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Jackie Kennedy Did Not Want To Be a 'Sad Little Housewife' & Felt Hurt When JFK 'Never Called up for Weeks'

Junie Sihlangu
Mar 12, 2022
10:20 A.M.
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Before John F. Kennedy married Jackie, there was a period while he was running for senator where he cut off communication. These periods left Jackie with great doubts about the future of their relationship.

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John “JFK” F. Kennedy met Jacqueline “Jackie” Lee Bouvier in the spring of 1951. At the time, journalist Charles Bartlett and his wife, Martha, decided to throw a dinner party at the Georgetown house they were renting.

Charles happened to be John's friend, and the gathering was created so that the latter could meet Jackie. In on this plan was John's father, Joseph P. Kennedy, who worked behind the scenes to make the meet-up happen.

President of the United States of America John F. Kennedy with Jackie Kennedy early in their marriage in Massachusetts, in the 1950s, and Jackie in her Hyannis Port, Massachusetts home in 1960. | Source: Popperfoto & Alfred Eisenstaedt/Time & Life Pictures Collection/Getty Images

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Only around eight people were invited, and the event was where John met his future wife. He happened to be an eligible and notorious bachelor and a congressman at the time of their meeting.

During that night, the guests ate chicken casserole while enjoying cocktails. Just as planned, Jackie and John clicked, and after the party, he allegedly confessed to a friend that he'd never met anyone like her.

Jackie Lee Bouvier and John F. Kennedy in 1950. | Source: © CORBIS/Corbis/Getty Images

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Jackie seemingly reciprocated the feelings John felt. In July 1952, she wrote to her friend Father Joseph Leonard, who was in Ireland, from the safety of her "Merrywood" McLean, Virginia, family home, stating:

“I think I’m in love with - and I think it would interest you - John Kennedy…”

A LOVE CONNECTION AND JACKIE'S FEARS ABOUT JOHN

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

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According to Sarah Bradford's book, "America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis," the reporters weren't the only ones informed about John's feelings for Jackie. The congressman allegedly confided in his youngest brother.

Ted Kennedy revealed John was "smitten" with Jackie from the moment they met at the dinner party. Their mutual interest in each other led them to start dating.

US President John F. Kennedy during a Washington Senators baseball game in Washington DC, in the early 1960s. | Source: Robert Riger/Getty Images

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She was so interested in him that she wrote about her misgivings and speculated about them getting married. Jackie thought their relationship could have a very happy ending.

However, she was also concerned that John might be set in his ways because he was older. She worried that he cared too much about his work and wouldn't give up his time for "extra-curricular things like marrying me!"

Jacqueline Kennedy at her Georgetown home in August 1960. | Source: Bettmann/Getty Images

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Despite having hopes of marrying the senator, Jackie was also worried that she might become "just a sad little housewife." She was concerned that her ambitions could leave her with a life that looked glamorous on the outside, but in it, she might be lonely.

John's girlfriend also mentioned the other fears about him concerning his similarities to his father. Like Joseph, Jackie was concerned that her boyfriend loved chasing and would become bored when he got her.

She worried that the senator would require physical proof that he was still attractive once married. Jackie anticipated that he'd flirt with other women and end up resenting her.

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JACKIE'S MISGIVINGS ABOUT MARRYING JOHN

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

By December 1952, John had moved up the political ladder and was now a senator. Jackie wrote she confided to Leonard in the letter that she had not seen much of her boyfriend that summer.

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She confessed that she'd hurt "terribly" when John was campaigning and neglected to call her for weeks. Jackie admitted to Leonard that she worried their relationship might not progress to marriage.

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier shortly before her marriage to Senator John F. Kennedy in 1953. | Source: FPG/Archive Photos/Getty Images

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She knew that being a senator meant he'd need a wife but worried because John had never proposed to her. Jackie was concerned that their marriage would be like John's father and his mother, Rose.

Jackie thought Joseph overpowered his wife and never spoke to her when she was around, leaving her to find solace in religion. She also worried that if he proposed, it would be for other reasons, noting:

“If he ever does ask me to marry him it will be for rather practical reasons - because his career is this driving thing with him.”

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier and John F. Kennedy wed on September 12, 1953, in St. Mary's Church in Newport, Rhode Island. | Source: Bettmann/Getty Images

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In the end, John did propose to Jackie. On June 25, 1953, The New York Times covered the story revealing that the couple would tie the knot in the fall later that year.

Despite her reservations, Jackie was thrilled with the development. In June 1953, she sent Leonard a telegram from Newport, Rhode Island, announcing her engagement and mentioned how happy she was about it.

GETTING MARRIED AND BECOMING A KENNEDY

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier and Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy walk down the church aisle shortly after their wedding ceremony at Newport, Rhode Island on September 12, 1953. | Source: Keystone/Getty Images

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John proposed to his girlfriend after they'd been together for two years. The engagement ring was set by Van Cleef & Arpels and decorated with a 2.88-carat diamond and 2.84-carat emerald.

The couple's wedding at St. Mary's Church on September 12, 1953, was described as the season's social event. Over 800 guests were invited, and they comprised diplomats, senators, and others.

Jackie and John F. Kennedy at their wedding reception on September 12, 1953. | Source: Lisa Larson/Time Life Picture Collection/Getty Images

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Jackie wore an Ann Lowe ivory silk portrait-neckline gown with a bouffant skirt. The dress featured 50 yards of fabric and sported an heirloom rose point lace veil.

The reason why Jackie [Jacqueline Lee Bouvier] wrote him [Father Joseph Leonard] was that she felt it was a good way to express her feelings on paper…

She was escorted by her stepfather, Hugh D. Auchincloss, down the aisle. Her stepsister, Nina Auchincloss, served as the maid of honor and flower girl, while her sister, Lee, was a matron of honor.

American First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy with her husband President John F. Kennedy at the White House in Washington, D.C., circa 1961. | Source: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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Also part of the bridal party was John's sister-in-law Ethel and his sister, Jean. The wedding ceremony was presided over by the Archbishop of Boston and gave a blessing to the couple from Pope Pius XII.

Outside the venue, 2,000 fans hoped to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds. Although she'd had her misgivings during their relationship, Jackie appeared to have a change of heart after being Mrs. Kennedy for a year, saying:

“I love being married much more than I did even in the beginning.”

She wrote almost 30 letters to Leonard, an Irish priest she met only twice, from 1950 to 1964. Jackie wrote him. She felt it was an excellent way to express her feelings on paper and get them off her chest because she had no one else to talk to.

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