The Real Housewives Star JFK Jr's Wife Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy Called Before She Died

Life can change in an instant, and it's impossible to know when a conversation with a loved one might be the last — a difficult but inescapable reality that "Real Housewives of New York" Carole Radziwill has had to confront more than once. The cousin-in-law to John F. Kennedy Jr. and best friend to his wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, experienced this certainty of life when she had her final phone call with Bessette-Kennedy hours before her and her husband's tragic death in 1999. 

Radziwill recalled the phone conversation in an episode of the HLN docu-series "How It Really Happened with Hill Harper" titled "JFK Jr.'s Tragic Final Flight." Radziwill said that Bessette-Kennedy called her just before the flight that she, her sister, and JFK Jr. were taking to Martha's Vineyard departed. She didn't remember the particulars of the phone call, but she did remember not saying "I love you" back when Bessette-Kennedy said it to her. 

The author and TV personality said the phone call took place in the evening, around 8 p.m. By midnight, she would receive a far graver call — the plane never made it to its destination, and she would never see Bessette-Kennedy, her sister, or JFK Jr. again.

The last words Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy ever said to Carole Radziwill

In a clip of the HLN series published by Daily Mail, Carole Radziwill said, "I don't remember anything really important from that conversation. I certainly didn't think it would be the last time I would speak to my friend. I remember at the end she said, you know, 'I love you.' And, I don't know, for some reason, I didn't say I love you back, and that always stuck with me. And she said, 'I'll call you when I land.' And then that was the last I ever heard from her or anyone." 

Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, her sister, and John F. Kennedy Jr. were flying to Martha's Vineyard to visit Radziwill and her husband, Anthony Radziwill, a long-time friend of JFK Jr., who had been enduring a decade-long battle with cancer. Radziwill had planned on meeting the couple after they landed. Four hours after her phone call with Bessette-Kennedy, Radziwill got a call from JFK Jr.'s friend Pinky, who said the plane had never made it to the airport. 

Radziwill recounted her journalistic instincts kicking in after receiving the news, telling HLN that she felt compelled to solve the mystery of where the plane might be. Despite making several phone calls, including to the Hyannis Airport, she wasn't able to find any information. Eventually, Radziwill realized she had to report the plane missing to the Coast Guard.

The plane JFK Jr. was piloting never made it to the island

Sadly, the sinking feeling Carole Radziwill recalled feeling in her stomach after Pinky's midnight call proved to be correct. John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy's heartbreaking love story would come to an end that night when the plane JFK Jr. was piloting crashed off Martha's Vineyard into the Atlantic Ocean. The couple died only three years after their secret wedding off the coast of Georgia. Per the Daily Mail, the plane crash was caused by pilot error and a discrepancy between weather forecasts. 

"There were two different systems," Dr. Bob Arnot explained to the outlet. "There was an automatic system, which misgauged the weather and led forecasters to say 9 miles visibility. In aviation terms, the weather forecast that JFK Jr. got was just plain wrong, and it's that forecast that accounted for his death." The plane wreckage and the bodies of the Bessette sisters and JFK Jr. were found three and five days later, respectively.

Unfortunately, this would not be the only tragedy Carole Radziwill had to endure that year. Only one month after the accident, Radziwill's husband, Anthony Radziwill, lost his battle with cancer. Radziwill never remarried, though she dated Aerosmith's Russ Irwin in 2012 and Adam Kenworthy a few years later.