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Jackie Kennedy Was 'Much in Love' & Got Engaged before JFK — She Became 'Ice Cold' & Ended It within Months

Junie Sihlangu
Mar 03, 2022
07:40 A.M.
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Jackie Kennedy almost didn't marry John F. Kennedy because she was in love with someone else before meeting him. However, her mother jumped in and put a spanner in the works, leading to a different fate.

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According to J. Randy Taraborrell's book, "Jackie, Janet, and Lee," during a "Mother-Daughter Teas" event in 1951, Janet Auchincloss had a conversation with her daughters. The event was a tradition where the group would go shopping and share gossip.

Janet asked her children if they knew the secret to a happy marriage. However, before her daughters could answer, she quickly informed them that it wasn't for love or happiness, but power and money!

John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Lee Bouvier get married on September 12, 1953, in Newport, Rhode Island, and Bouvier now known as Jackie Onasis. | Source: Bettmann & Newsmakers/Diane Freed/Stringer/Getty Images

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Janet epitomized her advice by firstly marrying Jackie and Lee's wealthy father, John "Black Jack" Bouvier, and then Hugh Auchincloss, a Standard Oil heir. She married Hugh two years after divorcing John.

Jackie's mother instilled in her and her sister the notion that money was significant when it came to men. Taraborrelli said the Bouviers and the Auchinclosses lived their lives, ensuring they were taken care of.

Janet's advice to her daughters came into play later on, and it might be the reason Jackie eventually became a Kennedy. Jackie had a moment where she almost married someone else and would've never become the first lady of the US.

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THE MAN WHO ALMOST CHANGED JACKIE'S HISTORY

Jackie Kennedy at her home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, circa 1960. | Source: Alfred Eisenstaedt/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

The man Jackie almost married was John G.W. Husted Jr. He lived in Nantucket, Massachusetts, and to Bedford, New York from England in 1939. Husted moved back to Nantucket in 1983 and became a member of FINCOM, The Nantucket Association, and The Board Of The Nantucket Cottage Hospital.

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In 1949, he graduated from St. Paul's School, and then during WWII, he served in the American Field Service throughout the European theater. Husted was part of the Class of 1950 at Yale University.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in New York Harbor returning from Staten Island from touring the Snug Harbor Cultural Center on July 31, 1976. | Source: Bettmann/Getty Images

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He had a career spanning over 30 years at Dominick and Dominick. Husted also served as a New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) member, where he was the head of the Foreign Department.

Husted was Jackie's first serious boyfriend, and she was so passionate about him that she wrote to Father Joseph Leonard. She believed she would marry the New York stockbroker.

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier who was later known as Jackie Kennedy on October 1, 1950. | Source: Apic/Getty Images

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Jackie got her wish fulfilled in January 1952, when the New York Times announced her engagement to Husted. The wedding date was set for June 1952 with Jackie showing how enthralled she was, writing to Leonard:

“[I am] so terribly much in love – for the first time – and I want to get married. And I KNOW I will marry this boy.”

She told Leonard that she knew he was the one for her and described it as the "deepest happiest feeling in the world." However, the wedding didn't go as planned as the engagement was called off in March 1952.

BREAKING OFF THE ENGAGEMENT WITH JOHN

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First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy poses for a photograph while holding a gift on December 12, 1961, at the White House in Washington D.C. | Source: Kennedy Library Archives/Newsmakers/Getty Images

Jackie later wrote back to Leonard, explaining to him how she was "ashamed" for how they went into the engagement so quickly. She said they both suffered after the engagement ended but felt it was necessary for them to be shocked so they could grow up.

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Husted's ex-fiancée revealed that she didn't know how he was doing as she hadn't seen him and didn't want to because she just wanted them to forget ever meeting. However, she hoped the next engagement would happen at the right time and have a happy ending.

First Lady Jackie Kennedy at a White House Ceremony on December 6, 1962, in Washington, DC. | Source: National Archive/Newsmakers/Getty Images

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Leonard wasn't the only person Jackie wrote about her failed engagement with Husted. In 2017, letters she wrote to Dan Samuel, a man who worked with Husted, were shared with the world.

In one of them, Jackie admitted that she wasn't happy for a while after calling off the engagement, but she knew later that it was the right decision. She wished her actions hadn't affected someone else but felt the incident helped her grow up.

JOHN GOT DUMPED BECAUSE HE DIDN'T EARN ENOUGH

Jacqueline Kennedy on February 14, 1962, during a nationally televised Valentine's Day Tour of The White House in Washington, Dc. | Source: Getty Images

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The truth behind Jackie calling off her engagement was that it had everything to do with money. Janet allegedly found out that Husted only made $17,000 yearly. She then urged her daughter to end things with Husted at their engagement party.

According to Taraborrelli, Janet informed her daughter that her fiancé earned less money than John. Jackie was allegedly shocked that she didn't know about Husted's earnings and dumped him soon enough.

John and Janet Lee Bouvier at Horse Show in 1932 in Southampton, Long Island. | Source: Bettmann/Getty Images

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She gave the stockbroker his engagement ring back by dropping it in his coat pocket. Jackie was allegedly "ice cold" during the act like she and Husted never knew each other, with Taraborrelli noting:

“Jackie was not a mercenary person,” and “Whenever she had to make one of those decisions, it was usually her mother behind it.”

MOVING ON TO JFK

Senator John F. Kennedy and fiance Jacqueline Bouvier interviewed for a LIFE Magazine while on vacation at the Kennedy compound in June 1953 in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. | Source: Hy Peskin/Getty Images

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Around the same time Jackie broke off her engagement to Husted, she met John F. Kennedy (JFK). She was introduced to the congressman in May 1952 at a Washington DC dinner party.

Cardinal Cushing, the Archbishop of Boston, gave the couple blessings from the pope for their traditional Catholic ceremony!

The pair were introduced by journalist Charles Bartlett, a mutual friend. He said the congressman was smitten by Jackie and allegedly revealed that he'd never met anyone like her at the time.

John F, Kennedy with Jackie Kennedy (Jacqueline Bouvier) early in their marriage, circa 1950. | Source: Popperfoto/Getty Images

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After dating Jackie for two years, JFK proposed to her in November 1952. According to Vogue, he proposed with a 2.84-carat emerald and 2.88-carat diamond Van Cleef & Arpels ring set.

On September 12, 1953, the couple was married in Newport, Rhode Island. They tied the knot with more than 800 guests at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church before going to Mexico for their honeymoon.

Jacqueline and Sen. John Kennedy at their wedding reception on September 12, 1953, in Newport, Rhode Island. | Source: Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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The extravagant wedding included diplomats, senators, and others. Jackie and JFK also had one unique element to their wedding of the century, as a particular person performed their marriage rites.

Cardinal Cushing, the Archbishop of Boston, gave the couple blessings from the pope for their traditional Catholic ceremony! From that point onward, JFK and Jackie were seen as American royalty, having come from well-off East Coast families.

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