Carolyn Bessette and John F. Kennedy Jr. met in 1992 and liked each other instantly. As a publicist for Calvin Klein, Bessette was the person who dealt with celebrities coming in to get free clothes, and that was where she met her future spouse. However, it may be that he paid for his clothes.
American lawyer John F. Kennedy Jr. met his wife, publicist Carolyn Bessette when he went in for a fitting at Calvin Klein, where she worked, said Carole Radziwill, who was married to Kennedy's cousin, Anthony Radziwill.
She revealed Kennedy liked his future wife from the first time he laid eyes on her. The duo soon started dating, and he even brought her to meet his family members.
(L) American lawyer John F. Kennedy, Jr. addressing the Democratic National Convention in Washington, D.C. (R) John F. Kennedy Jr. with his wife Carolyn Bessette in New York. / Source: Getty Images
Radziwill, whose husband died in August 1999 from a fatal illness, shared Kennedy brought Bessette over for Memorial Day weekend. The couple had been seeing each other for a few months and kept their courtship low-key.
The author revealed that was when she first met Bessette, who was fun to be around, adding she felt like she knew her for quite some time.
John F. Kennedy Jr. with his girlfriend Carolyn Bessette, a Calvin Klein publicist at Municipal Art Society of New York Benefit at the 69th Regiment Armory. / Source: Getty Images
But that was only for a short while because Kennedy broke up with her a few weeks later and even ghosted her because he rekindled his romance with his former girlfriend, Daryl Hannah:
"There was this period where John was going back and forth but didn't say anything to Carolyn. He just kind of went off the radar."
John Kennedy, Jr. and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy pictured taking a walk near their Tribeca loft. / Source: Getty Images
Naturally, Bessette was oblivious to what was going on until she opened up a newspaper that showed Kennedy at a movie premiere with another woman.
Bessette's adoring mother sent her the article in her mail telling her to move on with her life, adding she loved her alongside a sad face expression:
"Carolyn, please get on with your life, love mom. With a sad face."
KENNEDY SUPPORTED HIS EX, HANNAH
John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Daryl Hannah arriving at the wedding of his cousin Edward Kennedy, Jr. in Rhode Island. / Source: Getty Images
At the movie premiere, the woman Kennedy was with was no other than Hannah, his ex-girlfriend. The former couple first met in the early '80s while on respective family vacations in Saint Martin.
It was not until they met at the wedding of Kennedy's aunt, Lee Radziwill, to director Herb Ross in 1988 that they started dating. But they had a tumultuous relationship. Hannah, an actress, once said in 1993:
"I get asked about marrying John all the time."
Magazine publisher and journalist John F. Kennedy Jr. photographed walking with girlfriend Daryl Hannah. / Source: Getty Images
Before they ended up together, both parties were involved with other people. Hannah had spent a decade-long relationship with singer-songwriter Jackson Browne.
Meanwhile, Kennedy had been dating actress Christina Haag since 1985. Hannah was with Browne on and off until a domestic incident in 1992.
Actress Daryl Hannah with former boyfriend John F. Kennedy Jr. at Edward Kennedy Jr.'s wedding on October 10, 1993 in Block Island, Rhode Island. / Source: Getty Images
They had an argument that left her with severe injuries for which she sought medical treatment. Kennedy, who liked her, hopped on a plane and brought her to New York City. It could be why he broke things off with Bessette at the time.
The political heir was supportive of Hannah, who was a victim in that incident, and forgot about Bessette. The press often saw him with Hannah sharing PDA moments in public spaces.
KENNEDY KNEW IT WAS OVER FOR HIM AND HANNAH
John F. Kennedy Jr. and girlfriend Darryl Hannah pictured watching a game between the New York Knicks and the Houston Rockets at Madison Square Garden. / Source: Getty Images
Kennedy and Hannah's high-profile relationship ended abruptly, though they felt comfortable being together because they were used to the media attention. But there was a breaking point for them too. It happened when "John just found Daryl so self–absorbed." In 1994, Kennedy's mother, Jacqueline Kennedy, fell gravely ill.
At the same time, Hannah's beloved dog had died. While Jacqueline was in the hospital living her last days, her son had to be present at the funeral of his girlfriend's dog.
What infuriated Kennedy was that Hannah got angry at him for failing to choose a more elaborate box for the dog's ashes. Later, when his mom died, another one of Hannah's dogs fell ill.
John F. Kennedy Jr. pictured with his head down while his girlfriend, Daryl Hannah, talks to him during game between the New York Knicks and the Houston Rockets at Madison Square Garden. / Source: Getty Images
She was constantly on the phone talking about her ill pet, and that was it for Kennedy, who told his dear friend, Steven M. Gillon, how absurd the situation was saying:
"Can you believe this? I just lost my mom, and all she wants to talk about is her sick dog."
He knew that was the end of the road for them as a couple. However, the magazine publisher could not allow the breakup to overshadow the news of his mother's death. So, he waited a couple of months until he finally split from Hannah.
BESSETTE DID NOT THINK HER FUTURE HUSBAND 'WAS SERIOUS'
John F. Kennedy, Jr. photographed giving his wife Carolyn a kiss on the cheek during the annual White House Correspondents dinner on May 1, 1999 in Washington, D.C. / Source: Getty Images
Soon after the breakup, Kennedy remembered Bessette again. She caught his attention by how she carried herself, which was different from other ladies he knew.
