The Untold Truth Of Caroline Kennedy

What's the truth about Caroline Kennedy? As you might expect from a member of the famous Kennedy family,  she's lived quite a fascinating life. Born on November 27, 1957 (per Biography), Caroline is the oldest and only surviving child of former president John F. Kennedy (popularly known as JFK) and his wife, Jacqueline "Jackie" Kennedy Onassis. Growing up in the White House meant that Caroline was already going to be in the spotlight, but being a member of a well-known political dynasty — not to mention being the daughter of one of the most beloved presidents in American history — meant that Caroline soon became a public figure in her own right.

Caroline is more than just American royalty, though. JFK's daughter is also a lawyer, an author, a diplomat, a wife, and a mother. She's spent her life making the Kennedy clan proud, but there is a lot that you may know about her; here's the untold truth of Caroline Kennedy.

Caroline Kennedy spent her early years in the White House

Caroline Kennedy was just a 3-year-old girl when her father, John F. Kennedy, was elected President in 1960. Her early years were spent in the White House, but she'd already been a politician's daughter, as JFK had previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as in the U.S. Senate.

While Caroline was quite young when her family moved into the presidential residence, she still has fond memories of her time there. She told The Boston Globe that she recalls spending time with her father in the mornings, and that she would play in his office "making construction paper necklaces, eating candy, and running around his desk.”

Caroline would only live in the White House for a few years. On November 22, 1963, her family was torn apart when her father's life was tragically cut short; he was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. To this day, there are bizarre things that never made sense about JFK's assassination.

Caroline Kennedy's childhood was marked by tragedy

When Caroline Kennedy's father was assassinated, she was only 6 years old. Naturally, the tremendous loss left a lifelong impact on her. "I miss him every day of my life," she told CNN in 2017. And while losing a father is already traumatic enough, it wasn't the first tragedy the young Caroline faced in her childhood — and it wouldn't be the last.

A few months before JFK was gunned down, when Caroline was 5 years old, her brother, Patrick Kennedy, was born prematurely, according to The New York Times. Sadly, he only lived a couple of days, as there wasn't much that doctors could do for him at the time. 

Then in 1968, Caroline's uncle, Robert F. Kennedy, was assassinated during his presidential campaign. Robert had been close to Caroline and her brother, John Kennedy, and had spent quite a bit of time with them. The death of Uncle Bobby, as he was known, crushed both children. Jackie Kennedy Onassis' former assistant, Kathy McKeon, told People, "He was very, very good to them."

Caroline Kennedy's mother worked hard to give her a normal childhood

After her father's death, Caroline Kennedy's mother moved the family to New York City, according to Parade. Jackie Kennedy Onassis wanted her children to have as normal of a life as possible, and believed that getting the family out of Washington — and away from the prying eyes of the public — would help. Onassis also feared that staying in Washington would only make her depressed, and believed that New York would be a good place to start a new and more private life.

She was right. Caroline recalled that the citizens of New York took the family "into their hearts" and respected their privacy, which is what her mother had wanted. "She was absolutely protective of us," Caroline told The Boston Globe, adding that Onassis' kids were "the most important thing to her."

Kennedy grew up famous, yes, but she was also very much a normal kid. Her classmates told The New York Times that the then 12-year-old girl was "shy but nice" and didn't "ask for special favors." Kennedy also fancied herself as an ordinary girl. "I don't think of myself as famous," she shared.

Caroline Kennedy is an animal lover

The Kennedy clan has long been noted to be a pet-loving family, and Caroline Kennedy is no exception. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum lists more than a dozen pets the family had while in the White House, including several dogs, horses, birds, a cat, two hamsters, and a rabbit. Caroline and her younger brother, John Kennedy Jr., had three ponies, including Macaroni, who was given to Caroline by then-Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. Macaroni became famous in 1962 when she appeared on the cover of LIFE alongside the young Caroline.

Even after the family moved to an apartment in New York, the household was filled with pets. A 12-year-old Caroline excitedly talked about the family pets — which included dogs, guinea pigs, finches, and a garter snake — in an interview with The New York Times. She told the outlet that her favorite thing to do in her free time was to go horseback riding and fox hunting, something the family regularly did on the weekends.

