Former President John F. Kennedy’s love life attracted much attention even before his tragic death, especially for the many affairs he had during his 10-year marriage to Jackie Kennedy.
One of John’s lovers was Judith Exner, also known as Judith Campbell. Their affair was shocking because Exner was also romantically involved with Sam Giancana and John Roselli, two Mafia leaders from Chicago.
John met Exner, who used to be a Las Vegas showgirl, through Frank Sinatra. For three years, Exner would not only sleep with Giancana and Kennedy but also deliver messages from one to the other.
One year after John became the 35th President of the United States, he ended his relationship with Exner. It was not necessarily his choice, though; his brother Robert Kennedy discovered that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had plenty of information about their affair, so it had to end.
Exner once claimed John got her pregnant, but she had an abortion. She also described the late politician as a loving, considerate, and gentle person genuinely concerned about her feelings.
Apart from Exner, John was supposedly in a relationship with actress Marilyn Monroe. Her “Happy Birthday” performance is nothing short of iconic, but journalist Seymour Hersh once wrote that her “instability” was a treat to John. Monroe overdosed in 1962.
John’s long list of alleged mistresses includes Mary Pinchot Meyer, who was killed in 1964, White House intern Mimi Alford, White House Press Office secretary Jill Cowan, and a few more.
[Jackie and William Holden’s] relationship was the result of Jackie’s desire to seek revenge on her husband.
Apart from that, Langdon Marvin, John’s congressional and senatorial helper, revealed he was tasked with hiring prostitutes before John’s televised debates with Richard Nixon to portray himself “refreshed and composed on camera,” while Nixon looked “nervous and out of sorts.”
It is important to point out that Jackie knew about her husband’s extramarital affairs. According to gossip columnist Liz Smith, who chronicled John and Exner’s relationship, Jackie was unsurprised and fascinated about it.
Still, she would approach the infidelities with humor. Joan Kennedy, Teddy Kennedy’s wife, once complained to Jackie about her own husband’s affairs, and Jackie replied that all Kennedy men were like that. She might have been right.
John, Teddy, and the rest of the Kennedy siblings grew up with a father with believed that bringing his mistresses home and eating with them was okay.
In 1957, months after suffering a miscarriage and a stillbirth, Jackie had enough. She went to California with her friend Bill Walton and attended a party at Hollywood agent and producer Charlie Feldman’s home.
There, she met Oscar-winning actor William Holden and his wife, Brenda Marshall. Although they were both married, Jackie let him know she was interested in him.
Holden called Jackie the following day. After going horseback riding, the two returned to Feldman’s house and began an affair. According to Walton, their relationship was the result of Jackie’s desire to seek revenge on her husband.
Jackie also got involved with bisexual Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev.
For Jackie’s revenge to make sense, John had to learn about her and Holden’s fling, so she talked to him about it. Walton once explained:
“By flaunting it, Jackie probably hoped to reawaken Jack’s romantic interest in her. I suppose she wanted to redefine herself as the kind of flirtatious woman Jack usually found irresistible.”
If that was really Jackie’s plan, it worked pretty well as she got pregnant a few months later. However, it wouldn’t be the only time she cheated on her husband.
In 1962, when Jackie took a trip to Italy, she had an affair with industrialist Gianni Agnelli. She was supposed to stay in Europe for two weeks, but she extended her trip to one month to spend more time with Agnelli.
He once revealed he was in love with her, but they considered their relationship nothing but a summer romance. Apart from Agnelli, Jackie also got involved with bisexual Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev.
She fell for him in 1963, months before John’s death, when she invited him and his dance partner Margot Fonteyn to the White House to perform. Even after John died in November 1963, Jackie and Nureyev stayed together.
Nureyev, who also had affairs with Robert Kennedy and Jackie’s sister Lee Radziwill, once proudly said that he was the “sexiest man alive” and urged everyone who doubted him to ask Jackie, Robert, and other members of the Kennedy family.
DATING AFTER JOHN’S PASSING
As revealed in Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince’s book “The Pink Triangle,” Jackie had flings with Marlon Brando, Paul Newman, Frank Sinatra, Robert Kennedy, and Peter Lawford after John died.
Brando shared some details of his and Jackie’s relationship in his 1999 autobiography. He revealed that after drinking at the Jockey Club in Washington, they went to her home, and she was waiting for him to get her into bed. He added:
“When I failed to make a move, she took matters into her own hands and popped the magic question, ‘Would you like to spend the night?’ I said, ‘I thought you’d never ask.'”
Jackie’s romances with Sinatra and her two former brothers-in-law (Robert Kennedy and Peter Lawford) were short. She and Robert were supposedly almost always together through the latter half of 1964.
Then, in 1966, Jackie and Lawford went to Hawaii and had a seven-week romance. In 1974, when Jackie was married to Aristotle Onassis, she and Sinatra had an “intermittent affair.”
Following Onassis’ death, she was romantically involved with Warren Beatty, too. On May 19, 1994, Jackie passed away. Even now, almost three decades later, she is considered a national treasure. Rest in peace.