Kennedy asked her to go out on a date with him, but she turned him down and did it several times every time he asked, said their close friend Gustavo Paredes:
"She didn't think he was serious. He couldn't believe she had turned him down. It had never happened before."
John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette during a function at the Hilton Hotel. / Source: Getty Images
Bemused as he was, the journalist did not give up on her. Instead, he kept looking for ways to meet her again, which worked out for him. Kennedy consistently went to the showroom for more business meetings and more fittings. He won Bessette over in the end.
When his friends met the future Mrs. Kennedy, they understood from the first time they met her that she was it for him – she was unlike the other women he was dating. Radziwill revealed:
"He was besotted with her...He was so enthralled with her, and she with him, but she was kind of fierce. She was very confident. He liked that."
John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy during the Municipal Art Society gala at Grand Central Terminal. / Source: Getty Images
After finally being victorious in courting Bessette, the couple's fairy-tale romance led to one of the most beautiful yet secret weddings of the 90s.
On September 21, 1996, the lovebirds wed during a small private ceremony inside the First African Baptist Church on Cumberland Island in Georgia.
John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette during the 2nd Anniversary Party of "George" Magazine. / Source: Getty Images
A trusted photographer, Denis Reggie, who was at the wedding, described the pair's special evening as simplistic when he recalled the moment his camera captured the newlyweds leaving the church:
"John reached for her hand; she was caught off guard. I'm walking backward in the light rain at dusk, and John does this amazing gesture, taking her hand and bringing it to his lips."
Narciso Rodriguez, a friend of Bessette, designed the bride's wedding gown. The dress featured a pearl-colored silk crepe floor-length style with a hand-rolled tulle silk veil and long silk gloves. It made an everlasting impression on the fashion world.
'THE NEWNESS OF THE CELEBRITY WAS MUCH MORE SHOCKING' FOR BESSETTE
John F. Kennedy Jr. with Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy pictured wearing coordinating black and white outfits in 1995. / Source: Getty Images
Naturally, Kennedy being a public figure, the couple received massive media attention soon after exchanging their wedding vows. But Bessette was not a public person like her spouse until her wedding to an heir of a famous political family – so she was not familiar with all the spotlight.
Her husband even begged the press for privacy for the couple, but nobody budged. Shortly after getting hitched, Kennedy and Bessette made their debut as husband and wife on the steps of their apartment in Tribeca, where he pleaded with the press to give them privacy.
Though Bessette tried to avoid media attention, it only fueled rumors surrounding the couple. Paparazzi camped outside their home, causing her to retreat from public life.
John F. Kennedy Jr. with Carolyn Besette following Michael Kennedy's funeral on January 3, 1998 in Massachusetts. / Source: Getty Images
Her absence only led to speculation about the state of her relationship with Kennedy, with the tabloids suggesting that he was cheating, she as well, and that she was using drugs, did not want to start a family, and their marriage was on the rocks.
They portrayed Bessette negatively, stating she had no sense of humor, was an ice queen with a bad temper, and was a miserable wife. The press also claimed that she sought support from former boyfriend and Calvin Klein model Michael Bergin, who in 2004 alleged they had an affair after she was married to Kennedy.
New reports also purported that the New York native felt like an outsider among the oppressive presence of the Kennedy family and did not want to spend time with them.
John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette taking a taxi on March 11, 1996 in New York. / Source: Getty Images
But the main issue was that Bessette struggled hard with having a public life which was overwhelming for her. In July 2016, a close friend of hers told People that she was merely a complex woman:
"The newness of the celebrity was much more shocking for her."
Her struggling to cope heavily affected her beloved husband, who also had a hard time with her inability to cope with the public nature of their life. Bessette needed to push through that, but Kennedy never wavered in his commitment to helping her, said his friend Brian Steel.
John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy pictured arriving for the reception ceremony. / Source: Getty Images
Moreover, he looked forward to them starting a family together as he loved kids. Steel revealed that his friend adored his nieces and nephews and that Kennedy and Bessette were life partners.
Another pal of Kennedy, Chris Oberbeck, shared the couple had intense chemistry. That passion was manifested in the pair loving each other, enjoying their time together, and in unbelievable fights.
Newlyweds John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy standing in front of their apartment in Tribecca. / Source: Getty Images
They were always ready to go through all the difficulties together, and their friends witnessed that during their marriage. One pal said Bessette was not afraid to upset her spouse:
"Wasn't afraid to get John angry...and John needed that...John didn't need anyone else who was going to say yes. She said no. He loved her. And she loved him. And they drove each other crazy."
The couple's friends also claimed that there was no "conversation or anything to indicate there was this impending divorce."
MARRIAGE HAD A TRAGIC END
John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy arriving at the annual John F. Kennedy Library Foundation dinner and Profiles in Courage awards at the Kennedy Library on May 23, 1999 in Boston, Massachusetts. / Source: Getty Images
It was like a continuation of the Kennedy curse that followed that famous family through the years. However, the story of Kennedy and Bessette left a mark in other people's lives and hearts forever.
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