This is why Caroline Kennedy abandoned her dream of becoming a photojournalist

While Caroline Kennedy may have been afforded relative privacy growing up in New York City — she told The New York Times that she only really noticed the media paying attention to her family when her mother was around — as she grew older, she became more aware of her status as a public figure. The young Kennedy had entertained thoughts of becoming a photojournalist herself one day, but eventually realized that her fame would make such a career nearly impossible to pursue. 

People noted (via HuffPost) that, on Kennedy's first day as a college intern at the New York Daily News, it took two hours for anyone to even talk to her; people were too intimidated by the fact that she was the former president's daughter. Guards were posted to keep the paparazzi away from Kennedy, and she eventually decided that "she could never make her living observing other people because they were too busy watching her."

Caroline Kennedy graduated from law school

Photojournalism may not have worked out for Caroline Kennedy, but she quickly found other pursuits. While attending Radcliffe College, she not only interned for the New York Daily News, but also spent her summers working as a political intern for her uncle, Ted Kennedy, as noted by Biography. After she earned her degree, she started a job at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.

Kennedy never sought out the spotlight, but she did possess a keen political mind, and wanted to put it to use. To that end, she decided to attend law school, and graduated from Columbia Law School in 1988. But while people may have thought that Kennedy was interested in following in her father's political footsteps, she didn't have any such aspirations at the time. When she was asked to be the chairwoman of the 1992 Democratic National Convention, she turned down the opportunity, shocking the political world.   

Caroline Kennedy ran for public office in 2008

More than a decade after she turned down chairing the 1992 Democratic National Convention, Caroline Kennedy finally decided to venture into politics. In 2008, she campaigned for Hilary Clinton's vacated Senate seat upon Clinton's appointment as Secretary of State. 

However, Kennedy's campaign got off to a rocky start, with detractors criticizing her for her excessive use of the phrase "you know." The phrase would become one of the most talked about points of her campaign, with The Guardian noting that she used the phrase 138 times in an interview with The New York Times, and 168 in an interview with NY One.

Kennedy later withdrew her name from consideration, although she didn't specify why beyond citing "personal reasons," according to The New York Times. The media speculated, though, that one of those reasons may have been the health of her uncle, then-Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who had brain cancer and had recently been hospitalized following a seizure.

Caroline Kennedy has raised millions for NYC's Fund for Public Schools

As the vice chair for New York City's Fund for Public Schools, Caroline Kennedy was instrumental in raising money for education to the tune of $285 million. Kennedy explained to Parade that her motivation for doing so came from her parents. "Education was the most important value in our home when I was growing up," she said.

Education was so important to Kennedy that she took on the job, despite the fact that her children attended private school. When her appointment to the position was announced, it was reported that Kennedy would accept a salary of $1 that year. In a press conference, Kennedy said that she hoped her work would "benefit all the children of New York," (via The New York Times).

As noted in a press release from the Carnegie Foundation of New York, upon Kennedy joining the organization's board of trustees, she was also responsible for helping to "create the first K–12 arts curriculum funded by the private sector." Other efforts in school reform include sitting on the board of other orgs such as the Legal Defense and Educational Fund of the NAACP.

Caroline Kennedy has been married to Edwin Schlossberg for decades

As noted by Biography, Caroline Kennedy was working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1980, when she met the man who would become her husband: interactive-media designer Edwin Schlossberg. Six years later, the couple tied the knot in a lavish ceremony on Cape Cod.

The pair have been going strong ever since. While Schlossberg and Kennedy are a power couple, they're a power couple who does their best to keep their relationship out of the spotlight. Schlossberg is notoriously private, and even refused to give any interviews at all for a while after the couple were married, as noted by The Washington Post. "Publicity doesn't interest me," Schlossberg told the Chicago Tribune in a rare interview in 1994. He added that he prefers to focus on work instead of "what other people think about you" as he believes doing this "distracts you from what you care about."

Kennedy and Schlossberg have three children together: Rose, Tatiana, and Jack Schlossberg. Did you ever notice that Caroline Kennedy's son looks exactly like JFK, Jr.?

Caroline Kennedy was the first female U.S. ambassador to Japan

In 2013, Caroline Kennedy met with then-President Barack Obama, and offered to utilize her talents in his administration. Kennedy expected to be assigned to a position related to education. Instead, Obama appointed her as the ambassador to Japan, a position she then served in until 2017.

