Last night “The Kennedy Files” presented the second in its ten-part series devoted to America’s royal family on Reelz Channel. This episode is about “Jack & Jackie,” the ultimate power couple. Jackie’s father was a scoundrel, but his two daughters, Jacqueline and Lee, adored him. He won money and lost money, and her greatest fear at a young age was walking into her boarding school on the first day and being embarrassed to find that her tuition was not paid. Jackie’s mother Janet was an unapologetic social climber, and as Black Jack’s empty bank account and his behavior humiliated her, she divorced him when Jackie was only eleven. However, Jackie learned from both parents certain things that would rule her life; life should never be boring from her father and from her mother that life is a series of calculations. Jackie had a will of iron and like her mother knew that by marrying wealth, her future would be insured.
She learned ballet, grace, languages and she strove to be her best. She watched as the Bouvier family descended into poverty and knew this was not in her future. She met Jack Kennedy at a party in Georgetown in 1951, and they hit it off. Jackie had plenty of suitors and did not take him too seriously. However, this wealthy son of a former ambassador was raised to have anything he wanted, especially from women. Nevertheless, with all his conquests, he never met anyone like Jackie, who spoke her mind and did not jump at his whim. It was far from love at first sight, in fact; Jackie was engaged to a Wall Street stockbroker, but her mother knew the value of real money, which was why she broke her engagement because her mother did not believe he had real money.
Jack was content to remain single, but his father; Joe would not have it. Joe called all the shots and knew that when he ran for president, he had to have a wife. Joe knew that Jackie was the one for his son. Jackie was a photographer for a newspaper and knew the woman was perfect for the White House. However, Jack’s appetite for other women was never lost, and his philandering continued. Jackie could have left him but she began to feel the exhilaration as Jack began to rise to power and his aspirations of becoming president were close to being fulfilled. Jackie felt something that her mother never felt; having the world at her feet. At that point, a few transgressions on her husband’s part were overlooked.
When people lined up at the airport to greet the couple; they yelled Jackie, Jackie, Jackie, never calling out Jack’s name. They were truly America’s first power couple. When they arrived in Paris to more chants of Jackie, Jack introduced himself to the meeting as the man who accompanied Jackie to Paris. He was used to being the alpha, but when he realized he was taking a backseat to his wife; he went with it. During the Cold War in Vienna, Khrushchev stated how the Russian educational system was far better than America’s, and Jackie told the chairman not to bore her with statistics. This was the first-time anyone ever spoke to him in that manner, and Khrushchev was fascinated by her and delighted at her tenacity.
As President, Jack’s staff considered her his secret weapon. She had an uncanny ability to figure out if men were yes-men, had independent thought or were undermining the president. She had great parties at the White House not only to honor guests, but to size up her husband’s rivals. She chose to give the White House a facelift. When completed, it was televised and the ratings were through the roof, further instilling the mystique she brought to America.
In 1960, the same year he was elected, Jack Kennedy met Marilyn Monroe at a dinner party. For Jackie, the parade of women coming in and out of Jack’s life was pretty much ignored to keep up her façade. However, in 1962, the President of the United States was kept waiting for over an hour by none other than Marilyn Monroe. He invited her to Palm Springs, where their affair continued even on Air Force One. On his 45th birthday, Marilyn sang a happy birthday tune to him in her sexiest voice, but Jackie was not there.
Jackie knew when to be present and when to stay away. She refused to be embarrassed the way her mother was. Jackie left for Italy a few days after Marilyn was found dead. She was greeted by cheering crowds and was accompanied by her daughter Caroline, who was five at the time. One of the people she vacationed with was one of Europe’s richest men; Gianni Agnelli. Jackie did not bring her usual demeanor with her to Italy and was seen frolicking in the sea with Gianni. She was seen water skiing and scuba diving, and it is understood that Jackie had an affair with Agnelli at that time and wanted her husband to know about it. He sent her a telegram; More Caroline Less Agnelli.
In October, 1962, a crisis occurred in the world that kept Jack involved for thirteen days with Khrushchev that could have meant the end of the world. Knowing that Washington, D.C., could be under fire, Jack told Jackie to take the children to Virginia, wanting them to be out of range of any missiles. Jackie refused and through all the strife in their marriage, her commitment was to him.
When she was eight months pregnant, she had a bad pain and delivered an underdeveloped boy, they named Patrick on August 7, 1963. The baby died two days later, and it was the first-time anyone saw Jack cry. This event brought them together more than ever. However, later that year, it would come to a tragic end leaving the country in despair. In 1994, Jackie Kennedy Onassis learned she had cancer and despite all the twists and turns of their lives, she was buried next to him in Arlington National Cemetery. Now the ultimate power couple is together for eternity, as thousands of people walk past their grave with memories of Camelot and others who only knew of them from history books.