, Jackie became romantically involved with John Warnecke. The tall, handsome architect had designed the president’s memorial with the eternal flame at Arlington National Cemetery.

The new couple even discussed marriage on a trip to Hawaii in 1966. However, two years into their relationship, Warnecke revealed to Jackie he was $650,000 in debt. He’d even spent some staff bonuses at his architectural firm to keep up with her lifestyle. Jackie ended their relationship there.

Next: Where Jackie found refuge

She married a Greek shipping magnate

In 1968, Jackie married Aristotle Onassis. | Central Press/Getty Images

Jackie wasn’t looking for a relationship with someone in debt, and “that’s how she ended up with Aristotle Onassis,” according to Taraborelli. In 1968, Jackie married the Greek shipping magnate, 29 years her senior. This provided her with newfound wealth and a safe haven from the United States, where both her first husband and his brother Robert F. Kennedy had been assassinated.

“It’s not to say Jackie did not love J.F.K. and Onassis in her own way,” Taraborelli noted. “She did. But if they were not well off, she would not have been with them.” She and Onassis remained married until he died in 1975, upon which Jackie received $26 million of his fortune.

Next: A companion in her last days

Her last love interest

Maurice Tempelsman, longtime friend and companion of former US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Maurice Tempelsman was with her at her death. | Timothy Clary/AFP/Getty Images

For the last 12 years of her life, Jackie’s companion was wealthy international diamond merchant Maurice Tempelsman. He steadied her as they strolled through the park in her last days and was at her deathbed in 1994. He stood with her children at her funeral and read a poem during the eulogy.

Tempelsman amassed his fortune as a diamond dealer and was also a partner of a real estate investment company. Although he and his wife Lilly Bucholz were separated, they never divorced.

Next: Jackie’s sister’s marriages

Jackie’s sister’s three marriages

Jackie Kennedy (1929 - 1994), wife of president John F Kennedy, boards a BEA aeroplane at London airport

Her sister Lee ended up marrying a prince. | Jimmy Sime/Central Press/Getty Images

Jackie’s younger sister Lee was married three times, first to Michael Temple Canfield. The marriage reportedly struggled from the start as Canfield couldn’t fund her expensive lifestyle. After divorcing him, she married former prince Stanislaw Radziwill. They had two children together and divorced in 1974.

Lee went on to become the second wife of American film director and choreographer Herbert Ross. The two divorced shortly before his death. Lee, 85, currently resides in Manhattan.

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