Kennedy's appointment to the position made history, as she was the first woman to ever have that job. And while Kennedy had a long-standing interest in Japan, she wasn't sure if she was right for the role. "My strongest qualifications were that I was close to the president, and that I had a well-known name," she said in a lecture at Harvard (via The Harvard Gazette).

In spite of her reservations, Kennedy was welcomed in Japan, where, as it was noted by The Christian Science MonitorKennedy's father is remembered fondly. The fact that she was also a woman in a "male-dominated society" meant that she was able to connect to people who "had never felt there was an ambassador for them."

Caroline Kennedy inherited her parents' love for reading

Both of Caroline Kennedy's parents were avid readers. Kennedy told Parade that they both "shared a sense of intellectual curiosity and a love of reading and of history." She also recounted how her mother recalled JFK reading at seemingly inopportune moments, such as while getting dressed or walking. 

Additionally, Kennedy said that her mother "was always reading," and that when she thinks of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, an image of her with a book is what always comes to mind.

That passion for literature is something that was passed down to Kennedy. Onassis encouraged both of her children to read, saying she "made it fun, and she was always quoting things." A 12-year-old Kennedy revealed to The New York Times that she spent a lot of her free time reading, and that she wasn't even allowed to watch television except for on the weekends. She also shares her parents' appreciation of history, saying that she particularly enjoys reading historical books.

Caroline Kennedy has written several books

Caroline Kennedy has used her legal expertise and love of literature to write her own books. She has several tomes under her belt, including In Our Defense: The Bill of Rights in Action, which she drew on her love of constitutional law to write. Biography noted that the book, which was co-written with fellow law school grad Ellen Alderman, was published through William Morrow & Co. and not, as one might expect, through one of Jackie Kennedy Onassis' publishing contacts — something that Kennedy refused to do. Kennedy also wrote another book with Alderman, The Right to Privacy, which examines the idea that "privacy is under siege" in America.

Kennedy hasn't limited herself to law books, though. According to her bio at the Carnegie Corporation of New York, where she sits on the board of trustees, Kennedy has authored or edited nearly a dozen New York Times bestsellers on a range of topics, including law, history, and even poetry.

Caroline Kennedy is committed to honoring her parents' memories

Caroline Kennedy has done many remarkable things in her life. One of her biggest accomplishments is the work that she's done to ensure that her parents are remembered. Caroline serves as the honorary president of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, and is also on the board of trustees at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Caroline is also committed to her mother's legacy. A 2011 book, Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, shared with the public for the first time interviews that Onassis gave in 1964, shortly after JFK's death. Caroline wrote the introduction for the book, which provided new insights into the life of the Kennedy family in the White House. Kennedy told Parade that they also offered a more intimate portrait of her mother, whose public persona was different from her true self. "Her humor, intelligence, and observational powers came through to me [in the recordings] in a way I don't think other people have ever experienced," she shared.

Caroline Kennedy wants to see a woman on the moon

Another way that Caroline Kennedy is honoring her father's legacy is through her support of space exploration. President John F. Kennedy was instrumental in expanding America's space program. "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth," he said before Congress in 1961 (via the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum).

His daughter's goal? To land a woman on the moon. In 2019, Caroline and Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos spoke to CBS News about the future of space exploration. Bezos plans to return to the moon as soon as he can, and wants his moon lander to be the one to bring the first woman up there. Eventually, Bezos hopes to see industries that cause pollution to move their work to the moon, thus protecting the planet — a vision Kennedy shares. "If I keep hearing Jeff say it, then, I am beginning to be able to imagine it," she said. Who owns the moon, anyway?

Caroline Kennedy believes her children will carry on JFK's legacy

Caroline Kennedy has done a lot to honor her parents' legacy, but she believes it's the Kennedy grandchildren — who have grown up to be gorgeous — who will truly ensure that John F. Kennedy's spirit lives on. "They, I think, are the best people to take [his] message forward into the 21st century," she told CNN.

Carolines's children are already proving to be worthy heirs to her father's legacy. Her eldest, Rose Schlossberg, is an up-and-coming writer, producer, and actress. Among her film credits are writing and co-producing TIME: The Kalief Browder Story. As noted by Kokomo Perspective, the docuseries examines the life of Browder, who spent three years in jail awaiting trial as a minor. Tatiana Schlossberg is an author and journalist who, per the Evening Standard, worked for The New York Times reporting on climate change. JFK's grandson, Jack Schlossberg, has made a number of TV appearances, and spoke at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.