How Jackie Kennedy Really Felt About JFK's Infidelity

Few relationships are remembered decades later like Jackie and John F. Kennedy's marriage, and there's good reason for it. Although the relationship had several ups and downs, many details only resurfaced in the 2000s, including the fact that Jackie knew of JFK's many affairs. From 1950 to 1964, she wrote letters to Father Joseph Leonard about her marriage troubles and other personal issues. 

In a letter sent before her future husband proposed to her, Jackie penned that she believed he loved her but thought he would only ask for her hand in marriage to further his career as it would improve JFK's public image (via The Irish Times). Per the biography "Camera Girl," one of JFK's close friends, Lem Billings, warned Jackie that he wasn't built for a monogamous marriage. 

The book also revealed that Jackie's father, John Bouvier, told her that no man is trustworthy, but she must put up with them to prevent herself from suffering the horrible effects of divorce like her mother, whom Bouvier cheated on repeatedly (via the Daily Mail). As it turns out, Jackie had a feeling that JFK and her father weren't all that different. 

Jackie Kennedy seriously considered divorce

In one letter to Father Leonard, Jackie Kennedy shared her feelings about John F. Kennedy's infidelity, noting, "He's like my father in a way — loves the chase and is bored with the conquest — and once married needs proof he's still attractive, so flirts with other women and resents you. I saw how that nearly killed Mummy." She also wrote that her life as the senator's wife wasn't as glamorous and happy as she'd imagined, and a lot lonelier, per The Irish Times.

According to the book, "Jackie, Janet and Lee," Jackie Kennedy actually considered divorcing her husband after she found out he was unfaithful to her. The author of the book, J. Randy Taraborrelli, told People, "She wasn't naïve to it. They did have many conversations about it, and she did tell him that she was sick of it and she didn't like it." Taraborrelli also explained how Jackie's sister, Lee Radziwill, strongly discouraged her from getting a divorce because JFK was such a rich and powerful man. 

Jackie's mother shared a similar sentiment, advising her daughter to stick with him even though Jackie didn't trust JFK. Another book, "Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: A Life Beyond Her Wildest Dream," claimed that when Jackie almost left him, JFK's father interceded and offered Jackie $1 million to stay with his son and protect his image. Jackie apparently countered by asking for $20 million if JFK gave her an STI, which he allegedly carried. 

One of JFK's affairs bothered Jackie more than others

Although Jackie Kennedy stayed out of most of John F. Kennedy's affairs, she intervened when his fling with Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe began. In Charles Cassilo's biography, "Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon," he wrote that Jackie wasn't against JFK's Monroe affair because she felt threatened by the starlet. It was more so because Monroe was a high-profile celebrity, and if news of the affair broke, it would cause a great stir and further damage the Kennedy family's reputation. 

Cassilo added that a part of Jackie felt almost protective of Monroe: "She knew that Marilyn was a deeply sensitive, troubled woman. 'This one is different, Jack. Have some pity on her,' she warned. 'I want you to leave Marilyn alone,'" (via CheatSheet). But the book "These Few Precious Days: The Final Year of Jack with Jackie," written by Christopher Andersen, offered a different reason for Jackie's aversion to the Monroe tryst. 

He wrote that the actor was impulsive and could've babbled about the secret at her fancy. According to him, Monroe called Jackie to tell her about it and even expressed her desire to marry JFK. Jackie reportedly replied, "Marilyn, you'll marry Jack, that's great ... and you'll move into the White House and you'll assume the responsibilities of first lady, and I'll move out and you'll have all the problems," (via The Independent).